13. What leadership qualities do you most admire in effective leaders that you have known? Which of these qualities do you believe best describe your leadership?
I admire leaders who advocate for staff and clients. I worked for a Division Director in Santa Cruz who often had to fight hard to keep staff and program resources. He firmly believed that the community ultimately benefitted from having highly skilled staff and effective programs. Advocacy is hard to do sometimes because of funding cuts and competing needs, but he fought the battle year after year.
I also appreciate leaders that believe in the Agency’s mission. They want good customer service, believe the community deserves quality services, and work collaboratively with the community. That’s what I really like about working here because those things are in alignment with what I believe in.
What, if any, spiritual traditions or practices do you most draw upon in exercising leadership?
I do not participate in organized religion, but I do believe in treating all spiritual traditions respectfully. I focus on learning and becoming the best person I can be and do not force my beliefs on others. I believe there is an innate goodness in people that we need to reach out to and embrace.
One of the benefits of growing older is that we are increasingly able to reflect on our experiences and learn from them. Have you found any patterns of personal behavior no longer useful in your leadership role? If so, what are these and how have you changed?
Early in my career, I used to take things more personally. If people didn’t like my idea or suggestion, it must mean I wasn’t smart enough or creative enough. I soon learned that sharing ideas and working toward a goal were the things that really mattered. I also thought that if I worked hard and long enough, I could help “motivate” someone to make a change. I learned that I can create an environment that is respectful, encouraging and fun but each person is responsible for their own motivation. Finally, I learned that I needed to set boundaries for myself or I would never leave work! I used to feel responsible for getting everything done on time and at a high standard. I didn’t want to disappoint my supervisors or want to ask staff to do even more work when they were already swamped. This was a painful process for me but I learned to more effectively delegate tasks, prioritize tasks, submit work that was acceptable but not always stellar, and negotiate new deadlines for some projects.
14. How has your leadership style changed as you have progressed in your career?
My leadership style has progressed mostly out of necessity, not out of preference. When you are only responsible for managing a few workers or one program, you have more time and resources to more fully address those issues that impact the workers or program. With increased responsibilities, I’ve become more decisive and less willing to spend valuable time covering the same issues. There can be value in this change since the task often expands to fill the time allotted. I believe in acknowledging the issue and moving on.Download Article 1K Club