Growing up I was known as the family wallflower. No desire to be noticed and preferred books over people. (Still do on occasion)
I was not a natural born leader. (Shakes head)
I believe the turning point came while stationed at Fort Jackson when I was assigned as an assistant squad leader. The recruits looked up to me for guidance and sometimes even as a personal counselor. My confidence began to blossom and I enjoyed the new role. At 18 I was promoted to Specialist Four (E-4) and was thrust into another leadership role in charge of individuals who were much older (and trust me they didn’t like it) but this also taught me patience and learned to even respect myself for my own leadership capabilities. Though I was scared I learned to keep myself focused and simply mentally placed one foot in front of the other so that I could methodically plan out how to handle any given task at hand and to deal with “being in the spotlight.”
Most people I knew thought I wouldn’t even survive basic because of my shyness and I was labeled as being “delicate”.
Of course I proved them wrong.
Being a leader takes much out of you in terms of patience, knowledge, and overall commitment to the task and the people assigned to you. There are times I don’t want to be in this role then I think what the alternative would be…would I have remained that shy little wallflower fading into the background if I didn’t take a chance on myself?
I work on a team with my agency and been a part of this type of environment since I was 17. A team reminds me of the game of chess….all the pieces need to work together to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the game (or mission) and without a good King (well, for me Queen) 🙂 we end up losing if we don’t try to cooperate in a collective manner.
A good leader (at least to me) is compassionate, cooperative and will take the time to motivate their team to accomplish whatever mission task is at hand. If you are thrust into a leadership position don’t let it scare you….look inside of yourself and check out what your strengths are. Don’t discount what you are able to contribute to the team, your company….