Last week we lost a leader, one who had an incredibly meaningful life. Ruth Bader Ginsburg changed the world for women. She built a career – even before her appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States – fighting tirelessly for women and gender equality. As the world honoured her life, I was drawn in and deeply touched by the quotes she has become known for: “Fight for the things you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
I always remember one of my mentors telling me to always lead in such way that others want to follow you. The question then becomes as a leader, how do you get others to follow you? Do we follow out of fear and answer to those with the most power or the loudest voice? I believe that most leaders spend too much time trying to be the captain of someone else’s boat and instead need to be a lighthouse that allows the boats to find their way.
The face of leadership is changing and the traits we admire and will follow are now more about an ability to build trust, speak the truth, be authentic and allow others to navigate their own boat as you shine a light on the safest and best path for them.
This type of trust must be earned. Maybe it is gained by doing something outside yourself, something for someone else? Ruth Bader Ginsburg said: “If you want to be a true professional, you will do something outside yourself, something to repair tears in your community, something to make life better for people less fortunate than you. That’s what I think a meaningful life is – living not for oneself, but for one’s community.”
She was a champion and a fighter, not only for women’s rights, but all rights. We have an obligation to allow others to be the best they can be. This means living a life that does not tear others down to raise yourself up, but looking for the good and helping others shine. As leaders and as part of a connected community, it is
our responsibility to look deep into the people around us, take time to understand who they are, what they want from their lives and discover how we can help them succeed.
This year has been incredibly challenging for all businesses and now more than ever, we should be fighting for the Sunshine Coast community we care about, as leaders that are respected so others are able to follow. We need to connect, collaborate, and create with each other and live not just for ourselves, but for this community and this place we are so grateful to call our home.
As we mourn this legendary woman, we must also make sure that our gloves are ready, so that we can put them on and fight together for the meaningful life we all deserve.
Jeanette Allom-Hill is a 2020 Telstra QLD Business Women’s Award winner. She is known as a brave leader with heart who delivers transformational results.