Everyday Leadership

This week, I have been thinking a lot about the role of a manger and how complex it can be between driving a project or program forward, supporting our teams, helping our teams grow and develop, and strategizing about the future.

At times, our own growth and development can get lost in the mix. For me, I have had a wonderfully fulfilling time focusing on my career. My development has certainly not made it to the top of my to-do list. So, today, in some ways, I am letting us all off the hook.  There are many moments where we can seize the moment to be a good leader without planning or forethought. There are leadership moments at every turn.

Take a few minutes to watch this Everyday Leadership talk by Drew Dudley where he describes the everyday leadership as “lollipop moments”.

His call to action for us today is…”that we need to get over our fear of how extraordinarily powerful we can be in each other’s lives. We need to get over it so we can move beyond it, and our little brothers and sisters and one day our kids — or our kids right now — can watch and start to value the impact we can have on each other’s lives, more than money and power and titles and influence. We need to redefine leadership as being about lollipop moments –how many of them we create, how many we acknowledge, how many of them we pay forward and how many we say thank you for. Because we’ve made leadership about changing the world, and there is no world. There’s only six billion understandings of it.

Let’s start our day by thinking about someone who has made an impact in our lives—who should you acknowledge and thank today? How are you going to pay forward the impact that person had on you?  How can you make your team feel like they have an “everyday leadership” role on your team and in our work?

Enjoy the everyday leadership in your day!


Want to watch this with your team? Awesome!

Here are some discussion questions that might help to spark a conversation!

  1. What is a lollipop moment?
  2. What does Drew Dudley mean when he says, “As long as we make leadership something bigger than us, as long as we keep leadership something beyond us, as long as we make it about changing the world, we give ourselves an excuse not to expect it every day from ourselves and from each other”?
  3. How can lollipop moments can change our understanding of leadership?
  4. Who has shaped you are in a positive way? What specific things has that person done to help you?
  5. What are some big moments or milestones in your career? Who were important in making those moments happen?
  6.  Who helped you reach those accomplishments?
  7. Who is someone you never thanked for something they did for you?
  8. How can we have more lollipop moments as a team?

Center for Sport in Society: Mentors in Violence Prevention

I was in a college-level gender studies course when I first heard the term “toxic masculinity” a term used to describe masculine behaviors that are harmful to men, their partners, and even to society at large .  It’s been, ahem, a few years since I took that course and, since then, the term has gained wider understanding and usage.  It, too, has evolved from a term that was used to describe men who grew up without a sense of “maleness” and a concern about what feminism was doing to men (gasp! the effects of those feminists was horrible in the eyes of the first users of the term!).

At that time, I was working at Philadelphia’s Mazzoni Center, an LGBTQ health center, as an HIV counselor and as an honorary member of the Trans Health Committee (it was an honor, indeed!).  While I was learning about gender in an academic sense, in real life, I was counseling clients through complex relationships with varied risk for HIV where gender and gender expression and identity could play a significant role in their relation to their partner(s).

It is not a stretch at all to imagine how extremes in masculinity and femininity may be detrimental to our health.  For example, toxic masculinity may fuel a desire among men to exert power over women, to take reckless risks, and to be less likely to seek out mental health care. It is also not a stretch to imagine how men may feel alienated from participating in sexual and reproductive health decision making within their partnerships.  Since my days at Mazzoni Center, I have gone on to train young men living with HIV in Cameroon and male inmates in a Malawian prison about their roles in creating a safe and loving relationship and the responsibilities they have as men to challenge these detrimental notions of masculinity.

The curriculum I used, Men As Partners developed by EngenderHealth, evolved from the Mentors In Violence Program (MVP) developed by the Center for Sport In Society at Northeastern University.  So, I was overjoyed to recently be invited to participate in an MVP training! In some ways, I took the long way to get to this training as I have been long familiar with off shoots of the program for some time.

The MVP program created a unique approach to combating violence against women by focusing on empowering bystanders to act when they see or hear something that could lead to violence. The focus of the training was on reviewing common scenarios that young people confront and discussing options for intervening. For example, we discussed scenarios where friends talk about sexual violence towards a woman and our challenge was to suggest options for deescalating the conversation and alerting the speaker to the fact that such talk is “not cool” and inappropriate.

In this era of #MeToo, the more tools we can give men, young and old, to disrupt cultural norms the better.  Far too many young people believe that there are only two options for action in a potentially violent situation: to call the police or do nothing. With each scenario we discussed, we compiled a list of feasible options of what could be said or done to change the outcome.

If you haven’t already, please take a few minutes to watch Jackson Katz, the founder of the MVP program, discuss the role of men in preventing violence against women.