Learning from My Daughter

Jim Bruce's picture By: Jim Bruce
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Vicky Mikula, Assistant Director of Applications, Cornell Information Technology and ITLP 2012 alum makes two important points:  We must learn to be open to learning from all sources.  And, as leaders we must open up paths for our staff to achieve results.

Learning from My Daughter
by Vicky Mikula, Assistant Director of Applications, Cornell Information Technology

My eldest daughter, Brittney, is a senior in high school and on the varsity girls basketball team.  She is 5’ 8“ and has played basketball since the 4th grade. She was moved up to the JV team in 7th grade; making her a 6 year JV/Varsity player.

With all these years of experience, one would expect to see and hear Britt’s name all the time when it comes to basketball.  But you don’t. 

Brittney is a very talented and humble defensive player.  She shuts down some of the best offensive players on other teams.  She clears the path constantly for others to score.  She see’s the entire court and makes accurate passes that result in points.  She is a defensive force on the court that makes the way for others to have success and recognition.  

Recently, I asked her why she made a particular decision during a game.  She had stolen the ball and was heading down the court, toward the basket.  She could have easily made the layup and added to her overall points and stats. However, on the other side of the court was another teammate, unguarded as well.  Brittney bounce passed the ball to her and she scored the 2 points.  

I asked Brittney later, ”why didn’t you take the shot yourself?“  She responded with, ”she is more accurate than I am and the team needed the points.  I had just as much satisfaction watching her score 2 points than if I had scored them.  I made it possible for her to score.“

I was surprised that a teenager could see this so clearly while in my own interactions at work, I easily forget to look around and leverage the strengths of those around me.  I still struggle with trying to do it all myself.  

As I continued to reflect on my daughter’s behavior on the court, I also recognized that I am in a leadership position where I can clear the path so that others can achieve results, succeed and gain recognition for their efforts.  As with Brittney, my satisfaction can also come from quietly leading and clearing the path so that others can succeed.

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So, who are you going to learn from this week?  Who will you clear a path for?

.  .  .  jim

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