CEO and author shares her best advice on leadership in a modern world
Holly Ransom has a life mantra: “I will never walk past.”
It came to her at age four after a shopping trip with her grandmother Dorothy. At the counter, Dorothy stepped between an angry man and the shop assistant he was yelling at. “How dare you speak to this young woman like that!" Dorothy scolded him. "You apologise this minute.”
An impressed little Holly told her grandmother her actions were so brave.
“Honey,” Dorothy said, “If you walk past things that aren’t right, you tell the world it’s okay.”
Dreaming big: The Leading Edge
Now 31-years-old, Holly Ransom has gone on to become a role model for leadership: named one of Australia’s 100 most influential women, nominated as a Future Game Changer by Sir Richard Branson, co-chaired a G20 Youth Summit, she's interviewed President Barack Obama and delivered a peace charter to the Dalai Lama, and she’s the founder and CEO of Emergent.
We interviewed Holly about her just-published first book The Leading Edge: Dream big, spark change, and be the leader the world needs you to be.
The book broken into two parts.
· Leading Oneself: mindset/method/mastery.
· Leading Others: mindset/method/mastery.
Let's take a look at each.
A company is only as future-focused, strategic and long-lasting as the leaders operating them.
Mindset: “Start before you are ready,” Holly says. She says she has “never been ready.” Instead, she recommends changing your mantra to “ready to have a go.”
Method:“One of the game-changing shifts I’ve made in my life was to stop managing time,”says Holly. Instead, manage energy not time. Log when you bounce off walls and when you hit the wall and reach for coffee. Do creative or important work when energised, and insert exercise into the day to lift the lower energy parts.
Mastery: “Choose to evolve,” says Holly, who recommends a culture of learning in every workplace. “The buck stops with each and every one of us.” She recommends lifelong learning by asking ourselves:
- What am I working on unlearning that no longer serves me?
- What am I working on learning to expand and develop myself further?
- What am I working on relearning because it's important to me once more?
LEADERSHIP OF OTHERS
Holly says this means seeing human potential, and putting belief and energy into helping others realise it.
Mindset: A practice that Holly says profoundly changed her life is seeing leadership as a language of love. Drawing from The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, she explains people associate behaviours with affection five ways:
· Quality time
· Physical touch
· Acts of service
· Giving and receiving gifts
· Words of affirmation.
If we took time to discern the love language of people we work with, she says, how might this affect what people are willing to do for and with you?
Method: Find your organisation’s Super-Objective – “the purpose that lights the motivational fire in the team’s belly.” Holly says things like keeping our customers happy, and achieving record sales are objectives, but they’re not Super Objectives.
Mastery: Holly says true leadership mastery is when we realise our leadership is not about us. She references leadership guru Jim Collins who describes Level 4 leaders as those who are good at getting people to follow them, but Level 5 leaders (master leaders) are those who are good at getting people to follow a cause. Jim Collins says we are succeeding at our very best only when we are helping others to succeed.
Holly says leaders should focus on creating conditions that can produce or foster empowerment and change.
The Leading Edge author Holly Ransom learned the best leadership lesson from her grandmother Dorothy, now 90. Holly urges us all to understand we are in the process of shaping many lives to come. Growing yourself as a leader is the growth of the ecosystem. Your mindsets, your methods, and your mastery of leadership can make meaningful change. So, choose to evolve. And, as her grandmother taught her, we all have leadership within us, so choose not to walk past things that are not right.
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