29 November 2010


Some people believe that in order to be a great leader, it is necessary to be perfect. The reality is that great leaders aren't perfect, they have probably fallen a time or two. In all likelihood, a great leader will have made mistakes along the way, learned from them and then extracted lessons to pass on to others.

I would much sooner follow a leader who has fallen and got back up than a leader that has never fallen. The reason is obviour; a leader who gets back up has to have learned valuable lessons in the low point of life and very obviously put those lessons to good use if he/she is now on the leadership track. They are probably able to go on and inspire others to overcome their own obstacles in life because they have been there. People in positions of authority who have never made mistakes seem a bit super human and face challenges gaining respect because of it.

In the military, there was a lot of respect for officers that had worked their way up through the ranks to become commissioned officers. The other route that was available was to get a university degree and then become an officer, never having been where the rubber hits the road. These officers had a much more difficult time gaining the respect of the troops because they were not considered to be tried and true and also because they were not "one of us". As soldiers we trusted those who had been where we were, understood the challenges and could offer sound advice based on experience. Those who had taken the other route to leadership had a more difficult challenge.

The lesson is this - it's not the mistakes that will hurt you, it is the failure to make them and learn from them that will do more harm.

17 November 2010

First Female Cement Finisher in Long Harbour

Brenda Lynch is a remarkable woman. She also happens to be my sister. She has been a cement finisher in Nova Scotia for 27 years. She co-owns a company with her husband where they have been working since the early 80's in Nova Scotia where they specialize in sidewalks, curbs and gutter. Brenda enjoys working outside with the men. She has been a member of the Brick Layers union in NL for a couple of years now and had her fingers crossed that she would get a call to do some union work.

When you work for yourself in a small company, it is not uncommon to have to do a wide variety of tasks including labour work. Union work is different because there are labourers and that means that the cement finishers are responsible for finishing cement and labourers do the heavier labour work. It's a real treat to work on this union job - the pay is not too shabby either.

Brenda is the only female cement finisher in the Bricklayers Union. She will, no doubt, be a mentor and role model for the many young women who are going to come behind her. I have no doubt that it will be a very rewarding experience. Her first day is Monday and I will keep you posted when I know more. It is so exciting to see women take the lead in industry - we're cheering for you Brenda.