The Smart & Savvy team recently assembled a dozen leaders in the Seattle marketing industry and gave them each five minutes on the stage. We laughed, we commiserated, we slapped our foreheads with lightbulb moments, and we were privy to some very real and personal stories.
As individuals we all walk our own career paths, and none are the same. But the opportunity to learn from others who have led similar journeys, if even just for a moment, is priceless. At last month’s Leader Lounge in Seattle, some common themes emerged: love what you do, and be true to yourself. Easier said than done at times in our lives, when we’re trying to jam our foot in the door for the first time or jump onto a new path. But this can also be a challenge later in our careers, when we rise into leadership roles, and are once again feeling “new.”
Consider this wisdom from these three accomplished leaders:
Claire Booth, Owner/President, Lux Insights
Brent Kokoskin, Senior Director Professional Marketing, Phillips Oral Care
Susan Sayers, Senior Segment Marketing Manager, T-Mobile
Lead like Harrison Ford
Be the biggest fan of your fans—this lesson comes directly from the man behind Indiana Jones and is one of Brent Kokoskin’s top rules for good leadership. To be an effective leader, you must work with your people—not through your people. Don’t be the manager who presents your team’s work as your own. Share not just the glory, but the talents of the people who bring ideas and projects to life. Leaders lead—leaders don’t need to do everything (or be perceived to do it all).
Be your own hero.
Claire Booth has made a very liberating discovery: “The voice in my head isn’t me. How do I know this? Because I can’t listen to myself and talk to myself at the same time. So, I’ve named that voice: it’s called The Judge.”
Many of us have an inner critic that can shake confidence, and it makes its screechy sounds with those awful phrases, ‘not good enough,’ ‘not smart enough.’ Claire has made the conscious decision to acknowledge the voice, but send it packing: “I hear the voice but shut it down: ‘off you go.’ I listen hard to what’s really inside of me so that I am sure of who I am and the decisions I make. I am my own hero.”
Lead yourself first.
Leading others doesn’t mean that you’re done learning and developing your own career. To be an effective leader, you need to stay on top of your game. And guess what? You need to lead that too. Susan Sayers has some straightforward truths for making sure you continue to grow in your work, and as a person. She holds to the notion that it’s a choice to flourish or be miserable. To succeed where it matters on a personal level, you need to discover what work brings meaning to your life.
Susan’s top 5 tips for effective self-leadership
- Set high standards for yourself
- Be a mentor—and—find a mentor to help grow your career
- Be able to tell your story
- Understand your personal brand and what you stand for
- Enjoy life and whatever it throws at you
For more inspiration, check out these recommended podcasts from some of our other speakers: Anne Williams, Kevin Urie, and Patty Rowell.
Peter Reek is the Founder and President of Smart, Savvy + Associates. We find high-calibre marketing, communications, creative and sales professionals with proven track records and in-demand skills for companies who need them, across the Pacific Northwest and in Toronto. We also provide leadership development, skills workshops, and coaching services for workplace programs, corporate retreats and individual growth opportunities. Contact Peter to discuss your organization's training needs.