Over the last month I had the great pleasure to interview 4 amazing women who are (or were) high-level leaders, executive coaches and consultants at Boeing, Goodwill, and the Military.
They each had something unique to say about leadership and what it takes to be a great leader, and even though I asked them specifically about women and leadership, they were all quick to say that gender doesn’t really matter when it comes to these qualities.
Linda Meeks, a retired information systems executive from Boeing is now working with women in physical and spiritual renewal. She told me that while she was forging new territory in the realm of computers, information security, and being a woman in a largely male-dominated industry, that yoga helped her to stay grounded and focused. She also told me that the real key to successful leadership, or success in anything we endeavor to do is enjoyment. You’ve got to like what you do.
Simple, I know. We’ve all heard it “Do What you like, like what you do”TM. But how many people still think, “I’ll do what I love in my spare time. Work just pays the bills.”
That is not enjoyment. It is not enthusiasm, and it doesn’t inspire people to follow your lead. 😉
She also told me 3 other qualities:
- Really understand yourself: how you deal with information and make decisions.
- Don’t get hung up about skin color or gender, understand that is not who you truly are – use your talent no matter what.
- Get centered within: know your strengths and weaknesses clearly, and when self- doubt and worrying about what others think of you comes in, you can always fall back on this clear knowing of what you bring to the table.
Do you know yourself that well?
Deborah Pagel, is a multiple award winning organizational effectiveness consultant and author of several award winning papers. She is still at Boeing working as a high-level consultant and executive coach. Deborah told me that a leader or visionary must ask themselves “do I have so much passion that I can see it to the end?” (because it takes so much to actually make a project fly).
Do you have that level of passion for your work?
Barbara Bell was a Captain in the Navy and pioneer for women when she joined the Navel Academy in 1979. She was the first woman to fly in the back of an F-14 fighter jet and spent her career forging the path for other women in the Navy. She is now a consultant and speaker and studying for her Master’s in Theology. She told me that in order to lead she had to find her voice. That a great leader owns her own value and “steps into herself” and shares that with the world. She also said that “as a leader you must invest in yourself in order to invest in others and raise up the next generation.” Barbara also shared the view that leadership is a deeply spiritual process and expression.
Are you sharing your voice?
Finally, I spoke with Anne Roosevelt, the granddaughter of Franklin D. and Eleanor. She is now the CEO of Goodwill in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. She shared with me that she sees us moving towards less “leadership” and more “citizenship.” That “everyone is required to be a part of making the world a better place, but how we do that is based on knowing ourselves and what gifts and strengths we have to share with the world.” She also noted that when a person knows who they are and what they bring to the table, and doesn’t try to be everything to everyone, she will be less likely to fear being hurt or rejected, and will serve where she feels called to serve, and let others do what they are good at doing.
Do you know what your unique strengths are? Are you sharing them as a citizen- leader?
Bottom Line Leadership Qualities:
Live your passion.
Love what you do.
Own and share your strengths and genius.
You are already called to lead as a citizen.
Don’t try to be everything to everyone.
Leadership is a sacred calling.
What else would you add to this list? Hit reply and let me know!
From My Heart to Yours,