Things I Learned From Listening to Drew Dudley Talk on Everyday Leadership
My Lollipop Moment
A common definition of a leader is:
A person who leads a group of people, organisation or country is a leader.
And it is not completely wrong.
The majority of the people including myself consider leadership to be a title that is given to only those who are of the higher ability to manage things. They have heaps of experience under their belt. They are either older folks or some truly gifted people.
A leader is someone bigger than us, something beyond us…someone who is working to change the world.
Just listened to Drew Dudley’s famous TED talks. It has been one of the top 15 leadership inspirational TED talks of all times. Before watching this video it never occurred to me that a leader could be anything more or should I say less than that.
Drew Dudley, talks about a lollipop moment, a moment in which a regular person in your life changed the trajectory of your life.
Here is one of my lollipop moments that can help you identify yours.
My Lollipop Moment
I had that strange feeling that I might not be able to make it here any longer than a month. I will not be able to prove my skills. Many times it crossed my mind that they made a mistake by hiring me for this role and they are going to regret it in a few weeks time.
While such thoughts ran across my mind, this lady working in a similar role whose office was right opposite to mine walks into my office. This was my second day at work. She politely asks if I was given a tour of the office.
As part of the orientation, I was given a tour on my first day but given her years of experience in her role, she knew what was missing in my orientation especially in the role I was appointed for.
So, she asks if I wanted to take a walk around the office with her.. to which I agreed.
She took me to the general workspace of the office. It was filled with machines and stationery items. There was a huge multitasking printer. It could print posters, booklets, certificates… you name it. It could print and fold letters at the same time. I had not seen that ever before especially in an office space. There was a huge guillotine machine and a laminating machine and also a spiral binding machine.
She knew it would require me to use all these machines if I wanted to be efficient in my role. She briefly explained how they worked and told me that she will be there if I ever needed help using them.
Leadership is seen in the moment when someone said or did something that made your life better.
At that moment she made me feel I could do this. She made me feel that she will be there if I needed her.
Can we be friends?
There was nothing common between the two of us… no grounds on which we could connect. We were different on many levels.
I was a mother of 2 and she was a grandmother of 3. She had always worked in assistant roles, whereas, I was a lecturer for six years in the country of my origin. She had only had certifications that helped her fit in the role better but on the other hand, I just completed my second master’s degree.
I was relatively healthy but unfortunately, she had been fighting cancer for the last 12 years.
A commoner or a leader?
The level of understanding that she showed could not be learned with the level of education one might have.
She was compassionate and understanding and was able to guide me in the right direction when I needed her.
The moment she showed me her compassion and helped me settle in my new role proved that she was more than just an assistant.
Leadership is the art of motivating people to act in a certain way to achieve common goals.
Her goal was to have the organisation’s work flowing smoothly. She could have made me look dumb by not showing me how things work around the office but she was above all this petty drama.
She had her eyes focused on the big picture and was concerned about the vision, mission and service that we provide as an organisation.
A leader is an honour that one day we are going to deserve to have?
Two years back she gave up her struggle. She could no longer manage to cope with her disease and work and took early retirement. Even though she is no more with me, I highly regard her.
I am glad that I got a chance to tell her how she made me feel and how she changed the trajectory of my work. I was able to share how much I appreciated what she did for me before she passed away about two years back. I still miss her and her guidance and the calm approach she always brought to any frustrating situation.
As common people, we think that leadership is something out of our reach.
Is leadership bigger than us?
I have always been of the notion that leadership is something that is earned over the years or given to only those truly gifted.
Watching this video has shown me that it is not about leading big project and huge teams that makes you a leader. It is the simple things that you do to point or nudge someone in the right direction that makes you a leader.
We start to devalue the things we can do every day. We are leaders in the smalls moments but never take credit for it.
I am going to leave you with this quote by Marianne Williamson that Dudley shares in his TED talk. You can be a leader too and many have had already displayed this ability but just don’t know it yet.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. — Marianne Williamson writes in A Return to Love. “
If you are interested in watching Drew Dudley’s famous talk about Everyday Leadership, here is the link.