Did you know that 70% of learning and development in the workplace happens through job experiences and tasks?
This statistic resonates deeply with me.
From my early days as a babysitter to leading teams as a Director of Engineering, every role has been a vital chapter in my leadership story.
No matter the job, every role offers valuable lessons in self-leadership, which is the cornerstone of leading others.
As a babysitter, I learned the art of negotiation (sometimes more complex than any leadership deal) and responsibility.
Working in a grocery store, I mastered the chemistry of teamwork and customer service – turning everyday interactions into gold.
In the lab, precision and problem-solving were my potions of choice,
while managing conference housing was like orchestrating a symphony of diverse characters and scenarios.
These experiences were my first steps in embracing Brené Brown's "Dare to Lead" principles.
They taught me that leadership is like dragon riding: it requires balance, courage, and an ability to adapt to the winds of change.
💚 Rumbling with Vulnerability: Each role exposed me to new challenges, teaching me to embrace uncertainty and risks, a fundamental aspect of vulnerability and leadership.
💚 Living into Our Values: Whether it was ensuring safety as a babysitter or delivering excellent service in a grocery store, aligning my actions with my core values was the foundation of integrity.
💚 Braving Trust: Building trust, whether with parents entrusting their children to me or with customers relying on my service, was always about clarity, reliability, and accountability.
💚 Learning to Rise: Handling emotions, from the pressure of multitasking to customer service challenges, taught me to manage my reactions and rise above the situation with calm and perspective.
💚 Call to Courage and Curiosity: Every role demands courage – to learn, to ask questions, and to face new challenges.
💚 The Armory vs. Daring Leadership: Shifting from armored to daring leadership, I learned to embrace learning and growth over perfectionism and value contributions over criticism.
💚 Shame and Empathy: Understanding the dynamics of different roles, I learned the importance of empathy in leadership, connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences .
Reflecting on this journey, I realize that leadership isn't confined to a title or a role; it's a set of skills and mindsets that can be nurtured in any position at any stage of your career.
Here's what these varied experiences taught me:
🔥 Self-awareness: Whether managing children as a babysitter or coordinating conference housing, understanding my emotions, reactions, and strengths was crucial for handling each challenge effectively.
🔥 Self-Regulation: In every role, controlling impulses and staying composed under pressure was essential. This skill was particularly tested in the dynamic environment of a grocery store.
🔥 Motivation: My drive in these roles went beyond superficial rewards. It was about finding intrinsic value in my work, whether in a lab or the tech industry.
🔥 Empathy: Understanding and valuing the perspectives of others, from customers in a store to team members in tech, has always been a priority.
🔥 Social Skills: Building relationships and rapport has been vital, from ensuring parents trusted me as a babysitter to fostering a collaborative environment in the tech world.
🔥 Goal Setting: Each role required setting and achieving goals, whether completing daily tasks efficiently or leading large-scale projects in engineering.
🔥 Decision Making: Making informed choices has been a constant theme, from small daily decisions in a grocery store to strategic choices in technology leadership.
🔥 Resilience: Each job had challenges, and learning to bounce back stronger was essential for growth and success.
🔥 Lifelong Learning: Every role was a learning opportunity, a chance to grow and improve. This mindset has been a key driver in my career.
🔥 Influence and Inspiration: Inspiring and leading others, regardless of the job title, has resulted from developing these self-leadership skills.
This journey has taught us to lead ourselves through various roles and challenges.
It's about harnessing our experiences, resilience, empathy, and drive to inspire and influence those around us.
So, no matter where you are in your career, remember that every role you take is an opportunity to sharpen your self-leadership skills, preparing you to be an effective leader for others.
And that last 30%?
Investing in leadership training was the cherry on top. It was like finding the rarest dragon eggs, nurturing them, and watching them hatch into something extraordinary.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. How have your diverse roles contributed to your leadership journey?