Last week I spent the better part of two days with Christine Nixon at a course called Women Achieving and Flourishing put on by Our Community in Melbourne. If you get the chance to attend one of these programs in the future (register at OurCommunity if you’d like to be informed), I can highly recommend it.
My goal in attending this program was to take some time to focus on what kind of leader I want to be in 2012, and it was a fruitful and humbling experience: fruitful because it was the first time since I-don’t-know-when that I’ve sat and just thought about my own career and personal development; and humbling just to be in the presence of such a capable and experienced leader. Here is a woman who’s devoted her life’s work to serving the community; who overcame serious cultural deficiencies in the Victorian Police to completely overhaul law enforcement across the State; and who still is prepared to give more of herself to see other women shine in their own endeavors. Humbling indeed.
But while it’s ok to be humbled by the leaders we see around us, that’s no excuse for not stepping up. We are all leaders in our chosen field – whether we’ve led an entire Police Force or a department or even a local community group – it’s the mindset of leadership that gives us the job title.
One of the interesting things that Christine asked us all to do was to nominate a woman leader we regarded as a role model. There were almost 100 women in the room and almost as many nominations – from Julia Gillard to Quentin Bryce, Hilary Clinton to Margaret Thatcher, and from Christine Nixon to Carol Schwartz. We discussed all their varying qualities and contributions ranging from grace to warmth, but most of all courage, and developed our own profile of what leadership attributes we most admired.
I think this is such a valuable exercise. It’s just so important to take the time to consider the kind of leader you want to be:
- Will you lead a large team or a small but complex one… like your family perhaps... :-)
- How would you have others describe your leadership style?
- What will success look like for you?
- How will you get to your end goal?
- Who will support your success – through providing solutions, lending support, opening doors or celebrating the wins with you?