work isn't most important

Advice From Female CEOs: Work Isn’t the Most Important Thing

In Leadership Resources by Brandt A. HandleyLeave a Comment

On ROI’s Into the Corner Office podcast, we have interviewed over 200 leading middle-market CEOs from companies across industries, and the advice and wisdom they have shared with us is unparalleled. We are excited to share some of these insights with you in a new form!

We have been so fortunate to have some truly standout female CEOs as guests, and I love when common themes emerge. 

Nicole Sparshott, CEO of Unilever Australia and New Zealand, shared something she learned by example from the outstanding leaders around her: “Lead with integrity and a real respect for everybody that you come across, irrespective of hierarchy.” That often looks like spending valuable time with team members. “Generous leaders take that time to share, take that time to learn, take that time to teach.”

As for the corner office, “Forget the notion of the corner office … aspire bigger,” Nicole says. “I would think about how you want to inspire, how you want to influence, how you want to create impact, and then how you can bring this up on the journey. When you do that, you will be successful in your career.” And, “Follow your passion. Do what you enjoy.”

That awareness of others and joyful pursuit of service and new experiences is something that Lindsey Ueberroth, CEO of Preferred Hotels & Resorts, also echoes. Travel was a big part of her life growing up, and those experiences set her up well to lead an international hospitality business, especially to “understand and appreciate different cultures. We’re all very similar. We might speak a different language. We might enjoy different types of cuisine. But the people that you meet at the end of the day are just like you having the same sort of experiences.”

That open-mindedness has served Lindsay well in leadership. “It opened my eyes. As I move through life and definitely in leadership, a lot of the biases dissipate and I have a lot more understanding of this global melting pot that we all live in.”

Experiences and a well-rounded life matter. As Kristen Knox, SVP & General Manager at ACIST Medical Systems, notes that an essential part of high-performing teams is balance. “Even though I hold myself to a very high standard and I hold my team to a very high standard, I’m also very realistic. I want people to have lives. I want people to be able to go home and hang out with their kids and go on a bike ride or whatever it is that helps them be balanced. If you put too much time into work and don’t allow that time to have fun things, [people] get out of whack and burn out.”

Stephanie Pugliese, CEO of Under Armour North America, sums it up nicely:  “While it is absolutely about being good at your job and making the connections, both in terms of your mentors and the people that you work with and admire, as well as skill sets that you’re building, do not ignore the life skill sets that you also need to build. Don’t ignore empathy. Don’t ignore seeing the world. Don’t ignore connecting with people that have absolutely nothing to do with your career but are good for your soul … had I been only good at school, maybe I would have been still in this position from a career perspective, but my life certainly wouldn’t have been as rich.”

Do what you love and love others while doing it.

If you are looking for someone to be a leader in your company who follows that mantra, we can help. Through ROI’s FOUR STEP SOLUTION, we truly get at the hearts of potential candidates to understand their leadership style and if they are a good fit for your organization.

For more stories from top female CEOs, head to our podcast page on the website, or listen to ROI’s Into the Corner Office on your favorite podcast player. 

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