Change is occurring rapidly in 2020, and leaders are faced with the challenge of a pandemic as well as social and political change with a goal of continued monumental positive change. A resident of Minneapolis Dr. Christina Boyd-Smith, an executive coach, shared her insights surrounding the social movement in her home city, as well as provided tips for finding happiness in your authentic self.
“In the world of leadership, I hold that everyone's a leader, that you do not need to have an official title as vice president, or director, or manager in order to be a leader. You can be a leader from your chair in a room.”(Dr. Boyd-Smith)
Dr. Boyd-Smith believes that moments like we are going through now as a global community are providing opportunities for people to shape themselves as leaders. People who historically haven’t had their voices heard have found a platform and an audience in our current circumstances. Young people and minorities can make significant changes through their actions and words. She applauded the bravery of these individuals and groups coming together to propel society forward to a more inclusive and accepting community. Co-host Cream Pepito added her thoughts: “when we talked about diversity, [it is important to ensure] that everyone is heard, especially in the corporate setting.” She explained that diversity in the workplace is not just good for business it is the right thing to do.
Dr. Boyd-Smith also shared how being one’s authentic self in the workplace can bring happiness and a revived passion for going to work. When individuals hide themselves to assimilate to the work culture, they may find it manifests in anxiety and depression towards work itself. The topic of being an authentic self at work is a popular one. The recurring theme of multiple writers and Dr. Boyd-Smith is courage. The more authentic people become the happier they are in their corporate jobs. However, it takes courage to be true to one’s self. Due to societal norms, authenticity also creates “much more risk for some people than others,” to be their authentic selves (Rex, 2019). A Forbes article outlined ways to think about self-authenticity in the workplace. One of the ideas shared echoed Dr. Boyd-Smith, with the idea that being authentic serves one’s self and others. However, the article warns it is important to remember interpersonal awareness and to use judgment.
Overall, creating change or being an authentic representation of one’s self takes courage. Courage in business is described in an HBR article as “a special kind of calculated risk-taking. People who become good leaders have a greater than average willingness to make bold moves, but they strengthen their chances of success—and avoid career suicide—through careful deliberation and preparation,” (Reardon, 2007). Whether a person is striving to make a social difference with their business or stand up for themselves it takes courageous leadership. As 2020 continues we all need to remember that we all have a voice and can channel courage to make a change for the better.
Boyd-Smith, Dr. Christina. (2020). Hashtag Midwest Transcript. https://hashtagmidwest.simplecast.com/episodes/leadership-courage-and-creating-capacity-for-change
Reardon, Kathleen K. (2007). Courage as a Skill. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2007/01/courage-as-a-skill
Rex, John. (2019). Authenticity At Work: Is There Such A Thing As ‘Too Real?’
Rosh, Lisa & Offerman, Lynn. (2013). Be Yourself, but Carefully. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2013/10/be-yourself-but-carefully