Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tough Lessons In Leadership

Leadership comes with learning, and some tough learning. Michele Bailey of Blazing the Agency, a marketing company in Ontario, inspired the audience at a recent Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Conference where I was also speaking. Michele shared her story, which included some very difficult and painful experiences and learnings, but were also rich with leadership learnings.

Michele talked about the importance of listening to your gut. This is so important in leadership and in business. I have learned if something just doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t. The trouble often comes from ignoring the yellow alerts that come our way. I think everyone has experienced this as a leader, and in life.

Having checks and balances is a critical component to running a business and leadership stated Michele. What type of checks and balances do you have in your team, in your business, and in goal setting to ensure you are on track? Trusting people (e.g. trusting and believing stuff will get done) simply is not enough. Michele urged leaders to ensure they put in place checks and balances for all aspects of running a business.

I so appreciated Michele’s comments about the importance of giving back. This is something I am proud of in my business; we give back, pay it forward, and serve as champions for others. This creates a cycle of reciprocity in giving, and in kindness. Michele provided examples of how other peoples’ generosity allowed her to give back and pay it forward.

Do you surround yourself with talented people? Michele stressed the importance of ensuring your team is skilled, professional, and that as a leader, you surround yourself with positive people.  I discovered that when you surround yourself with positive and talented people, the solutions to problems surface much quicker!
Michele also spoke about the importance of connecting with your passion and embracing your business. This really resonated with me, as the teams I work with (training, consulting and facilitating) experience higher levels of success when they engage, and bring more purpose and passion into their work. It was evident to me that Michele walks the talk. She is authentic, and an example of a leader, who has turned life and business challenges into opportunities, and despite challenges has come out more than a survivor…. She and her business are thrivers - blazing new trails in leadership- and in doing so, has inspired more people than she probably knows.  Michele is a great example of an individual and business that Bounces Forward!
We learn not only from our successes but also from the business challenges that make us stronger.

To find out more about Michele, Blazing the Agency, and their services, visit: