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A Leader Without Followers Is Just Out for a Walk by Herself

I've always liked the idea that a leader without followers is just out for a walk by herself — which is my version of a quote from John Maxwell, a leadership expert and author. Many of us 'manage' others and scurry around setting crystal clear expectations, evaluating performance, providing input to make sure that the day-to-day things are happening consistently. But that's not leading. Leading is much more intangible. Leading is about getting people to understand and believe in your vision. It is about creating an environment of trust and healthy debate to create a highly-effective team that achieves goals. It is about inspiring others to be their best. The org chart may give me the title of manager, but only others can honor me with the title of leader.

Leading and managing both are fairly easy when times are good. Outcomes are being reached, things are getting done, people are happy. But during the tough times and times of great uncertainty and change like we are facing right now, the true mettle of a leader can come under a glaring light that isn't always pretty. But there are so many great stories of leaders who turn adversity into victory. Theordore Roosevelt created and became the de-facto leader of a volunteer calvary known as the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American war. TR, as he liked to be called, said that the Battle of San Juan Heights was 'the great day of my life', during which he lead a series of charges up Kettle Hill while the Rough Riders followed on foot. He rode up and down the hill inspriring and encouraging his troops which led to a victory. I aspire to be that leader who fearlessly charges up that hill — whatever it might be — and work hard to create a talented team and an environment of trust so that that my 'troops' are inspired to follow me. Because otherwise it might be a very lonely, difficult and even dangerous fight at the top if you are there doing it all by yourself.

Fight for things that you believe in, but do it in a way that others will follow.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg inspires me in many ways, as her story of value-based leadership that changes the world is indeed compelling. It is not only her dogged pursuit for establishing women's rights but also her fearless 'charge up that hill' that made new things possible for all female leaders who came after her that is inspiring. She took adversity and rejection (even though first in her law school class she was unable to find a fairly paying job out of law school so she turned instead to teaching) and boldly walked down the new path all of the way to the supreme court where her impact on the world of female leaders is immeasurable. In an interview toward the end of her life she gave young people the advice to fight for what you believe, but do it in a way that will inspire others to follow you. She was the first one to charge up so many different hills but all with a common goal of equal protection for all; setting a path that so many of us work hard to follow today.

I am always inspired and motivated by examples of disciplined, hard-working, fearless, hard-charging, intense individuals who make things happen and change the world. I aspire to be that type of person and want my tombstone to read something like: worked hard, played hard, made a true difference in the lives of others. And strong leadership always ties back to living by your values. For Theodore Roosevelt his values included constant learning, putting your team ahead of yourself, maintaining channels with your adversaries, keeping commitments and a bias for action. For Ruth Bader Ginsberg it was about subordinating herself to the higher cause, staying focused on the greater good — which for her was protecting the 14th amendment and fighting for equal protection, working hard even during extremely difficult times, staying disciplined and being tenacious. 

At Creatis, we stay focused on our core values and work hard to bring them to life every day. One way we do this is by naming our Core Value Award Recipients each year — our employees who best embody our core values of Teamwork, Of Service, Do What's Right, Be Excellent and Shared Journey. 

We are so proud to honor our 2020 Creatis Core Value Award Reciepients who are: Patty Nieman (Shared Journey), Cathy Challman (Do What's Right), Ross Howdle (Teamwork), Lynn Holzworth (Be Excellent) and Michelle Beckrich (Of Service).

Learn more about the Creatis 2020 Value Award Recipients on our website.

Managing Change , CreatisValues, CreatisCares

Find us:

Creatis, Inc. Headquarters
227 Colfax Ave. N.
Suite 150
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Tel: 612-333-3233

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