Weekender: Ava DuVernay’s Open Door Leadership

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Welcome to another edition of leadersayswhat’s the Weekender, a little morsel to start your weekend off on the right track. Why just a morsel? Because it’s the weekend!

Does your leadership role make you feel as if you’re balancing the weight of the world? Get ready to feel it lighten while simultaneously letting some air out of your ego.

On 60 Minutes, award-winning Director Ava DuVernay was discussing whether her success in making Selma – the critically acclaimed movie about Martin Luther King Jr., Lyndon Johnson, and the 1965 civil rights march to Montgomery – would open doors for future female directors.

I’m not a big believer in one person that’s a door opener. Because I can open a door but if there’s no one else coming through it or if the door is allowed to close right after me, it doesn’t mean much.

Ava’s humility is apparent, as are her views regarding the limitations of leadership. A leader may be the first to do or say something, but without a strong base of support, it means very little if no one is following.

To ensure you are surrounding yourself with individuals who have the potential to follow in your triumphant footsteps, it is your responsibility to hold the door open for others. This can be accomplished through mentoring programs, succession planning, and efforts to lead with an open leadership style that teaches why you do what you do.

So good news, no one is expecting you to break through that barrier all on your own. You’ll just need to figure out how to create a hole big enough to let everyone else follow.

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