Leadership Gems: What I Know For Sure

Like this on Facebook

Having recently made a leadership transition, I’ve been pretty introspective as of late. Time and space will do that to you – offer a window into your own soul… a way to observe your life from a healthy distance. (This is useful when you’re busy deciding what to keep and what to leave behind.)

I’m moved to share, especially with those beginning their leadership journeys, what feels most true and transferable to me right now. While I know most people prefer to learn by experience, I hope these 5 gems will inspire you toward deeper understanding of and commitment to your leadership vision.

1. The best way to become who you’re destined to be is to accept who you are.

We see models of leadership all around us, often gleaning insight on what to say, how to behave, when to act and when not to. We look for qualities to emulate, and check our own budding leadership personas against those of leaders we admire. This can be a really good way to develop as a leader, or a really bad one. We are all inspired by other people and ideas. But your path is your own. Your ultimate leadership impact will be a combination of your gifts, your beliefs, and your purpose. Think of external inspiration as the home decor in a structure customized by you. Embrace your uniqueness. Then decide how you will leverage it to make a difference.

2. Work harder earlier so you can work smarter later.

I’m grateful. At this stage of my career, I have the precious opportunity to determine where, when, how, and with whom I work. Of course, several factors led me to this place, but hustling in the beginning was a major contributor. When you’re starting out, leave everything on the dance floor. Ask all the questions that come to mind. Meet all the people you can. Take in all the sights and sounds. Work on all the projects available. Give your best, and use your energy to build a solid platform from which to soar. If you do, you are more likely to glide into your next professional chapter.

3. Never compromise your values. No exceptions.

We’ve all heard stories or seen movies where the temptation of more – more money, more power, more time – caused people to cross their personal boundaries with disastrous consequences. These inflection points are not always that dramatic, however. Sometimes we tell a seemingly minor lie, or throw a colleague under the bus. Other times we remain silent while unethical things are happening around us. Compromising your values is a slippery slope, and ultimately, hurts you most. It’s never worth it. Be the kind of leader others can respect. More importantly, be the kind of leader YOU can respect.

4. Be friend to most, and enemy to none.

All leaders know how important relationships are to long-term success, but this is about more than networking. It’s about kindness. Generosity. Trust. And support. Open your heart to people. It’s like watering a tree – when you nurture people, relationships flourish and the benefits extend far beyond the individual. On the other end of the spectrum, don’t make enemies at work. Assume positive intent. Contrary to how it may feel at times, most folks don’t wake up in the morning scheming to ruin your life. Most often, people do the best they can. Give grace where possible, build bridges, and be a connector. While you should always maintain personal boundaries, be sure to avoid creating walls.

5. Dream. Do. Then dream some more.

So many leaders share their dreams with me. I am fortunate to be in a position to encourage others to pursue their purposes and share their gifts with the world. My advice is always the same: Don’t let a dream become a fantasy, which is what happens when you never act upon it. You have to DO something. Take a step forward, even if it’s a small step. I have a family member who expressed interest in owning a bakery. The chasm between where she is and where she wants to be is expansive, but I advised her to make a few business cards, bake her favorite treats, and pass them out at a school or work function. Speak your dream out loud: “I’m a baker. Call me for your next gathering.” Dream. Do. Then dream some more. Don’t let the size of your dreams intimidate you. They belong to you, after all. Own them!

As a leader (which is a title that can belong to anyone), I have never regretted taking a professional risk. I have, however, regretted not taking one. A risk doesn’t have to look like a new job or a new company. It could mean doing the exact work you do today, but differently. It takes courage to vary an experience you once thought was fixed. In the world of career and work, most things are variable, including how you show up. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been at it, or where you are in your story. If you’re reading this “story”, you’re still writing yours, and that’s the best part.

 

Originally posted on tarajayefrank.com.

Tara Jaye Frank

Tara Jaye Frank is VP of Multicultural Strategy for Hallmark Cards, Inc. and the author of Say Yes: A Woman’s Guide to Advancing Her Professional Purpose, written to help women from all cultural backgrounds chart a career course they can believe in and achieve. Follow her on Twitter @tarajfrank and Facebook at Facebook/tarajayefrank, or visit her at tarajayefrank.com.

Recommended

In Business, There's No Such Answer as "I Don't Know".

One of the best pieces of business advice I ever received was from my friend and fellow Astia Board of Trustees member, Jeanne Sullivan, founding ...

Leaderly Quote: Invest in each other. The return is unquantifiable.

"Invest in each other. The return is unquantifiable." — Tara Jaye Frank, Corporate Culture Advisor for Hallmark. Speaker and Coach.  ...

Our 10 Most Popular Leadership Articles of 2016

Here they are! The best of the best: our ten most popular leadership articles of the past year. Judging by the common themes, our readers ...

Ready to lead?

We'll show you how!
Get email updates from Be Leaderly.

Our mission is to provide the career strategies that help you lead, climb and thrive as a rising woman of influence.

Four Types of Questions To Ask Your Mentor

Have conversations with your mentor gotten a bit repetitive lately? Perhaps you approached ...

5 Ways to be a Leader, Not a Manager

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a manager and a leader? ...

How to Shut Down a Colleague Who Takes Credit for Your Work

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a meeting and the unthinkable ...

15 Songs for Your Leadership Playlist

It was one of those conference moments I’ll never forget: Carly Fiorina had ...

10 Killer Leadership Skills: The Great Differentiators?

Last week at Hallmark I hosted a couple gentlemen from a partner company. ...

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

Let’s face it: it isn’t easy to break out and establish yourself as ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

I am in the difficult situation of being unofficial project lead, responsible for ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive ...

Nine Qualities of Female Leaders Who Get Beyond the Glass Ceiling

I’m frequently asked to speak about women in law and specifically the issue ...

5 Things Women Leaders Should Stop Doing. TODAY.

Over the last couple years, I’ve had a front row seat to career ...

8 Types of Courage for Aspiring Leaders

“The truth is that courage resides within you; you must simply decide to ...

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

Truly great leaders are hard to come by, but it seems everyone thinks ...

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

Here are 11 lessons I’ve learned about leadership—mostly from much-admired colleagues, and just ...

How to Manage Former Peers

Let’s talk about a potentially awkward situation. You get a new role and ...

Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month
Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month

Here’s what other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this month. Like any of

Three Ways To Transition from Doing to Leading
Three Ways To Transition from Doing to Leading

It’s possibly the toughest transition you’ll make in your career: the shift from doing to

Leaderly Quote: Don’t get bogged down in work…
Leaderly Quote: Don’t get bogged down in work…

In her article, Feeling Overwhelmed by Work? Go Back to Basics, Tara Jaye Frank writes:

Are Your Emails Killing or Boosting Your Reputation?
Are Your Emails Killing or Boosting Your Reputation?

Whether you like it or not, you are being judged every day by the people

Leaderly Quote: Persistence
Leaderly Quote: Persistence

“Don’t let your fire be fizzled out by the weight of the world,” says Chaka

Ask an Exec: Can My Mentor Be My Sponsor?
Ask an Exec: Can My Mentor Be My Sponsor?

“In the early days of your career, your mentor and sponsor are likely to be

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Stephanie Hidalgo
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Stephanie Hidalgo

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

You’re Going to be Judged
You’re Going to be Judged

I was teaching a writing class. Towards the end, someone asked: “How can I get

Leaderly Quote: When you are at a crossroads…
Leaderly Quote: When you are at a crossroads…

“When you are at crossroads about trying something or not, always default to the try.”

Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month
Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month

Here’s what other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this month. Like any of

Leadership Gems: What I Know For Sure
Leadership Gems: What I Know For Sure

Having recently made a leadership transition, I’ve been pretty introspective as of late. Time and

Leaderly Quote: Who are you?
Leaderly Quote: Who are you?

“Who are you? Are you a visionary? A fixer? An encourager? A motivator? A problem

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Monica Bajaj
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Monica Bajaj

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing

Got a Big Goal? It’s Okay to be Scared.
Got a Big Goal? It’s Okay to be Scared.

I didn’t always have a job I loved. Far from it: At age 23, I

Top 5 Most-Read Articles this Month

Here’s what other emerging leaders have been ...

Ask Jo: How can I thank my mentor?

Question: I have an incredible mentor. She ...

Teamwork is a Skill. It Takes Practice!

Everyone wants to lead, or be a ...

It’s Worth the Risk (I promise)

This is Sarah. She’s one of my ...

100 Qualities of a Leader

What are your leadership strengths? That’s a ...

Leaderly Quote: Great Leaders Know When to Step Aside

“Great leaders know when to step aside.” ...

Leaderly Quote: Mentors talk with you, sponsors talk about you.

“What’s the difference between mentors and sponsors?” ...

5 Ways We Act Small When We Don’t Mean To

Not long ago, I wrote an article ...

At Be Leaderly, our mission is a simple one: To provide proven career strategies that help you lead, climb, and thrive as a rising woman of influence. If you’re ready to lead, we’re here to support and inspire you.

Subscribe

captcha

PRIVACY

We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Copyright 2017, Be Leaderly