My youngest child has fairly significant food allergies. Of course, we discovered it by feeding him peanut butter when he was fourteen months old and ended up in the emergency room. This reaction started our journey into allergy testing and food planning. It also began my transition to the “helicopter mom” who circled over him to ensure that he did not put “forbidden” food into his mouth. I felt completely and solely responsible for controlling his body’s reaction to allergens.
As part of our learning process, I began following a number of blogs and various organizations, including the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In a recent food allergy awareness campaign, I was struck by a marketing piece – “It takes a village to keep kids with food allergies safe and healthy.”
When I read this statement, I realized that I can and do depend on “my village” to keep my son safe and healthy. His teachers, our family, and our friends can be taught what words to look for on food labels, which restaurants and brands are “trusted,” and how to identify and appropriately respond to a potential reaction. His siblings are very outspoken in asking if treats at parties have various food ingredients and they remind him what he can/cannot eat. And, slowly, I have to turn the control over to my son. He needs to learn to take care of himself and identify his own village.
Leaders often feel completely and solely responsible for controlling their organization. Bearing this level of responsibility can be exhausting and lonely. Great leaders search out ways to alleviate that responsibility – one way is to identify your village, both inside and outside your organization.
Identify current and future leaders from within your organization to share the responsibility of leadership and not just the administrative and operational management and oversight. Rather, find leaders who can think strategically, understand where your organization is going, and help you identify ways to stay on course—leaders who will tell you when the organization is veering off course.
Outside of your organization, identify your village of leaders for camaraderie. Find trusted advisors and friends who can easily share the successes and difficulties they have experienced to apply to your organization. Find leaders who intellectually understand your business and also have compassion and understanding for the politics that are often involved. Find leaders who can challenge you.
Identify your village and share the responsibility of leadership.
Executive Search Manager