Being a good leader is an ongoing quest. However, I think there are a handful of staple ingredients in the recipe for success, which I’ve shared over the years with professionals that I’ve mentored.
Figure out your passion—and use it to inspire yourself and others. This requires being open to various experiences and intuiting what you really care about. This “passion” gives you the extra energy to excel and provides an authentic basis from which to motivate others. Once you find it, let others know. Good leaders get it—and know they get the best results from people by helping them apply their passion to the business.
Think of your role model as a mosaic and a work in progress. My role model is a mosaic of attributes, rather than a copy of one person. Growing up, I admired the drive and disciplined risk-taking of my father, while concurrently marveling at the grace and organizational skills of my mother, who kept our house hold of nine running smoothly. I continue to update my model and seek to adopt certain behaviors that fit my overall style.
Envision your career as a journey and have in mind more than the next weigh station. I have always had a vision for my career that looked well beyond the next move. I’ve made good use of informal interactions with senior leaders several steps ahead of me to understand what was on their minds about our business and what motivated them. This helped me formulate my longer term charter. Having a charter can help you navigate through this quarter’s challenges and daily demands; it also enables you to ask for and receive constructive help along the way.
Be in the moment—and set some boundaries. I try to immerse myself in what is in front of me, even though I need to switch gears often. At work, being in the moment means focusing on individual employee interactions, having time to reflect quietly on a client’s problem from their point of view, digging into the details and asking questions when a lot is at stake, and generally giving things my full attention (rather than multitasking with cell and email overload). In my personal life, I take fabulous “adventure vacations” with my husband and the dogs – the farther off the beaten path the better! And I really do turn off work then.