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GUEST POST: Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

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GUEST POST: Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together

 

Guest Post Author is Jessica Ipson, Graduate Student at GORE Business School, Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah


When I think of an exemplary leader I think of my former manager, Allison Celich.  Allison started as out as an accountant with a drive to learn more about the company she worked for.  She worked in two departments where she was the go-to expert.   After 10 years of being an accountant, she was promoted to manage a department that had the highest turnover in the finance area.  She stepped in and started to put pieces of the puzzle together to improve that area.  The following lists five major puzzle pieces Allison practiced that made her a great leader.

[1]1

Set Direction

Since turnover was high, her vision was to see that everyone in the department become an expert of their task or piece of the puzzle.  She challenged us to learn more about the entire puzzle instead of just the piece we were accountable for.  A strategy was set for learning and teaching each other’s puzzle pieces.  She set a direction that improved performance and produced results.   John P. Kotter stated, “The direction-setting aspect of leadership does not produce plans; it creates vision and strategies.”[2]

Motivate

Allison set a department goal of learning more about what we do.  She inspired all of us to push harder and to learn more to reach the next level.  In turn this allowed us to build self confidence in our work and the feeling of being in control.  As John P. Kotter mentions motivating comes from “Satisfying basic human needs for achievement, a sense of belonging, recognition, self-esteem, a feeling of control over one’s life and the ability to live up to one’s ideals.”[3]

Listen

Being able to hear what people say is a very important quality.  Taking time to listen and respond is what Allison did.  She would help you piece together the puzzle and encourage you to grow.  In meetings Allison would ask questions but listen more than speak.  At the end of the meetings she would be the one to summarize and make it clear for all.  She definitely followed one of Peter F. Drucker rules, listen first, speak last.[4]

 

5[5]

Empathy

Allison was authentic and showed empathy.  She was approachable, made you feel comfortable and open to hear or give feedback.  She took time to get to know everyone in the department with one-on-one sessions.  She wanted to get to the root of who you were as a person.  She had a skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions, something Daniel Goleman mentions in an article about one of the qualities of emotional intelligence.[6]

Decisive

Allison was a decisive leader.  She was not afraid to make decisions quickly when needed.  Sometimes time was needed to research and gather information to make an informed decision.  Once she made a decision she stuck to it.  Allison provided clarity and direction going forward on decisions.  People valued her opinion and decisiveness.  People were drawn to her.  Not only was she able to make a decision but able to communicate the reasoning on decisions she made.  Creating an action plan defines desired results according to Daniel Goleman.  Making the educated decisions allow you to stay on the right path that you set out on to achieve your goal. [7]

While Allison was the manager of property accounting the department had zero turnover.  She was able to challenge her employees and make them reach success for the individual, department and company.  She had direction and decision making strengths while being able to listen, motivate and provide empathy to her employees.   Allison was promoted and moved on to a higher management position but I still look up to her and hope one day to learn the skills and portray some of her exemplary leader qualities.

Allison was a leader that put the pieces of the puzzle together.

 

 

[1] Three People Puzzle Image. Retrieved from http://pmtribe.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/essential-pieces-for-strategic-product-leadership/

[2] Kotter, J. P. (2011). What Leaders Really Do (pp. 41). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

[3] Kotter, J. P. (2011). What Leaders Really Do (pp. 49). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

[4] Drucker, P. F. (2011). What Makes an Effective Executive (pp. 36). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

[5] Team Puzzle Image. Retreived from http://www.kprschools.ca/Staff/KPRLeadershipProfile.htm

[6] Goleman, D. (2011). What Makes a Leader? (pp. 16-18). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

7 Drucker, P. F. (2011). What Makes an Effective Executive (pp. 28-29). Boston, MA: Harvard Business School.

 


Guest Post Author is Jessica Ipson, Graduate Student at GORE Business School, Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah

 

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About the Author:

Professor and award winning author, world traveler, Mom, thought leader, mentor, friend, and advocate Vicki Whiting, Ph.D. is dedicated to the facilitation of learning and the development of leaders in all walks of life.

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