Bill Marriott, Executive Chairman of the Board at Marriott International, wrote a LinkedIn post that really resonated for me. He suggests, “Surround yourself with good people. Do the best that you can. And don’t study things to death. Move ahead and make a decision.” It reminded me of what my dad once told me, “You’ll never know more than you know right now. Go out and sit on a rock. Don’t come back until you’ve made up your mind.” That’s my dad, alright… Get quiet, get outside, and don’t get hung up trying to know everything. Sometimes you just have to take the leap. That’s turned out to be some of the best leadership advice I ever got and I think of it often, in our fast-paced workplace and at home.

I asked some of my colleagues about the best leadership advice they every received and here’s what they shared:

Kirsten Adams, Sr. Travel Program Manager

  • To be early is to be on time. To be on time is to be late. To be late, don’t bother showing up.
  • One of the most inspiring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing was a previous boss of mine. It’s not anything she specifically said, it’s what she did – day in and day out. She cared. She legitimately cared about you, the company, the work, the department, how it pieced together, how it didn’t piece together, constant communication … And productivity was off the charts. Her ability to navigate through so many people, multiple departments, and help each of us prosper was constant inspiration.
Woman Listening

Jennifer Mazza, Sr. Director of Travel Operations:

  • Always say good morning to your colleagues when you arrive at work.
  • Regardless of how many people (or clients!) you work for, always make each person feel as though they are the only person you work for.
  • Whenever someone approaches you at your desk, always turn around to acknowledge them. Nobody likes talking to the back of someone’s head.

Paul Ruddy, VP of Information Technology:

  • Don’t put the cart before the horse!  Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People  influenced me. Habit #3 is Put First Things First. When things are rushed, it’s too easy to race to deliver on an idea without thinking things through and creating a plan.

Vic Sawi, VP of Sales and Services

  • Plan your work and work your plan. 
  • You can’t do it all yourself. Learn to delegate, but delegate to the right people.  Everyone has different skill sets. Maximize those skill sets to ensure the right people are doing the right tasks.
  • The team is only as strong as its weakest link. Spend the time to develop your people.
  • Actively listen.  If you don’t have time to actively listen now, schedule time in the near future.  Understanding the core of an issue is key to finding solutions.

Stacey Serrano, Sr. Client Success Manager

  • Lead by example
  • Listen before you speak. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason! We don’t always know what someone is going to say and they may surprise us!

I think it all boils down to:

  • Be respectful to people and listen to what they have to say – from clients to colleagues
  • Think through what you’re doing
  • Don’t be afraid to make an informed decision
  • Be a good example to others

Leadership sets the tone in every organization. How do you inspire others at your company? For other thoughts on leadership, check out our blog on Leadership, True Grit, and Employee Engagement.

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About the author

As Vice President of Engagement at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel. Favorite travel destinations: Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, and Maine.

Susan Adams
Vice President of Engagement
sadams@nxlperformance.com