A leadership lesson wrapped in sandpaper!

Sometimes our leadership lessons are the hardest to learn. On our path to becoming good leaders, we will need to embrace introspection, rigorously pursue knowledge and of course, take risks! I don’t see any managerial skills in you! These were the words said to me at just 29 years of age. It was one of the […]

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A leadership lesson wrapped in sandpaper!

Sometimes our leadership lessons are the hardest to learn. On our path to becoming good leaders, we will need to embrace introspection, rigorously pursue knowledge and of course, take risks!

I don’t see any managerial skills in you!

These were the words said to me at just 29 years of age. It was one of the most devastating pronouncements I have ever heard. I immediately thought I am stuck! I will be a junior for the rest of my life! I would never get to lead a team !

But in retrospect, it was the greatest career gift ever! After crying my eyes out, I immediately set out to work. The next day I headed into a book store and bought all the books on leadership and management I could find, and I started to read them all!

Good leaders look within

The next step was introspection. I started to look at how other leaders in the organisation dressed, spoke and operated. I stopped wearing my uniforms when I had meetings or presentations and wore business suits instead. So that I could at least look the part! I started observing how leaders  interacted  with senior management and what I realized is that the good ones always came to the meetings with solutions. They took away most of the decision -making tasks from their seniors. So, I stepped up as well. Rather than go with a problem, I presented feasible options for solutions and allowed myself to be guided by constructive feedback.

Embrace knowledge -never stop learning

Another level of introspection, is that I looked at my qualifications, I still only had a Bachelor’s Degree, I felt I needed a Masters. Consequently, undertaking this course of study, exposed me to strategy and I started to see the business from a broader perspective.

Take a big  risk!

And then I made the pivot. I decided to look for management opportunities. Was I ready? Truth is you are never fully ready! So, go for it!   A year after that devastating pronouncement, I moved into a managerial job at a smaller firm. It was an experience I wouldn’t have traded for the world. It’s there my sales acumen was fostered, and my emotional intelligence skills started to develop.

So, when I reflect, she was right, I had no management skills. And guess what that’s ok, because at the end of the day my goal is to be a leader and not a manager- there’s a difference!

And we’ll talk about that more in another blog post!

t k-l

Tracey Knight-Lloyd is a marketer by trade, autism advocate by choice and customer-centric with a passion!

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2 thoughts on “A leadership lesson wrapped in sandpaper!

  1. Interesting Tracey.. but just as I was getting into it you left me hanging.

    Was discussing the matter of how we are perceived when we dress a certain way(professional vs basic “throw on these clothes-underwear printing out-printed bras under white blouses etc”), how some people tend not to take us seriously. Sometimes they tune out before we open our mouths.

    Thanks, looking forward to next one. ☺☺

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