Navigating the Path to Thoughtful Leadership

Becoming a Thoughtful Leader: Stories from the Journey

Are you ready to be . . . better?

Navigating the path to becoming a better, more thoughtful, leader requires an understanding and awareness of how individuals grow and evolve, how everyday transactions can morph into significant transformations, and how mindset, intent, and an informed heartfelt approach can drive organization value

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Share Your Leadership Story

This book is a collection of stories from our journeys to becoming thoughtful leaders. We’d love to hear your leadership story about who has made an impact on YOU and YOUR leadership style.

By sharing your story, you’ll be entered into a drawing to WIN A FREE COPY of the book, “Transact. Transform. Transcend.

Kate L: Empathy & Understanding

When I was in my first Director role, I had the opportunity to support a working mom on my team which was important to me as a working mom.  I had a top performing sales person on my team, who had great tenure with the company, and had great client relationships.  After giving birth to her second daughter, she needed flexibility with work hours and remote work to be able to accommodate her childcare responsibilities.  Our company was an “in the office 5 days a week” kind of place (this was pre-pandemic), so I had to go up to my COO to get approval for my employee to have flexible work accommodations in a hybrid/remote work model.  Then she decided the sales hours and expectations were too much, so I helped her change roles from sales to recruiter to allow for  more remote friendly work.  I was proud to be able to use empathy and understanding of her situation as a new mom trying to balance work and life and all of her responsibilities, to find a way to provide the balanced work environment she needed to remain employed.  This was not the case for me as a new mom at my previous job when I was in a producing sales role, where there were no strong female leader role models to help support me to allow me the flexibility I needed as a new working mom. So it was one of my favorite leadership experiences to know that I was the type of leader that I needed and wanted.

Marcia O: Innovation and Adaptability

My first job as a teenager involved working for our small-town newspaper office where we produced a weekly local paper. Mr. Sanders, the ‘larger than life’ owner and editor was a large gruff man with a booming voice that could heard above the sound of the printing press.

I had various duties at the paper, and Mr. Sanders’ favorite task for me on Saturday morning was canvassing our local stores for ad revenue.  He meticulously circled competitor ads and assigned a dollar figure to his newspaper.  I still remember how terrified I was during those first few weeks. As I walked our main street, I learned to have the courage to approach strangers, communicate persuasively, and to persevere in the face of repeated rejection. And eventually, I began to understand the value of forging relationships. At one point, I recall a shopkeeper shaking his head and asking if I was earning commission.  I had no understanding of what commission meant! I asked Mr. Sanders about this comment and he laughed! He then assigned phone sales to my duties! Alas, there was no commission forthcoming from our small newspaper, already operating on a shoestring.  I also became part of an extended family that worked together to deliver that paper every Tuesday night. This part-time job funded my early college tuition.

My time at the newspaper office taught me the importance of resilience, adaptability, tenacity, and the value of relationships —qualities that continue to guide me in both my personal and professional endeavors.

Michael L: Goal Attainment
Throughout my life, I have always admired people who held leadership roles, wondered what it took to become a great leader, and desired to become a leader myself. In college, I was given the opportunity to lead a new student chapter that was part of a national organization focused on emerging technologies and professional development. During my short one-year term, I learned several valuable lessons in leadership such as setting SMART goals, effectively communicating with your peers, and promptly attending to the needs of your audience above your own. By the end of the academic year, I was able to achieve all of the goals set for the chapter with help from faculty members. These efforts ultimately connected a few students with new jobs!
At the end of the academic year, I realized it was time to make the very difficult decision of passing on the baton to a new leader for the chapter since I was graduating.  It was at that moment that I realized the most valuable lesson of all about great leadership. Perhaps the difference between a good leader and a great leader is not the achievements made during the time one holds a leadership position. Rather, it is about the legacy that he or she leaves behind for others to follow.