Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Follow My Lead - Guest Post by Carol Quinn

I met Carol Quinn on Twitter two years ago. She is a cross-platform strategic planner and author of the book 

She is the former SVP of Marketing/Creative Director for entertainment advertising agency Air Creative Group  and co-founder of Angel Entertainment, a new media group involved in content creation for television, gaming, and publishing. As an advertising executive and creative director, Carol created television, radio, print and online campaigns for CBS Television, Paramount Television, Warner Bros. Online, Radio Disney, Disney Channel and has worked with numerous new media digital startups. 

She graciously agreed to guest blog about what she's learned about leadership here. 

You’d think that by the title of my book, I know something about leadership.  But if you read it, you’ll quickly see that the story is a process of becoming a leader—not of my dogs or in my professional life or even in my family - but of myself.

To become my own leader, I first had to fully understand who I was, and what I was capable of. This may seem like an easy task, but in my case, I’d spent a good deal of my personal life trying hard to fit in with situations or relationships that didn’t dovetail with my nature. Like assigning an artistic task to a computer scientist or a job that requires fine motor skills to a guy who wields a sledgehammer for a living, I consistently placed myself in conflict. Why? The simple answer is, I like a challenge. The more complex answer has to do with my personal beliefs about perfecting myself, striving to be better, kinder, wiser, and more creative. My theory was that conflict created the right condition for me to grow stronger.

It turns out, I was very wrong about this theory of mine.  As I trained my two Rhodesian Ridgebacks in dog agility, it was immediately apparent to me that dogs succeed in tasks when they are happy, and rewarded—and when the tasks suit their nature and physical capabilities. As my trainer once said, “You can’t ask a small dog with short legs to take a high jump. He’ll just get frustrated.”

And you can’t ask a hot-headed, emotional person to behave analytically nor can you demand that a shy person become loud and bubbly.  We are who we are.
Understanding my own limitations was liberating; I finally let go of an unhappy love relationship, and discovered a new appreciation of my leadership skills, and an ability to find - and embrace - happiness. It sounds simple, but believe me, it wasn’t.

If you’d like to read the book hardcopy or via Kindle, you can order it on Amazon .

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