Earlier this month, Crain’s Communications released their latest installment of their “If I knew then…” – a series that profiles executives and features insightful stories about early mistakes that informed their present business philosophies and management styles. I was interviewed for the column, and it served as a good reminder for me of previous career-altering experiences that every leader inevitably goes through.
It is important that no matter who you are, you treat every situation as a learning experience and work to grow from it. The Crain’s article brought me back to my time at 3Com and a situation that changed the course of my own career. It was one of my first attempts at leading, and I admittedly struggled to deliver feedback to a reporting co-worker. Taking part in this interview helped remember how different my career would be had these events gone differently. My colleague indicated that I was too subtle – an ineffective method for delivering feedback and helping others advance their careers. The feedback was that I needed to be more blunt and direct as a new manager.
Had I not taken that constructive criticism or changed my management style to be more deliberate and honest, I probably would not have grown as a leader, and as a person. Instead of being a leader, I would have been held back by fear. If I hadn’t been straightforward with colleagues, a great disservice would have occurred in not helping them advance their careers.
Years later I’ve brought that lesson to Pulse Secure. While every scenario is different, transparency and open communication are two fundamental pillars that need to be brought to the table every day. We have so many accomplished teams here! All of us have one goal: to provide customers and partners with secure access solutions for the next generation. While we’ve been successful as a company in leading that charge, our ongoing success is going to be a function of practicing the behaviors of implicit trust, self accountability and collaborating in an environment where we feel comfortable holding one another mutually accountable.
Everyone needs to develop our own leadership style. Taking part in the Crain’s Communications opportunity was a reflection of a situation that helped shape my career. Being a successful leader isn’t defined by one situation – rather a series of events that foster development. In a fast moving, ever-evolving industry, leaders in the space need to act quickly to evolve. If we aren’t there to help each other grow, we’ll never be able to solve the daunting challenges that our customers face.
It is a humbling experience each day to lead such a great group of dedicated people here at Pulse Secure and to have had the opportunity to share my experiences with Crain’s Communications. It is important that all of us, no matter the industry, learn from previous experiences and mistakes to continuously develop the leadership qualities that promote success.