Pulse March / April 2016 - Page 29

B Y M A E M A Ñ AC A P - J O H N S O N visible to others.” They see where the team or organization is going and they help others see that too. I think that’s what distinguishes leadership from management. Leaders help people get to a new place. You can be a leader at every level, helping to mobilize people to get better. As former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice once said: “Management and leadership are two sides of the same walnut, but being aware of the difference and aware of what you are doing helps.” P: Based on your research for the book, what are some of the challenges women in leadership face today? SJ: One thing that we saw a lot in the women we interviewed for the book is that women tend to hold on to detail a lot more than men. We are wired that way. It is harder for women to let go. The shift from management to leadership can be very challenging, and so can delegating. “Great leaders make the invisible visible to others.” Perfectionism is also an issue we get caught up in. I was talking with Clare Shipman (author of The Confidence Code), and she said that perfectionism can be a result of a lack of confidence, which I thought was very interesting. So, our tendency to get into perfectionism, to hold on to details and to try to do so much ourselves can make it hard to let others step in and dedicate ourselves to leadership. P: What’s your best piece of advice to women leaders? SJ: There are also a lot of challenges in the system that we work in. We still have to navigate a fine line between being strong enough to lead without being labeled difficult! I would say two things to women in leadership: A woman needs to find a culture in which she can thrive, where her values and authenticity are supported. If you’re trying to fit in with a culture that goes against your nature, you will be exhausted and won’t do your best work. Secondly, find sponsors as well as mentors. A sponsor is someone who is really advocating for you to get to the next level, to carve out a career path that will maximize your potential. 3 DAILY HABITS OF GOOD LEADERS 1. Prioritize prioritizing. “This was an advice given to me by neuroscientist David Rock. It’s one of the hardest things for our brain to do. It involves seeing the future and making decisions based on that. Great leaders have to set aside time to prioritize well, usually early in the morning, a time when you are not interrupted.” 2. Wake up your spirit every day. “Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager, gave me this advice. Our ‘spirit self’ wakes up more slowly than our ‘task mind.’ He recommends a low time in the morning to wake up your spirit. You are more likely to keep your cool, more likely to be angry when you are supposed to be angry. When you’re too busy, not fully awake, we get these things wrong. For him, it means getting up at 5 am and playing with his dogs. For some people, it could be exercise, but for others, that can be a chore. It’s really important for leaders to have that internal compass functioning every day. 3. Have a touchstone for your purpose. “When now Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell was in leadership at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, she said it is so easy to get caught up in red tape, minutiae and politics. One thing she did at the Gates Foundation to not lose sight of what matters was to hang a picture of a young African girl in the conference room. She told her team that the African girl was the boss. So in projects that may involve tens of millions of dollars, they would turn to the wall and ask: What would the boss think of that? It helped create a touchstone. So whatever your mission is, do you have a way to pull yourself back to your core purpose at a moment’s notice?” P: Your famous words—immortalized on Starbucks cups as part of the company’s “The Way I See It” campaign in 2006—were: “I learned that people fall down, winners get up, and gold medal winners just get up faster.” Why is it often more important to get up faster than have the better skill sets in order to succeed? SJ: [Harvard Business School professor] Rosabeth Moss Cantor says that resilience is the new skill. Given the level of change and volatility, leaders and the rest of us all need to be more adaptable and flexible than we have been in the past. Even if you have the best tools and skill sets, you will still get knocked down in this turbulent world. So being able to get up faster is a real skill to reassess and move forward quickly. n WHO AMONG THE top women featured in St. John’s book best exemplified exceptional leadership qualities? Click here to read more of her expert insights. March/April 2016 ■ PULSE 27