Early in my career, I joined a consulting firm and accepted a role focused on project-based work. The role offered the opportunity to travel, work with multi-national organizations, and develop solutions for sensitive business risks. It was an exciting experience, and every few months I would start a project that introduced a new client, a different city, and an entirely new challenge. As my career progressed, so did my priorities for the next project. Rather than focusing on the next city or client as I previously did, my initial inquires were always about the project leadership. I had learned that no matter the circumstances or the opportunity, it was difficult to reach my full potential without the right leader.
Over the years in my search for strong leaders, I came across innovative and ground-breaking individuals that didn’t possess healthy leadership fundamentals. Though these individuals didn’t offer the mentorship I was looking for, these situations did lead to great learning experiences.
As time progressed, I started to find myself in leadership roles and immediately began leveraging the decisions and actions of my past leaders to form my own style and approach to problem solving. Whether I agreed or disagreed with how a leader managed a situation, I used those insights as a basis to my decision-making process.
In defining my leadership-style, I developed a few key fundamentals to help guide my decision-making process:
Complement Your Personality
You’re at your best when you focus on what comes naturally. Develop a leadership style that complements your personality and builds upon your strengths. One of the biggest mistakes I see new leaders make is when they try to become someone they are not. You earned this opportunity for a reason, so build on the qualities that made you successful in the first place.
It is Not About You
Strong leaders empower and foster talent around them. By setting up your team members for success, you enable your own. This is why I am always comfortable to shift my immediate focus to support a team member’s inquiry. Memorable leaders talk about the people they support, not the teams they lead.
Become A Cheerleader
Be a motivational leader. It’s easy to lead during the good-times, but it’s your actions during the challenging times that define yourself as a leader. Always look to inspire, especially when it’s the toughest activity to complete that day.
Common Sense Isn’t Common
It’s only common sense if an individual has the experience to make it common. Everyone has a different journey – this is what makes us individuals. Learning to look at situations from a different point of view sets you up to make stronger, well thought-out decisions.
Mistakes are Human
We all make mistakes, so own them! A mistake can always be corrected, and it only becomes an error if it’s ignored. Most importantly, never be afraid to ask for help.
No matter the guidance you receive or the lessons you learn, this is your journey to continue to define and evolve your leadership style. Whether you agree or disagree with my fundamentals, I hope these insights help shape your leadership perspective.
…And remember every experience is a learning experience.
Brad Samis graduated from Royal Roads University with a Bachelor of Commerce and is a supply chain management professional based in Vancouver with 15 years of experience in sourcing and procurement.
For 12 years, Brad was a consultant who worked with Fortune 500 organizations throughout North America and Europe supporting advancement initiatives with a focus on business process transformation, organizational design, and spend optimization. In his current role, Brad supports the strategic sourcing function of a Canadian telecommunications company.