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A-Musings

LEADERship

by Tammi Leader Fuller
 ∙ Jun 20 ∙ 5 Min Read

One hundred and fifty years ago, my dad’s family— the Leaders — left Russia, crammed into a crowded steamship. And though we may never know if their name really was Leader when they landed at Ellis Island, or if one of my ancestors made it up from the front of the line, it really doesn’t matter.

I was born a Leader.

If I was destined for greatness, it didn’t show up for me. I tried really hard as a kid to live up to my name, as my self-made, rags to riches father toodled around town in a black Rolls Royce with our name etched into his customized Florida license plate. Talk about pressure…

Over the years, I began to flirt with my power, making my way up the proverbial ladder as a Television News Producer.  I worked in some big markets where I was in charge, in the back. Where nobody could see me. Or override my decisions. I was finally on my way to living up to my last name, when I got married and took his.

I ultimately left my successful TV career after 30+ years to make a childhood dream come true. Enter: Campowerment: beloved weekend sleepaway camps for grown ups, where some of America’s best Experts come to PLAY and share their wisdom and help people find their way back to happy.

I made up the concept, leveraged the contacts I’d made as a Producer, and put my skills to work. And then, magic happened. Oprah, MORE, Parade and Delta Sky Magazines wrote about Campowerment, ripping it wide open. Awesome women started coming. I had never worked harder to build something from the ground up, and little by little, our little engine that could, did. For all the moments that it truly mattered most, I finally felt like a Leader, and realized that my story was resonating with lots of really cool people.

So I kept telling my community:

If I could leave a successful, Emmy award winning TV career, they could make big changes in their lives too.

I’ve made mistakes (who hasn’t?!) but now that I’m at the helm of a Tribe that numbers in the thousands, I’m sharing highlights from what I’ve learned from REAL leaders while building Campowerment from scratch.

HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE LEADER:

  • Be Impeccable with your word (one of the Four Agreements we should all follow)
    • First, make rules for yourself and enforce them. When you slip, stand back up and don’t justify it; learn from it instead. Then make better rules  (maybe call ‘em promises?) and keep those!
    • No word – no substance – no leadership – no clear path to your goals.
  • Share your systems with others, and create a culture of accountability.
    • Create rules that make sense for your goals, and follow them yourself.
      • When you slip, fall on the sword and own it. Any other behavior is a waste of time.
    • Empower others to follow your rules and enforce them.
      • Everyone doesn’t have to love you (or each other), but in order to be an effective leader (and cultivate more of those!), they do have to respect you (and each other).
    • Dually empower everyone to flag when it might be time to change the rules and replace them with rules that fit better.

 

  •  Offer a safe space.
    • Control your environment. When you create a zone that’s unthreatening, it allows people to get vulnerable, but it requires enrollment from all the people in that zone.
    • Think: what makes this space sacred? Share that with others, and ask for buy-in before anything else goes down.
      • Whether it’s asking people to raise their hands with questions or declaring that what happens in there never leaves there, you get to set the tone for how you want participants to feel.
      • Be warned: you may be met with silence. People get funny when they’re uncomfortable, but it’s in that discomfort that new, better comfort can be found!
  • Foster connection.
    • Help your people feel like they belong to something bigger than they are. There’s strength in numbers.
    • Don’t be afraid to arm your people (all of them!) with the leadership tools to self-organize. That sense of kinship can nurture growth on so many levels, and when your like-minded peeps grow, so does your movement.
  • Delegate.
    • Identify your strengths, and carve out your lane based on those.
    • Ask yourself…
      • Question 1: What needs to be done for the business, goal or project?
      • Question 2: Who is currently involved in making that happen?
      • Based on those notes…connect the dots, and create sub groups, depending on what your current team is already good at. 
      • Questions 3+4: What is left to be done and doesn’t quite fit into any of those lanes? Who or what do we need to  accomplish that/those?
    • Learn to trust those you’ve put in charge to bring you in for the big decisions, and let those closest to the action deal with the small stuff.
    • Don’t be afraid to poke holes and ask great questions. (That’s your job when you’re the leader!)

 

 

  • Be a seeker.
    • Make sure the learning never stops. Take classes. Go to seminars. Watch TED Talks. Listen to podcasts. Do whatever it takes to keep moving YOU forward, and encourage your team to do the same.
    • Share key learnings. Learn from those who’ve already blazed the trails you want to explore, and teach based on the teachings that are catalyzing your growth!
  • Take really good care of yourself.
    • Eat well and exercise often. Your job as a leader is to keep yourself physically, mentally and spiritually healthy. You need a clear mind if you’re going to do this thing! You can’t lead your Tribe if you’re in rehab or the ICU.

And most of all, get going! No better time to start than right this minute…

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Way-Fun Fact #23
When women register for our camp retreat experiences, Joan “Grandy” Leader (our Good Will Ambassador) welcomes them home with a personal phone call.