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Just What is Leadership?

Being a Manager is Not a Bad Thing; I Know Leaders Who Canít Manage

October, 2022

Nathan Donnell

Nathan Donnell
Director, Parking Vertical Strategy, at ChargePoint. 


I believe leaders are the most selfless people in the room. They put others above themselves almost every time. 


Leaders want others to succeed. They’re not insecure about their status nor do they need to tell others they’re leaders. 


People naturally gravitate to them. Next time you walk into a room full of people, look around, and nine times out of ten you
can point out a leader by the number of people gathering around that person. 


There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to leadership.


Leaders inspire, influence, and motivate those around them. Managers plan, organize, and manage tasks, and hopefully, deliver results. Being a manager is not a bad thing. I know leaders who can’t manage! 


In my opinion, personal reflection and growth are critical to staying motivated. Striving to be better than the day before motivates me to make better decisions in life and in work. 


I also read and listen to books and podcasts on other leaders. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to leadership. We have countless leaders to look to for guidance and examples. 


We also have countless “leaders” who can teach us what NOT to do. I won’t name names, but I’m sure some of them come to mind as you’re reading this! 


Having different generations is challenging. 


Each generations’ workforce is different. It’s good to have different age groups working together; we can learn from younger and older people. Each person has a different viewpoint from their culture, background, how they were raised, who they learned from. Most people my age were raised to be self-sufficient and to figure things out on their own. The younger generation were raised mostly to collaborate and work with a team. 


To this day, I still run into people who would rather deal with C level individuals when working on “bigger” deals. 


I believe if you put the right people in the position, a title shouldn’t make a difference. As a C level position, if you trust your team and give them the autonomy to make decisions, you’re in good place. And it frees you up to focus other things. 


If I could build or create the perfect leader/CEO I would mold Jesus Christ, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and Rosa Parks together. 


Each one of them had characteristics that made others want to follow them and even die for their beliefs. The four of them lived what they believed and their actions matched their message. 


A successful team consists of individuals with different strengths, backgrounds, and ideas. 


You don’t want a team with all the same strengths. Team members need to feel comfortable with sharing their ideas without fear of being rejected, judged, or shut down. Communication within the team is essential for success. 


I believe if you put the right people in the position, a title shouldn’t make a difference.


My dream job would be to be a professional golfer. You can travel the world playing a sport that can never be perfected. 


Every golf shot, hole, and course is different. Every day is a new challenge; you can practice every day and never be perfect. I believe it teaches you patience and perseverance as long as you stick to it. 


Director, Parking Vertical Strategy //


Nathan Donnell is Director, Parking Vertical Strategy, at ChargePoint. 



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