Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Litre of Leadership

This weekend I received an award for Outstanding Alumnae service. I also had a discussion with one of my mentors about Women and Leadership. A new Alumnae Association president, I am earning that this post is not only about getting the job/my goals done, but also about the example I want set for my peers. 

In networking, the key is to politely boast our accomplishments and abilities; something women can be very modest about. As a leader, I want to take those accomplishments and abilities of others and create a synergy, building something more than the sum of its parts. But above all, I want to let our alums know that we don't just want money. We want genuine engagement.

Sheryl Sandberg's 10 tips for success
  • Smile even when you do not feel like it
  • Substitute "we" for "I"
  • Sit at the table in meetings
  • Raise your hand - keep it up
  • Leave work early and have dinner at home
  • Let yourself react emotionally to criticism - then move on
  • Decide on an 18-month goal and a long-term plan
  • Choose jobs based on the potential for growth
  • Learn new skills regularly
  • Show concern for the common good - while negotiating for yourself
Source: Lean In

What I realized in the weeks leading up to being sworn in, is that many of my peers seem hesitant to leave their comfort zone, especially for a volunteer leadership position. It translates into more work, even though in my experience the majority of council members contribute very little, if anything.

It was important to me to pick people who I looked up to, who whole-heartedly believed in what "we" were trying to accomplish in the next two years. The things we are planning have absolutely no direct way of making our day-to-day lives easier, but will advance and strengthen our alumnae community. 

Can a group of 15+ women step up and selflessly engage for the good of the community/students/the future of St. Margaret's? Yes, and it is my job as a leader to make sure they do.

From what I've just learned this weekend, here are some additions to Sheryl's list:

  • Lead by example
  • Age is nothing but a number
  • Do things because they are necessary, not for the credit
  • All you have to do is ask.
  • What is your mission/goal? Don't stray from it.
  • Understand the scope of what you are doing. You can reach and connect to more people than you realize.

I'd love to hear any leadership tips or strategies that you have learned, in or out of the boat.

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