Editor’s Note: Happy New Year! What a great time to honor Leaders Who Inspire Us! Keep an eye out for more inspirational people in our field who are change makers. If you want to recommend someone, please send a note to [email protected].
Today’s featured leader is Dr. Erin Browder, a Leadership and Organizational Development Consultant. She specializes in building safe and supportive workplaces, leadership development, organizational culture, and capacity building. She has provided strategic support for school improvement and turnaround efforts within the greater Los Angeles area and school districts nationwide. Erin is a certified Cognitive Coach and trained in systems change, emotional intelligence, restorative practices, and organizational mindfulness. She is currently a doctoral candidate at Johns Hopkins University (MD). www.erinaverybrowder.com
Over my professional career, I’ve been blessed with many mentors and coaches who show me that rolling up your sleeves and working in partnership with others will create solidarity and resilience among those committed to creating change in our communities, systems, and world. These purpose-driven leaders and professionals are selfless caregivers who willingly give every last drop of energy to the task at hand. They give so much and keep little for themselves. Serving others is demanding work and we have to build in systems of support to make it sustainable and avoid burnout.
My big action item is to humanize the workplace. We need to create connected workplaces where everyone thrives. Leader well-being is organizational well-being. When leaders model focused action and healthy social and emotional competencies, their organizations reflect these abilities. Quality support and care is given when professionals experience higher rates of job satisfaction and professional well-being. By shifting workplace culture, we can create positive, inviting spaces where professionals feel safe and willing to collaborate to benefit the communities they support.
Connection. Many people know the meaning of community and struggle with building it. When you are balancing life and professional responsibilities, community slips by the wayside. Connection is the gift that keeps giving. People build social support, resource networks, and authentic relationships through powerful connections. My work as a facilitator allows people to see their commonalities and tap into the way they can contribute to community, and receive contributions from others.
This changes all the time–My favorite now is “those closest to the problem are closest to the solution” from Glenn E. Martin. In my work, I support collective problem-solving and helping organizations tap into their genius zones. The answers are always in the room, and many times we are asking the wrong questions or the wrong people. If we want to uplift our communities and organizational culture, we should start with asking the people in those spaces.