Yvorra Leadership Development Foundation

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Ms. Shawntel Collins

As I became a leader in my local fire department, and in other facets of my life, a quote my mentor told me always stuck with me: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” This inspired me to be cognizant of my actions and ensure that I not only talked the talk but walked the walk as well. As a leader, I wanted to present the values of honesty, humility, and respect through my words and actions. Honesty encompasses not only being transparent with the team and communicating effectively, but it is also being honest with yourself. A leader must reflect and self-evaluate constantly so they can learn and grow from situations and manage things more effectively next time. Humility will go a long way. It is better to admit when you do not know something and follow up with an answer later or admit when you made a mistake and work to do better next time. This will instill more trust and respect in your team. Speaking of respect, a leader must show his/her team the respect they expect in turn. A lot of times, that not only means showing appreciation for your staff, but also getting down and dirty and doing the same job your lowest-level employee does. In the end, upholding these values will not only foster respect, but it will also increase the relationship between a leader and his/her team. Everyone is working towards the same goals. The outcome will be most favorable when everyone operates as a unit. With a strong respected leader, staff will naturally follow suit, because they will be proud to maintain the integrity of the leader and the organization.