Last week, I attended a three-day training at work about leadership. Specifically, leadership the way my company thinks it should be done. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a leadership training — or a training, for that matter — so this was a welcome break (except maybe that I have to go on day shift for three days, and I am not used to battling the early morning traffic and the rains in the past week).
So me, a leader. I’ve been a leader in a lot of ways before. I’d like to use the term “leader” by definition at this part of the blog. Based on my dictionary on Aslan, a leader is the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country. I was almost always nominated as a leader of groups or voted as class officer when I was in elementary and high school. Not to brag, but I was one of the top students back then, and in a way, people then automatically equate that once you’re in the class’ top 10, you’re also a good leader.
In a way, I reveled in that power. I liked being the leader because it gives me a certain authority over some people. I liked it that people trusted me enough to, well, lead them to the desired outcome. I liked being a part of planning committees and student councils because it helps me not just be one of the people but someone who matters. And — I didn’t really know this back then — I liked being a leader because it gives me control over whatever situation I was in. I may not be able to control the people, but at least I have a bigger hold in the situation, and that’s always good, right?
When I became a YFC leader, things changed. Not immediately, of course, but more during college. I suddenly felt the pressure of having to be a role model for the people I am with, especially my household. In a way, the younger members looked up to me not only as the VP for Documentations bu also as a household head and someone they can turn to if they need a prayer, so I had to be extra strong in a lot of ways. Case in point: there was a time when I was so tempted to cut one of my classes just because I didn’t feel like going and I just wanted to hang out at the tambayan. I was agonizing over it, and was weighing the pros and cons of cutting the said class, and then I saw one of the younger members looking at me as if waiting for my decision and he was actually considering cutting his class too. Talk about a slap of reality and accountability.
In YFC, I was taught that to be a leader, I had to know how to follow. I had to know how to be a servant, because in being a servant, I lead. Weird, I know, but it makes sense (and that’s another post for me to explain that). I was taught to take care of the hearts of the people I was entrusted with, to be one of their lines of defenses from life. I was taught that I was a front liner in this battle that we, as Christians, are all in. We are the ones the world sees first, and the ones who carry the name of Christ higher than the rest just because we are leaders. I felt and lived those teachings, and when you do that often enough, it sort of becomes easy. When your heart gets a beating for another person, you’d think you can do anything really. ;)
When I started working, it’s very, very different. I admit to being a very relational person, and I liked having people to not only work with but be friends with too. I thought I had the edge of being a people manager better because of my YFC leader training, that handling people at work would just be like how I handle my household…but of course it’s not.
I’ve been a back up team lead for the past five months and there were a lot of moments that I wished I wasn’t. That I could be just another employee who’s satisfied with her position, not aspiring to step up and enlarge my territory. It’s like when a cashier who’s held a barcode scanners all her life and then offered a position to own the store instead of being one of the worker ants. Okay, it’s not exactly that way here, but you get my drift — it’s really a new territory. I’ve seen how much my team lead works, and how many issues he has to deal with, how many people he has to deal with on a daily basis…and seeing me in his position makes me wonder how will I do the same things he does (and still have time for myself)? It’s hard to have to always think on your feet and to deal with the mountains of emails he gets while I’m just a back up…what more if/when I become a team lead too? Can I do it? Can I be as strong as he is, not cracking under pressure? What’s more, my three-day training showed me the reality of how much employees expect things from their bosses, and it’s really crazy to think of having to fulfill all those. It’s almost downright scary. It makes me wonder why in the world I ever wanted to be in that position?
The comforting thing about this is…one, my company is there to support me all the way once I get into that position and two, well, people believe in me. I know all that sounds all too warm and fuzzy…but the three day training has inspired me to be a better leader. To be a leader in the truest sense of the word. And the training has made me believe that somehow, I can be the leader that they expect me to be, and I only need to find the strength within me.
Ah, this post feels so…idealistic and trying-to-be inspiring, I’m not used to it anymore. ^^; But I’m glad for the training because I really did realize a lot of things about me and the people around me. And by God’s grace, I pray that I may be the best leader He wants me to be, be it with the team I work with now or a new team or even wherever else He wants to bring me. :)