Today’s Convergence Spotlight is featuring Samantha Mansfield, Senior Consultant. Samantha joined us in October of 2019 and is a key facilitator and coach in several of our private and public leadership and advisory programs.
Samantha is a smart, compassionate go-getter with a keen eye for details. She is also our resident history buff. She has an unmatched tenacity to see others succeed even when they may not believe the opportunities or pathways to success themselves and I am fortunate to be sharing her perspective on leadership with you today:
ConvergenceCoaching: What is it about a leader that you believe makes others genuinely want to follow them?
Samantha: Passion is the first attribute that comes to mind. People want to follow those that are passionate about what they do and why they do it. We want to be inspired and excited about our opportunities! Along with this passion, strong leaders listen. They listen to their teams and what is happening in the environment around them. This creates awareness and leads to sound decisions which feeds our trust in the leader. The third attribute I would say is crucial: trust. Without extending and receiving trust, a leader is hard pressed to have authentic relationships and have people follow them through good times and bad.
ConvergenceCoaching: Whose leadership style do you admire most and why?
Samantha: I have always been drawn to the servant leader. They see their job as elevating their team and developing each individual. They are empathetic and humble. They look for opportunities for their team instead of taking them for themselves. This leader challenges their people to stretch and reach for opportunities while providing the safety net from disastrous failure. This doesn’t mean the team members won’t learn from failure, but it will be just enough to be able to learn and grow from. There is a great deal of generosity in this leadership style because the leader is investing in their people. As their people improve and grow the organization gets the benefit of stronger contributors.
ConvergenceCoaching: What is the most challenging part of being a leader? What is your advice for successfully overcoming this challenge?
Samantha: Given the rate of change, one of the hardest things for leaders is anticipating future needs of clients and talent. Keeping the organization’s services and products relevant and retaining top talent is key to the success of the organization. Effective leaders do not shift with every new trend, but they proactively explore the opportunities. Anticipatory leaders create the advantage by defining the next better instead of constantly competing for clients and talent.
Leaders can develop the ability to anticipate the future, no matter how impossible it may feel at times, by listening and being worldly. Leaders should make time to learn what is happening in other industries and make connections with trends in their own profession. They need to incorporate testing ideas and models. By testing with small audiences, they can receive necessary feedback to iterate their way to the final solution. Leaders that wait for others to develop the next better models spend their time reacting instead of proactively pursuing their vision and mission.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you believe that great leaders are born or made? Why?
Samantha: There are leaders that have natural tendencies that draw people into them, but without certain skills these “natural born” leaders can fail too. Anyone can learn to lead if they are willing to learn and listen. Leaders are not cookie cutter. Diversity has been in the forefront of our minds this last year, and it is quite applicable to leaders. The most successful leaders have a mix of styles and strengths. A leadership team of all business developers and no people developers will struggle, and vice versa. By employing the strengths of individuals, an organization can drive many initiatives that will foster the overall health of the organization from innovation to people development to operations. People can be nurtured into impactful leaders.
ConvergenceCoaching: Do you have a favorite movie or book that you feel exemplifies what it means to be a great leader?
Samantha: The movie “Apollo 13” tells the tale of “the most successful failure” in the space program. The leaders in this movie exemplify the power of humility, responsibility, listening, and trusting. Without empowering and trusting the team to use their skills and strengths, the mission would not have ended positively. The leaders during this event pulled the team together and squashed the temptation to assign blame and instead, fostered true collaboration. When a team trusts each other and works together, incredible outcomes are possible.
ConvergenceCoaching: What would you like ConvergenceCoaching blog readers to know about you?
Samantha: I enjoy learning and trying new things. When I was 35, I got to the end of the year and realized I had experienced many things for the first time. It was shocking at that age how many things I had yet to try, so I made a commitment to intentionally try 5 new things every month. It could be as small as cooking a new recipe or as big as jumping out of an airplane (which I did at age 39). During the pandemic, like most of us, I was constantly hit with trying something new, so didn’t have to put much thought to it. Now, we are settling into new patterns, and it is time to get intentional about trying new things and back to journaling the experiences.
As I was reading Samantha’s answers, I couldn’t help but notice a theme emerge continuous learning and growth is a necessity. Whether you are adapting to change, facing a challenge, exploring the next better, trying something new or growing a team, learning is essential to success in your career, your personal life and for the development of your team. Provide opportunities for yourself and your team to grow by asking or inviting others to tag along to a client call or meeting, ask and encourage questions, say yes to something that might feel out of your comfort zone. Learn about the next better and go get it!
Until next time,
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