Last night I had the privilege to attend the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association panel discussion “Women in Leadership: The Challenges, the Victories, the Strengths”.
Although the event was through a women’s organization (the second largest in Indiana) and the title specified women, one of the most important messages was not gender specific.
And yes, there were men in attendance.
The panelists were Tiffany Olson, President of Nuclear Pharmacy Services at Cardinal Health; Colleen Hittle, Managing Director at Navigant and Jennifer Zinn, Vice President of Strategic Affairs at Roche Diagnostics with moderator Dr. Cheryl Beal Anderson, Sr. Director at Lundbeck. Talk about a powerhouse group!
Throughout the discussion there was a wealth of information presented, such great insight, humor and wisdom, just a few tidbits include:
- Being a leader can be lonely, careful what you wish for; but it is a privilege.
- Not all paths are straight and narrow, sometimes the broken path leads to the greatest destination.
- Eliminate the word “balance” in work/life, it is an equation; and one that you must calculate to fit you, not anyone else’s expectations.
- Learn to literally sit at the table and be comfortable in your seat.
One message that resonated with me and that I continue to go back to today is leadership is all about you in order to be a better leader for your team.
When I say it is all about you, my meaning is this: know yourself – your strengths, weaknesses, values, motives, goals and boundaries.
When you come from a place of honesty, integrity and transparency, you are able to perform at a higher level for your team. That is when the shift comes from all about you (knowing yourself) to all about them – providing direction, inspiration, encouragement and sometimes, a little butt-kicking.
Leader’s must make difficult decisions, the buck stops with them. What the panelists shared in making these decisions easier is to know yourself, trust your intuition, act with integrity and make the decision that is in the best interest of the group.
Communication is key. Learn first how to listen and then paint the long term benefit picture for the team as a team. Learn how to communicate in the way your team will best listen and understand.
You will never be right 100% of the time, you will make mistakes and you will tick someone off. One panelist made a difficult, but right, decision and her co-workers ‘voted her off the island’ for a few weeks. That is when being right can be lonely; however, knowing you acted with integrity and honesty will make it a bit easier to get through and much easier to look back upon.
Knowing your priorities in personal and business will allow you to keep what is important front and center and not be overrun by the priorities of the day.
Allow, no encourage or just short of demand, people to challenge you. One panelist said it wonderfully in stating mentors should push, inspire and challenge you. If they are just encouraging and agreeing, they are not providing much value. Not all mentors will be your mentor throughout your career. Some come in for specific purposes at specific times and once they have provided the value you need, it is time to let them go. Allow them to help others and allow yourself to bring the next level in to meet your needs.
Honesty is vital. Honesty with who you are, what your value is, what you are good at and where you can improve allows you to grow as an individual and a leader while providing a strong base for others to follow.
Each panelist had different viewpoints, experiences and I would hazard to say leadership styles; but the common denominator in them all: self-awareness, honesty, integrity and continual progression. It is something we can all learn from in being better versions of ourselves and better leaders to our teams.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer