Who are you as a leader?
By Jacob Espinoza
People will do amazing things when they feel supported, have direction, and believe in the cause.
Last week I joined the Workweek team as the Creator Success Director. After coaching and consulting for the last four years, I’m thrilled to be able to lead a team again. Especially considering I’ll be able to work with incredible creators.
This team is absolutely brilliant.
Everyone across the Workweek organization is humble, hardworking, and smart. Our co-founders, Becca Sherman and Adam Ryan, have made taking care of their employees a top priority and, as a result, acquired incredible talent–both as operators and creators.
Leading a team while growing a leadership newsletter is kind of intimidating. The last thing I want is for my team to read something I send and then see me do the exact opposite, as I act out irrationally while stressed out or distracted.
This transition back into leadership has encouraged me to reflect on who I am as a leader. Self-awareness is the most valuable tool in your toolbox. It will allow you to shine by using your strengths, prevent you from allowing your emotions to damage relationships, and help you know when to ask for help.
I’d encourage all of you to take time to answer each of these 3 questions for yourself and then with your team. This is a powerful exercise that will help you gain clarity about who you are and where you are going.
Asking your team to do the same will give you insights that will allow you to provide the support and encouragement they need.
- What are my strengths?
- What are my needs?
- What are my goals?
What are my strengths?
I’m optimistic. It’s easy for me to assume the best intentions in others and be a voice of positivity during challenging times.
I am able to innovate and get things started. Getting new projects off the ground is exciting for me. I’m skilled in bringing new ideas and developing creative solutions to existing problems.
I’m empathetic. I’ve learned that sometimes people just need a person to listen and can generally solve most of their problems on their own.
I care about people. This is probably my greatest leadership strength. I want others to succeed and achieve their goals. My biggest growth as a leader was realizing it was not about me or how I looked as a leader. There is a fine line between supporting your team because you want to help them and supporting your team because you want people to see how supportive you are as a leader.
What do I need?
I need to be intentional in recognizing challenges. As an optimist, I will often be seen as naive. This means my team might feel like I’m dismissive of the challenges they are facing. It’s important for me to talk through the challenges before discussing the path forward.
I need to be consistent with follow-up. My personality is to get excited about starting new things, but I’m not as excited to finish the things I’ve started. This damages trust and puts strain on relationships.
I need to write down everything. Relying on my memory for anything is a plan for failure as I balance life, work, content creation, and being a dad. If it’s important, I need to write it down.
I need help with the details. I’m a big-picture person. The details get a little fuzzy for me. I’m at my best when I have a partner to talk through the details and processes with.
I need to remember that I can’t control how people respond. My focus should always be on doing the right thing for the team. Sometimes, this will mean being their advocate. And sometimes, it will mean being radically candid with feedback.
What are my goals?
Personally, my goal is to become a nationally recognized voice in the world of leadership development. I believe leadership is easier than most people make it. The hard part is learning how to keep it simple.
With Workweek, I’m excited for the opportunity to create processes and programs that will ensure our creators receive the development and support they need to grow into industry experts (some of them already are).
I’m in my second week right now, so I’m still doing a lot of listening. There are a lot of things going well, and I’m looking for small changes we can make that will greatly impact the experience our creators have with Workweek.
2023 will be a big year, and I am excited to share parts of the journey with you all.