Is There a Recipe To Successful Leadership?
Being new to my leadership
“career,” I have always wondered if there is a recipe to successful leadership.
Is it as simple as one cup of this, tossed with ½ cup of that, combined on low
speed? Or is it a style? Is it a personality? A team? Or is the key to
successful leadership, that there is no key at all?
As we drove up and towards, then down
the looped driveway of Government House, I felt a flood of mixed emotions. I couldn’t
believe that I actually had the opportunity to attend a day at Government House
in the presence of His Honour Philip Lee, Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba. Or
were the emotions due to the realization that I, along with our Leadership
Winnipeg 2014-2015 team, would have the additional opportunity to hear directly
from five leaders, who themselves have inspiring stories to how they have
become viewed a community leader, whether intentionally or not. I thought about
my first day at Leadership Winnipeg, when we were asked to reflect and share
individually to the group who our heroes were and I replied: “Anyone who can
tell their story.” Beyond excited, best describes the most prevalent emotion.
We were divided into teams and
moved to our designated area for the day within the historic home. With no guidelines or agenda for hosting the
conversations other than to take this time to listen, ask questions and find
out if there was a key to success for Pat Bovey, Damon Johnston, Paul Jordan,
Ida Albo and Tyler Gompf.
The day completely flew by with
stories one-by-one of their journeys throughout their careers. Words filled
with passion, optimism, a strong belief for what they do, coupled with one
liner quotes filled my coiled book of notes. We gathered back in the auditorium
and I was reading the inspiration within the lines of what I had written. I
hadn’t realized at the time the five different conversations were happening,
but they spoke a common trend. Five leaders. Five different people. Same
The expected words like vision,
team support and passion were all interlocking common pieces. However, time and
time again, the words “remove the silo” were written on my page. Knowing the
intention of the use of silo was not likely as a noun, being a tower to
typically store grain, I Googled it.
What was the true definition behind this word, used as a verb by all
five of our presenting leaders, all with exceedingly different accomplishments
and backgrounds, that drove such a passion when speaking about breaking down the
Definition of Silo
Verb: isolate (one system,
process, department etc.) from others
Which got me thinking, what is
the literal definition of leadership, after which I, of course, Googled it.
Definition of Leadership
action of leading a group of people or an organization
It dawned on me. This idea surrounding
the benefits to removing the silos really begins within the early stages of our
lives, much before the understanding of the word leadership. We teach toddlers
to share and be fair, elimination of cliques and bullying within schools and in
our latter years, equality within the work force. Even within an article I was
reading about the G20 Summit 2014, it made mention of the increased push for
our world leaders to recognize and work towards removing current barriers. The
verb silo can really relate to so many stages and life experiences.
These five presenters unconsciously
became some of Manitoba’s well respected leaders because they had and continue
to have the ability to understand that leadership is defined as leading a group
of people or an organization and yet as leaders we are quite often expected to
lead in an environment flooded with silos. That is why their stories are so
moving, they are triumphant. They are raw. They are reality. By working towards
removing barriers and silos in their personal and professional lives they have created
an environment where accomplishments can flourish with help built from that success.
Think about that for a moment and
I challenge you to self-reflect if there’s room for improvement with your