ConvergenceCoaching, LLC Consultant Brianna Johnson has been serving a vital role on our team since January 2013, managing and coordinating the details of our sales and marketing projects, teaching web seminars and delivering coaching to clients. Prior to joining ConvergenceCoaching, LLC, Brianna was the marketing ambassador for a mixed-use retail and urban living development. Brianna enjoys mountain biking and taking advantage of the outdoors whenever the Nebraska weather allows. In addition, she loves to cook and try new foods, spend time with family and travel. She also recently got engaged to be married to a wonderful man named Tyler and we are beyond excited for them to begin their new life together!
We are pleased to feature Brianna Johnson in this month’s ConvergenceCoaching, LLC leadership blog spotlight.
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you most admire and why?
BJ: Design (architectural, industrial, fashion) has always interested me and it’s also where my college education began so I learned about many great and influential designers. The interesting thing to me is that the great and influential designers embody the same leadership traits that many of us think of for well-known business leaders or public figures, just in the “creative” world. The game-changers must have the confidence to take risks and share their ideas with others. They have to be forward-thinking and visionary – seeing the end result they intend and enlisting others to help achieve that vision. They have to back their decisions up and exhibit humility and vulnerability when those decisions don’t yield the intended outcome.
I enjoy following the developments of Dyson and appreciate that the founder, James Dyson, advocates growing industrial engineers within Great Britain but also encourages young designers all over the world to learn as much as they can, as fast as they can, and to push the envelope for what’s possible.
I am most drawn to leaders whose passion for what they’re leading is inherently observed. Passion is contagious when you’re able to relate your passion to the motivators of your audience. Leaders of large organizations face a huge challenge in relating to the individual motivators of their employees which is why it’s so important for those organizations to develop meaningful mission, vision and values statements (and act by those statements) to help maintain that teamwork and collaborative culture.
ConvergenceCoaching: What is it about a leader that you believe makes others genuinely want to follow them?
BJ: As I shared, what makes people genuinely want to follow a leader is obvious passion for their purpose and the ability to motivate a team through that passion. Leaders understand that they have to recruit and retain high-performing team members to continue pursuing their passion. Gratitude and appreciation do wonders. People rise up when they feel that their effort is truly valued and integral to the cause. Empowering others to take on more responsibility and pursue bigger challenges leaves them feeling highly successful when they overcome those challenges and grow as professionals. People also want to follow someone who they view as a wonderful person, character-wise. Someone who makes them want to be a better person and a better leader themselves.
ConvergenceCoaching: What is the most challenging part of being a leader? What is your advice for successfully overcoming this challenge?
BJ: The times of uncertainty are the toughest – when you have to make a decision that will affect many others without having all of the data that you’d like to have. That is why it’s important to have great people working for you who can offer their insight and gather facts and data for you. Then, when the time comes, you must have the confidence to take the information you do have, combined with your gut feelings and make a decision.
I think another challenge is wanting to spend more time learning about your people than is physically possible. Organizational leaders juggle so many responsibilities – professional and personal – and I think that may cause them to wish they could always do more and spend more time in any one given area of responsibility and commitment. Leaders who face this challenge can work with their HR team to share these concerns and devise a plan for relationship-building. Little things make a difference, so walking around and saying hello to employees, holding fun lunches with specific teams or departments and facilitating leadership discussions with emerging professionals in the organization (which don’t have to take huge time commitments) will help leaders feel more in-touch with their people.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you believe that great leaders are born or made? Why?
BJ: I believe that great leaders are made. I believe that some people develop personality traits and leadership skills very early on which seem to provide a natural segue into leadership roles throughout their lives. But everyone has the opportunity to influence and inspire others. Those who are perceived as great leaders have adopted a communication and management style that is able to spark interest in and motivation by others. They exhibit excellent character and humanity and they act upon values and ideals that their followers align with.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you have a favorite movie or book that you feel exemplifies what it means to be a great leader?
BJ: This will seem like a strange answer, but I think of the movie Dumb and Dumber. While one of my favorite movies, the reason I think of this movie for this question is twofold. 1.) This movie was one of Jim Carrey’s career-starting movies. Carrey believes in the law of attraction which is the idea that you have the ability to draw the things and opportunities that you want from the universe through positive thought, meditation and visioning. This is something I learned from my mom at a very early age and through books and articles. In many interviews, Carrey notes a time at around 19 years old when he was struggling to make ends meet as an aspiring actor and comedian so he would drive to the same location each night and visualize himself achieving that success. One of those times, he wrote himself a check for $10 million, post-dated for three years later on Thanksgiving Day with “For acting services rendered” in the memo line and stowed it away in his wallet. Just before Thanksgiving Day in 1995, he found out that his earnings from Dumb and Dumber would have him reach that $10 million mark.
2.) The other interesting thing about this movie was the fact that the writers, the Farrelly brothers, had to push through some major roadblocks to get the movie made and into the box office. No studio executives would even read the script because of the title, so they changed it twice to get the script into their hands. The studio that did finally sign the script had mixed interest – the studio’s president loved the script while the CEO hated it – and they only signed the contract under the agreement that the leading actors would come from a list of options that the studio chose. In the end, all of those actors on the original list turned the roles down, but Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels signed on and the movie ended up being a huge box office hit. The tenacity the Farrelly brothers had to show in order to produce success is noteworthy.
These facts about this stupidly funny movie are really interesting to me because of what the people involved had to deal with to earn their success.
ConvergenceCoaching: What would you like ConvergenceCoaching blog readers to know about you?
BJ: That I appreciate the opportunity to explore a variety of important topics with our readers by writing for our blog. It’s wonderful when we receive comments and feedback on our posts and get to interact with our subscriber friends. It’s just one positive aspect of being a part of the ConvergenceCoaching team. We have such a variety of work that we engage in with our clients and it’s gratifying to be building deeper relationships and see the change and positive growth (individual or corporate) that happens over time.
The leadership challenge of the limited capacity of a single leader that Brianna raises is a great one. The most inspiring leaders are usually the ones who have a truly genuine interest in making as much of an impact as possible and in making themselves available to their team and helping them develop to the best of their abilities. But, the fact is that one person can only do so much and it can be frustrating when you find yourself without the time to serve everyone that you want to serve in all of the ways that you want to serve them. What is an activity and task that you have been wanting to do but just haven’t had the time? What can you do to make some time to engage in this task or activity?
We hope that you have already had an opportunity to interact with Brianna or read one of her blog posts, but if not I hope you get a chance to get to know her better in the coming months. If you have any questions about any of our services or any leadership or marketing topics – we know she would love to hear from you!