What Makes a Gr8 Leader?

Today’s guest blogger is Ana-Cristina Gonzalez. This will be the final blog of the What Makes a Gr8 Leader blog series. Thank you to all those that contributed!

Ana-Cristina is the Chief Operations Officer for Saint William’s Catholic Church in Round Rock. She holds a BS in Human Development and Family Sciences from THE University of Texas and a Masters in Communications and Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. When she is not spending time with her amazing niece, she can be found enjoying the wonderful city of Austin, TX! 

I am about 7+ months into a new position at my job….not only is it a new position here, but it’s a pretty new position in the Church world.  I am the Chief Operations Officer for Saint William Catholic Church, the largest church in the diocese of Austin.  I don’t say this to brag, but to set the stage…to give you an idea of where this business term fits in with the Church world.  In very simple terms, I oversee the day to day operations that makes this church of over 6,000 families run and run smoothly.

When this position was offered to me I was scared.  Excited and scared.  I knew that this position was needed, but was I the right one for the job?  There wasn’t a blueprint for how this should look like.  There wasn’t a peer that I could get ideas from.  Then that saying came to me, the one that you see all over Pinterest…”If not you, then who?”  Ok, fine.  I said “Yes”.

A great leader needs courage.  Courage to be able to go into the unknown and forge a path, if need be.  A leader needs courage to say “Yes” and the courage to say “No”; the Courage to speak up and the courage to stay silent and listen.  Oh and my favorite (read: sarcasm), the courage to make mistakes and get right back up after making them.

In the last few months, the lesson that I’ve learned is how vulnerability, which takes courage, leads to great leadership.  It sounds like an oxymoron.  Believe you me, I’ve read all those articles/blogs/books that say you have to always look in control, always have an answer, never show your weaknesses, etc.  I won’t even go into all the articles out there like this especially geared at women leaders.

No, I have seen how vulnerability leads to trust and which leads to a stronger team.    I am not saying you go and cry in front of your team and tell all of your darkest secrets.  What I’m saying is, be honest with your team.  “This is hard.  I’m worried about this.  I don’t know this answer to this, but I’m going to figure this out.  I need your help with this.  I can’t do this alone.  Let’s tackle this together.”

I have seen team conversations shift from reporting only to problem solving.  I have seen others ask for help and input from others where barriers may have existed before.  People have moved from accomplishing their tasks to doing what needs to get done for the betterment of the organization.  An environment was created for the team where they could come together and be honest, knowing that they had someone to help them, guide them, and support them whether mistakes were made or the biggest of successes were occurring.  I don’t want to be the team that has it all figured out.  I want to be the team that has the courage to come to one another and do what’s best for the organization.  No egos, no fear, just courage.

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