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7 Questions on Leadership with Leena Elizabeth Abraham

Name: Leena Elizabeth Abraham

Title: Board Member

Oranisation: Children of the World (India) Trust

A postgraduate in English literature as well as education, Leena Elizabeth Abraham has been teaching and creating curricula for children for many years. She created her own curriculum too, held online classes for children in conversational English, English literature and language, art, and craft, and conducted reading workshops for both children and adults. She writes poetry and is also a crafter (decoupage) and loves to paint (watercolors and acrylic). Leena worked as an editorial reviewer for academic research papers. She was also an editor and an academic writer for English Language Arts (ELA) assessments for K-12-USA - Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Leena was placed in the top ten percentile globally in the International Teacher’s Olympiad in 2022. Leena has also been nominated as the leading trainer of the year (India) for the Ed Falcon Golden Awards at the Ed Talk World Conference to be held in Delhi (2024). SChildren of the World (India) Trusthe is a dedicated board member of the Children of the World (India) Trust. Leena has reason to believe that a major part of her life project lies with the children of India and the world.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Leena's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

In my role as a board member at Children of the World (India) Trust, the most challenging part of being a leader is managing the diverse tasks I've taken on. From interviewing candidates and overseeing remuneration to providing thoughtful advice and assisting with digital support, each responsibility requires careful attention.

One challenge lies in making sure we select the right people during interviews, not just based on skills but also considering how well they align with the trust's mission. This involves understanding the unique qualities each candidate brings and ensuring they share our commitment to helping children.

Keeping an eye on remuneration adds another layer of complexity. Striking a balance between fair compensation and the trust's financial health is crucial. It requires thoughtful consideration to ensure we attract and retain talented individuals while being mindful of our budget.

Offering astute advice involves staying informed about the trust's operations and the broader context of our work, while my intuitive ability aids in understanding unspoken dynamics. This ongoing learning process is essential to provide valuable insights and guidance.

Digital support, though a different realm, has its own challenges. Ensuring our technology functions smoothly demands adaptability and a proactive approach to troubleshooting issues promptly.

In summary, the most challenging aspect of my leadership role is effectively managing these varied responsibilities, ensuring each contributes positively to the overall success of Children of the World (India) Trust.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I was invited to become a board member by my friend who has been a major force in this organization for many years. I am grateful to him. According to my friend my astuteness, my love for children, and my intuitive sense of assessing a situation are great qualities for leadership in this field.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

Every morning, I dedicate around fifteen minutes to self-reflection, allowing me to center myself and organize my thoughts. As I work from home, I strive to allocate my time evenly among various tasks I've assigned for the day. While maintaining this balance, some days demand more extensive preparation for my online classes, emphasizing the flexibility required in my routine.

In my role as a board member for the Children of the World (India) Trust, I actively explore avenues where I can contribute meaningfully. Regularly checking online news and social media for updates on NGO-related regulations and opportunities keeps me informed and aids in strategic planning.

A significant focus is on enhancing our community uplift program, contemplating ways to provide breakfast and evening snacks for underprivileged children. This involves thoughtful consideration of logistical and resource aspects to ensure a positive impact on their well-being.

Beyond these responsibilities, I carve out time for creative activities such as painting, crafting, making fabric jewelry, or taking part in online Scrabble competitions. These moments of artistic expression and wordplay not only serve as personal outlets but also contribute to a well-rounded and balanced approach to my daily routine. Whether it's the joy of creating something with my hands or the mental stimulation from a strategic word game, these activities provide a refreshing break.

Overall, my days are a dynamic blend of professional commitments, community-focused initiatives, and personal creativity, all interspersed with the occasional challenge that a game of Scrabble brings. This eclectic mix not only keeps me engaged and fulfilled but also enriches my perspective, fostering a holistic and fulfilling lifestyle.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

In leadership, a pivotal lesson emerged during the hiring process: providing candidates with a sample work opportunity. This strategic shift, moving beyond traditional interviews and resumes, enabled a direct evaluation of their skills. This practical assessment not only gauged competence but also served as a litmus test for their potential contributions to the organization. By incorporating this step, we achieved a more accurate alignment of a candidate's skills with organizational needs, safeguarding against the financial risk of misaligned abilities. This leadership approach fostered a culture of meritocracy and performance-driven recruitment, strengthening our team while simultaneously contributing to the organization's long-term financial health.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

In my nascent journey of discovering the leader within me, "Developing the Leader Within You" by John C. Maxwell has been transformative. The book provides me with valuable insights and practical advice, and one lesson that particularly resonates is the idea that true leaders intuitively sense problems before they become evident. This concept has made me prioritize and trust my gut feelings more seriously. Embracing this intuitive aspect of leadership empowers me to navigate challenges with a blend of analytical thinking and personal wisdom. Maxwell's guidance encourages me to incorporate my own intuition into my decision-making process, fostering a more holistic and authentic approach to leadership. As I continue to learn and grow, this book serves as a guide in unlocking and developing the leader within me.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

For a young leader, my singular advice would be to embrace mindfulness and not take failure personally. Practicing mindfulness enhances self-awareness, allowing you to navigate challenges with clarity. It promotes thoughtful decision-making and resilience. Simultaneously, understanding that failure is an inherent part of growth prevents setbacks from becoming personal defeats. Instead, view them as valuable lessons, catalysts for improvement. This mindset fosters a robust leadership journey, where every experience, positive or negative, contributes to your development. So, remain mindful, learn from failures, and forge ahead with a resilient spirit — a powerful combination for effective and enduring leadership.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

In my current role as a leader, a poignant story unfolds around the realization that each person in our organization contributes to the fabric of the firm. This understanding becomes particularly evident during a collaborative project where diverse talents converge. Individuals from various departments, each with unique stories, skills, and perspectives, seamlessly work together. The synergy creates a harmonious tapestry that not only enhances the organization's efficiency but also strengthens its sense of community. As this unity flourishes, it becomes clear that our collective efforts are directly impacting the well-being of the children under the organization's care. This story underscores the profound impact of collaboration, diversity, and a shared purpose, illustrating how the strength of a team can positively influence the lives of those we serve, especially the children who rely on our collective support and care.

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