Leadership is a gift

Humble, servant-leaders are a gift to an organization and to its employees.

This month marks four and a half years of service for me at Domain7, an Abbotsford-based web agency. During this time I have had the privilege of serving under the capable leadership of Shawn Neumann, founder and president. My time at Domain7 has been an invaluable experience and as I am about to embark on a new chapter of life in the non-profit world, I wanted to take a moment to honor Shawn.

In fact, one reason I am inspired to write is because Shawn himself would never want or ask me to do this. As anyone who knows him well would attest, he is a remarkably low-key leader. This spirit of humility has many benefits, chief among them being the development of a wonderful environment of deference and teamwork around our office.

So, I’d like to take just a moment to put Shawn on the hotseat and highlight five things I’ve learned from him during my time with Domain7.

1. Leadership as service. While Shawn is amazingly talented across the board, he is always the first to get his hands dirty and do the hard, mundane, day to day tasks that keep a business running.

2. Competency is your best strategy. Shawn has consistently invested in the very best people. His ability to identify talent and build a team of experts has always been of first priority to him.

3. Kindness to all. Shawn is indiscriminately kind to everyone he comes in contact with, not just those that the company will benefit from.

4. Work/life balance. I have always been impressed by Shawn’s clear commitment to his family. He loves his work, but I’ve never questioned what comes first in his life. This has set a great example for myself and the team.

5. Friendship. Shawn is not only a boss but also a friend. There were numerous times over the years when he was there for me personally, and I know the other team members would say the same. Shawn is the kind of friend who you’re never afraid to be honest with and have confidence he will support you whatever the situation.

As I move on from my role with Domain7, I want to publicly thank Shawn Neumann for the influence he’s had on my life. Good leadership is a gift and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have served alongside of him these last four and a half years.