Leadership: Lessons Learned Along the Way

By Lisa Martin, CHAE

I have been to more sessions on what it means to be a leader that I can count. Often the presenter will have a white board or a flipchart and have everyone yell out characteristics or attributes of a great leader.

What do we say? Honest, trustworthy, reliable, on time, a good listener, a good speaker, kind, organized, they set the example, they are not afraid to do the “dirty work,” appreciative, and the list goes on.

My question is, “Are you the person you expect your leaders to be?” We have such high expectations of our leaders — do we have them of ourselves?

Now you are thinking: I’m not a leader; I’m not a manager or supervisor — why do the expectations I have for myself make a difference. I believe leadership starts with each of us. The example we set makes a difference.

A title gives someone the authority to lead, but it does not mean people will follow. How many of you have had managers and supervisors that you know should not be in their position? I know I have been in that situation. Sometimes as a direct report we have had to model leadership for them.

For me, I have aspired to leadership roles since junior high when I ran for class office. I want to help others be the best they can be and in my mind, it means I should be the leader. It turns out that is not true — we can lead those above us, beside us and below us on the ladder. John C. Maxwell wrote a great book about this, “The 360 Leader.” In this book, he asserts you don’t have to be the leader to influence your organization.

So where do we start being a leader? By bringing the best “YOU” to everything you do. How? I have some lessons I have learned over the past 30+ years that help me bring my best every day.

Start Being a Leader

One of the first critical lessons I learned was how my attitude had an impact on me as well as those around me. I remember a saying, “If attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?” That has stuck with me. I don’t want to be remembered as a sour person.

As a young girl, my momma told me that I can choose my attitude every day. It is up to me. So, every morning when I wake up, I choose to be happy. It is just that simple. Does it mean all my moments throughout the day will be happy? Not at all. I realize how important it is to feel my emotions — happiness, sadness, frustration, and yes, even anger; however, I cannot let the negative emotions overtake me.

I attended an HFTP Controllers Conference years ago and the speaker that day, Marilyn Sherman said, “There is no such thing as a bad day, just a bad moment nursed all day.” Bad things do happen and sometimes they are difficult to get over — I know — but in the end, we have a choice: to learn from it and move on or be defined by it. I have always chosen to learn and move on. When I let something bad define me, I have given it power over me. There are times when we need help to get over bad things, so decide to get the help and then move on. I promise you will be stronger for it.

Please join me at my session, “Leadership Begins With You” at the HFTP Annual Convention on Friday, October 27 to hear more of the lessons I’ve learned about leadership! Register now for the Annual Convention.

Lisa Martin, CHAE (l.martin@yakimacountryclub.org) is the general manager at Yakima Country Club in Yakima, Washington USA. Martin is also an HFTP Global past president. She will also be a panelist at the 2017 Annual Convention session, “Transitioning Between Hotels, Clubs and Vendors” on Thursday, October 26.

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