Leadership Is My Lifestyle

     By Leasa Simmons

I thought this was going to be an easy article to write. Feeling inspired to be a better leader and cultivate a lifestyle of leadership, I however, suffered from much introspection and had trouble putting words on paper.  Reviewing my notes, I began to scrutinize my leadership. I decided I can do better. Hence, I wrote down three goals to accomplish for the remainder of 2017, and throughout 2018. Here they are:

  1. Read more books about leadership.
  2. Increase my network of people who exhibit great leadership.
  3. Regularly evaluate my leadership style to practice what works and discard what does not.

I recently participated in a training entitled “Leadership as a Lifestyle”, conducted by Athletes Global, CEO and founder Jernavis Draughn. Everyone was encouraged to participate and we concluded with a competitive team building exercise in the gymnasium where the training was held. The team building exercise can be found on the Athletes Global Leadership Academy Facebook page.

Having held a leadership role for many years, I have not attended many trainings for leadership development. Much of my business acumen comes from hands-on experience. I learned how to lead from those around me. Being on a team of three, I purposely listened in on telephone calls to become versed with the tone and verbiage used to be honest when delivering difficult news. I have closely watched my colleagues handle difficult, confrontational situations when they feel mistreated or misunderstood.  I have observed their presentation during meetings and their interaction with our staff. I have attempted to absorb   many of the positive qualities and tried to make them my own brand of excellent leadership style.

One of the key topics discussed during the training was Emotional Intelligence. One of the main components of Emotional Intelligence which caught my attention was self-regulation. Emotional Intelligence is being able to manage oneself, while self-regulation is the ability to stay in control and manage emotions. My ugly truth is that I struggle with managing my emotions.  Self-regulation has not always been my strength. I began to realize that telling someone the truth doesn’t have to be confrontational. I also realized that I do not have to raise my voice to make my point. Finally, I realized that my behavior can cause people to trust me or alienate those who I strive to motivate. It is through this ownership that I have grown. I understand, as well as witnessed how a soft answer turns away wrath while harsh words cause anger.

The Leadership as a Lifestyle Training challenged me to rethink my preconceived notions about what Leadership looks like. I am changed for the better and will continue to refer to my notes. Leadership is my Lifestyle, and I am committed to leaving a legacy of excellent leadership. Perhaps one-day Mr. Draughn and I can collaborate and write a kick- butt book about Excellence in Leadership. Stay tuned!

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