I was in Napa, Calif., earlier this week and was honored to talk about how women can use change to build their careers and the value of being a lifelong learner. It was great to connect with women of the channel from around the world at this event, all of them ready to lead.
This event made it clear that leadership has very little to do with job title. Anyone can lead from any position, so long as they use their skills and act to further the mission of their company or industry.
During my talk, I shared three constants that any leader – whatever their job title – can use to build their leadership skills.
The Importance of Authenticity
In the latest Microsoft Partner Network podcast, I share the story of how I built my career on my drive to never stop learning and to stay true to who I am and what I believe in. When building those all-important leadership skills, no matter what your position is, that honesty and living your authentic self as you build out your leadership skills is critical. Without it, you will always be working towards someone else’s vision. But to be a leader and to build an authentic career, you need to know what’s important to you and you need to know when it’s time to go in a new direction.
Throughout my career, I needed to strike off in a new direction several times. Over the course of my 14 various jobs at Microsoft, I’ve seen a lot of change. But there are three constants that have helped, no matter what kind of role I’m in.
Think like a customer.
The market is changing faster today than ever before. With the digital revolution and technology such as artificial intelligence revolutionizing what it means to work, business is being reinvented almost daily. Customers’ needs are changing rapidly, and if you can’t put yourself in their shoes you won’t be able to deliver on those needs.
Everyone needs a translator.
Making technology relevant requires an ability to both understand the mechanics of how things work as well as the real business needs of the customer. One without the other just doesn’t have the same impact. If you can develop your ability to digest information from one team and relate it to another in terms they can really understand, you’ve got yourself a superpower.
Be honest with yourself.
You have to know yourself and be honest with yourself. This is so important – you need to know your strengths, your weaknesses, and what conditions you need to be successful. This is sometimes more difficult than it sounds – to filter out the expectations that others have for you and focus on what is really important to you. For myself, I decided early on to prioritize versatility, being well-rounded, and learning something new every single day. Your priorities may be different, but they should be yours. Be honest with yourself to define them.
Listen In to Learn More
To hear more about how and why I built my career the way that made sense to me, listen to the latest episode of the Microsoft Partner Network podcast. Hopefully you can find the inspiration you deserve to create your most authentic career and set a great example for others to do the same as well.
Subscribe to the podcast for weekly episodes where we speak with industry experts and thought leaders on the cutting edge of business and technology. Past episodes are available for download on iTunes, SoundCloud, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music, and YouTube.