Some Reflections on Leadership – By My Former Staff!
Today, I thought I would share with you some of the insights my staff had about me when I was the CEO at the Shire of Lake Grace. These insights are taken from a book that the staff compiled and presented to my family and I at “our” farewell. I hope you don’t find this post all that narcissistic of me!
Excerpt From: From the staff of the Shire of Lake Grace. “TO SEAN.” Apple Books.
Comments by Lee Ann
“Conversations with Sean –
‘Those ‘blanks’ within your conversations were for staff to exercise grey matter and use initiative – that ‘Can do’ attitude.
Those ‘pauses’ before a conversation were a preliminary warning that the conversation had more ‘you will do’ or ‘this needs to happen’ theme.
Those ‘sitting back in chair with raised eyebrows look’ were a sign of not liking what you have just heard or been challenged by.
Those ‘silent moments’, sometimes very long, were signs of frustration and/or thinking and a self-assurance of making sure you chose your words very carefully.
Those discussions while sitting down in the lounge chairs in your office were signs of a serious nature but also a sign that views were to be shared and respected.
Those times of unpacking the staff ‘gift boxes’ ready for distribution, unleashed the ‘child’ within.
Those times when taken to lunch were signs of an unspoken, ‘thank you’
Observations of Sean –
You do relax – you play the guitar (I have witnessed this on a late night shopping evening otherwise I would not believe it)”
“Your ‘forever thinking’ mind has elevated the Shire of Lake Grace into being known as a ‘progressive shire’
Your strategic planning is second to none – however take care not to make it work against you
Working with Sean –
A challenge – a direction – a journey – a choice”
Comments by Jeanette
“Sean … Its been such a privilege to work with you and be on board alongside you on the journey that has seen this Shire grow as an organisation and at this point in time be very well positioned for the future … we have come such a long way from where we were 3 years ago when you first arrived. ”
“Before you even arrived you told me how you liked to be organised and that you had no time for any nonense … how true were those words … your organisational skills on all levels never cease to be a stand out for me and your no nonsense approach is great to work with.”
“Your leadership reminds me very much of these words …
Can you mediate emotional issues without taking sides or picking favourites?
Can you breathe freely and remain relaxed even in the presence of passionate fears and desires?
Are your own conflicts clarified?
Is your own house clean?
Can you be gentle with all factions and lead the group without dominating?
Can you remain silent and receptive, no matter what issues are raised?
Can you know what is emerging, yet keep the peace while others discover themselves?
Learn to lead in a nourishing manner.
Learn to lead withour being possessive.
Learn to be helpful without taking credit.
Learn to lead without coersion.
You can do this if you remain unbiased, clear, and down-to-earth.
… Lao Tzu
Your style is a perfect fit for all of those things and we have been so lucky to have you here to show us how … thank you so much.”
A Final Thought
In some respects, it is easier being a leader than a manager. They are two very different things. A manager is concerned with the technical side of the operation – the doing, the widgets. A leader is concerned with the well-being of those who work for them and providing a pathway regarding achieving endless possibilities!
Both managers and leaders need to be transparent in their actions. I was never perfect, but I always made sure I listened or came back to, and ensured, what was required regarding an uncomfortable or serious course of action.
I have been very fortunate throughout my career as a CEO to meet and work with the most amazing people. The one thing I practised day in and day out at the most senior level was leadership. I had executives, managers and supervisors to manage everything else 😊 If I can do it, you can too!