Turmoils and Turns in LeadershipFeatured

As someone who has weathered the ups and downs of leadership, I've learned valuable lessons that transcend the traditional notions of management.

Having experienced both sides, I've come to understand the stark difference between managing and leading. Managing involves ensuring goals are met and tasks are completed. However, leadership is a profound commitment to fostering growth, guiding individuals to become the best versions of themselves, and contributing to their personal and professional development.

I have worked for many managers. I have appreciated their task-oriented mindsets. However, I always wanted more. When I felt like I was moving into leadership and I needed more than what I had received from my direct managers, I sought out mentors. Elpha is a great place for this! I discovered Elpha after finding mentors to work with. I scoured LinkedIn, sending messages to women in leadership and asking for a call. And it worked! And I am so grateful for that. I have gotten countless words of wisdom from my mentors.

Let me walk you through some of the key aspects I have learned about on my path to becoming a leader.

Reflecting on my journey, I recall early in my career when I discovered I was being paid significantly less than colleagues with less experience. Nervous but undeterred, I approached senior leadership, advocating for fair compensation. Though the request was denied, this experience taught me the importance of staying level-headed, consistently advocating for oneself, and maintaining patience. These lessons have been my compass throughout my career, guiding me through challenges and empowering me to seek equitable opportunities.

Stemming from the story above, one of the pivotal aspects of my leadership philosophy is transparency. I aim to be open with all my direct reports, fostering an environment where transparency is reciprocated amongst team members. This transparency builds trust and empowers women to express themselves openly, knowing their voices are heard and valued.

Having navigated the frustration of not being heard, I've channeled that energy into fuel for advocacy for myself and others who may face similar challenges. In every leadership role, I strive to create an environment where everyone feels heard, valued, and rewarded. My experiences have fueled my commitment to breaking down barriers for women and minorities in tech, ensuring their voices reverberate throughout the industry. At Atlassian, I started a Women Empowerment group where we get together monthly to discuss topics that are important to us. I love building relationships and community in this way.

"Leadership is a responsibility. It’s not about being in charge. It’s about taking care of those in your charge." - Simon Sinek.

This quote deeply resonates with me because this is the type of leader I hope to exemplify. My journey in leadership has been marked by resilience, advocacy, and a commitment to fostering an inclusive and empowering environment. Through the challenges, I've emerged as a leader and a catalyst for change, determined to amplify the voices of women and minorities in tech.

Now to the action! Evaluate how you feel about your leadership or as a leader. What are things that you wish were different? Write these things down, and then take action! Stay level-headed, advocate, and stay patient. The right path is always shown to me when I can say I am doing these three things.

I wholeheartedly agree with you, and I have followed similar journeys. This is also what prompted me to creating my website and starting on the slow venture of consulting.Too many companies (and people) focus on the management side when teaching skills, and they don't focus enough on the leadership qualities. Both are needed if you really want to have a successful organization. It's the leadership capabilities of creating connection with your team, employee engagement and empowerment, fostering individual growth, and caring about the overall success that are often overlooked. Many of the organizations I belonged to (and left) were hyper-focused on results. I do not question the need to achieve your objectives in order to move the business forward and be successful, but I believe that a leader should always be aware and supportive of the human element. The companies I have worked for have generally been very tech-forward, which can be great. But there are a lot of tech managers out there that promote people because they are great individual contributors (strong engineers, IT personnel, support techs, etc.) but they don't equip those individuals to be good leaders - and then the stress, fatigue, and burnout hit when people don't know how to progress.I have found that if you fall into this scenario, finding great mentorship can really help! A company sponsored program, a senior leader that you look up to, or external sources. I've been lucky enough to have a great mentor early on in my career, and so I have gone on to help to create women's mentoring programs in multiple companies. While maybe not as great as having a strong manager/leader that you report to who can model the way and help you with your growth, it's absolutely a great alternative.@nishariyer - thanks for the article, and reminding me why I do what I do. Sometimes the daily frustrations cloud my vision of why I'm passionate about this topic.