What I Learned about Leadership from the Blue and Gold

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    My career started a long time ago. A combination of luck, timing, and a few connections helped me get started in a career I didn’t even know I would like at the time. It turned out to be a career that I loved and stayed with for over a decade. Along the way, I had successes and I made leadership lessons (some of them more than once.) And in that time, I learned so much. So much more than one could ever learn by hearing a lecture or reading a book.

    It was during that period of my life that I learned a few very valuable lessons in business. One of the most valuable was a true understanding of the power and influence of a good leader on the success of the business. There were many lessons of this throughout those early years, but the most impactful was the moment I realized that my leadership style was the biggest obstacle to consistent success of my business.

    For me, this realization didn’t come in one swift epiphany moment. Instead it was little episodes of learning that came from the frustrations of failure. Many of those failures came with inconsistencies in performance and results. Some financial, some operational, and some customer focused. But the one or two that really made me stop and self-reflect were the failures with people.

    It was through those that I realized the issues weren’t because of them, they were because of me. At the time, I had a great leader of my own and was blessed with an organization that was committed to leadership development. And as luck would have it, my self-reflection coincided with a two-day leadership retreat where we spent hours discussing how to build results through others. I had heard much of this before, but that day I listened more intently and I took notes and I generated ideas.

    When I got back to the store, I implemented a couple of those ideas. And I noticed a change. A change in my people and as a result changes in my results. On all levels. My store had always been a high performing store, but now we were the top performing store in a district of high performers. Then we started seeing regional and national rankings where we were at the top consistently.

    And we celebrated. We as a team shared in this success. It was my behavior that needed to change so that their success could be realized. The success of that store wasn’t about me, it was about me getting out of their way.

    So leaders, get out of their way. It’s not about you.

    This blog is dedicated to all those people who were part of my early career at the Gold and Blue. Hopefully you had as much fun as I did and learned as much as well.

    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. You can contact her via email at smazurek0615@gmail.com

    Follow me on Twitter @Sherimaz.