What makes someone a great leader?
Great leaders seek out information and listen to their teams. Early in my career I was given a book by Stephen Covey; "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
One of the habits in the book has stuck with me for nearly twenty years -"seek first to understand, then to be understood." I am a problem solver by nature with an instinct to jump in quickly and take action, but, this idea helped me temper that approach.
It has formed the foundation of my leadership style - I listen, ask questions, consider perspectives, all before directing, coaching or driving action. A good leader removes obstacles, builds skills and inspires others - understanding first helps all of those things to happen in a positive, productive way.
Do you consider yourself a leader?
I do. In any group or organization, a leader is responsible for mission-driven results - whether the mission is to make millions of dollars or to save millions of lives. To do that, you have to inspire people with your mission, give them the tools and skills to play their part, and reward success.
The first part of my career was working with for-profit start-ups. I was fortunate to work with some amazing people and to learn a lot about the tactics of leadership. That came in handy when I moved into non-profit leadership roles. In non-profit you do not have access to the same resources, whether it's time, money or people. Constant resource constraints often make most jobs more difficult to succeed in and more difficult to reward. Even though it's a challenge in non-profit, when the right people are in the right roles and they know how their hard work fuels the mission that we are all striving towards - great things happen!
Present Purpose Network, the non-profit I co-founded, has been able to partner and fund projects all over the world, with only unpaid volunteers. Our amazing members understand how their efforts help Present Purpose achieve our vision - a world where all women can realize their purpose.
Tell us about a time you took the lead.
With Present Purpose, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to lead all the time. Our network includes amazing women leaders working on the ground creating meaningful solutions to the problems that impact young women, their communities, and their world.
We are also the women who pool our resources and invest in this transformative work. Together, we are the solution that changes the present and the future for young women most affected by poverty, violence and inequality. I am not only a leader in the network, but I am also led, by the amazing women I get to collaborate with every day. The clarity of our vision and the belief in our mission are the perfect foundations for successful leadership. That foundation is consistently reinforced by the impact we are having for young women around the world. I am proud to lead Present Purpose.
Follow Colleen Lafontaine on LinkedIn
WELCOME TO THE WOD BLOG
Learn from local leaders, find mentors, and get access to amazing tools on the Women of Denver blog.
Phone: (720) 515-3078
Mailing address: 757 E 20th Ave STE 370 #232 Denver, CO 80205
Copyright © 2015 - 2017 Women of Denver