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How to Lead Other Leaders

Written By: Lauren Howard

Both of my kids were al dente.

By a lot.

The first was six weeks early and the second was eight.

It’s why there isn’t a third kid.

I was a first-time mom with a daughter in the NICU, and I felt like everyone was making decisions through me. As if they were pointing them in my direction to say they included me, but they weren’t actually talking to me.

I felt powerless. They were starting my daughter on medications that we had a family history of allergies to. They were moving her from place to place without communicating with me. I didn't know what was going on.

I stood there, overwhelmed and unclear on what to do next.

Until my dad stepped in.

He was wheelchair-bound and seven weeks away from dying, but he stood the heck up in that hospital room and took control.

“Stop it. You will tell my daughter what you’re doing with her child and you will ask her before you do it. I have been a doctor for 50 years, and I saw communication better than this before we even had computers.”

Everything stopped and reset. It was like he rebooted everything.

The charge nurse looked at me. “He’s right, Mom. This is the plan that the doctor is recommending. What would you like to do?”

It clicked.

“I want to talk to the doctor who decided this without talking to me first.”

She had him on the phone in minutes. We discussed. I advocated for my family.

And when my second daughter was taken to the NICU two years later while I recovered from surgery, my husband was sent with her with full instructions, a list of family allergies, where our phone numbers were to go ON and not IN the chart, in what situations we wanted a phone call, and a list of nurses to ask for in her rotation.

Because I had done it before.

Because someone advocated for me the first time and gave me space to get my sea legs.

Because he knew I could do it once someone cleared up the chaos.

I use this to this day as an example of how to lead other leaders.

You know when the leadership potential is there in your employees. Sometimes you just have to light the way to help them find their footing. Sometimes it's advocating. Sometimes it's quietly pushing them in the right direction.

And sometimes it's telling everyone to just stop and listen.

Those are the moments when leaders create other leaders.

I am grateful for the example and that I get to pay it forward.


Founder & CEO at elletwo


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