I’ve never really thought of myself as a leader. Even after Kate Carter and I started Saint Friend, and I could credibly call myself both a creative director and a studio founder (I even had business cards!), I struggled to feel connected to those titles.
For me, the word “leader” implied qualities I don’t possess: a room-filling presence, a megaphone voice, brimming confidence. Qualities possessed by my previous creative directors, pretty much. So when the time came for me to become a leader too, my models of leadership didn’t match, well, me.
With some valuable coaching and support, Erin Moore helped me understand that in order to step into leadership, I didn’t need to mimic qualities of leaders I’ve known. Instead, I needed to look inside myself, identify my strengths, and develop a vision for how my unique strengths make me a good leader.
Erin encouraged me to write a letter to myself, to summarize what I learned through that reflection. I still turn to it on days I feel a little shaky.
I’d like to share it here, for anyone who aspires to leadership, or might never have even considered it because they don't see themselves in typical leadership tropes.
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I am a leader. I can be a good leader and still be myself.
As a leader, I am good at communicating clearly, openly, and compassionately. I am good at listening first. I freely admit when I don’t know something and hold myself accountable for learning and empowering others to find answers too. I am good at giving feedback that builds people up and inspires them to push their work to another level. I connect dots and see patterns that lead to good strategy and surprising creative work.