In mentoring other women who aspire to positions in leadership, I suggest some lessons I have learned along the way that have helped me succeed:
LESSON 1. Be prepared with all the facts. Try not to get caught up using your emotions to gain consensus. If you know that the topic you are presenting is controversial, anticipate questions and be prepared to respond with the facts versus your own personal emotions.
LESSON 2. Know your own personal strengths and weaknesses and build a team with individuals whose strengths differ from your own. Leverage the diversity around you by being open to different ideas and perspectives. Encourage healthy debate and discussion to produce better results. Try not to take disagreements personally; it’s just part of the decision-making process.
LESSON 3. Realize that the best idea is only as good as the buy-in you receive from your staff, peers, and superiors. In order to be successful, you must make others own the idea. Also, choose your battles wisely. One thing I learned early in my career fromamentor is that you may be right on a particular topic, but the relationship damage may not be worth the fight. Choose what is really important to you and the company, and focus your efforts there.
LESSON 4. Pursue any opportunity that will expand your knowledge base, even if it’s outside your core competency and comfort zone. Step up and take on the risky, challenging assignments. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want and be prepared to explain professionally why you deserve the opportunity. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
LESSON 5. Relationships are important. Actively develop relationships within your company that can help you through key career decisions. Develop relationships through listening to others and gaining their respect, and always make sure you are approachable.
LESSON 6. Don’t neglect your personal life. I am personally more productive and creative when I’m spending enough time with my daughters and am involved in their daily lives. I eat dinner with my girls every night I’m in town, and make as many of their soccer and volleyball games as I can. Also, learn your limits and learn how to say “no.”
I’ve been fortunate that Ace has provided me with ample opportunities that keep me engaged and excited throughout my career.