Susan Mazza, creator of the highly acclaimed blog, “Random Acts of Leadership” shares insights and stories on the topic of leadership with Positivity Strategist host, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel. This episode is a personal conversation between two friends as they share experiences and exchange ideas about leadership. It's an example of a truly generative conversation.
Susan Mazza is a force in the leadership space with her extremely popular blog, “Random Acts of Leadership“. It has been named as one of the top leadership blogs, and Susan has also been recognized as one of America’s most trusted voices in this space.
Susan Mazza and I first met on Twitter in 2009 – it was actually my partner, Juergen Berkessel of Polymash who suggested I follow Susan on Twitter, since she was tweeting about leadership – a subject which is also in my professional portfolio, and within a couple of months, we three had a tweet-up in NYC.
Over these last five years our relationship has grown and strengthened. We’ve worked together, visited each other and what’s most rewarding to me is that we’ve become trusted friends.
Please enjoy a summary of our conversation and our collective insights below.
Distinct Voice on Leadership
The success of Susan's blog, “Random Acts of Leadership” has allowed Susan to discover her own voice and her distinctive perspective on the subject of leadership. As a successful blogger, she speaks to people all over the world, who have chosen to engage with her. Susan states that blogging has enabled her to become a better communicator and writer.
Aligned to that, Susan's blog increases the number of people she reaches and thereby it amplifies the difference she can make in the world by touching the number of people she does. That is important to her. Susan is about making a difference.
Susan's distinct voice on leadership is about the everyday leader in each of us. Her purpose is to love people into their greatness to support and inspire them in becoming the most powerful and joyful expression of who they are.
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Connecting with Your Own Leadership
It was a personal situation that enabled Susan to connect to her own leadership. She discovered that after a series of unsuccessful relationships with doctors, she finally took the stand to articulate the kind of relationship she wanted with a particular doctor by making a deal with the doctor. She requested that he treat her as a whole and healthy person, and if he realized he would be unable to treat her, he was to let her know so she could make an informed decision. He agreed. They co-create a partnership and she was healed.
Valuing Leadership Qualities
When you listen into Susan's episode, you'll learn that leadership for her is not about a role or position, but it's about the everyday leader that shows up when you take responsibility to lead yourself. The leadership qualities that Susan identifies and values within herself when she tells her story include the courage to speak up and ask what she wants in order to create her own story and carve her own journey of wellness. She was no longer willing to buy into someone else's story or the world's story – which is what most of us do. It's so easy to buy into the world's story about yourself and others.
Our Power Comes from Creating our own Story
When you're really clear about who you are and what you bring to a situtation at any given moment in time, as well as being clear about who you are choosing to be, you are standing in your power and creating your own story. We are ever evolving, so knowing who you are and who you want to become gives you a solid place from which to stand and you can make choices that are congruent with your being.
Coaches and mentors are pivotal in development. Having a thinking partner and supporter to help gain clarity around your purpose and what matters to you are key to finding your own power and hence developing your own leadership qualities and capabilities.
Power today is based less on hierarchy, position and role, and more on connection and self-generative capacities. We lead alongside our co-workers, our vendors and our clients. Partnerships, strategic alliances and collaborations are business relationships which are more likely to lead to flourishing and prospering. When you lead from the core of who you are, you're authentic and what matters to you and clarity of purpose remain your overarching guides.
Self-generation is a leadership quality. You can generate your own power from within and you can generate power in others. We show our leadership when generate development conversations that grow and empower others and strengthen relationships.
Adversity or negative situations also generate development. When we are struggling, or when we feel we are not making a difference, or things are not going as planned or the feedback we want is not forthcoming, we need to go deep and generate that leadership from within so that we grow the capabilities we need to make a difference.
The Power of Aspiration
Underpinning our conversation on leadership qualities, power, experts and generative development was the concept of ‘aspiration', or said another way, the pinnacle of self-leadership is aspiration. If something isn't working, or we're not attaining what we believe we are truly capable of, or deserving of, we have a choice. We can let it go and more on, or we hang on to it and hold the dream, meaning we tap into our aspirations that propel plus even higher to the point of achievement.
Susan shares two particular stories in this episode: a personal one and a community story. What underscores these two very different stories is the desire for a better state, if not an ideal state. It was the aspiration to achieve that ideal state that empowered Susan in one story, and a community in the other, to not give in but to strive to make the desired state a reality.
By way of conclusion, we could say that a key leadership quality is aspiration – a dream, a vision, a desired future state. When that aspiration stirs in us, what follows is the generative capacity to find the power and the resources – internal and external to bring the aspiration to fruition.
Links Mentioned In This Episode
- Susan’s blog: Random Acts of Leadership
- Susan is @susanmazza on Twitter
- Susan on LinkedIn
- Random Acts of Leadership on Facebook
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