January 22, 2022
Author: Jana Mosley, Board Vice-Chair and Sponsorship Committee Chair, Women+Power
I’ve had the privilege of formally leading people for the last 15 years, and I have to say they have been the most rewarding years of my career. Leadership is a journey, and I must admit I’ve hit some bumps in the road, maybe even a few potholes. (I just went back and forth on whether not to use the word “few” or “a couple”, not wanting to be too imperfect – such a female thing to think!)
I’m grateful to the people along my path who have been patient with me when I’ve started a new role, to those who cut me some slack when I didn’t take the time to understand their perspective, and to the many who have been kind enough to give me feedback so I could improve. You know who you are – keep it comin’!
As I’ve progressed in my career, it became clear that the strengths that got me the latest promotion were not necessarily the same strengths I needed to leverage to be successful leading at the next level, or at least how those strengths needed to change in order to bring out the best in those around me. It was less about what I had accomplished and more about what the team had accomplished.
I recently read a book called “Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You” by Frances Frei & Anne Morris. I was intrigued, as we often talk as leaders about empowering others, but find we get stuck in our comfort zones and hierarchical society. The book starts by stating clearly “It’s not about you”. Leadership is about empowering other people as a result of your presence and making sure that impact continues in your absence. If you are all about unleashing the potential in others, check out this book!
Here are the main principles the authors cover, taken from the contents summary:
- Trust – Trust is the foundation for empowering leadership. You build trust when you reveal empathy, logic, and authenticity
- Love – You empower other people when you simultaneously set high standards and reveal deep devotion to them
- Belonging – You empower teams when you champion difference and ensure that everyone can contribute their unique capacities and perspectives
- Strategy – You empower organizations when you show people how to create and capture value on their own
- Culture – You empower communities – organizations and beyond – when you change the way people think and act
They say there is no “I” in TEAM, and throughout my leadership journey, I can tell you the times when I’ve felt the most fulfilled and proud have been when I have seen those around me in my team nail a presentation they were nervous about, have a difficult conversation they thoughtfully prepared for, rally others to achieve great results, or create a solution to a problem without being told what to do. When, through coaching, mentoring, learning, and trying, people in my organization move the needle on their path to reach their full potential, I get to sit back and smile knowing that in some small way, I made a difference. And that’s what it’s all about.