Instead of studying leadership, why not spend some time studying leaders and strategies in the wild? You can learn a lot from leadership experts, but you always see the leader and what he or she does through the expert’s personal lens. Supplement that learning with studying real leaders in real life situations and draw your own conclusions. The posts in this series will help you.
Every week I’ll point you to articles by and about real leaders in real situations and to articles about how real companies are faring in the marketplace. Read them. Think about them. Draw your own lessons and conclusions from them. Then try to apply those lessons in your own real life.
This week I’m pointing you to articles about Patricia Connolly, Soledad O’Brien, Kamie Eckert, Ron Williams, and Celia Swanson.
From Rob Schneider: How Dr. Patricia Connolly is confidently creative in technology and still drives her IT ‘insourcing’ company SMC Squared today
“If you can’t tell from her company name, Albert Einstein is Dr. Patricia Connolly’s technology hero. She said he was a champion for continuous learning and excellence and applied grit, effort and true creativity. As CEO and Partner of Dallas-based SMC Squared, Dr. Patricia Connolly serves as a teacher, facilitator and collaborator for both clients and employees. She said being confidently creative in technology was key to her chosen path and still inspires her today.”
“Soledad O’Brien is one of the most recognizable faces in America. Her three-time Emmy award reporting has taken her from opioid dens in San Francisco to the hurricane-ravaged streets of New Orleans. But they are only a part of her amazing story of growing up in a mixed racial family and making her way from Harvard to the TV anchor desk and now as CEO of Starfish Media Group, her production company headquartered in New York’s Madison Park media village. I had the chance to talk to O’Brien recently about what it’s like being a CEO, negotiator, and still occasionally, a mother of four.”
From Authority Magazine: Kamie Eckert of Royal Canin USA: “I have much more energy to give to my team, my work, and my family when I am not trying to shape myself into a mold that doesn’t fit”
“Be yourself. Everyone says this and it sounds easy, but the truth is we come into roles with ideas about how we are supposed to do things. What I have found is that I have much more energy to give to my team, my work, and my family when I am not trying to shape myself into a mold that doesn’t fit. I have also found that by doing so it gives others permission to be their authentic selves too. This creates a great team dynamic because each person saves their energy for the really important things.”
“Being a CEO is a daunting task. The challenge of leading a large, complex organization takes a range of talents that aspiring executives spend decades developing. Yet ironically, some of the most startling corporate missteps are caused by a much more basic failure—the failure of CEOs to lead themselves.”
“Before imposter syndrome became a ubiquitous phrase, Celia Swanson felt it. She had risen through Sam’s Club and then into Walmart corporate, both in HR roles and then a profit-and-loss role. Eventually, she became the first female executive vice president at Walmart. But being an ‘only,’ whether as a woman or in other ways, brings a unique set of challenges for ‘Onlys’ like Swanson. She noted McKinsey and Lean In research that found greater likelihood that such ‘onlys’ were thinking about leaving, and the research also shows greater likelihood of facing slights and harassment.”
For some ideas about how to get more from this series of posts, check out “Studying Leaders in the Wild.“