Leadership: am I the old mucker in the driving seat- a lightbulb moment

It was International Women’s Day earlier this week and on that very same day, I had a couple of properly interesting interactions. They weren’t related to IWD per se, and yet they were. Then later this week, I went to see a dear friend from primary school and we got talking about leadership/management. We have both recently-ish stepped away from work where we were directly managing other people and we’re now doing our own things albeit very differently and in totally different sectors. Nominally we both are not in leadership roles, or leaders, or manager or anything- at least on paper.

But then what’s written on paper (or not) is sometimes total guff versus the reality of life.

It seems that my life (and that of my dear friend) is not exactly on paper as I would have myself believe at times. No. I think sometimes, I get myself wrong.

I think we all know that I should not be in charge of my own diary. I forget to include things like sleeping and eating and I’m just so busy but that doesn’t really speak to anything other than the fact that I like doing stuff, being useful and always to everything full pelt. It’s generally a good thing and I am getting better at saying no to things that I won’t be able to do properly.

But other stuff- I’m really, really bloody good at other stuff. And this week, in the week of International Women’s Day, a few people have said to me I’m a leader, asked about my leadership style- gracious but strong was my reply – and it’s odd, because I thought I’d stepped away from being a leader. Then talking with my lovely friend, who had done the same sort of thing, we’ve both stepped away from management of other people. We are both happier for it and we are both freelance creatures now.

But she is a leader. My dear friend is a strong, powerful and prominent leader and I have HUGE respect for her. I don’t really understand what she does or how, but I do know that she is at the top of her game. She has integrity and people follow her, because she is good her work, passionate and visionary. I don’t know if I am those things, but I hope that I am half as good as my friend because she is amazing.

So leadership, I have learned, does not always look like what you think it will. You might be a leader and sort of not know it, or just do stuff and then find yourself at the forefront of things. I’m not quite sure where I fit into my own little paradigm yet, but this week, I’ve certainly been given food for thought. Lots to reflect on and work out what to do next.

After all, the world is not enough and there are a few more levels for me to tackle. And hopefully, I’ll get to meet exciting new people along the way, bring a few with me and find new pathways forward in supporting kiddos with SEND, arguing points with relevant policy people and generally make lots of waves.

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