Cheryl DePonte is a Human Resources Learning and Performance Specialist at The Ken Blanchard Companies and has over 15 years experience in the fields of organizational effectiveness and human resources development.
Leadership as an Experience in Humanness
At the beginning of my career, desperate for experience, I took whatever job I could in my field. Fortunately, my first manager treated employees and customers like gold. Luck struck twice when I was hired by yet another wonderful manager.
Regrettably, subsequent managers provided the “opportunity” to witness appalling treatment of both employees and customers. Still relatively naïve, I unconsciously swept their behavior under the rug in an attempt to gain valuable experience.
As my skill-set grew, I became disillusioned with my own attempts to lead. Emulating a combination of previous managers, who overall, seemed successful, led to followers who appeared blatantly angry, humiliated, and hostile. Advised not to take it personally, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing wrong and how I could change. With a warrior mentality, I read every work regarding leadership I could find and studied leaders as if by doing so I could internalize their success merely by being in their presence.