“First rule of leadership: everything is your fault.” ~ A Bug’s Life

I recently spent a weekend in Chicago with 215 incoming Women’s Council of REALTORS(R) Local Chapter President-Elects. All of us eager to learn and grow as we prepare to lead our chapters into 2011. It was an amazing experience and not just because I met so many wonderful new people, but because of the feelings of synergy and camaraderie.

Most of all, the weekend made me think of the many leadership influences in my life.

I grew up with one of the most charismatic women I have ever met for a mother and with two very successful and dynamic women as her best friends. I learned many of the basics from them. They showed me that a leader doesn’t ask someone to do something that they themselves isn’t prepared to do, that a leader takes all of the blame and none of the credit, and that a leader cannot dictate, they must simply facilitate.

Five years ago, I was brought into to help a group of people with an idea, form a nonprofit. The group was led by one of my best friends from high school. Over that time, I have watched her struggle with the line between friend and leader, watched as she has time and time again let things just roll right off her back. The battle to not take things personally, to leave personal feelings and friendships out of the decision making process is not an easy one, but it must be done for the good of the organization.

About a year and a half ago, I joined a real estate team as a buyer’s agent. My team leader has shown me servant leadership. He truly leads from behind; bringing up, supporting, and sometimes carrying those he leads. Not a meeting or a phone conversation goes by without him asking what I have come to know as the magic phrase “How can I support you?”.

Reflecting on these influences, I have to ask myself one simple question…What kind of a leader do I plan to be?

The answer is simple, I hope to be the best parts of them all. A leader who is charismatic and successful, humble and a facilitator. One who keeps personal feelings out of the mix and does what’s good for the organization. And most importantly, one who is a servant to those she leads.

Of course, it’s easy to say this is who I want to be, the execution is what’s difficult. But that’s the learning process.

The leader never stops learning and growing.

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