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“Living Leadership” Every Day

The other day I was chatting with my friend Susan (not her real name). We volunteer together for a charity called Education without Borders. Susan was speaking with a potential donor who said, “Your team has accomplished a lot, considering you are all nobodies.” Can you believe it? I was furious when Susan repeated this conversation.

Why do some people define us by our wealth, where we went to university, how senior we are in our organization or even the car we drive? To be honest, I was very shocked and hurt by this comment.

The word “nobody”, as defined by Webster’s dictionary is “a person of no importance or authority”. Let me tell you about my team. We are all volunteers and do this work for free. We all have full time jobs. We have raised thousands of dollars to empower disadvantaged, at-risk kids. We support local artist in South Africa. We do it for the children. Would you define this wok as unimportant? I think not!

So today, I’d like to introduce you to the concept of Living Leadership. This concept means that we embody core values like kindness, respect and lack-of-judgement towards others. We do so everywhere in every capacity of our lives, as leaders, parents, friends, neighbours etc. This means that we don’t judge other people or call them a “nobody”.

I felt really emotional and quite angry to be judged so harshly in this way. Especially because this volunteer work is so important to me.

So, from this “nobody” to you, please don’t judge other people.

Embodying the concept of Living Leadership means that you treat other people with appreciation and compassion.

This situation really tested me. My gut reaction was to email this person and give him a piece of my mind. But as I thought about it, I had to re-frame my perspective. Instead of judging him, as he had done to me, I replaced my judgment with curiosity. I asked myself, “I wonder why this person behaved that way?”

So, how about we make this a year of love not hate. How about choosing curiosity over judgement? Let’s treat others with respect. Here is to Living Leadership! Wishing you a wonderful 2018! I’m so glad that you are part of the Mosaic Leadership Community and I’m excited to share the stories of my life and my leadership practice with you again this year.

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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