This past week, I developed a skill that I hadn’t really ever focused on before: leadership.
A leader? Me? No! I’m a born follower! I can’t be a leader!
I am on the Board of Directors of my homeowners’ association and have been since 2018. I ran for the Board position because other homeowners had urged me to for years; they believed that I would be a good asset. When I was first “elected” (no one ran against me because not many people want the seemingly thankless role of being on the Board), I volunteered to be the secretary; the truth was that the secretary and the treasurer didn’t have to do anything extra because the property manager took care of the minutes and the finances. I learned the ropes of reading and understanding the monthly financial reports, knowing what was going on in the community, and asking questions at bimonthly Board meetings.
At some point, I was promoted to vice president. To this day, I don’t know how this happened. We did have two Board members retire in 2019, and I suspect that is how.
The president of the Board is a whip-smart, no-nonsense firecracker of a woman who has been a Board member for many years and runs our meetings with authority and poise. Last May, she informed the rest of us that she would be absent at our July 19 meeting because she was going to be working as an election judge at a polling place for the Maryland primary. That meant that I, as vice president, would be running that meeting.
What, me run a Board meeting? I’ve never led any kind of meeting!
Okay. Step one: take a deep breath.
Step two: Take up the president on her gracious offer to coach you before the meeting. Meet with her twice and listen as she goes over what will need to be discussed.
Step three: Organize, organize, organize your thoughts on paper in the order in which things have to be presented (according to you—this will stretch your decision-making muscles).
And on July 19…step four: walk into the meeting place and run the meeting.
Things went very well. I referred often to my notes and led the discussions by focusing on one issue at a time, but also making sure not to spend too much time on any one issue. We had a lot to discuss, but I had the meeting over in (very slightly) less than one hour. I later found out that the secretary had told the president that I did a very good job (God bless the secretary).
And I enjoyed leading the meeting more than I thought I would.
So let us add leadership to my skill set.
If you consider yourself a born follower, has there been anything in your life or career that made the hidden leader in you come out?