Leadership doesn’t just happen. An impactful leader must be intentional around “eight pearls of leadership,” according to a speaker at Tuesday’s Million Dollar Round Table virtual annual meeting.
Carla Harris shared those pearls in her presentation on leadership in a post-pandemic world. She is vice chairman of wealth management and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. In 2013, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council, and she is the author of Expect To Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace.
The eight pearls of leadership, as Harris presented them, are:
- Authenticity. This is your distinct competitive advantage. Nobody can be you the way you can be you. More people are not comfortable and confident in their own skin, Harris said. When people see someone who is, they gravitate to them.
Harris urged leaders to be visible, be transparent and be empathetic.
- Building trust. We are all competing around innovation, Harris said. If you are competing around innovation, you will go into unknown territory and you cannot do it alone.
The way to build trust, she said, is “to simply deliver over and over and over again.” She advised listening closely to find out what others really value and then setting yourself up to deliver it.
- Create clarity. You must create clarity when you cannot see, Harris said. Everybody is trying to figure out what the future will look like on the other side of the pandemic. Fear has no place in the success equation.
- Create other leaders. Harris said that those who choose to sit in a leadership seat today must be focused on creating other leaders. “The way to grow your power is to give it away. The more you can invest in other leaders, the more you can grow your market share.”
- Diversity. We are in an environment where the marketplace values diversity, Harris said. Millennials and Generation Z are quickly becoming the dominant population, and they grew up in an environment that values diversity.
- Innovation. Harris said you teach your teams how to innovate by teaching them how to fail. When someone on your team takes a risk, you must celebrate the fact that they took the risk. Teach the team what they learn from the person taking the risk and then go on and make the next try.
- Inclusion. If you want to be seen as a powerful inclusive leader, solicit other people’s voices. “Say, ‘I see you’ by virtue of soliciting their voice,” Harris said. “When you say, ‘I hear you.’ – you solicit their voice around a specific topic. Put everybody’s fingerprints on the blueprint.”
- Your voice. “You must be comfortable calling a thing a thing, no matter how bad that thing might be,” she said.
The strand that ties all those pearls together, she said, is courage.
“It takes courage to call a thing a thing. It takes courage to be seen as an inclusive leader. It takes courage to teach people how to fail.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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