As a parent, the first day your kids go to formal school is a milestone and memorable moment for very many reasons. I don't know if it is harder for the kids or for the parents - but I do know that both sides go through their share of anxieties since it is fundamentally dealing with change. And how one deals with this change, depends on the nature of the kid and the parent.
When my 2nd kid started formal school, I was probably more relaxed (than when my 1st kid went) as I knew the school well and most importantly my elder kid went to the same school. Before the start of school, I had been constantly explaining to my 2nd kid what to expect in school. I also told my elder kid that it was her responsibility to look after her sister and make her settled in school. I also informed the teachers I knew, and they all promised to watch after my 2nd kid.
Now on the 1st day of school, I repeated all the instructions to both of them and I waved them good-bye. That moment is usually the hardest - when you (have to) let go - even if it is for a few hours in the day.
After about an hour, I received a call from the school. Since it was the 1st day at school, they had planned for the teachers to welcome the new kids into school. The teachers were tasked with the responsibility of ensuring that the new kids get to their respective classrooms. Now, in my case when the teacher went to escort my 2nd kid to class, my elder kid politely said "I will drop my sister to her class. It is my responsibility to make sure she is settled. I will take care". The teacher was pleasantly surprised and called me to say that she was impressed with the way my elder kid handled her kid sister, and that she exhibited early leadership qualities.
The episode got me thinking. How does anyone's leadership journey start? When you put one in a situation , give them a defined objective and instill a sense of personal ownership and responsibility. That's the start! Like my kid did, people will figure solution approaches, discover their leadership styles and will more often than not come up with creative ways to do the best they can. It may not always be the best solution, or most effective way to achieve the objective - but here's the thing that matters in the long run. They discovered a little about the leader in them, they understood how their thoughts and actions can create an impact and make a difference.
As an individual, leadership starts with having a sense of personal ownership and responsibility towards an objective. Leadership is usually a personal journey of awareness, growth and acceptance - of yourself, people, and possibilities.
As a leader, you have to define an objective, empower your teams to find solutions and give them space to operate, you will be surprised to see what will emerge. Along the way, most people will carve out their leadership path within their sphere of influence.
Just that as a leader, you need to understand :
* that there are may ways to achieve an objective
* that there are many ways to solve a problem
* that playing a role in building leaders is probably as important as getting the solution right the very first time
Pause and reflect | How does the leadership journey start for anyone? And how does one discover the leader in them? Leave a comment to let me know.
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