I just finished a leadership class for my Masters in Healthcare Informatics.  I couldn’t help but recognize leadership in some of the books I read recently.   Especially, Sweep of the Heart and Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews. 

Sweep of the Heart takes place in a magic inn where they are hosting a bachelor competition for aliens.  The inn keepers are leaders of the inn but the bachelor and contestants are also leaders.   The bachelor rules several star systems and each of the 12 contestants come from their own planets with their own set of rules.  Lots of different leadership techniques here.  The most interesting was the competition where they all played a game like Civilization.  They were graded on things like military, growth, arts, education and the happiness of their people. 

In Magic Slays the main couple are the head of a large shapeshifter pack.  The leading male’s motivation is to have a safe place to raise a family.  The female lead’s motivation is to be with the leading male and take care of her friends.  They are both strong and have good motivations behind leading.  It’s truly fascinating the way the couple leads and takes care of their people.

The book Nettle and Bone by T. Kingfisher is a good example of a person becoming a leader with the right motivation even though being a leader is not natural for them.  Of course these are all fictional characters and can’t be used in my school work. 

Off Topic

Now I need to rant a little.  This leadership class for some reason really shook me up.  I knew that I shouldn’t put myself out there in discussion posts and assignments but I couldn’t stop my bitterness towards my own working conditions to keep slipping in.  I wish I kept it bland and by the book. 

The problem is I can totally see leadership doing what we are being taught.  However, IT’S NOT WORKING!  That is why we are all looking for something new.  While other students were like YES! That’s 100% right, blah blah blah.  My cranky a$$ was like STOP taking surveys AND ACTUALLY HELP US!!! PLEASE we are BEGGING YOU!  We need boots on the ground not whatever measurement games you are playing.

The class book said sometimes your best employees are not the ones that have been there with the most experience.  I read this and believed it.  The book is very convincing.  I’m no longer a new bright and shiny employee.   I stopped playing the resume game and just started surviving long ago.  The class had me thinking I’m the problem for showing up on time and diligently doing my job year after year.  Wait a minute, on a second thought, that is some BS. 

The people that have been there and stuck with the company are the backbone and have a wealth of knowledge the company can grow from.  Ignore that at your own peril.    Thinking that your experienced employees don’t have value is convenient.   Ignoring people that have experience means you don’t have to face hard truths. 

The last week of class had to do with recognition.  The problem with recognition is that it’s more of a game.  Follow the rules to get the recognition.  Get to the next step on the career ladder.  It is not truly representative of the best person for the job.  It’s who is willing to play the game.  The people that are fulfilled from this sort of recognition will do well playing this game.  Let’s face it, extroverts are more likely to excel while leaving introverts in their shadows. 

Is there a better way?  100% yes there is.  Take the time to look past the bright and shiny and look at what truly matters.  Who is quietly taking pride in their job and doing it well?  Ask them where the real needs are.  Stop the leadership game.

Unfortunately, it is not the way of the world.  This class just hammered it home.  Some of the things I dislike most are actually TAUGHT.  I needed the reminder.  I needed the extra push for my next steps in hopefully furthering my career.   Time to get out the polish and make myself shiny again. 

Ironically enough I just accepted my invitation to the National Society of Leadership and Success Honor Society.  It is my experience that when I find an issue I feel this passionate about there are either some unresolved issues in the past OR the future is about to kick you in the face and humble you.