I think whenever someone starts a business – whether it’s to make and sell something, provide a service, or create an empire – there’s a blend of not knowing anything about what to do and wanting to learn about the tools and principles that might work, but also having some sense of what you DON’T want to do or be. For me, I want to know about the tools and principles, but chafe at the notion that there are things I’m “supposed to” do in order to do it correctly. Correctly for who? No one knows my business and what I want it to be better than me, so how could anyone already have the formula that is best for me and my business?
As leaders, we have to pay attention to each of our team members and learn to hear what they’re saying – even (or perhaps especially) when they are not saying much. If we’re doing a good job of supporting and engaging on an ongoing basis, we’ll get to know our team members’ communication styles and hear about what’s going on for them – at work, at home, in their lives – and can incorporate this into our work with them. When someone who is usually enthusiastic starts to be listless or quiet, we are responsible for exploring that with them.
The Gifts of Imperfection is from Brené Brown – author, researcher, and personal growth magnate (and TED talk star) – and describes some of her own personal growth and reflections on self-acceptance, past guideposts of authenticity, resilience, creativity (among others). These encourage and enable self-reflection by the reader along a similar path to recognize and celebrate (not just accept) one’s own vulnerability and whole self.
A medium-deep dive into philosophy - specifically, stoicism - this book was recommended by Kielyn Marrone, who I follow on social media after watching her on the TV show "Alone" (where contestants are dropped off in the middle of nowhere and have to survive longer than other participants in order to win a big $$ prize). In Season 7, Kielyn stayed 80 days in the near-Arctic (shores of Great Slave Lake from mid-September through December). Watching her catch her first fish from the frozen lake was one of the most enjoyable moments on TV ever. She was the third last participant, and everything about her was intriguing and inspirational, including her frequent mentions of stoicism. On her Facebook page, she recommends this book; coincidentally, one of my current mentees is reading this book series by Ryan Holiday, and mentioned it during one of our earliest sessions. I took that as a sign.
Gratitude: in addition to checking in and keeping in touch with each other, we can also contribute to each other's morale and work wellness by taking time to show genuine appreciation and gratitude for the work of our teams and colleagues. This advice isn't just for leaders - we all contribute to our work relationships and enhance them by showing genuine gratitude through recognition and appreciation.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.