For 15+ years, I have championed leadership with purpose. Leadership that centers people, rather than power.
Leadership coaching for directors, executives, entrepreneurs, and managers make up the bulk of my work. And for good reason. Positively impacting the mindsets and behaviors of a handful of leaders has the potential to impact the lives of the many people they lead.
Helping people to improve their lives is my purpose. I started my career as a chartered accountant who prioritized people over numbers. What I enjoyed most was being able to help other people grow and develop personally and professionally. I established a team culture that was innovative, collaborative, and curious about others. I created high-performing teams by investing in people, which in turn generated multi-million returns.
Authentic leadership: doing what is necessary
“If the ladder is not leaning towards the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster”. These words from Stephen Covey resonate strongly with me. They remind me of the moment I decided to turn down a VP role, a role I had spent 11+ years working for, to focus on building my business.
I had spent so long fixated on titles and what they meant to others that I had never stopped to think what it was I needed to be doing – what was my purpose. As leaders, if we do not stop to think about whether our actions are getting us closer to where we want to be in life, it’s all for nothing.
I decided to turn down the offer and start working for myself. I would be lying if I said that taking that leap of faith was not hard. Stepping outside of my comfort zone after I finally had what I worked for seemed crazy.
But how could I look my wife in the eye and encourage her to live a life filled with purpose when I was so scared to do the same? How could I speak to my kids about facing their fears if I was unwilling to do the same?
Many people at work could not believe what I was doing. But authentic leadership is not convenient, it’s about leading by example and doing what is necessary.
This feeling was reinforced by a conversation I had with my son around the same time – he was eight years old. He told me that he wanted to work where I was working when he grew up. This sent shivers down my spine. In the years that I had been there, the pain and emotional toll of being the only Black person in a room had almost broken me. I didn’t want that for my son.
Since then, my mission has been to help change the false narrative that our actions do not affect others. This is embedded in everything I do at MindsetShift. Self-awareness, active listening, creating genuine, open relationships with others are principles that have helped me as a husband, father and corporate leader. And they can help you too.