Lessons in Leadership

When I joined Walmart more than 20 years ago as an intern in the real estate group, I knew I would learn a lot. But I never imagined just how many different roles I’d have, doing things I had never imagined. One constant, regardless of the role: the need to be a strong and authentic leader.

I take leadership seriously; I believe there is power in the words you choose and matching actions you take. I hold myself to a high standard and am a constant learner. Each year, I capture and write down a leadership lesson from that year—one I know will make me a better leader. Regardless of what has happened, I only choose one, and I don’t allow myself to repeat lessons. I have one for each of my 20 years at Walmart. Here are few of these lessons:

  • Have Confidence in Your Decision: It sounds so simple, but it’s true that in order to get the support and confidence of others, you have to have confidence in yourself and in your own ideas.
  • Act Up: This means operating at least two levels above the job you have—how you communicate, the ability to articulate a clear vision. People will rarely elevate you to a role you haven’t demonstrated an ability to operate within.
  • Be Curious: It‘s easy to stay in your comfort zone. To grow as an individual and a strong leader, it’s important to seek out new information, meet new people, and generate new ideas.

These are just some of the lessons that have not only helped me transform as a leader, but were key in helping to develop others and advance my career.

For years, I have encouraged others to capture the good and bad lessons learned. It is one way of adding skills or tools to the leadership toolbox. Authenticity and leadership lessons are to be shared for personal growth and the development of others. Every generation of leaders can benefit from lessons already learned by others.