What I learned about leadership

I learned valuable lessons when I observed my grandparents' leadership. Here is what I know.

People are the most important goal.


This priority had various implications over the years. The wellbeing of the human beings must be more important than quantified material success. My grandmother felt inspired by the values of caring and sharing. Why? The warm and fuzzy stuff leads to meaningful success. Systems reduced people to b e seen as just resources for too long. I now believe we need to nurture a planet that could hopefully sustain people. But us fellow human beings need to sustain each other, too.

Very few traditions were truly done forever.

When people say something was 'always' done a particular way, such practices are probably newer than they realise. We live life with familiar cultures and habits that may have been around for decades. Maybe centuries if you're lucky. But I bet you the people of your land did things differently hundreds or thousands of years ago.

Innovate through continuous learning.


You are never too old to learn how to create a resource, present information in a different way and evolve language with the times. I am learning to do this more as I get back into the world. Someone recently reminded me of how my grandfather made a web site for an organisation years ago. I remember the days when he taught himself how to build that online resource. This was before the days of drag and drop. But he was old enough to be continuously learning in a later time of life.


Let people learn how to do their jobs.


I believe in balance. I recently visited community groups after a long gap. I remembered the skills from years prior. Although I offered help once or twice if someone looked stuck, I didn't push it. People need to perform their responsibilities in ways that feel authentic for them as individuals.

Set an expectation for culture and standards

This is not about being high and mighty. Quite the opposite. For me, the hardest part of creating a culture is setting an example. Be the change. That is easier said than done. But it is essential. I am not the warm fuzzy teddy bear that my grandmother was. However, I appreciated her intention and hope to project my own intention through peaceful action.