A week ago I applied for a position as a “Leadership Development Facilitator” at my company. Because hiring can be slow at my very large company, I am not expecting to hear anything back in the next 2-4 weeks. The position had been posted since May, but there have been various hiring freezes where I work, so I am fairly certain they are holding the line on hiring until the end of the quarter (October).
Throughout my life, I have had many experiences in leadership, and I feel I could contribute to the development of other leaders at my company. Given my unique perspective, as an operations manager in an international clinical research organization, my approach may be different than others in this role. I sure hope I get the chance to interview for the position. Given that it required someone who had second language skills (in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, German or French) and the requirements, I think it may be hard for them to locate the right talent for the role.
I have an urge to market myself for this job though. There would be a lot of presentation and group facilitation work required, using both “off the shelf” and custom designed content. I would be working with managers, directors and possibly VP level leaders to help them develop skills to be better leaders. I would be coaching, using active facilitation techniques, possibly managing virtual classrooms. I would need to maintain energy, engagement and effectiveness in learning content delivery for programs that span 3 to 5 days in duration. Some parts of the job description scare the pants off me (like that last one)!
I am an introvert and I require a lot of personal time, solitude and time away from people to bring my “best game” to those interactions I have at work. In the past few years, I really have stretched myself in that way, stepping outside my comfort zone, and advocating for my team, and for ideas that matter to me. Actually I tested as an extrovert on the MBTI for the first time in my life last year (though very much in the middle between I and E). All of my previous personality tests have shown introversion (though I am kind of in the middle), so what was my reaction? The test is WRONG! I know I am an introvert, and my personality has not changed.
The role I am in now, and the need to interact with others in different business units, countries, geographic units, and functions requires me to do a lot of work with others. So even though I strongly identify as an introvert, I tell people that “I play an extrovert at work.” I am in meetings for ~40-60% of my days, depending on the particular week. While that is not ideal, I know I can do it. And the biggest part of my desire to do LD facilitation is what I can learn from the leaders who will come through the programs. I view all work as a “learning lab” in which we can practice skills and constantly learn from other smart people around us.
As I manager, I strive to be a Multiplier, because I know that is the best way to help my team members develop, and to get them to bring forth their best thinking. What if I could help other leaders within my company learn how to better leverage their people-power to achieve their goals and continue to cultivate a learning environment? I get totally jazzed when I think about that. Last week, at our Science and Technology conference, I was reminded of how many brilliant scientists and engineers work for this company. Even though part of me fantasizes about self-employment and a life outside the corporate world, another part of me really wants to make a difference within this organization. Plus, my hubby wants to buy a house in a couple of years. So you know, financial security seems like a wise choice as a newly married chica.
The best leaders keep moving forward, despite challenges, despite some internal doubts they may have. They try to find the best people for any job that needs to be done, and make sure they support people rather than getting in the way. The best leaders are able to communicate a vision for the future and also keep people grounded in the reality of today. The best leaders do not disparage others, or try to blame other people for their own failings. The best leaders take full responsibility for their mistakes, take good care of their employees, and make sure that people do not suffer for being courageous. I strive to be one of these leaders in the company where I am, and I do my best to live up to that idea. I know I do not always succeed, but I am committed to getting better at it, and to lift others up around that can be great leaders as well.
What is your vision of a great leader? I would love it if you let me know in the comments. Thanks in advance for what you are willing to share.