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Karen Edwards Blogger

Find the Leader in YOU!

Posted by Karen Edwards | October 17, 2017

Welcome to the October 2017 ÖWLI blog. We are still on a leadership high after coming off of our incredibly successful Össur Women's Leadership Conference 2017! The information, ideas and solutions shared were incredible and the networking was equally valuable. We are pleased to share that we had two male attendees this year who shared our desire to strengthen and support the O&P profession. It's exciting to see this initiative growing beyond this space and to hear conversations starting to take place out in the clinics and professional associations and between practitioners around the country. Attendees were given the opportunity to pre-register for next year's conference and over half of attendees took advantage of this! More to come on this very soon. Also, our next webinar event is Nov. 10 and features Jo Miller who conducted a fantastic workshop on personal branding at our conference. Her webinar will be on attracting influential sponsors. You definitely want to be there for this one! See the event section below for the registration link.

This month, we present guest blogger Heather Hoover. Heather Hoover is the Director of Product Marketing, OA and Injury Solutions, at Össur. She has been with the company for 9 years and has held previous roles in Össur Academy and in product management. Heather graduated from Pennsylvania State University with her Bachelor of Journalism with a minor in Women's Studies. She recently received her Master of Education from Drexel University. She lives in Mission Viejo, California with her husband.

Find the Leader in You

I am relatively new with a leadership role, having been in this position for just over a year. I admit that as great as the new role has been, I have run into challenges along the way. For the most part, those challenges have been great learning opportunities to help me grow as well as share experiences with others. I'll be sharing with you some of those challenges and learnings I've had over this past year.

I am fortunate to be a part of a company that promotes women's leadership and encourages managers to not simply manage, but lead. This is something fundamental I've learned over the past year to be a leader and not a manager. A leader is someone who influences and enables through advice, while a manager tends to command their team. I decided I wanted to lead and not simply manage. My advice with this leader mentality is to build confidence in others, be transparent and have open communication with your co-workers. It will go a long way in building lasting relationships.

With this leadership style in mind, I try to not micromanage anyone on the team and give them space to get their work completed. I am there when needed, but want them to feel empowered to get projects done without my hovering. I think it's important for them to make mistakes every now and then to learn and grow from the experience. In addition, I've learned it's easy to give an answer to a team member's question versus having them try to figure it out themselves. It's important as a leader to not always give an easy answer and instead enable them to recommend a course of action or figure it out for themselves.

In addition, here are some tips and lessons I've learned over the past year on leadership to share:

  • Overcome any self-doubt. As women, we tend to struggle with self-doubt and hinders our ability to become effective leaders. In the past, I tended to be the hardest on myself and question why I did or said something in a meeting. Now, I just own any decisions I make and move on instead of dwelling. Having confidence will help you gain respect.
  • Be passionate. To put simply, love what you do and own it. I don't do things because it's what I think I should do, I do it because I care and want to do it in the best possible way. I love my job and am passionate and energetic to do a great job. Figure out what makes you passionate about your job and focus on it.
  • Focus. It's easy to get bogged down in tasks. I recommend to make a list every morning of three things you want to get done that day. Make it your priority to get those three things done and don't do anything else until you do. It'll make you feel accomplished crossing items off a list.
  • Make friends at work. Relationships are fundamental in the workplace, no matter what role you are in. Building relationships can increase collaboration and engagement, while giving you a happier work life. I use lunch hours to build relationships with other coworkers and to spend quality time with them out of the office to get to know them on a personal level. Relationships are key and you never know what opportunity or door can be opened by getting to know someone better.
  • It's not about the hours worked, but what gets done in those hours. What this means is simply to be efficient at work. One current passion of mine is meeting efficiency to reduce wasted time and increase productivity. I give 5 minutes for the meeting organizer to show up and if they don't, I leave to start working on other projects. Also, meetings are best organized when an agenda is set beforehand and clear objectives are outlined. Otherwise, meetings tend to be a free-for-all and quickly becomes disorganized. Always remember, your time is valuable! 

I want to wrap-up with a quote that I think about daily from Margaret Thatcher, "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman." In my experience, women tend to be the thinkers and analyze thoroughly before speaking up. In my experience, men tend to think of quick solutions and delegate otherwise.  I tend to jump in first to give my thoughts before the other male team members do to show initiative rather than simply agreeing with what they say. As a woman, I encourage you to speak up in meetings, give your thoughts and be empowered to delegate. It's easy as a woman to get bogged down with tasks since we are the "doers."  I encourage you to speak up when it's relevant and delegate to anyone who will get the job done.

It doesn't occur to me often that I have something to prove being a woman in a meeting. With confidence, dedication and passion, I think of myself as an equal to a man and have every right as they do to have an opinion and be in that room.  I encourage you to feel empowered with confidence in workplace situations and in turn, will gain increased respect with colleagues. 

Thank you, Heather, for your honest, empowering advice and for giving us actionable ways to be stronger leaders!

MARK YOUR CALENDARS:  Reserve a spot on your schedule for the following upcoming ÖWLI events…

Nov. 10, 2017, 12-1pm Central Time:  ÖWLI Webinar Series: Attract the Attention of Influential Sponsors.  Harvard Business Review has reported that high-potential women are over-mentored and under-sponsored relative to male peers. In this webinar, led by Jo Miller, CEO of Women's Leadership Coaching, Inc., explore the difference between mentors and sponsors. Learn four ways to make the most of mentoring conversations, and how to identify potential sponsors. Discover eight steps to gaining sponsorship, and leave with a personalized plan to attract the attention of an influential sponsor. REGISTER HERE

Best wishes for an amazing month,

Karen Edwards
Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI Quote of the Month:  "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman." – Margaret Thatcher, former prime minister of England (Heather's favorite quote)

Talk to us!! Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged! Please let us know what you think of our initiative, share your ideas, share your victories, or just say "hi" by emailing us at ÖWLI@Ö