Caring about people, really listening to what people are saying, and giving your all to any task you undertake is what transforms managers into leaders.
When I was growing up, my father taught me that nothing is more important in life than people and our relationships with each other. My father lived that principle and my own life experiences have proven over and over again how right he was. People and their feelings matter. In my day-to-day life I am surrounded by family, friends and co-workers who care for and provide support to each other. Having a network, a team, working together and sharing knowledge, wisdom, and strength leads to greater success than could ever be achieved by going it alone.
When I attended St. Francis College, it was just beginning to admit female students. I wanted to study business and, at the time, a woman in business was an almost revolutionary concept. The business program had very, very few women students but I had wonderful professors who told me that if I was going to enter a ‘man’s world’ then I would have to hold my own. This challenged me to work a little harder so that I would not give any reason to be viewed differently than the male students. I learned from this to be true to myself and always give more than 100 percent to any job I tackle.
Early in my business career, my mentor cautioned me to always listen closely when other people are speaking to really hear what was being said. That is not as simple as it may sound. Often, after the first few words we think we know what another person is saying but, once you master the art of intense listening, it is amazing to see how much is missed when you don’t give your undivided attention to the person speaking.
These lessons have not only accompanied me throughout my life in business and technology, they were what ignited my career and led to all my achievements. I frequently talk to students about finding the right paths in business and technology. I tell them not to hold back. I tell them to pour everything they are, everything they have, into what they do. I tell them to give their best to their jobs and to the people in their lives. That, I am convinced, is the formula for leadership.