Third time is a charm. For 2021, I’ve taken on a new challenge for my “Living Leadership” blog. Each month there are words embedded in my blog that come directly from one of our nation’s top thought leaders. 

Here’s the first round, In case you missed that installment.

Selfishly, I am having a blast reading your emails (see my address below), either offering the correct answer or your attempt at the correct answer. The quotes every month will come from the same leader, hidden in my humble blog. 

Secondly, choosing the quote each month has forced me to slow down and really think about that time in our history and how much I have to learn as a leader. How during this horribly uncertain time of 2020, we know there have been times in our history when individuals certainly suffered more. 

I have always been fascinated by leaders and have enjoyed studying them and learning from them. I hope one day my legacy will be that folks think of me as a compassionate, transformational leader striving to bring out the best in others. In my opinion, one of the most challenging balances to strike is holding others accountable, versus giving them the benefit of the doubt. 

If you’re too tough, you may lose people. If you give second, third and fourth chances, you are viewed as weak or not consistent. So where do we land? Where do we land as leaders during a pandemic where our world has been turned on its head and shaken up and down like a ragdoll?

Let me backup for a second. We’ve heard about COVID-19 fatigue and the toll it’s taking on our field. In the last few weeks, I have found myself coming back to the word “forgiveness,” to the point where it one day made me stop in my tracks. Occasionally throughout 2020, I found overwhelming pains of guilt wash over me; a sense that I’m not doing enough for those we serve. In order to move on and act like the leader our organization needed, I had to forgive myself. 

Maybe you are there, too, and it’s been tough to identify. There is constant pressure in our field to do for others. In order to do for others, we need to first look inside. 

So back to striking that balance. Unfortunately, I don’t have an easy answer. However, the transformational part of this leadership journey is that we encourage others to hold themselves accountable and our teams don’t always need us as leaders to point out the obvious. It’s not an easy attitude to master; in fact, no one will ever get there 100% of the time, but it certainly is worth the effort. 

There are 11 total words from the famous quote. Hidden in this blog are five words in the order they appear in the quote. Before you go, ask yourself who do you need to forgive? 

Julie Thorson can be reached at [email protected]. She was the 2018 recipient of the LeadingAge Dr. Herbert Shore Outstanding Mentor of the Year award and is currently a coach for the Leading Age’s Larry Minnix Leadership Academy. Her “Living Leadership” blog was named the 2016 “Best New Department” Bronze Award winner by the American Society of Health Publication Editors. The president and CEO of Friendship Haven, a life plan community in Fort Dodge, IA, Thorson is a coach’s daughter at heart. A former part-time nursing home social worker, she is a licensed nursing home administrator and completed Leading Age’s Leadership Educator Program last summer.