By Hanan Awaad
The daughter of the land by the sea, with a history dated to 7000 BC, and a remarkable modern leadership record; Kim Baird – the former Chief of Tsawwassen First Nation was the driving force of British Columbia’s first urban modern treaty on April 3, 2009. A mother of 3 girls, and a long To-Do list full of meetings and economic development and policy planning session, Kim approaches life with a very calm attitude.
Hanan Awaad, Editor-in-Chief of Corporita Magazine had the honor to talk one-to-one with Kim.
Q. Kim, you have a record of 6 terms as a chief of the Tsawwassen First Nation, what makes a woman leader stands out?
When I started out as chief of my community, there were very few woman Chiefs and certainly none under the age of 30 like I was. Women bring a different perspective into leadership and often focus on things based on that view. I focused on trying to improve the quality of life for the members of my community. This isn’t always the case – but I think you can make a generalization that women leaders focus on services while men have often focused on land and resource issues.
Q. Dealing with the government sometimes is full of challenges, especially when it comes to negotiation and dissenting views; how can an aspiring leader master the art of negotiation and achieve his/her goals?
In some ways, it is easier to speak for others than yourself. I always watched other First Nation leaders tackle controversial issues publicly and learned to understand how people reacted. Being an interest based negotiator is a good way to find consensus amongst diverse audiences, whether it is for engaging or negotiating. Establishing shared goals enables success in my experience.
Q. When talking to women in leadership positions, many highlighted their need to keep control of every aspect of their business; when do you think a leader has to step back and trust her people to do good work? Are there times when micromanaging is a necessary approach to leading?
I have been in situations where I had no-one else to rely on and had to do all the work and much prefer having assistance. In my small community, we had very real capacity constraints. But we achieved a great deal with a small team. The processes and the products weren’t perfect – but if you want to achieve your goals, you must rely on help, and you must build capacity within your team you can trust them. You also can’t let the perfect get in the way of the good. I have been guilty of micromanaging, and it is very demoralizing to everyone and often erodes your team’s confidence and therefore capacity. Respect for others is critical.
Originally posted 2016-06-27 03:13:21.