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.