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.


How to be a successful boss: Expert chat

Wondering how to be a successful manager? I joined a panel of management experts at Guardian Careers for an online chat where we discussed how ...

3 Superpowers Used by Persuasive Leaders

I recently visited the historic campus of Cedar Crest College to speak at the kick-off event for their 2015 Women’s Leadership Institute. While I was ...

How to Pre-Sell Your Ideas Before a Big Meeting

When it comes to giving persuasive presentations to senior executives, never underestimate what you can accomplish in the meeting before the meeting.  Imagine the following ...

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. ...

Influencing Without Authority—Using Your Six Sources of Influence

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

11 Leadership Lessons Learned

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

6 Critical Missteps That Hurt Your Career Advancement

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

9 Traits of Exceptional Leaders

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

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 ...

4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

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

25 Questions to Ask a Mentor

A few years ago, around the time when I was launching this blog, ...

Want to be Excited on Monday Morning? Be an Intrapreneur.
Want to be Excited on Monday Morning? Be an Intrapreneur.

“While it’s true that every company needs an entrepreneur to get it under way, healthy

4 Hidden Ways to Take Risks — And Propel Your Career Forward
4 Hidden Ways to Take Risks — And Propel Your Career Forward

“Have big dreams. You will grow into them.” — Unknown If you’re looking for a

How to Have a Thicker Skin for Negative Feedback
How to Have a Thicker Skin for Negative Feedback

Everyone agrees that it’s a smart practice to ask for feedback. Don’t walk through life with

Leaderly Quote: Don’t be a “lone ranger.”
Leaderly Quote: Don’t be a “lone ranger.”

“How do you know when you’re breaking too many rules?” I asked this question of

Learn to Become a Fierce Negotiator With Our Latest Infographic!
Learn to Become a Fierce Negotiator With Our Latest Infographic!

We hope you love our visual take on tips to help you negotiate like a

4 Sloppy Speech Habits that Undermine Your Influence
4 Sloppy Speech Habits that Undermine Your Influence

At what point would you stop listening to a speaker who opens with: “So, OK,

Asking for a Raise in the Age of #MeToo
Asking for a Raise in the Age of #MeToo

Thinking of asking for a raise? “The old negotiating adage still rings true: if you

Leaderly Quote: Demote your inner perfectionist
Leaderly Quote: Demote your inner perfectionist

For some of us active and recovering perfectionists, we await feedback holding out hope that if

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

Here are the top articles that other emerging leaders have been reading at BeLeaderly.com this month. Do

3 Ways to be a Strategist, Not a Tactician
3 Ways to be a Strategist, Not a Tactician

“You need to be more strategic.” Many aspiring leaders have heard this type of feedback

Be Leaderly Spotlight: Selena Rezvani
Be Leaderly Spotlight: Selena Rezvani

We’re thrilled to welcome Selena Rezvani to the Be Leaderly team, and to her new role

Emerging Leader Spotlight: Erin Lo
Emerging Leader Spotlight: Erin Lo

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

How to Go After Awards and Recognition (and Win)
How to Go After Awards and Recognition (and Win)

Just last week, a Director at a well-regarded business school explained to me that she

Leaderly Quote: Don’t let fear steal your dreams
Leaderly Quote: Don’t let fear steal your dreams

“Don’t let fear steal your dreams.” — Sabina Nawaz

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.




We will never share, rent, or sell your personal information or email address.
Copyright 2018, Be Leaderly