Home Concepts Concepts of Leadership Community Engagement Emergent Sage Leadership: Interview of Cristine Kelly

Emergent Sage Leadership: Interview of Cristine Kelly

21 min read

16. How has your leadership style changed as you have progressed in your  career?

I am becoming a better listener. I’m striving to become more focused and attentive. I have had a tendency to take on too much and be a little scattered as a result.

17. What is the one mistake you see leaders making more frequently than others?

We all have a tendency to take on too much, leading to burn out – not addressing our own needs.

18. What are you doing to continue growing and developing as a leader?

I continue to educate myself. I see my career as an education. This is like   graduate school! I have a curiosity about things and often ask myself,   “How can I do this better?”

19. What are the one or two peak experiences that set you on the path you’re on today?

When I was about 11 or so I was taking riding lessons. My family paid for the lessons at first, but then things fell apart. (My dad was a violent alcoholic.) My teacher understood some of my situation and would give me horses to ride at no cost. One day we were on a trail ride with a small group, and my horse ran away with me. It reared up, ran up to the top of the hill, and reared up again. Then it came charging back down. I was hanging on with all my might, doing everything I could to stay on and get control of the horse. As the horse came back down the hill, we headed toward the group and actually stopped in front of them. I’m trembling, the horse is trembling. Then I saw my teacher. She  looked concerned but was laughing. She looked at me and said, “You will always be able to ride it.”  She was telling me that I will always be OK, always be in control. She knew I was going to make it, despite any challenge.

Those experiences where someone says, “I believe in you,” (my philosophy professor) or “I’m going to take a chance on you” (my first non-profit ED   position with the Ama Foundation) – when someone sees something in me or says, “You’ve got what it takes” – those experiences are huge. It only takes a   few people in your life who say that to make a profound difference. I always want to be that for someone, because I remember those few people who have been that for me. And that makes me work hard to fulfill their belief in me.

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