Monday, 9 November 2015

Tears and Leadership

I heard that being a leader, specially a woman leader, I must always stay calm and collected. Rule number one is to never show weaknesses, above all never cry in front of anyone. I failed to apply this rule.

When i was in college, i was the first woman to be the chief of orientation and faculty camping for the new students. Most people were against me because i am female and did not came from one of the toughest student organization at the time. And if i look further, back when i was in junior high, people bullied me like crazy, specially when i was chosen as one of the coordinators in school student board. They said i'm nothing but a pretty face. So it is not surprising that, when i was sitting in my leadership role, people did not help or cooperate. They were waiting, counting on me to fail. Which of course i did. Many times. 

So naturally i cried. Many times over. Books and any motivational quotes everywhere will tell you how weak i was. That i was supposed to show them that they were wrong, that i can. I should stand tall and become a winner in the end. But how the hell am I supposed to be strong and win and succeed all the time? I can't. So i made mistakes, i failed, and i cried. I watched people revel in my defeat. I heard people talk when they saw me cry. But i don't care.

I have learned, that just because i cried, it does not mean that i'm not strong. Everyone deal with pain and frustration differently. I cry and i pray, a lot. Some people become depressed, some people run away, some people got angry and lash out on everything or everyone. 

They say, i will lose people's respect when i show weaknesses. I guess that can be a problem. Specially when we are sitting in leadership role. Yeah, crying is okay, but i don't cry everytime things go bad. I cried when things have been going really bad for a year, then the burden started to pile up. Even then, i try not to cry in public.

At the expo though, i cried. In public. Because i was frustrated and very angry. I can't tell you why, specially without breaking my own rules of "no blame no excuse no drama." But i was frustrated. I didn't sob like crazy, but during our night evaluation on the second day, i teared up. I looked at my team to search for judging faces, but i didn't find them. They started to ask questions, and as soon as the discussions started, I refocused. Not long after, i ended the evaluation and went to move to discuss the matter with my husband, my sisters, and brothers in law. I was surprised to find some of the crew stayed behind and approached us. It was already very late at night. 

When i saw them coming over, we all made room and started to discuss together. We agreed on some solutions and alternatives. Then everyone went home. 

I was told by many, that i'm authentic. I still don't know what that means. But maybe this is what it means. I don't sugarcoat or try to hide my weaknesses. Maybe by doing so i invited people in. Maybe that's why some of the crew stayed behind without i asked them to and try to discuss the problem together. 

I believe that the success of expo was in the hands of my crew. They worked really hard, and they deserved all the credit.

I'm grateful that i can lead this incredible team. Maybe someday, i can inspire them too, so that they can be a much better leader than i do. 

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