Being a mother of two sets of twins, can be a difficult job. In 2011, my daughters played basketball for a junior college. One of my daughters was almost kicked off the team because of her attitude. As a little girl growing up, I knew she was bigger than life could handle at times, but never to the point that her coach was not going to tolerate. The coach contacted my husband and me and we had to make a Sunday trip to the school. You know it was trouble! We missed church!
The reason she was almost sent home was because she allowed her helping and listening to people’s problems to become her problems. Therefore, she became like the person she was helping. She was no longer influencing, she was being influenced. The one thing that I have always taught my children, “Don’t follow the crowd. Lead the way because that is who you are.” It is in their DNA! Her feelings were no longer her feelings; she was feeling like the negative young lady she befriended. Her thoughts were no longer her thoughts; she began to think like her friend. She no longer identified with who she was. Nothing changed about the game, nothing changed about the coach, and nothing changed about her teammates. The only thing that changed was her. She could not identify with that. It was her against everyone else.
In 2012, the coach allowed her to come back another year to play for him. It was a difficult decision, but he knew the young lady that he recruited was not the young lady he had seen the last couple of months. This year was totally different. Instead of the coach contacting my husband and me to kick her off the team, he was calling to inform us how much our daughter meant to him because of her leadership. He stated that he had the best team he had ever had and felt that it was because of the direct reflection of my daughter’s leadership. She finally got the team to follow her, instead of her following her team member. The power of influence affects a magnitude of people! Today, she is still leading the pack.
Often times in leadership, we try to fit in with the crowd to convince subordinates to like us. It is not your job to have them to like you, but it is their job to respect you and your position. As a leader you want the people working with you to like you and I totally understand that, but your presence and character will do that on its own. You will not have to do anything extra for that. Be careful of compromising your position as a leader to fit in. For instance, fraternizing with employees in which a friendship is created and not knowing authority boundaries. Having an employee as your friend is not a problem, but when a leader is not able to separate the two and jeopardizes his/her authority over the friend and create a hostile working environment with the other employees, then it is a problem. Just do your job consistently in a fair approach for all employees and they will like you and respect you. But, until you identify who you are in your own skin and your own thoughts, then you are unable to influence people to follow you. Once you do, you are now able to bring about a change, a shift in improving people, to modify behavior, or promote; ultimately, make a difference. So identify who you are and walk in it!