Name: Suzan Issa
Title: Founder & CEO
Organisation: Raising a Wild Child & The Wildheart Foundation
Neurodistinct founder and CEO of two organisations that are dedicated to supporting people in understanding themselves and others to live authentic, fulfilled lives.
Mum to 3 remarkable children who are now carving their own way through life.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Suzan's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As we have grown as an organisation remembering that I no longer need to or should plan, execute and make decisions solely.
Ensuring all factions of the organisation are involved, kept up to date and informed of the direction of the business and any new developments.
Keeping track as I relinquish responsibilities and ensuring they are being delegated to the right people.
Making difficult decisions about moving people on when they are not a good fit for the vision.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I was dissatisfied as a senior educator with how we supported families, individuals and children. I knew there was a more ethical, kind and effective way so left education to spread and develop my philosophy.
Within 2 years I was leading a team of 4, now 4 years on I am leading 2 ever growing teams across two organisations.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I have to check in often to ensure I am listening to my body and adapting my workflows accordingly. I have a wonderful EA who ensures I am switching off when I need to.
My days and weeks can vary from consecutive 14 hour days followed by consecutive 'off' days or spreading work over 7 days to fit my current sleep pattern.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
A few people will may advantage of kindness and understanding but, more importantly, most people will respond to compassion, kindness and understanding with fierce loyalty and commitment.
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?
Reinventing Organisations by Frederic Laloux. It made me realise it is possible to create a business and leadership model that fit with my ethos of allowing people to work to their strengths and limit the impact of perceived authority and hierachy to allow everybody to flourish.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Know your values, be prepared to have them tested to the limit but find a way to always go back to your core beliefs and the reason that you want to lead.
Whatever you are leading in, make it something that matters to you and keep your eye on the impact you want to make on the world.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
It is more an overall belief in what I always aim to achieve as a leader;
The ultimate goal is to have team members who are better than me at what they do and are more concerned about doing what they believe is right for the people we support than they are with pleasing me.
The magical meaningful story here is that I am fortunate enough to have achieved that.