10 Leadership Take Aways from a Morning with Beth Brady


I recently attended a breakfast networking event for AMA Iowa where Beth Brady, Senior VP and CMO of Principal, was speaking. During this event she spoke firsthand about her personal and professional experiences that have helped her become the professional that she is today.

leadership quote

One area that really stuck with me was her thoughts on leadership, and how everyone is a leader. You don’t need people reporting to you to be a good leader. Managers have direct reports. So, whether you are in your first year of professional service or your twentieth, it is important for us all to have a refresher.

As Beth shared her top 10 leadership behaviors, I reflected on how they can be applied in anyone’s day-to-day work:

  • Assume Positive Intent – Always assume that the best intentions were in place for any positive or negative events that occur.
  • Build Trust – If your team/peers don’t trust you, there will be challenges down the road.
  • No Empire Building – Influence and inspire other leaders to provide resources. Once you have set up a process or master something great, LET IT FLY! Don’t hold it so close. Believe in your effectiveness and share with others so they can be just as effective and efficient.
  • Listen and Understand – Going back to the Stephen Covey principles. Listen and seek to understand. Oftentimes, at a certain level, we begin to teach rather than to listen and seek to understand. In order for great ideas to flow, we need to listen.
  • Be Curious – Ask questions. A great leader always asks questions and has a thirst for greater knowledge.
  • Do Not Finger-Point – Acknowledge when things go wrong and dig in to find out why. Put your energy into fixing the problem rather than dwelling on why the problem/issue occurred.
  • Model Transparency – Information is powerful. Be honest and be transparent about the information that should be openly shared. If a nugget of information is being kept under wraps, just explain why it is being kept that way. And if a project isn’t going to be completed or an idea will not be executed, don’t ignore it. Have a conversation with the team and let them know why it will not happen.
  • Give Feedback – Real-time feedback is very important and should consist of both negative and positive feedback that is constructive. Feedback is most effective when people have the ability to react to it.
  • Use “and” Statements – Using “and” statements builds collaborative behavior. Take, for example, a statement such as, “We could develop a campaign that encompasses digital media…and perhaps include a traditional element as well.” This type of statement is easier for extroverts but harder for introverts.
  • Agree on Actions – Out of every interaction there is an action, and all parties involved in the interaction know what the action/next steps are.

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