6 Attributes Why She’s Phenomenal
A two-part series on Great Women Leaders; here’s part one. Over the years, we’ve been witness to, worked for and with good and great leaders as well as those who’ve left us with more negative feelings. My formative leadership years were mostly filled with male-dominated managers and directors many of whom taught me more of how not to lead and manage business units, divisions and people. There were times also reporting into women leaders who superficially looked the role, yet responded in the same male hierarchy with domineering and overbearing behaviors that didn’t produce results and eroded relationships. In the past two decades I’ve found more women leaders coming into their own and driving business and personal success than ever before.
Not to proselytize this woman leader over that one adds little value for your aggrandizement. Many leaders, male and female, would benefit from setting their ego aside and take an introspective look into their persona, get out of their own way and do the right thing professionally and personally for the benefit of others in order to attain the results that are required in order to be successful to whatever degree. If you’re following The Culture Whisperer to any degree, then you understand my affinity for golf. I enjoy watching LPGA golfers more so than any other professional golf tour, because of their innate ability to feel their way around a championship golf course under the most strenuous of circumstances and perform under stress to optimal levels. Every golfer, in my opinion, would benefit immensely by watching these women play an individual sport with power and grace simultaneously.
From the infamous women leaders of today such as Lynne Doughtie or Indra Nooyi to those you’ve never heard of and those I’ve worked with, there are pearls of wisdom that we all benefit from by taking their example and improving the way we lead. Here are 6 attributes of why she’s a phenomenal boss:
She Understands Every Relationship Will Be Different – and doesn’t apply one solution for every relationship. There’s no template, no copy’n paste answer. Every relationship is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to experience trials and tribulations as well as the joys of success, competition and winning. There’s a rhythm between ego, results and relationships and she knows how to keep this rhythm from getting top heavy in one dimension or another. There’s an ebb and flow to it – sometimes it’s okay to push the boundaries and sometimes it’s not – yet she remains flexible based upon circumstance, milestones and deadlines and the eventual outcome that’s planned. One of those unknown women leaders I had the pleasure to work beside led on one simple principle: “Here’s where I want us to go and what we need to achieve. It’s irrelevant to me how you get there, because I trust you to get us there.”
She Doesn’t Wait For A Special Event To Give Praise – and the connection to her leadership is her ability to be present, to be in the moment and give feedback. There’s rarely a poop sandwich and her ability to edify, to guide and to correct performance with a “yes, and” approach is as natural as walking and chewing gum, and it’s never an event. Feedback comes often and consistently. It can be in the unlikeliest of times as well when no one else is around in person, via text, phone and sometimes the simplest email, whichever communication norm she knows you have a tendency towards. She adopts a coaching in the moment to ensure she’s giving you guidance on behaviors more so on hard techniques: “Dave, your 2Q results were on point and I appreciate how you were able to rally the team after several setbacks. I’d like to see you focus on solidifying the relationships with Courtney and Bob as you work through the new product launch, and you’re group will become even stronger.”
She Understands and Adapts to Your Communication Style – it’s not about pushing buttons or manipulating this or that. She’s paid attention to how you give and receive communication, respects your style – regardless if it works for her or not – because at the end of the day, she wants you to be successful and in that we’re successful together. It’s not about who’s getting credit. It’s better and faster to adapt to your style than it is to force you into her “box.” Time is the one commodity we cannot buy more of so she leverages what you do best, guides and directs you with your style, gains your followership and your motivation to get it done. It was never about how.
She Communicates More and Often – in a day and an age when over 90% of our communications is superficial and general, she understands your deepest needs and considers your deepest feelings in order to inform, to educate and to motivate you to perform at and above your potential. We use the term “game manager” in football when the quarterback success is that of being in the right system. When in actuality, the system is nothing more than a platform for everyone to concentrate on their given role to achieve a specific goal. By communicating more frequently, the guesswork is eliminated. She understands their will be failures and you’re not a failure. She provides the landscape to achieve, to learn and to grow to your potential and that comes through in her communications.
She Develops a Working Friendship – she understands the importance of a relational powerbase; that building a community, a spirit of camaraderie, a team, etc. needs a rhythm. Part of success regardless the size of the group is understanding the link between trust and vulnerability. Developing a group with a common set of values and beliefs is at the forefront of creating a working friendship. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology states, “Vulnerability is the key to emotional bonding, without which relationships tend to feel superficial and meaningless.” In our global Burger King social media intense society, the need to grow beyond the transactional common ground is essential. She knows how to establish and maintain appropriate boundaries and how to drive those behaviors down to the lowest practical level in order to minimize drama.
She’s Willing to Evolve – probably the best asset she has is remaining flexible, not relying on status quo and not driving so hard as to continually pushing the goal posts further and further out. She has a natural rhythm as a learner and a willingness to develop a learning organization. A woman leader taught me a lesson long ago I use to this day in my Executive Coaching practice. She would ask throughout projects and especially during debriefs, “What went well? What didn’t work? What lessons did you learn.” Not being set to a certain template, process or ideas, she’s a phenomenal boss, because in order to evolve, in order to develop relationships, in order to communicate effectively, in order to deliver feedback she’s has to be a phenomenal listener.
A phenomenal boss is inspiring! Wisdom and discernment are her greatest assets. She transforms company goals into personal goals. She supports without seeking credit. She listens to her employees ideas. She leaves work feeling she could have done more and done it better for her employees. She looks beyond the mistakes to the motivation and offers help beyond action, she overcomes issues to much larger change for the better. She forgives and forgets and never brings up past failures – remember, she allows for mistakes and gives employees the opportunity to learn their own lessons without recrimination. She is phenomenal!
At Brookestone Associates, we break through the critical human and cultural integration challenges that obstruct your company’s ability to deliver the results you must have by helping you uncover the environment, behaviors and productivity required to be successful. Widely recognized as a leading authority and successful practitioner of Influencing Culture with Impact as The Culture Whisperer, J. Scott Spector, Founder and Managing Partner, delivers proven solutions to overcome today’s challenges in a practical, effective and compelling manner.