Mentorship – Leaders that have influenced.

In my January meeting with my mentor, we looked at the results of my Predictive Index.  No shock, I am an Analyzer.  An Analyzer is intense, with high standards and a disciplined & reserved personality.  My strongest behaviors pretty much lay out my life:  Task-focused; quickly notice & fix technical problems; ease in spotting trends in data & figuring out how systems work.

It also helped point out the things I need to work on: recognizing that people have different paces; seeking out input from other people; and thinking before I speak. That last is a big one.  It reminds me of a part of one of Craig Ferguson’s comedy specials:  “Does this need to be said?  Does this need to be said by me? Does this need to be said by me right now?”

In looking at myself through the lens of the PI, my mentor wanted me to think of successful traits in leaders who have helped me.  What parts of these leaders could I take into myself?  What would be difficult for me to adapt into myself?  What expectations do I have of myself and others and why do I have them?

I’ve had some wonderful leaders, both personally & from afar.  I believe my biggest influence was the owner of the first company I worked for out of college, Maggi.  Working with a small company & being able to get my fingers in a HUGE variety of tasks, I was given a crash course in technology.  I was led there by one of the smartest people I have ever met.  But she was infinitely kind, patient & encouraging.  Maggi expected everyone around her to learn, but never hesitated to stop and explain a concept or method as many times as needed until we got it. When I needed to learn something she didn’t have a basis for, she got me in contact with someone who could teach me.  I hope to learn that patient & encouraging style of leadership to move me forward in my career.

One of my most recent directors, Jim led our team to be a more cohesive unit.  Turning our close-knit group into a squad.  🙂  Before starting work at Valencia, I had always been reserved & hidden my personal life away from the people I worked with.  I’d believed that I couldn’t form friendships with my co-workers.  I think part of my hesitance in that has been working as a female in such a male dominated area (technology).  Jim helped all of us integrate our personal lives into our work lives.  The politics of the job can be stressful, but my co-worker family is no longer a source for that stress (for 3/4 of my team).  

I’ve always seen strong women in media as people I would like to emulate. Reporters, authors, singers, women who have made their careers a part of them. Characters on television shows & in the movies demonstrate some of the ideals I’d like to follow.  Though I know that there’s a lot of “public persona” or “fantasy characterization” on top of these images, but the ideal is what I’d like to aim for.  

My main influence in this arena, may seem a bit out of character to the people that know me.  Dolly Parton – she was born on the same day of the year, albeit 30 years earlier than me.  But when I was young, that was enough for me to be interested in someone’s life.  In the early 90s, I was hooked on biographies.  I wanted to read about other people’s lives.  See into what made them tick. 

Before I’d read about Dolly, all I saw was this barbie of a woman, that I dismissed as being about something frivolous. But reading about her gave me insight into a tenacious, but very kind woman.  Dolly is prolific – she’s written over 3000 songs.  Dolly is a shrewd business woman.  Dolly projects an aura of calm and acceptance.  Dolly uses her money and influence to support charities that promote life-long learning.  Dolly is a huge LGBTQ advocate.  Dolly is my hero.

So, looking back over the few inspirations I’ve mentioned, I see a pattern.  I want to be a leader who can teach, inspire & most of all, be kind.