Earrings of Leadership

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Last August when I accepted the opportunity to serve as Spring Conference Chairman, I knew that I would experience some pain along the way. Having served in many different officer roles within my club, I felt that I was a good leader but I wondered if I could encourage, inspire and motivate a group of 38 different chairs toward a unified goal as large as this event. I would never know the answer to this question unless I stepped up to meet the challenge head on. I knew that there would be moments of great excitement followed by times of sheer panic and fear. It is in those times, when we are experiencing pain, that we are stretching ourselves past our comfort zones. Those are our growth spurts and we should learn to embrace them instead of run from them.

If I can impart any words of wisdom from my experience as chairman of this event, it would be to wear two key elements like earrings close to your head; organization and delegation. They are essential to the success of a leadership endeavor of this magnitude.

Organization — you must not waver in keeping on top of each detail; however, there will be times when tasks can certainly get overwhelming. During those stressful moments, take a deep breath and decide which task is most important and mentally put the others on the back burner. Finish that task and move on to the next one. Don’t try to do them all at the same time. The results will be time spent on tasks that were not done to your best ability and as you go forward you will be working with a negative cloud over your head. When times are tough and stress is at its peak, I always ask myself “How do you eat an elephant?” The answer is “one bite at a time.” Everything cannot be done at the same time. No matter if you have five things that are priority, one of them is more important than the other.

Delegation – you are not an island unto yourself. You must have help and the more the better. Choose your team members wisely because if one falters you will need to lend a hand to help them with their duties or carry them over the finish line. You can only carry so many before the load becomes too much and YOU stumble and fall. If a team member is showing signs of trouble, find a way to encourage and inspire or redirect them toward success. This is your job as a leader to know when they need help. Most often, they will not contact you and let you know, but they need you nonetheless. If in the end, a life issue has come up where they are unable to fulfill their role, release them from their commitment with dignity and find a replacement immediately. Even what seem to be the smallest tasks will grow larger as you get into the middle of them and oftentimes, it is too late to find someone that is willing to take on such a task with limited time.

The question has been asked of me “Knowing what you know now, would you have taken on this role?” My answer would be a definitive yes! Even though there were times of pain, the experience that I gleaned from the journey was invaluable. I wear my new earrings of leadership proudly and I know it was during those times of stress is when I grew the most. Pain only lasts for a moment, but the incredible memories and life experiences will last forever. Boldly Go into life and challenge yourself to be more than you are today.

Pat Quick
Spring Conference Chairman