Blogs by InnovatorsBox®

Redefine What Leaders Do & Look like

As I work across all the leaders and teams, one conversation that keeps coming is of expectation: is it just me or has being a great leader become more demanding?

“Before, I used to just have to define and delegate the tasks well, and that meant I did my job well. Now, I also have to look out for how people feel. I do care about my people. I really do. But I just don’t know how you can be vulnerable, be inclusive, get work done, and still not get buried in tasks. I need time to recharge too.”

Working with diverse global clients may mean my days merge across time zones but it also means that I get to see socio-economic patterns at a macro level. And the international affairs nerd in me ponders… ‘I wonder why we all feel this way across the world?’

Someone challenged me, ‘maybe this is impossible. How can you really be vulnerable and organized at the same time? Someone will feel hurt no matter how hard we try. We’ll make mistakes and we’ll feel overwhelmed somewhere along the journey, no matter what.’

They had a fair point.

Are we all asking for too much?

Then it dawned on me.

Expectation.

Could it be that my very own expectation of what I think a leader should look like, do, or act like is preventing me to be ok being messy or make mistakes while becoming a good leader?

What if I expected leaders to be vulnerable but also scared to be vulnerable? What if I expected leaders to be talented but also have imposter syndrome? What if I expected leaders to look like me – female, Asian, ambitious but also clumsy? Suddenly that view of what I thought was a perfect way of being a leader no longer feels that scary.

I’m permitted to make mistakes as long as I don’t give up learning from them, honing my skills, and listening. A typo in my email is ok, as long as I have been intentional about the tone and why I was writing. It’s ok that I don’t know everything, as long as I continue to being open to learn more.

As we enter the AAPI Heritage Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m reminded even more of the importance of choosing to set expectations that could empower us, not discourage us.

So what will you choose?

What would you like to reimagine expecting to grow to be the leader and team you want today and tomorrow? The more we learn, the more we realize there is no one who knows exactly how to be a great leader. You have to start with believing and getting to know you.

With love,

Founder & CEO, InnovatorsBox

About the Author

Picture of Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang

Monica H. Kang, Founder, and CEO of InnovatorsBox® and Author of Rethink Creativity is transforming today’s workforce through the power of creativity. She helps companies rethink culture, leadership, and team development by making creativity practical and relatable regardless of industry or job title. She has worked with clients worldwide including Fortune 500 companies, higher education, government, and nonprofits. Monica’s work has been recognized by The White House, Ashoka Changemakers, National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), and Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). Prior to InnovatorsBox®, Monica was a nuclear nonproliferation policy expert. She holds an M.A. from SAIS Johns Hopkins University in Strategic Studies and International Economics and a B.A. from Boston University.

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