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Build Your Leadership Capacity
December 17, 2019
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
-Maya Angelou

Margie Carter, writing in the Exchange Essentials article collection, “Build Your Leadership Capacity,” begins her piece with this quote:

“Work, like marriage, is a place you can lose yourself more easily, perhaps, than finding yourself. It is a place full of powerful undercurrents, a place to find ourselves, but also, a place to drown, losing all sense of our own voice, our own contribution and conversation. (David Whyte, 2009)”

She goes on to say that “Directors of early childhood programs are an amazing lot! I typically see so much dedication, such hard work and creative problem solving. But then that inevitable undertow of deadlines, crises, and illness begins to suck you down. Before long, you're drowning, and with crisis management becoming a way of life, you don't even recognize your vital signs slipping away.”

Carter offers a number of strategies directors can use to revitalize their work lives.

And in an article in a special edition of the Harvard Business Review, called The Essential Guide to Leadership, Stewart D. Friedman also offers a number of ways to both “become a better leader and have a richer life.” Here are two of his tips:

  1. Reflect. For each of the domains of your life — work, home, community, and self, reflect on how important each is to you, how much time and energy you devote to each, and how satisfied you are in each. Are there discrepancies between what is important to you and how you spend your time and energy?...

  2. Brainstorm Possibilities. Based on the insights you’ve achieved during your four-way reflection, brainstorm a long list of small experiments that may help you move closer to greater satisfaction in all four domains...For example:
    • Turning off cell phones during family dinner could help you sharpen your focus on people who matter the most.
    • Exercising several times a week could give you more energy...
    • Preparing for the week ahead on Sunday evenings could help you sleep better and go into the new week refreshed.”

Source: “Be a Better Leader, Have a Richer Life,” by Stewart D. Friedman, The Essential Guide to Leadership, The Harvard Business Review, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2009

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