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I'm just a girl in the world.. that kind of likes to write. Mom of 2 teen girls & work as Talent Attraction & Marketing professional. Oh, & I'm addicted to my phone, Social Media, HR/Talent Marketing & Caffeine... you can learn more about me at www.linkedin.com/in/theonecrystal

This is How You Remind Me

In the last few months, I’ve been a little blown away at the shift from ‘follower’ to ‘leader(ish).’  I giggle when I show up on any list because there’s a total cool factor to it; (1) and I still do a little bit of a double-take when mentioned by my peers.  It’s not that I don’t think I know what I’m doing – I totally know I do… I’m just not used to the perception shift from anyone outside of my client base.  Does that make sense?

 That said, I want to make sure I don’t come off wrong on two counts:

  1. It was an intentional shift that I spent a lot of time planning & executing. Most of it has more to do with where I fall in the message amplification life-cycle than true “let me be your leader” stuff, at any rate.
  2. I say “Ish” because I know there’s still so much more to learn & still a ton of people who I follow – probably more than I’d ever possibly ‘lead’.  Plus, I’m not too worried about being a “leader” – for me, it’s more about being part of the community.
Here’s the thing .. I can’t help but wonder if around the time you start thinking of yourself as “the leader” is around the time you stop being any good at it.

A lot of this line of thinking might come from becoming slightly disillusioned by some of the people I used to see as ‘leaders.’  I looked up to them, studied them intently, and was almost a disciple of some of their ideas & patterns.  I appreciated who they were, professionally, and what they did for our communities… almost blindly… because I hadn’t really paid much attention to how they acted with people past the adoration.

You see, it’s hard to say anything but a kind word when someone is flattering you.  How many people – outside of Hollywood – do you see say something like, “Buzz off, you insignificant person” when they are told they’re smart, or well-spoken, etc?  You don’t.  Typically, there is a thank-you, a ‘let’s connect on Twitter,’ and maybe some reciprocal kind thought at something said to them by whomever is currently puckering up.

But what about after? As I have been looking to those I see as ‘leaders’ to how they treat/interact those that see them as such (2)… I can’t help but notice that, with some, the treatment is less kid-gloves & more of the ‘boxing’ variety.  Honestly, I’ve been a little shocked by the snarky retorts, chilly receptions, and ‘don’t you know how B.I.G. I am?!’ behaviors of people I seriously thought hung the moon in our space towards fledgling people in it.

This? Is not a beauty pageant; so I’m not sure why there’s the need for catty competition nor bad behavior. Frankly, it kind of ticks me off. If it were a beauty pageant, however; I’d like to think that the real title worth competing for amongst the “leaders” in the space would be “Miss Congeniality.”

Being cynical as a shtick is cool; being truly cynical(3) towards anything beyond the status quo of how things are done is not. To be any kind of leader, I think you have to remember that people have to want to follow you; meaning the people who raised you up can drop you on your fanny, too. It’s important to be just as interested in your ‘followers’ and fellow community members as you are in your own self-interests; & help develop them along their path.  The “Army of One” only works as a marketing campaign; it’s actually kind of sad in execution.

Besides, isn’t life more pleasant overall when you’re nice to others instead of trying to remind someone of who they really are (or aren’t, in this case) in relation to you?

Maybe it’s not the ‘leader’ status that causes this behavior; maybe those specific people would be that way, regardless.   Or maybe, we all could benefit from a gentle reminder now & again of who we really are – past & present… so we can be better as leaders & community members in the future.

(1) and anyone who doesn’t admit they get a small kick out of it/slightly flattered is either extremely jaded or likely full of it.  It’s human nature to appreciate being appreciated.

(2) again, largely because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery or something like that :p

(3) defined: disparaging of others, bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic.

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3 Comments on “This is How You Remind Me”

  1. The Ed Buzz 01/13/2012 at 10:05 am #

    You are going to be a great leader because you recognize that at the end of the day, you’re still the the same person you were before you became a leader. Great leaders do realize that withour any followers that there are no leaders.

    Even though I have been a ‘leader’ for a long time, reading this reminds me of who I really want to be as a leader everyday. So, no matter how tough this gets, hand with it because you are definately on the right track.

    • TheOneCrystal 01/13/2012 at 10:08 am #

      Thanks… you truly made my day!!

  2. Michael Long 01/15/2012 at 10:29 am #

    Nicely done! It’s been interesting over the past few years to meet and get to know the many contributors in our realm. With some, I’m impressed – they are who I expected. With others, it has been a let down and I’ve seen egos shift over time. Stay true. Stay humble. Remember why you got into this in the first place. The rest takes care of itself 😉

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