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Reflections on Leadership

It’s amazing how impactful good leadership can be when we live in a world where there’s so much chaos. We’re currently living through a pandemic, an election, and a holiday season right around the corner. When we’re unsure of where to focus or how to proceed, we look to the leaders for some direction. We’ve been wired to do this from the get go–we’re naturally attached to someone from birth who is responsible for our livelihood. These attachment patterns continue well into adulthood.


When we look to our leaders, we’re looking for someone to tell us, “We’re going to be okay.” It’s the same look a toddler will give their parents when they trip and fall. If the parent reacts frantically toward the child, the toddler will burst into tears and react with similar fear. If the parents react calmly and soothe the child, the toddler will most likely get right back up, brush themselves off, and carry on with their activities. Parents are natural leaders, and leaders set the tone. 


During this chaotic time of our lives, we need leaders who will be able to confidently guide us through a plan to safety, despite their fear of the unknown future. Fear is a normal response to great responsibility; there’s a healthy dose of fear of failure because we don’t want to let down the people we’re in charge of leading. When most of society is filled with fear about the future, our leaders should share that burden of fear. They have the power to create change that will lead us to safety. 


Leaders, parents, and really all of us aren’t meant to do it all by ourselves. We are social creatures who are wired to work together. Partnership is a crucial part of leadership. The more great minds there are working together, the more likely the outcome will be a positive one. There’s a reason why the cliche, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” exists: it’s true! Every team needs a good coach, and a successful leader is one who can cooperate and collaborate with the people they lead.


My hope for our leaders is the same for the parents and families I work with in therapy. I hope that they lead with empathy and compassion in their hearts. I hope that they take their responsibilities seriously and never forget that their examples set the tone for the future leaders of our society. I hope that when I’m ever in a position to lead, I’ll do so with a great support team because leading, like most things in life, truly takes a village.

An Thai, MS, resident in Marriage & Family Therapy, provides couple, family, and individual therapy in our Sterling, VA office and virtually to those located in VA. Call or email today to set up your first appointment or a complimentary consultation with An!