For the leader within all of us
What will you bring to the table?
Nick Tentomas (Facilities Management)
Personal Leadership profile: Nick Tentomas
Nick Tentomas, a native of Greece, began his career at Dalhousie nearly 20 years ago. He works in the Facilities Management department as a manager of systems and project development.
Nick began competing in marathons, after joining an informal running club at Dalhousie consisting of coworkers and spouses. This past year, he ran three, full marathons with his best time yet at the PEI Marathon, clocking in at 2 hours, 57 minutes and 10 seconds.
“I have more energy and I’m happier and stronger after I run,” he says. “I apply the same concepts to my work as I do marathons. I break down the number of kilometres I have to complete in a marathon into more manageable chunks, and I do this with my work too. Running also gives me time to clear my head and often that is when I come up with solutions to work or life challenges.”
What does personal leadership look like to you?
Personal leadership is the ability to live a balanced, fulfilling and harmonic life through conscious, individual choices. A life where no goal is impossible and any dream is achievable through a positive attitude, along with hope, optimism, planning, focus, belief, commitment, perseverance and hard work. A life where failure makes one stronger and wiser and is accepted as an unavoidable pain in the journey to achieve your dreams.
How do you demonstrate personal leadership at work?
Time at work is part of my daily life and therefore the same principals I have for my personal life are applied to work. Nothing has ever been impossible. Obstacles and occasional difficulties are there to prove that there is always space for improvement. In my view, life would be boring without obstacles and we would not get the same euphoric sense of accomplishment if we did not have problems to overcome to get there. My personal experiences have taught me that positive energy propels us to achieve our goals. I believe that being pleasant, respectful and positive in interactions that I have with my co-workers assist in the flow of the positive energy in the organization and aids in the goals and dreams we want to achieve at Dalhousie.
What do you think is the most important aspect of personal leadership?
In my view, leading by example (i.e. walk the talk, and in my case run the race) as well as believing in yourself and being focused and knowing where you are the most important aspects of personal leadership.
What impact does your personal leadership have on the people that work with you?
I have noticed several of my coworkers trying to improve their life style and be healthier by doing more physical activities like walking, biking, running as well as eating better. I would like to believe that my life style as a runner has contributed to this in some way.
By Kelly Taylor
What is personal leadership?
Personal leadership is the desire of an individual to take charge of his or her own life. Those who practice personal leadership realize that leadership is not limited to a position or title, but is an outlook on life and their role in the world. “We can all show leadership by how we go about our daily work. Individuals in any position can make a commitment to (Creating Healthy Organizations, Graham Lowe, 2007):
- be guided by personal and organizational values,
- develop relationships based on mutual trust and respect,
- take initiative in their jobs,
- be responsible for learning and for teaching others,
- offer suggestions and ideas for how to do things better,
- engage in open and honest communication,
- support their co-workers or direct-reports, and
- recognize others’ contributions.”
Making a commitment
Like most things worth having, the traits of a leader do not come easily to a person. On the other hand, living a philosophy of personal leadership does not require a magical formula, nor is it available to only a few. It is actually available to most but what it requires is a commitment to self-reflection, a sense of purpose and personal values.
In a sense, personal leadership is also about becoming a good follower as we seek continuous improvement and correct our course as needed. If personal leadership had a motto it would be this: “Before I seek to change or motivate others I must first learn to change and motivate myself. I must first become the change I wish to see in others.” (Greg Thomas, weLEAD Online Magazine).