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An Open Letter to People Leaders: What I Know Now, That I Wish I Knew Then

Dear Leader,

As I reflect on my journey as a people leader over the past decades, there are valuable insights I've gained along the way—wisdom I wish I had possessed when I first stepped into a leadership role. Today, I want to share these lessons with you, in the hope that they may accelerate your growth and success as leaders.

It's All About the People: When I began my leadership journey, I focused primarily on tasks and goals. However, I soon realized that the heart of leadership lies in building relationships, inspiring individuals, and supporting their growth. Your success as a leader hinges on the success and well-being of your team members. Invest time in understanding their aspirations, challenges, and strengths.

Embrace Humility: Leadership is not about having all the answers; it's about being open to learning and growth. Acknowledge that you don't know everything and be humble enough to seek input from your team. Embrace diverse perspectives and encourage open dialogue. Remember, your role is not to be the smartest person in the room, but to bring out the best in your team and harness their collective wisdom.

Communication Is Key: Effective communication is the lifeblood of successful leadership. Be clear, transparent, and concise in your messaging. Foster a culture of open communication, where team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. Remember that communication is a two-way street, and effective leaders know how to convey their vision while also valuing and incorporating the insights of their team.

Lead by Example: As a leader, your actions speak louder than words. Your behavior and work ethic set the tone for your team. Be a role model by demonstrating integrity, accountability, and resilience. Show your team what it means to work hard, learn from mistakes, and embrace challenges.

Continuous Learning and Adaptability: Leadership is an ever-evolving journey. Embrace a growth mindset and commit to continuous learning. Seek out opportunities for professional development, stay informed about industry trends, and invest in honing your leadership skills. Be adaptable in the face of change and encourage your team to embrace change as well.

Celebrate Wins and Foster a Positive Culture: Recognize and celebrate the achievements of your team members. A simple acknowledgment and appreciation go a long way in boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment. Remember, leadership is a privilege and an ongoing journey. Cherish the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of your team members. Embrace the challenges, stay curious, and never stop growing.

Keep Serving!

Merrylue Martin

Dr. Merrylue Martin is President and CEO of the Job Joy Group and best-selling author of the Big Quit Survival Guide. To learn more, visit and connect on LinkedIn.


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