Welcome to Emily Brantz, our newest team member who has been successfully wrangling us since August 2017. Emily is our administrative powerhouse – coordinating and managing the many details involved in our leadership programs, client engagements, scheduling, and so much more.
I’m excited to share Emily’s perspective on leadership in this month’s spotlight:
ConvergenceCoaching: What is it about a leader that you believe makes others genuinely want to follow them?
EB: Honesty. A leader who openly discusses their strengths, weakness, successes, and failures is a leader I want to follow every day. When a leader demonstrates they are human, I feel I can relate to them no matter how different we may be in experiences, positions, life lessons, where we are from, or any other characteristic that may separate us.
While honesty is my top characteristic, I also believe positivity and “love of life” are important traits to have in a leader. Positivity is easy to explain: nobody wants to be around a grouch. “Love of Life” is more difficult to expand on, but I will give it a shot. We spend 40+ hours a week at work. I do not want to get up every day and dread going to work. It makes the days long, my time with my family short, and my health crumble. Having a leader who loves life and is willing to “push pause” on the many tasks ahead to take pictures with Snapchat filters or asks for a Jib Jab video is not only a leader I want to follow, but a person I want to be around and see succeed.
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you admire most and why?
EB: The self-described rule breaker himself, Richard Branson. Branson’s love of life and his internal content about being an oddball is relatable and approachable. He loves his employees and wants to ensure they have the best work culture, whether it be language lessons, yoga, or moonwalking. Branson is also proud to promote from within, which leads me to believe that he is invested in his employees, inspires learning, and believes anyone can be a leader regardless of their resume.
ConvergenceCoaching: What is the most challenging part of being a leader? What is your advice for successfully overcoming this challenge?
EB: Openly discussing or divulging your vulnerabilities. I struggle with this often and I think a lot of people do. It is scary and sometimes embarrassing to divulge the mistakes you have made, the bad experiences, or your poor decisions or reactions to something. I am still learning to overcome the fear, but the best advice I can offer anyone facing this same challenge is to just do it. Start by divulging something small to someone on your team, like how it is 3pm and someone in an important meeting just pointed out that your shirt is not only inside out, but it is backwards too. Gradually work up to divulging more about yourself and the challenges you face, trying to go deeper every time. Soon, others will start reciprocating and you will begin to build stronger, trust-filled relationships with your team.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you believe that great leaders are born or made? Why?
EB: Is it cheating if I say both? I believe that everyone has inherent attributes within them that could make them a great leader, but it is how the leader reveals those qualities that makes them a great leader. For example, a person can be honest but if they are “brutally honest” to the point where it crosses into the realm of bullying or dominance, that is not a good look for a leader. In the same way, a leader can be upset about the outcomes of a project, but still encourage others to find new resolutions and to learn from the mistakes.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you have a favorite movie or book that you feel exemplifies what it means to be a great leader?
EB: GOONIES!! Okay, so it doesn’t seem like it would be a good example of a movie that exemplifies a great leader. But take a step back, Mikey seems to easily convince his friends that finding the treasure of “One-Eyed” Willy is the way to solve their problem of having to move away from the “Goon Docks.” Mikey has the map and he has the belief, but most importantly he has the team. With that team he allows everyone to shine and to use their strengths for the good of the group, even if they fail, and, most importantly, I find him undeniably relatable. He struggles with his own shortcomings, but he keeps pressing on and keeps his eyes focused on the treasure that no one believes is there.
ConvergenceCoaching: What would you like ConvergenceCoaching blog readers to know about you?
EB: I whole-heartedly believe in the contagious power of laughter. A quick Google search of “the power of laughter” will provide you with 90,900,000 results explaining it. I am going to lump all of those reasons into one: it feels good and can make others feel good too. Take this video of the Laughing Tram Man as an example. There are people all around him, all presumably experiencing different kinds of emotions: bored, annoyed, anxious, uninterested, curious, etc. Yet he keeps laughing. We don’t know why he is laughing, but it is spreading and soon the entire group has just started the day with a good laugh.
We are so happy to have Emily on our team! It makes complete sense that she would mention the importance of positivity, “love of life” and laughter, because she brings all of these qualities to our team. You can usually count on her having a smile on her face whenever we happen to be video chatting and her overall positivity and zest for life comes across in her interactions with our team and our clients.
I appreciated Emily’s comments around vulnerability – it can be very challenging to open up to others about your personal fears or shortcomings. It requires extending trust in the people you’re opening up to and the courage to be vulnerable, knowing that you’re leaving what’s next in the other person’s court.
How do you maintain your positivity and nurture your love for life? Where could you improve in being a more inspirational leader around others? Share with us in the comments box below.