Lessons in Leadership: Integrating Courage, Vision, and Innovation for the Future of Sustainable Fisheries

Leading Is Listening First and Acting with Courage to Follow What You Hear

Tracy Claramunt

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874608.ch6

I landed my first job after graduate school with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. I used the money from my “adult” paycheck to rent my first house. I bought a dog. I set my alarm every morning and bounded out of bed to make oatmeal. I poured my coffee—which I thought would brand me as an adult to my colleagues. During the day, I answered calls in my most professional voice. I said yes to every request of me. I had no idea of what was and wasn’t important or what did or did not push me away from, or propel me towards, our organization’s mission. I wanted to be everyone’s friend, I wanted everyone’s esteem, and if I was competing for anything it was to be the most helpful and pleasant female biologist anyone had ever worked with.

I believe at that I succeeded. Everyone loved to talk to me, and I was always praised as helpful and accommodating. More and more projects piled up on my desk, and anyone with a problem dropped by my desk to see if I wanted to help solve it. I felt responsible for helping to fix everything!

Around that time, a colleague was retiring, and because my organization wasn’t financially solvent enough to rehire her position, I was asked if I wanted to take over some of her responsibilities for more pay. Absolutely, I replied! This must be success, I thought…