Several weeks ago, a colleague of ours, Susan Barrett, passed away after a yearlong battle with cancer.
She will be deeply missed by our entire team and the clients she so effectively served.
After her passing, we were overwhelmed by the sheer number of colleagues and clients, both past and present, who reached out to us to express their sorrow and share the impact that Susan had on them.
She was a force that many team members looked to for inspiration, motivation and for her unique gritty resolve. We also looked to her for her high standards of professionalism. She always wanted us and pushed us to be our best in every client meeting and engagement.
We appreciated how she never lost her sense of humor, even when a calamity hit. We valued the unique way she was able to touch everyone she came in contact with. We could count on her razor sharp wit and insights that pushed our thinking forward. And we relished in her personal generosity as she mentored and coached younger team members.
Susan did all these things not because anyone asked her to, but because she knew this was the leadership value she brought to our team. And now in her absence, a vacuum of leadership has been created.
There is a lesson here for all of us as leaders. In my experience, I find many leaders struggle to find a way to exert their personal influence impact in their organizations. Some leaders are hesitant. Others wait around for permission. Some are not confident enough.
Susan taught us not to wait. You need to understand what your leadership value is and the impact you must create. This impact can be at an individual or team level. It can be at a departmental or company-wide level. It doesn’t matter what level it is, as long as you create a positive impact like Susan did.