Another story from Emma’s Thailand travels
Her name was Sister. All the other sisters went by their title and then their first name. But as the head nun, she only went as Sister. I’d been told before I arrived at the women’s shelter in Thailand that she was blind. I expected to be assisting her in day-to-day administrative tasks. Honestly, I’m not sure what I expected. I arrived at the compound in what felt like the middle of nowhere, and then I met Sister. Like many Thai people, she has aged flawlessly. She looked like she was 40 years old when in reality she was 72. Her humble clothing and simple shoes made me think that this woman would be a quiet soul and it confused me how she was the one running this whole operation – a full farm, kitchen, and shop to support the shelter of 11 mothers and 17 children. Not to mention a staff of eight volunteers and two full-timers.
I went to bed that night ready to meet someone in the morning that was actually in charge. Instead, as I settled into my new desk in the top floor of the main home, I was taken completely by surprise. Sister was a vision of efficiency. Having lost her sight only seven years earlier, she was able to discern light, but nothing beyond that. The most she could do physically for administrative work was to sign her signature when the pen was put in her hand and placed on the line. Apart from that, she was completely dependent on her team of the three of us. Yet, somehow, without sight, she was overseeing everything we did every day.
It took me only a short time to figure out that Sister was a master of delegation – completely able to see the vision of what needed to be done, yet humble enough to let others grow by asking for help. The tasks she gave us were always towards a larger vision, even one I couldn’t see at times. But through her organization and delegation, money was raised and new buildings and structures needed for the women to thrive were built. All under her direction and delegation.
You’re all leaders. You have a vision or a semblance of a place you want your team to be. The strange paradox of leadership is that you had to be a hard worker and independent in so many aspects of your life to get where you are today, but in leadership you are placed where you are placed to help others grow and become. What they become is up to them, but their opportunities to grow are often up to you.
So my challenge for you this week is to gauge what opportunities you are giving your team to grow and how often?