Sunday, August 2, 2009
The Foundation is so fortunate in its friends. This is one of our two Advisory Committees - a group of amazing individuals who donate their time, energy, expertise and experience toward helping us become better at what we do.
They are, from left to right: Deep Joshi, Kusum Kanwar, Ann Varuvukala, Dunu Roy, Shaheen Mistry, Shelja Sen and Amit Sen. What a wealth of knowledge, insight and love resides in these seven hearts and minds. And how lucky we are to have them as friends.
This past weekend, we had our annual Advisory Committee meeting in which the seven of them spend time in our projects and then sit with us for hours and hours of presentations, discussions and debates. We share our successes and our failures, talk about our plans and ask their opinions on everything. We come away with new ideas, new understanding and new resolve.
And sometimes we (as in, ME) come away a bit discouraged.
At least that was my experience this time. No fault of theirs - far from it. It was simply the process of preparing for the meeting and then the meeting itself which made me see how much still remains to be done and how far away we are from our goals and dreams and ideals. And, being the person I am, I could also see, with glaring and discomforting clarity, how inadequate I am for the task.
My mistake, perhaps, was in sharing this sense of inadequacy with the group. As a leader, one is expected to always appear in command, at ease with the given situation. It's not the done thing to reveal one's weaknesses or share one's doubts - this only creates anxiety and insecurity in those around you, especially those who are looking to you for leadership.
Maybe, maybe not. I don't share my every single worried thought with my team, but I don't hide them all either. I think that image of calm serenity regardless of the situation makes it more difficult for others to admit their own insecurities and, thus, to do anything about them. I think a human face to leadership makes for a more open, collaborative working style in which other people's gifts can emerge and other leaders can develop.
That's what I think. I could be wrong, of course!