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Leaving but Not Leaving
Episode #26 of the Third Turn Podcast with guest Della Stanley-Green.
Remember the film “The Intern”, where Robert De Niro’s character becomes the intern/ executive assistant to Anne Hathaway, now CEO in the very building where he once occupied the executive suite?
Well, that comes up in our conversation as a seemingly parallel example to the career journey of Della Stanley Green.
There’s a lot in Della’s story that is unconventional, counterintuitive, and frankly, refreshing by many “leadership wisdom” standards. Just a couple examples:
- Yes, after serving in an Executive Director role, Della shifted to an executive support role for which she was seemingly quite overqualified;
- She is currently one of three people sharing leadership in a kind of trinitarian superintendent role for her regional Quaker denomination.
Della is the first to say that her career journey has been more of a zig zag path to places others might have gotten to by a more direct route. Her leadership journey has been marked by seasons of service and shifts between a variety of seats on the bus. She’s a gifted, utility-player leader who can easily wear a variety of hats; and her guiding orientation to where and what next has been discernment, willingness, and availability.
This unconventional way hasn’t always been comfortable or easy for her. But these values Della shares and lives reverberate throughout her places and seasons of service:
- Working primarily from our giftedness, rather than rooting our identity in a specific role;
- Recognizing that leadership is primarily about influence, and can happen across roles and seats on the bus;
- Serving first and foremost as a non-anxious, stabilizing presence in an organization and amid change and transition;
- Having eyes to see and attend to both the exciting and energizing aspects of organizational change and transition, but also the tedious, tiring, and painful pruning aspects as well;
- Responding honestly to seasons of change and loss, and attending to it rather than postponing it.
Della demonstrates a unique kind of courage and humility, and she lives and leaves a beautiful legacy; the example of a leader who has learned to govern herself well and, as a result, is more available to respond to and serve things beyond herself.
Some additional resources that came up in our chat, or that Della wanted to pass along:
- The sweet scene from “The Intern”, featuring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway
- A book by Dan Heath--Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen
- Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life and Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans
- Daniel H. Pink’s website--articles, videos, and interviews on the big ideas reshaping our work, transforming our businesses, and changing our lives.
With each episode of the Third Turn Podcast we host a conversation among leaders who want the world to flourish for generations beyond their lifetimes.
Listening with others in some way and enjoying in-depth conversations of your own as you reflect and choose what you would do the same or differently is a plus!
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