By Kristen Wilson, PT, DPT
As an inexperienced practice-owner, in an effort to help my business grow, I spent hours reading about the skills and qualities necessary to be a strong leader.
Concurrently, my brother-in-law, an esteemed McKinsey consultant, used to tell me that I’d never make it as a good leader until I could learn to separate my emotions and feelings from how I led a group. I needed to be more controlled, guarded, tempered, and not rely on feeling or intuition. For anyone who knows me personally, this was a losing battle, as wearing my heart on my sleeve is as natural to me as breathing. You can imagine the frustration I felt, failing miserably at feeling authentic, wondering if I’d ever be able to perform the way I thought was expected of a leader.
In 2016, I attended my first Annual Conference and sat in on a session titled “Resonant Leadership and Emotional Intelligence” by Larry Benz and Daphne Scott that changed my perspective. In preparation for this letter, I reviewed my notes from that presentation (yes, I still have them over four years later!) and in bold type at the bottom it says, “Embrace your emotions, Kristen!” I remember my eyes filling with tears as that presentation came to a close because, for the first time in my professional life, I felt empowered to use my emotions to foster my leadership style, not impede it. It was a freeing sensation to realize that when I embraced my true self, my leadership style would thrive. Years later, I am still grateful for that career-changing moment.
While everyone has their own leadership story, I hope the articles in this month’s issue help facilitate your journey. From Kim Stamp’s feel-good take on “Authentic Leadership” to the more nuts-and-bolts of “How to Perform a Leadership Audit” by Phil Cadman, this issue will cover the soft and technical skills of excelling as a leader in your workspace. Also, be sure to peruse the Five-Minute Fix if you’re in need of filling a leadership position stat. Who hasn’t been in that precarious spot before?!
We are fortunate to be members of a section compiled of remarkable leaders who continually inspire each other to become stronger and more effective. Perhaps this issue will enable you to not only develop your skills for greater success in your practice, but to further advance our profession in other meaningful ways. Equipped with a mentor, resources, and an authentic heart, you are destined for big things…I can feel it.