Leadership Series: The Heart of a Lion

06-07-2012 7:27 AM

Today’s post comes from Peggy Davidson, Mary Kay’s Vice President of U.S. Sales Force Communications and Education. Peggy has worked for Mary Kay for more than 20 years and shares her thoughts about the heart of a leader.

Peggy Davidson, Mary Kay’s Vice President of U.S. Sales Force Communications and EducationLeadership is not for the weak of heart. Of course it can be the most satisfying role ever, especially when everyone is challenged, happy and satisfied. And that happens about as often as my teenage daughter willingly cleans her room. (For those of you who are blessed with neat freaks, just know that’s seldom to never.)

Leadership is a massive responsibility. People are counting on you. Counting on your vision. Counting  on your strategy.  And, whether they know it or not, counting on your honesty. It’s a hard thing, telling people what they need to know instead of what they want to hear. But it is the most essential part of leadership. Feedback is a gift. A somewhat unexpected and often unwelcomed gift, but a gift nonetheless.

I’ve been on the receiving side of that gift. About midway through my career, I got the feedback that I was resistant to change. In a world that is changing rapidly, resistance to change will take you nowhere. My first reaction was, “Well, I’m only resistant to stupid change.” (I can be a bit stubborn.)

Then I took a step back. The fact was, no matter how well I thought I managed change, the perception that others have must be considered. I began to realize how I contributed to that perception and worked very hard to change it. I thank that brave person who cared enough to tell me. The work was all on me. Without that push, I would have never progressed in my career.

Be that brave person, that brave leader who puts another’s needs above her own. It’s not the easiest thing you’ll do that day, but trust me - it will be the most rewarding.

No, leadership is NOT for the weak of heart. But it IS, however, for the pure of heart.