I may not be fit as a leader

… I thought to myself over and over again after a humbling experience that knocked me right in the gut.

After years of being able to hold a strong front or taking a “quick cry break” to give me a few minutes to feel all my feelings and come back with a smile and ready to get back on track — I cried in the office after a 30-minute call with a client.

To be honest, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t get yelled at or spoken to in a rude manner.

Long story short, the partnership that has been going on is quite concerning, and he expressed his disappointment in his choice for moving forward with us. He wasn’t angry, but he stated that he was basically done and already so sick of us and our name.

Do you know how painful it is to hear that? My baby, my blood, sweat, and tears, that I’ve fought for and dedicated 10000000% of me, sounding like such a disgrace?

I know it’s just one client, but this was definitely a slap in the face. This was the first time a client verbally said that this decision was one of his biggest business mistakes. I’m apologizing now, but where was I before? The words that kept on resonating in my mind were “You were never there, Bu. Where were you?”. He was right. Why wasn’t I there? Where was I? Yes, there were several Heads of Departments monitoring this, but this fails, it’s on me. Why didn’t I pay attention?

The mistakes weren’t big, but they were more small mishaps that led to a mountain. I kept on thinking — if I had shared my time, maybe, just maybe, things would have gone differently? Have I failed as a leader? What did I miss to share and remind the team?

Oh, I despise that notion they think of us due to this… ‘inconvenience’. He expressed that they understood that they’re a small company compared to the other clients, but they deserve the same attention and respect. They do!!!! Oh my gosh!!! This was so painful for me to hear.

We started out so small too, and our early clients were so nice and patient with us. They never treated us like we were newbies or a small company full of youngsters. I will forever be grateful because their kindness has shaped us and helped us grow to the size we are now. Knowing that we made them feel like that? Inferior and disrespected? Oh my, that was so heartbreaking.

To top it off, I questioned, where did the company values go? Our 2 principles? Customer obsession and Commitment to operational excellence??

Of course, I did not rebut and as a leader took responsibility for all that has happened — as it should be. I listened and I gave my word that I will start paying attention closely and ensuring that we deliver to their expectations until our contract finishes. But of course, it’s no longer salvageable — his words directly and I completely understand.

What I’m saying is that enough with the self-blaming and looking at the ‘Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda’.

Take this as one of those extremely uncomfortable eye-opening humbling lessons that I, as one of the Founders, and the leaders have to own up and learn from this — and ensure that this never happens again.

I thanked him for being honest with the feedback and will take this as a lesson moving forward.

I am genuinely thankful for this reminder that gave us a slap-in-the-face wake-up call that we still have a lot to work on.

What are a few key points I realized I had to focus on?

For me personally, the spotlight lesson from this is that we are a team. It won’t matter if I’m giving my 10000% and the rest don’t reciprocate. Or it’s only 50% devoted to learning and growing together. It doesn’t work like that. We all need to be on the same page, with the same level of understanding and commitment to making each other and the company better than the day before. Of course, this needs to start from the top. If the leaders don’t have or show the same vision, how can the rest, right?

As a growing company, the leaders, the people fighting to make this a success, we need to understand that we’re a team, we’re a machine. If parts of us aren’t functioning correctly or 100%, then the whole machine won’t function right.

“With great power comes great responsibility”

I know this is the most cliche quote of all time, but it was on my Step Dad’s phone screen, and I didn’t fully understand what it meant until I was given the privilege of all these headaches.

I said it right, privilege. As sucky as it is or feels (pardon my french), I am thankful that I am given the opportunity to experience and learn from this. As cheesy as it sounds, I will keep on repeating this to myself or anyone on my team, but it is a good problem to have.

We will learn, we will improve, and we will make sure that we will never be in this situation again. We will come back better.

And yes, my team is probably tired of hearing me say this, but great power, big titles, flattering labels, will always come with responsibilities, “good problems” or trials and tribulations as a testament to what you’re capable of and deserve. Or else, everyone could do it, right?

The bright side about this is that we have each other to support and suffer the tribulation of our journey to success together.

Chin up, my dudes! We got this.

An added note:

I don’t mean to invalidate the feelings and how exhausted I am (or else I wouldn’t have shown that I actually have emotions by crying at my table), but this gurl practices gratitude whatever the situation. This will not be an exception ;)

But for now, as the secret is out, Vicky is just a normal 27-year-old girl that can feel sad, disappointed, angry, or whatever human beings feel.

In case you’re not catching the slight sarcasm;

Leaders = human beings too. We feel things too, y’all.

She needs a bit of time to process her emotions, whether by crying or writing them out, and prep herself to come back stronger with a clearer mind, and do what she gotta do.

Alright… that’s it from Vicky the also human being who’s emotional — kind of going crazy but trying her best to keep herself a sane entrepreneur.

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Fiery and in love with dancing. Today’s agenda: Attracting abundance, happiness, and building her two babies: www.dael-id.com www.rhaiona.com #smashpatriarchy

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Vicky Aitken

Vicky Aitken

Fiery and in love with dancing. Today’s agenda: Attracting abundance, happiness, and building her two babies: www.dael-id.com www.rhaiona.com #smashpatriarchy

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