Early in my career, I tried hard to adapt to what I felt the culture of the organization would accept from me, and it led to
stress and internal conflict. Today, I have learned to appreciate my own unique way of viewing the world, business situations and relationships.
Looking back, my female peers were the ones who helped me find success while staying true to my own values and communicating in a manner that was comfortable to me. I am grateful to have been surrounded by a network of women during critical development periods in my career. I could not have achieved my goals or be where I am without them.
Studies show that women aren’t as involved in mentoring as they could be. It’s essential that we, as women, recognize the power of mentors in career development and make time to guide those around us. I’d like to pass on a few principles that have served me well throughout my career:
STRETCH YOURSELF. Volunteer for experiences that challenge your comfort zone and expand your competencies. Charting
unknown territory provides new ideas, new information and greater understanding of what we can achieve.
COMMIT TO LIFELONG LEARNING. In your own career and in building teams, always value the ability to be intellectually nimble. Lifelong learning expands our perspectives and keeps our minds open to address issues that we may never have realized were staring us in the face.
CHALLENGE OLD THINKING, TEST LIMITATIONS AND CONTINUOUSLY IMPROVE. Nothing is more frustrating than to hear, “But that’s the way we do things around here.” When we stop challenging ourselves to grow and change, we fail as leaders.
COLLABORATE. While the power of one may inspire you to make a difference, the power of multiple perspectives can create the best plan. Develop your own ideas—then find those with expertise to share, inspire, refine and supercharge the outcome.
Remember that each of us contributes differently. Your job as a leader is to find the best in each member of your team. Respect the different talents and abilities of your team, and provide each member the opportunity to contribute in his or her own way.