Ways to Lead

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FountainBlue’s November 13 Ways to Lead program. Please join me in thanking our hosts at Pure Storage and our esteemed panelists: 

  • Facilitator Linda Holroyd, CEO, FountainBlue 
  • Panelist Niki Armstrong, Vice President, Global Employment, Compliance & Litigation, Pure Storage
  • Panelist Sheryl Chamberlain, Board Chair Empower (Coupa Woman’s Program) and Global and Regional System Integrator Alliances, Coupa Software 
  • Panelist Karthi Gopalan, Product Line Director, Mobile Power BU, Maxim
  • with opening remarks by Ellen Lail, Regional Sales Director, Commercial, Pure Storage

Our panelists represented a wide range of backgrounds, educational paths and perspectives, but here are their top ten views on ways to lead.

  1. Leadership comes from many paths, from many directions. Defining your own leadership style will take much self-reflection, vast and deep support from many sources, an inquisitive mind willing to learn continuously, as well as the willingness to grow from both successes and challenges.
  2. Sometimes leadership opportunities are ones you aggressively and strategically pursue. Sometimes they appear to fall on your lap because others around you have faith in you. Either way, when presented with that leadership opportunity, be open to learning and growing, receptive to sponsors and networks of support, curious about the importance of the task at hand, and flexible about how you work with others to accomplish these goals.
  3. Leaders tend to integrate the data from the outside – from market, customer, business, people and other data – and collaborate with others to create strategies and approaches which may transcend the traditional modus operandi. The best of these leaders sell these transformational ideas into the mainstream, providing exceptional win-win-opportunities for all.
  4. Leaders define success not just by the business results, but also by the impact on the people they touch, which often transcends today’s business metrics.
  5. Leadership development invariably involves going off a planned course. Although the role, industry, or work may vary (the HOW a leader leads), the leadership path meanders around the core values, principles and skills for each leader (the WHO a leader is).  
  6. No leader is perfect. The best leaders learn most when they have been less than perfect.
  7. Leaders get their support and inspiration from many other people, resources and networks in their lives, surrounding themselves with positive and supportive others. 
  8. Leaders are the first to pay it forward, supporting those around them to also reach higher. 
  9. Leadership takes both confidence and courage. You can gain confidence by working with others and gaining skills. But courage must come from deep inside you, and a commitment to aim for something higher, with the grit and perseverance to succeed in making it happen, the fortitude and strength to try again despite the failures.
  10. Leadership is a practice which is enhanced through diverse experiences. Embrace the opportunities in front of you, and share your learnings in CSR, public speaking, board seats and volunteering.

We will conclude by saying the people are inspired and humbled when the principled leader speaks. They challenge us to embrace and support ourselves as we are, while we also strive for our greater selves. We respond with goosebumps, feeling the truth of the message, and the energy and optimism to reach for our own small star in the sky.

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