Leadership Is a Choice

Laura Dodge headshot
Laura B. Dodge
Director, Corporate Department and Real Estate Practice Group
Published: Greater Manchester Chamber Blog
July 27, 2020

Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar.” – Orrin Woodward

Ten months ago, I had the honor and privilege of meeting 46 extraordinary people who continue to inspire me to raise my own bar.  It was day one of our Leadership Greater Manchester (“LGM”) Class of 2020 two-day retreat. We gathered in the beautiful lakes region of New Hampshire to begin our development as team.  Even though we were essentially strangers, it was immediately obvious that our team was going to be a strong, dedicated and cohesive group.

We began building our relationship and developing our team with various outdoor challenge activities in the woods and on the ropes course. We started with the core fundamentals of building a good team – respect and trust.  The first step in pursuing our shared priorities and realizing our shared purpose was developing respect for one another. Next, we fostered this respect with trust. Respect and trust are generally earned over time, yet we developed it in 48 hours and continue to cultivate it today.  For our class, individually and collectively, leadership is a choice. It is not a rank, role or a title; it is a responsibility. Leadership is about building respect and trust with shared common values and beliefs. Great leaders work for the greater good. Our class emerged from our retreat committed to being a team of great leaders.

With this shared commitment, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work. We learned about Manchester, its rich history, the challenges it faces, the various initiatives, programs and many opportunities and boundless potential the City has to offer. Our team gained a greater understanding of the area’s political, economic and social structures. We were empowered to solve some of the City’s challenges and improve the quality of life in the greater Manchester area. We remain committed to working for the greater good.

Over the course of the LGM program, our class exchanged viewpoints and experiences, we gained an understanding of each other, we bonded with one another, we supported each other, and we formed lifelong personal and professional friendships. We come from many different professional backgrounds (business, government, education, law, health care, non-profit, arts, and religious and community groups), and we differ personally too (different cultures, values, educations, family dynamics, spiritual and political beliefs). Many of us have different motivations to serve.  Yet, despite these differences, we share a common goal.  We are all dedicated to being great leaders and inspiring others to raise their own bar.