I’ve been guiding and advising future leaders for many years, as a mentor and overall advocate, and my advice hasn’t changed much in that time. My concept of good leadership is informed by being a woman in a male-dominated field, a person of color in a primarily white-dominated world, and a general faith in the power of a good-hearted group of people.
But more importantly than all of that… my concept of good leadership is modeled on every servant leader I’ve seen in my life. I was raised in public libraries filled with volunteer after-school programs, and community theater spaces run by people filled with passion. My entire life I’ve seen the world transformed by people who wanted nothing more than something better for the people who came after them.
And I take all of that lived experience into my leadership practice every day.
I believe that with clear communication and expectations, I can foster an environment of open participation and respectful collaboration.
I will be considerate in my thinking and communication, always being cheerful or flexible (and both when possible). I will always remember that your time is as valuable as mine. I will remember that trust is a partnership, and earned not owed.
I will lead with consistency and a global mindset, motivating people through knowledge not fear. I will lead knowing that people will follow after me, and I should leave my world better than how I found it. I will lead with honesty and integrity, knowing that I am only as good as my word.
I expect to address confrontations directly and react calmly in difficult situations. I expect to consider problems from multiple sides and find a solution that is equitable. I expect to not know things, and fail at things, and ask people to work alongside me anyway.
A Final Thought
I spent a lot of time trying to decide the best way to share this information—how to make it approachable, how to make it “accessible”—before I realized that there’s no Right Way to explain who you are.
I’ve been leading in some form or another for as long as I can remember. I’ve made mistakes along the way. I expect to make mistakes in the future. All I can ask is that people come with me on my second chances, just like I have come with them. We are all flawed and scarred, which in no way makes us less important or valued or loved.
Democratizing publishing. Giving voices to the voiceless. Building a better tomorrow.