Leading Like a Human
Play • 6 min

Leading Like a Human   

The people who vouch for us, whether we call them bosses or leaders or allies, often see in us what we will become and it is up to us then to live out the full expression of our purpose, and by extension, their aspirations for us. I was really excited about a particular promotion and the prospect of  growing myself, the team and the organization. That excitement didn't fade, but it was tempered by the realization that I actually did not know how to lead people. For context, this was during the sunrise of South Africa’s democracy, I was in advertising and one of the few women at the time who would be at the helm or in an executive position in an ad agency. There were not many examples for me to look to. By default, I looked at the males and noticed that they could issue instructions and things would get done, that they could chastise people, and that feedback would be welcomed and/or well-received. In error and with the arrogance and ignorance of youth, I thought that I could emulate a masculine engagement style. This backfired badly. Much later I would receive counsel that leadership was not about me barking orders, but rather a responsibility of care for those I led. I would also learn that my gender was neither a plus nor minus but a mere fact. I would later then evolve into a being who led, and still leads as a human (who just happens to be a woman). I accept and respect that others feel strongly about leading like a woman. 

The human path is one I have chosen for myself as it makes both head and heart sense to this evolving being.

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