In honor of National Boss’s Day on October 16th, what better time to share a few valuable insights I’ve learned over the years from amazing leaders, managers and mentors who helped to influence my career. All the lessons learned are those that I still apply in my everyday leadership approach, in my role as VP of Talent Acquisition for Schneider Electric. So, in no particular order, here goes…
1) Encourage talents to spread their wings and fly… abroad
I can’t underestimate the importance of supporting professional development of all levels. Early on in my career, I was coached to take time to perfect my craft and to work on my brand. Even if I didn’t have it all figured out, I was urged to sort through what I knew I didn’t want to be “when I grew up” vs what I did.
I was too early on in my career to see it at the time, but this coaching and self-exploration was crucial in helping me learn to trust my instincts. I was encouraged to own my career, move abroad (across the Atlantic for the first time) despite the fear of the unknown. It was one of the best decisions I could have made, and I learned so much personally and professionally. I would not have had the courage to go for it, had I not been mentored to spread my wings and fly.
2) Never hesitate to take chances on motivated employees
Taking chances on talent pays off. In my late 20’s and the years that followed, the company I was working for took chances on me, giving me more and more responsibility, fostering my ambition and promoting me multiple times quickly. Luckily, I was able to demonstrate that the risk paid off which then allowed me to give the same opportunities to others by making bold hiring decisions. It was through this process that I found the passion I have for challenge, disruption and transformation– whether it be around people, process, culture or technology. I knew that I would always pay it forward and take chances on talented individuals to allow them to stretch and step up.
3) Listen to your team and give them the gift of your time
Investing your time in someone can be the surest way to show them they are valued. Throughout my career I’ve been blessed with some amazing role models and mentors that always made time for me even in those moments when they had little time to spare. They saw something…a spark in me before I was ever able to see it in myself. Time can sometimes mean more than a pay raise or a promotion when it comes to feeling valued and heard. These 1:1 conversations and interactions always bring food for thought and the learning goes both ways. Sometimes lending an ear, sharing a coffee or a laugh can change the trajectory of someone’s day or project plan. The gift of time goes a very long way– never underestimate it, share it and always be grateful for it.
4) Engage your team and bring them along for the journey
Great leaders use both their heart and their head. Looking back at the times when I felt most engaged, it was when I was given the opportunity to be an active driver of the change and wasn’t left in the dark. I follow this same principle with my teams. Transparency and trust go a long way. During any large-scale organizational transformation that I’ve led, it is always the case that it takes a village to keep it moving and to drive it to completion. The more you engage your team alongside you in the trenches of the journey, the more bought in they are to the shared vision, striving together towards the finish line.
5) Empower your people and allow them to fail
A truly empowered team is powerful. Creating an environment of trust where it is okay to fail helps to foster creativity and learning. When the team is empowered with a leader that truly wants each team member to be successful, a step change occurs. I get the pleasure of seeing this in my own team every day by giving them a long runway to try new things and offering a culture of trust. Nothing makes me happier than watching them develop and I’m honored to be a part of it. Sometimes we try new things and they don’t go our way, but we never stop trying. We just dust ourselves off and move on– because the world of Talent Acquisition never stops!
These are 5 leadership lessons I’ve learned thus far in my journey, yet I continue to learn new things every day from my team and my colleagues! The insights shared here are aligned with the values and DNA of Schneider Electric, a place where the company culture is second to none. Here we are encouraged to #ActLikeOwners, #DaretoDisrupt, #ShapeOurFuture, and #BuildtheBestTeam… every day.
A very special thanks to Maureen Crawford Hentz, Lucy Grainger, Christiane Reubekeul, Teresa Collis, Tina Mylon, and Mai Lan Nguyen…for always making time for me.
About the Author:
Taryn Sheldrake is the North American Vice President, Talent Acquisition & Mobility at Schneider Electric. In this role, Taryn leads the development and execution of Schneider Electric’s talent acquisition and strategies to attract, hire and mobilize the best talent with a great candidate experience.
Taryn is a known as a transformative leader, having joined Schneider Electric in 2018. She’s been instrumental in leading many HR TA transformations though her international career which has had stops in the UK, Germany and the US. Her passion is cultivating talent and helping people change their lives… one job at a time.
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