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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Daring to lead



Kirjoittanut: Thais Santos Araujo - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.

KIRJALÄHTEET
KIRJA KIRJAILIJA
Dare to lead: brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts
Brené Brown
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 4 minuuttia.

Introduction

At the end of spring, I decided to take the Business Leader role for the SYNTRE Osk company. I was motivated to lead the team in a new direction, changing how things were done, and creating a group that is driven by financial success. A couple of factors

 

I found myself willing to take a practical step towards a leadership position at the end of last spring. The idea was to explore the challenges of leadership in a real world leading the cooperative company SYNTRE, but still have the safety of a community as Proakatemia to back me up in case of chaos.

 

Starting my leadership journey, I initially found myself proposing a path guided by monetary metrics and financial milestones. The temptation of profit margins and bottom-line success was captivating, steering my leadership approach towards a money-driven focus. HOWEVER, as I dug deeper into my role, I began to realize the limitations of a purely profit-centric mindset.

 

The purpose of this essay is to break down my journey, exposing the advantages and disadvantages of the decisions made throughout the semester. Additionally, I aim to share the evolution of my mindset, highlighting pivotal moments that contributed to a shift in my leadership approach over time.

 

Money Awareness

 

The first issue I wanted to tackle as business leader was the group’s lack of commitment to our own monthly expenditures as a company, and monthly savings to pay for our as told Final Camp. Final camp is one of our graduation courses which we are expected to provide a service to a company abroad. Many times, the teams try to run this working project in a dream travel location, so that the group can have an awesome trip together while working for a company and gathering the student credit points. Our team has the value of thirty thousand budgeted for the final camp.

 

After defining how much we needed to gather until the end of our graduation, we, as a team, realized we didn’t know how much we had gathered so far. It means that we didn’t know what our starting point is to reach our forecasted target. From this point, a long financial awareness and bank statements audit journey began.

 

We had a finance team of three people working hard going through every single transaction that our company have done since the foundation. This was the first little sign for me as business leader that pushing the team to make money was not really on the table to be discussed, but we needed to go back a few steps to first organize ourselves. This was my first challenge daring to lead: face the feelings shame and fear. The fear and shame are natural emotions which can play a role in different forms. Fear of failure, rejection, criticism etc. (Brené Brown, 2018)

 

Mindset pivot

 

As much as I believe individual accountability is easier to track and demand, SYNTRE had an old plan presented in Autumn 2022 about switching our individual monthly payment fees to a non-fee system. It means that instead of each individual paying a specific equal fee among all shareholders, there would not exist monthly fees anymore, and the team would create money altogether from different sources. We call this dynamic as: non-ressu system.

As we were already “organizing the house” auditing every single company money transaction, it was the perfect time to push forward the non-ressu system plan. The fear and failure and criticism played a role, but I listened to the team and hosted multiple occasions to discuss the topic where we as a team decided this was the right step to our company.

 

Plan in action: finance team working in your tasks, no monthly fee for the team and the question about where the money is coming from started to bug my head. Where is the money? It’s important to remember I took the leadership role with a money-driven speech and promising to deliver a financially successful team by the end of the semester.

The most obvious step for me was to organize the team into groups to work in different projects and create a money target to achieve on monthly basis. Two months passed, and we failed. At this point my motivation as not only a leader, but also as a team member is gone. There is no commitment, there’s no accountability and there are a lot of fingers pointed to from everyone to everyone or almost everyone.

 

It’s time to pivot. The transformation from a money-driven leader to one rooted in empathy became a pivotal point for me. This evolution, and yes, I wouldn’t call anything else than evolution, was inspired by the principles explored in Brené Brown’s “Dare to Lead”. I needed to armoring down myself, create self-awareness, to be present and allow myself to find my own genuine leadership style.

 

It’s vulnerability. The first team meeting after this realization was me presenting myself as vulnerable as I could be. Very transparent, very honest, and very human. Just like Brown tells in her book, vulnerability works as an antidote. We admit mistakes, we discuss challenges, we see things clearly and my favorite one: we foster a genuine connection with our team.

 

Allowing myself to redefine my leadership style, emphasizing human connection, understanding, and compassion I got the feedback that we were able “to turn the team into a team again”. From a frustrated and very non-interested to know about the team finances or expectations group, we turned into a participative and self-drive team goal-oriented and connected group.

 

Conclusion

 

In recounting my leadership journey with SYNTRE Osk, the transition from a money-driven focus to one centered on vulnerability and human connection stands out as a pivotal and transformative experience. Reflecting on the challenges we faced, particularly the initial failure of a profit-centric approach, I’ve come to appreciate the depth and complexity of leadership dynamics.

The excitement for me to write this essay comes from this learning: there’s no money that can pay for a real team. Yes, to be money-drive is important, especially when there’s no backup plans or second chance privileges. Although, big companies start from a small real team. It doesn’t matter how much you can pay for a disconnected group of people to work together. Our stepping back to connect as a team and build something bigger was way more rewarding, and I’ll take this lesson as a leader for my professional career.

 

It’s relevant to point out that not all the team members could follow our speed and develop the connection points. We had a couple of members with individual projects which they are prioritizing now. We tried to take all members onboard, but we also fostered safety for others to look forward to their own intrinsic goals even if they were not necessarily connected to the team.

 

References

Brown, B. (2019) Dare to lead brave work. tough conversations. whole hearts. Ebury Digital.

 

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