No Leader is an Island

"No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee." - John Donne

I never really read this poem in its entirety until today.  Why today?  I received a motivational email suggesting I write my own “acknowledgements.”  You know, like when an author writes a book and thanks everyone who made it possible.  It brought to mind, "No Man is an Island."

If I am truly grateful for my lot, the challenges and the blessings, (one could say they are the same thing…), who would I acknowledge?  In particular, who would I acknowledge that helped me along my leadership journey, because “No Leader is an Island.”

“I’d like to thank the Academy…”

For me, my acknowledgements for my leadership journey would include:

  • A colleague who early in my career went out of his way encourage me to get into management because he thought I had a way with people.
  • The women who had the courage to ask me, “Who do you think you are?” when they thought I was acting like I was better than them.
  • The mentor who taught me to create my opportunities for “do-overs,” and how to rescue or strengthen a working relationship.
  • The employee who taught me to be aware of how my harsh words can feel like a threat simply because of my title and perceived authority.
  • The supervisor who supported me when I wanted to go against the grain and challenge standard ways HR and management treat people.

No clod left behind.

One more thing.  As I acquainted myself with this poem, this line struck me, “If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less.”  It took me a minute to grasp the meaning, but this too is integral to the thought, “No Leader is an Island.”

I might be missing out because I’m judging someone as too "different."  There may be someone in my community who has a lot to offer, but may be holding back for any number of reasons.   And just as important, where am I holding back, because the world needs this clod too.

Indeed, no leader is an island.

Today, Leader, where are you going to make your move?

  • Who do you need to acknowledge or encourage?
  • Who can you reach out to, to expand your horizons?
  • Where do you need to challenge yourself so the world benefits even more by your potential?

Image: Pixabay member geralt

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