It’s amazing how many people desire to become a leader, but lack the understanding, qualifications, and responsibilities of a leader. A leader is in a position of power; power to influence the behavior of people, yet many leaders struggle with producing positive and effective individuals or teams. Are you a creative, visionary, and empowering leader? Do you know how to use tactics that implement positive strategies which “moves the person, team or organization closer to achieving their vision?”
Roxi Bahar Hewertson, author of “Lead Like it Matters…Because it Does” has empowered many leaders how to build productive businesses by “sharpening each leader’s capacity to create great results. She offers practical, common-sense solutions to complex managerial and organizational issues, making her advice and counsel valuable and sought by leaders nationwide.” During an interview, Roxi provides characteristics and qualities that can position leaders in a positive direction.
Q: Should a leader be a people person?
A: A leader must have the emotional intelligence to communicate effectively with people, yes. And they must be able to navigate their relationships because it’s ALL about relationships.
Q: What qualification should a leader possess?
A: Self-awareness, Self-management, Social Awareness and Relationship management, the 4 quadrants of emotional intelligence. To do this they need to have become competent in Personal mastery, Interpersonal mastery, Team mastery, and Change & Systems mastery – all of which I cover in my book, “Lead Like it Matters…Because it Does”
Q: You talk about 10 essential leadership and system competencies for a thriving organization, can you name a couple?
A: Leading change effectively is a rare competency and one that needs to be developed in every leader. Building highly productive teams is another competency that is underrated and under developed in many leaders and has an enormous impact on both the people and results when done well or poorly or not at all.
Q: What standard qualification should a leader look for when hiring staff?
A: I look for 6 things…Attitude, Brains, Character, Drive, Experience, Fit (within the culture)
Q: How does a leader influence positive work ethics when a staff is disruptive?
A: Establish ground rules or rules of engagement that everyone agrees to be held accountable to and for and then enforce them together.
Q: How does a leader effectively manage employees older than he/she?
A: The same way they should lead anyone else – with respect, treating them with dignity, listening carefully, soliciting their ideas, engaging them in work that inspires and motivates them. It’s important to recognize and honor that person’s history and contributions, and plug into what excites them about their work and be responsive to those things.
Q: When a leader realizes an employee despises them, how does a leader work with this employee?
A: If all else has failed and the despising comes from a major clash in values, then there is no good “fix”. When there is a terrible fit between the leader and the employee, they need to talk about and look for new solutions. The leader isn’t leaving most likely, so it’s time to find another option for the employee so they can both get on with life and work and stop creating a toxic work place for themselves and others. This should not be vindictive but developmental – help the employee discover what they really want to do and who they want to work for.
Q: What is the difference between a strategy and tactics?
A: A lot! A strategy is the BIG goal that moves the person, team or organization closer to achieving their vision and is aligned to their mission and is in harmony with their values. Tactics are the various smaller and important actions that need to happen to ensure the strategy is achieved.
Q: When is it best to use one verse the other? (Strategy/tactics)
A: Strategies are used to help people understand where to FOCUS their priorities and energy. Tactics are used to help people get personally connected to the strategy with their efforts in terms of action such as particular events or specific work plans and projects that will contribute to getting the big strategy done.
Q: What is your advice to persons who would like to become a leader, has the education, but lack the hands-on experience?
A: Find people who are terrific leaders and watch them, reach out to find a mentor in your field whom you trust and who can guide you. Volunteer to help other leaders get things done so you can get hands on experience. And education needs to mean also getting educated in the discipline of leadership not just your technical field.
Q: How does an aspiring leader use failure and mistakes as a strategic tool?
A: Look at every failure and a mistake as a blessing in disguise – it may keep you from making bigger ones and you’ve learned something you needed to know. Be humble and own your mistakes and make right by people who may have been impacted by your mistakes. People are quick to forgive those who own their mistakes and learn from them. People won’t forgive someone who covers up their mistakes and/or doesn’t learn from them.
Q: Is leadership for everyone who desires it? (Why or why not)
A: No. Leadership is for those people who love to lead people to do great things and who find joy and satisfactions in the development and success of others. Everything we do gets done through and with other people. Therefore, if there is any other motive, it’s not a good fit for you.
Roxi Hewertson is an expert in Organizational and Leadership Development, Organizational Effectiveness and Human Resource Management. She served as adjunct faculty at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She was the Director of Administration, Facilities and Finance at Cornell, where she championed a competitive Leadership Development Program.