an executive director’s don’ts

(this is a guest post from a young director named danielle. it was sent to a friend who shared it with me and i thought it might be useful to folks holding leadership roles. it resonates with what i remember of the role…enjoy!)

“don’t try to be friends with your staff
don’t try to get your staff to like you
don’t think your staff liking you and respecting you are the same thing, or that they always go hand in hand
don’t try to build trust by sharing vulnerable personal things
don’t dwell on your mistakes
don’t try to cover up your mistakes– from anyone
don’t make the same mistakes over and over–only new mistakes!
don’t avoid accountability
don’t avoid holding others accountable
don’t overstate what you know
don’t understate what you know
don’t assume everyone shares your analysis or priorities
don’t require everyone to share your analysis or priorities
don’t confuse passion and work ethic (in either direction)(yours and others)
don’t underestimate the urgency of what’s at hand
don’t hurry unnecessarily
don’t get your sense of value, connectedness, affirmation, or meaning only at work
don’t forget the power of humility and honesty
don’t confuse mistakes for flaws, or vice versa
don’t believe “perfection” exists, or that achieving it would command respect
don’t question your right to have your job
don’t stop questioning whether your job is right for you, and whether you are right for it
don’t think that question has one answer and isn’t always changing
don’t attach too much to your ability to raise money–whether you’re raising it or not
don’t process too many work things out of work that aren’t matters of the heart and spirit
don’t attach to things you think you’ve “figured out” — when they’re working and when they’re not working
don’t forget to ask for help
don’t take all the advice people give you :)
don’t forget to love yourself and others. it’s all that really matters in the end.
don’t take yourself too seriously or forget to laugh–especially at yourself. :)”

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