This weekend I am working on my monthly E-Leadership magazine. It is something I have been putting together for nearly 15 years (since February 2006). I include lots of positive articles, tips and ideas to support leaders and perhaps to provoke thought. As well as my worldwide leadership network, I also send it to each person within our organisation who has a company email address. Not everyone in the organisation’s email address directory is employed in a management position, however, I believe their work influences people, and I consider them a leader, so my publication is as much for them as it is for managers.

Related: Here is November 2020 edition of the ‘Leadership Pack

For those checking into my blog and reading one of the posts about Bettina for the first time, may I introduce her to you. Bettina is a woman who happens to cope with a learning disability, autism and epilepsy. She is our youngest daughter and Jennifer’s sister. We cannot think of a day when ‘B’ has not influenced, moved or inspired us. As a family, Bettina defines us, and we are a tightknit family.

There is so much Bettina has taught me as a leader, and some of those lessons I share on my blog. Bettina is a leader, even though she doesn’t have a leadership job title, and this is how:

  • Bettina has always been a pioneer and a pace setter. Bettina was the first person in her school with complex autism and I believe how Bettina conducted herself set the pace and style of learning for people who came after her.
  • Bettina has been, and continues to be, a game changer. People who spend time with Bettina tell us how she has made them see life differently. How people with autism were supported at her school developed as they learned from Bettina.
  • Bettina shows random acts of kindness – not expecting anything in return. When you are least expecting it, Bettina offers kindness. She is not expecting this to reciprocated and Bettina doesn’t have hidden agendas.
  • Bettina takes risks! I have often found people think leaders (including Bettina) lead charmed lives where everything goes well but this is rarely the case as failure is an integral part of success. When you can acknowledge that the risks are real, but the potential payoff is enough to counteract that, you’re demonstrating leadership. If you jump blindly, that is recklessness. But if you evaluate the situation and take the risk anyway, that’s leadership and courage.
  • Because of the way Bettina conducts her life, she invites incredible: loyalty, passion, and commitment from others. Bettina never coerces, pressurises, or is demanding.

What I have learned from Bettina. 

  • What you say and how you say it is essential. Bettina has limited verbal communication (her first words were when she was 11) so she picks them wisely making each word count. When Bettina speaks, we all stop whatever we are doing and listen – I must admit I am still a work in progress, and I continue to have a lot to learn from Bettina on this. What you say can have influence on those around you.
  • Bettina extends her influence by asking (verbally limited) questions, actively listening and being an avid learner. To survive in her confusing world, she endeavours to understand how people tick.
  • For Bettina leadership is a choice – not a paid position – which she enjoys.
  • To have a strong work ethic even on the days you don’t feel like it.
  • One of the most important lessons I learned from Bettina is that role models are important to her. There is a standard you must meet, and you must do this every day

Related: A Role Model for Bettina

Bettina’s Rule of 5

  1. Seeing something that needs to be done and when others are standing around, you step into the vacuum and just do it. If there are certain chores (such as restocking the loo roll) which need to be done, Bettina takes it upon herself to do them. Bettina’s PA (& Job Coach) has told us she also does this at her supported employment place.
  2. Act with confidence – it has never occurred to Bettina that someone might challenge her when completing tasks which are not necessarily her responsibility.
  3. Don’t wait for someone else to act just because you don’t hold a rank or job title – step forward
  4. Don’t ask for special treatment. Your work should speak for itself (like Bettina) it does not need validation.
  5. Show gratitude to those around you on your successes as it is highly likely your achievement was not achieved on its own.

Bettina has just arrived home from her work at the Garden Centre and as she warms her feet against the fire, she tells me about her day. No surprises that she mentions something she has accomplished that has made a difference for someone she has met.

Leading from where you are, without a formal title, will naturally lead to you being asked to fill titled leadership positions, so I hope Bettina’s tips and lessons help you realise your leadership abilities and aspirations.

Bettina getting her life back together after the second lockdown

I look forward to sharing with you my first leadership lesson I learned (49 years ago!) with you soon.

Source: Bettina and Steve Raw www.leadershipintheraw.org