Striving for excellence

November 15, 2019

Maxim No. 4: We all should have our own definition of leadership.

When I think of what leadership means, I am struck by how often our society paints it to be “the people in charge of making all of the decisions,” or “the people with all of the power.”

True leadership is not about power at all. A true leader knows their job is to serve first, above all else, those who are entrusted to their direction. Leading is not about handing down tasks and making sure the work gets done. Anyone can do that. Leading is striving for excellence. “Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. – Anonymous.”

When you become a servant leader and hold yourself to a standard of excellence, those under your guidance will naturally want to follow you. They will want what you have. They will want to do an excellent job because they will feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Leadership allows the freedom to let talented, skilled individuals excel and become excellent leaders as well.

Great leaders create more great leaders. When I, manager of STAR Kids Care Coordination with Texas Children’s Health Plan, think about some of the most influential leaders I have looked up to; Irena Sendler, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Howard Schultz; these people never imposed their power, their ideas, their philosophy on any person. They simply believe in something and had the integrity and guts to stand up for it. They believe every individual is worthy and deserving of excellence and set an example that leadership is more than extravagant, impressive words; leadership is action.

Being a leader at Texas Children’s has been an opportunity for me to work with some of the most brilliant and creative individuals, and has helped me see the potential leadership of my staff. At Texas Children’s we all strive for excellence, and I think that makes us all great leaders.

I’d like to hear from you … what’s your personal definition of leadership?

 

 


Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!
Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.

51 Responses to “Striving for excellence”

  1. For me, leadership starts with a phrase that my mother told me, and still rings true today: “Don’t be afraid to be the least important person in the room”. If you have this mindset, you are never above the needs of others. I’ve found this to be a successful way of rallying people around you, your team, and achieving the greater mission at hand.

  2. Ken Javier

    Thanks Kristi for sharing your personal definition of leadership. You are spot on when you mention “Great leaders create more great leaders”. I see how we all have the urge, in one way or another, to model leadership traits from positive leaders. My definition of leadership of is having the courage to communicate effectively at all levels to support the team to achieve a common goal. There are times people don’t ask for assistance or are unsure about giving a directive out of fear what the other person may or may not say. There are other time when people do ask for assistance or give a directive and receive resistance/ negative feedback, which results in them not wanting to ask for help or give a directive in the future. Both scenarios have the impact of slowing progress on a desired goal. As a leader it is vital to have the courage to effectively communicate with our subordinates, peers, and leadership so that progress can move forward towards our desired goal.

  3. Frances Racine

    In all of my 20 years as a nurse, Kristi has taught me more about being a leader than any other manager. She truly embodies her words “They will want to do an excellent job because they will feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves”. She pushes me to be not only a better nurse, but a better person. We are very lucky to have her on our team and part of the TCH family.

  4. Charles Summerhill

    At my first “real” job after college, I worked for a manager that defined a supervisor’s role as the person that gives all the credit to his staff when something goes well, but takes all of the blame (at least outwardly) when something goes wrong.

  5. Janine Patton

    My personal definition of leadership is someone who is willing and able to do the work necessary to achieve goals while also expecting the same out of those they lead. A true leader has the same work ethic when no one is watching as she does when she is working in front of/with others. I really like how the blog writer wrote “great leaders create more great leaders.” This is so well put. When you do the work with the passion and motivation of a great leader, you inspire and ignite those around you to do the same.

  6. Eric Raack

    I’ve never really come up with my exact definition of leadership. But while trying to answer this question, I did a quick google search on Leadership and decided that what best fit me was something that Warren Bennis said. “Leadership is like beauty – it’s hard to define but you know it when you see it.” I’ve definitely seen it throughout my career and it’s the reason that I’m here at TCH. I came to work once more with a leader that I’ve worked with before.

  7. Cindy Alvarado

    My personal definition of leadership is being transparent, understanding and able to provide guidance. It is someone that does not sit there trying to figure out who is to blame, but instead focuses on how to solve the situation. It is someone that does not just see an obstacle in front of them, but an opportunity. Someone who is open to change with open arms.

  8. Rachel Leva

    Great blog! To me a leader is approachable and leads by example. He/she also doesn’t accept that things are done a certain way because they have always been done that way. A leader will find the rationale and correct the process if it needs to be updated to be in line with current practice or policy.

  9. Leadership involves many characteristics:
    *Providing opportunities for others to reach their maximum potential.
    *Knowing when to lead and when to follow.
    *Creating teams to implement systems and knowing when to delegate to others who have more expertise in certain areas
    *Wisely knowing when to serve.
    *Willingly stepping forward into the unknown.
    *Decision making that positively impacts the masses.

  10. Toni Spears

    I never wanted leadership, but I always wanted to be the leader I wished I had. I’ve been a preceptor and a trainer. I’ve taught and helped many co-workers; and last year, after 17 years in my field, I accepted a role as a formal leader. I have been so impressed with the way Texas Children’s partners with those it places in a leadership positions. The classes and support have been phenomenal. I’ve also gone back to school to further refine my leadership skills. I’m proud to be part of the TCH leadership team. I used to define leadership as being sure the paperwork gets done so the work can continue. Now I KNOW it’s so much more. I am becoming the leader I always wanted to have and Texas Children’s is the reason why.

  11. Brandon McIntyre

    What a great blog! There was a quote by Arnold Glasow that always resonated with me. “A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”

  12. Olga Chen

    Indeed, we are all leader in our scope of work and with every interaction we have with our clients, colleagues, and families. Of course, every now and then we’ll have an “off” day.

  13. Passionate about making a difference in the lives of all who are allowed to cross my path is my daily walk as a leader. Every waken morning, I’m thankful to be given another day filled with grace to serve with a smile on my face, and compassion in m heart. My leadership shows as I strive to go beyond my assigned duties that my role requires , but to be the best me that I can be, because I’m thankful to be blessed with the gift of life. Our patients did not ask to be sick, and as long as I have breath, I will forever serve with joy, thanksgiving and commitment .

  14. Lisa Davenport

    This is a fantastic representation of leadership at TCH. I strive every day to be a servant leader and lift up others around me. I see this so often here at TCH and this is why we have such an incredible culture. My favorite leadership quote and my definition of leadership is “Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” – John Maxwell. It is our duty at all levels to mentor and be mentored, which creates an incredible culture of fostering leadership that is TCH.

  15. Lucy Gonzalez

    Leadership entails a number of things but some of the most important things to me is to empower others around you, by sharing your vision, leading by example, being transparent, humble and emphatic – if you can inspire them to believe in themselves when they are unable to believe in oneself – you help them build their confidence so they can aspire to “dig deeper” to be the leader they are called to be. When a leader elevates in success they must reach down and bring others with them so everyone is moving up together.

  16. Lindsey Franks

    Leadership by definition is moving a group of people to a common goal. The question is how does one effectively do that? Everyone can be a leader, you don’t need a title to be a leader. However, you do have to be up for the challenge of constantly learning and to be of service to others, as leadership is challenging, demanding, and dynamic! A leader must elicit greatness from others by unlocking their potential to become better. I feel that leaders must guide others without force, as this leaves one with a feeling of empowerment. Leadership is about energizing and inspiring others to make positive changes. I would say that ones personal definition of leadership will change overtime through ones own personal growth. I am a new leader who just completed my first year in a leadership role. I think my personal definition of leadership last year was was the 3 L’s….Listen, Learn, and Lead. I had a lot of personal growth within the last year, along with a lot of learning and listening. I have learned to practice extreme ownership this year by taking ownership of a problem and holding myself responsible for finding a solution. This year in leadership had it share of ups and downs, but I hope to continue to grow as a leader in the upcoming years!

  17. Charles Williams

    Great perspective on leadership, as I share the exact sentiments. Leadership is not a job title, leadership is having the confidence, commitment and ability to strive for excellence while creating opportunities, culture and empowering others as you lead by example. When leadership is executed the right way, there will be a natural desire from others to follow your lead. I continuously strive to be a leader in my career and personal life setting the example for my children.

  18. Jillian Leavings

    In my opinion, leadership is defined as anyone that strives to not only be the best at anything they do, but also help guide others. I feel that we should all strive to be leaders in everything we do, including our personal life and our careers. Those that are leaders are able to excel in life and help others along the way. One of the many things I love about TCH is the leadership I see every single day from all different departments. We have an incredible team of people that strive to give the best possible care not only to our patients, but the families as well. I can honestly say that I feel extremely honored and blessed to be part of the most amazing team that exemplifies leadership every day. Those that show leadership are always thinking outside the box as a team to come up with the best treatment plan for our patients. We all take pride and in our careers and it shows! I am so proud to be one of the many leaders at TCH!

  19. Casondra Burkley

    I agree 100% that leadership equals service. I believe it is important that those that we lead are able to see that we are willing to get into the trenches with them to achieve goals. Anyone can give directives, but leaders are willing to get involved and be a part of the change they want to see.

  20. Cherise Hodges

    My definition of leadership can be described as an action vs dictatorship. I feel as though as a leader, you were put in the position to lead a group of people or organization to strive for greatness. Being a leader you are showing how invested you are in the organization and your strengths. I feel to be a great leader you have to posses the qualities of a great personality, a clear precise vision and want to be successful in whatever it is that you do. A leader is someone who looks up to encourage others to perform to the best of their abilities at all times

  21. Great article. I’m not sure what my personal perspective would be but, my current supervisor has a meeting with all of us every Monday and always selects an inspirational quote to get our week started off on the right foot. We all understand we are part of a team that leads each other and supports each other in an effort to provide the best service for our patients and staff.

  22. Jasmine Davenport

    The part of this article that really hits the nail on the head for me: “True leadership is not about power at all. A true leader knows their job is to serve first, above all else, those who are entrusted to their direction. Leading is not about handing down tasks and making sure the work gets done. Anyone can do that.” ….”When you become a servant leader and hold yourself to a standard of excellence, those under your guidance will naturally want to follow you. They will want what you have. They will want to do an excellent job because they will feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves”. I aspire to be a great leader everyday and this definition you explained was inspiring. Amazing read Ms. Kristi, thank you!!!

  23. Being a leader is not easy and often challenging, but it is also very rewarding. “Lead in despite of” is a phrase I have adopted and helps me to persevere. To me a leader provides purpose, direction, and motivation to accomplish the mission and improve the organization.

  24. Christina Roberson

    “Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. – Anonymous.”

    This is an excellent quote! I am going to write it down and refer to it often, thank you for sharing. My definition of leadership is allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable to what is around you. I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Wallace at Town Hall and my take away from watching his video and seeing his interactions with all of us as a leader was, just because your title may be large, as you stated anyone can give out orders, its how you choose to insert yourself in all situations. Your compassion, your presence and consideration is how I see Mark Wallace as a leader and how I would like to continue to insert myself as a leader.

  25. A good leader lets their staff lead with new ideas and ways to improve the process. Giving credit to them for these ideas makes them want to continue to give feedback and new ideas. We are a team and it takes all of us to make our practice successful!

  26. Margaret (Megan) Bryant

    Your definition of leadership and the strive for excellence by being the example is great insight on true leadership. True leaders don’t just want the job done, they should want to make sure it is done well. Lead their team with excellence and strive for the best in all tasks. For me, a leader who wants the best for you, your team, and those you serve is what a true leader should be. Thank you for your words of inspiration.

  27. Nicole Sanders

    Thank you so much for sharing your definition of leadership- It’s beautiful and sincere- I completely agree with you.

    This Maxim always makes me think back to one of my first “informal” leadership opportunities here at Texas Children’s – chair elect of our Global QPC (quality practice council) in October of 2017. During my first meeting of co-leading the QPC, we spoke to the group about shared governance, what leadership meant to us and our definition of leadership. Back then I said my definition of leadership was “someone who provides support and inspires others to achieve their goals. A leader is not necessarily someone who always has answers and solutions, but is someone who listens and feels that your problems and ideas are of great importance.”

    I would still say that my definition of leadership is someone who provides support and inspires other to achieve their goals. But the rest of my leadership definition is continuing to be defined as I grow and learn. Working with amazing leaders shows me what type of leader I would like to be and helps me to continually refine my definition of leadership. So, I think if I reflect back on this answer again in two years I may have different thoughts as I will have learned more, however, for now my leadership definition is:

    A leader is someone who inspires, encourages and supports everyone around them to achieve their goals. A leader is a thoughtful listener who doesn’t strive to solve all your problems for you, but strives to give you the tools, resources and support you need to learn, grown and succeed. A leader isn’t managing the team, they are part of the team.

    “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” —John Quincy Adams.

  28. Jackie Pacheco

    Great article! My definition of leadership is: A leader must enjoy what they are doing and maintain an enthusiastic, positive and optimistic attitude. Listen if they want to be heard and always remember that the most powerful tool that you possess is your own personal example.

  29. Ivette Zavarce

    You gave the right definition of an authentic leader. I have the privilege to work around you and you also practice everyday what you just taught us in this blog. You are an authentic leader! Thank you!

  30. Mital Brahmbhatt

    Thank you for sharing your definition of leadership. It’s reflective in the work your team conducts day in and day out in our North East service delivery area. Proud to have been working alongside you since 2016!

  31. Lindsey Bage

    Its amazing to me how different each persons definition of leadership is! My definition of leadership is giving motivation to others around me while we as a team accomplish what our goal is for that, week, month, or year. All while we continue to be leaders to one another, and learn from each other.

  32. Lindsey Bage

    Its amazing to me how different each persons definition of leadership is! My definition of leadership is giving motivation to others around me while we as a team accomplish what our goal is for that, week, month, or year. All while we continue to be leaders to one another, and learn from each other.

  33. Ashanti Riggs

    Great article! I appreciate your perspective, I especially agree with: “True leadership is not about power at all. A true leader knows their job is to serve first, above all else, those who are entrusted to their direction.”
    Thank you!

  34. Irma Herrera-Uyeda

    Leadership means leading by example. It also means keeping one’s morals unbroken and being calm.When I think of leadership, Mark Wallace comes to mind, he defines leadership because he so positive, self confident and outgoing! He had such a bright aura when I met him. He has influenced me since I began employment at Texas Children’s in 2000.

  35. Irma Herrera-Uyeda

    Leadership is leading by example and keeping one’s morals unbroken. It also means being patient and calm. When I think of leadership, I think of Mark Wallace. He is so positive and self confident. When I met him, he had such a bright aura about him! Mr. Wallace has influenced me since I began employment with Texas Children’s in 1999.

  36. Gabriel Rodriguez

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on servant leadership. Being a leader in the healthcare industry is a privilege that few people get. It involves constant servitude towards the patients, families, and all the staff involved in the direct and indirect care of patients in the system. My definition would be to lead by bringing each individuals skills sets together to accomplish goals within the scope and practice of the group being led.

  37. Syril Benigay

    Great article and description of how leadership portrays a person’s true qualities. I have learned through the different sports I’ve played in the past that to become a great leader of the team, you must learn how to follow. Being able to humble yourself and be receptive to constructive criticism represents a true leader in my eyes. Instead of delivering orders all the time in order to get difficult tasks completed, great leaders have been in that position and know what it may take to accomplish it. Simply giving their input of their past experience or even getting involved “hands on” without being asked, will go a long way and show the team that they have a leader who cares.

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