#LeadLikeAWoman with Jennifer Garrett

Speaker, Boundary Pusher, Growth Facilitator, Author. 

...I don't take "no" for an answer and if I want to do something in life, I make a plan and take action toward it. That doesn't mean my life is immune to chaos or obstacles, it just means that I am committed to my goals, no matter what comes in my path.

What does leadership mean to you?

Leadership is about being able to influence others to not only achieve your desired outcomes, but also to inspire and empower others to achieve higher levels of greatness in their own lives. Great leaders are people who add value to the individuals and the organizations that they lead. Leadership means working for the benefit of others and to help others; it doesn't involve focusing on your own personal gain. Great leaders energize and motivate, they don't intimidate or manipulate. Leadership is about working with others to understand their problems in order to solve them. It is about having the courage to take risks and push the boundaries of comfortability. It is about encouraging your teams to always find the lessons from failed outcomes or setbacks. Great leaders follow a moral compass that points in the right direction and they always do the right thing, regardless of trends and even if it means that they stand alone. Lastly, leadership is about making a positive impact on the community around them and giving others reasons to push through any situation in order to achieve success. 

Who has influenced your idea of leadership?

My mother played an influential role in my idea of leadership. My mother was first-generation in the United States and she came to this country in the 1960s when she was 24 years old. This was before the internet and it was a bigger deal to give up everything you knew (including your family members) to move across the Pacific Ocean to a country where you didn't really know anyone to pursue your career. Leadership involves having courage and I think about how much courage it took to make a decision like that. My mom chose a career in the nursing field and during her career she was always very hardworking and focused on serving others, which are two other important qualities of a good leader. She often stayed past her normal work hours to ensure her patients were taken care of and given high-quality service. 

Since I am also an avid sports fan, another individual who influenced my definition of leadership at a young age was the late Chicago Bears running back, Walter Payton. He was a dynamic leader who led by example both on and off the field. He coupled tenacity with kind-heartedness and gracefulness with forthrightness. I believe a true leader owns and is responsible for the energy they bring into any space and Walter Payton was one of those individuals who always brought positive energy on the field and in the locker room. He always wanted to make his teammates laugh and was known as a practical joker. He always put others first and was always committed to not only helping his teammates on the field, but also to serving others in the community. Payton's on-the-field performance as well as his off the field character, along with the qualities I observed from my mother, have really influenced my idea of leadership.

Why do we need more women in leadership roles? What do they add to the table?

We need more women in leadership roles because of their diversity in perspectives, backgrounds, and leadership styles. Women bring differentiated values to the table and we"check our ego" at the door and have a genuine passion for working with others. Women tend to be more inclusive, meaning they are more mindful of all stakeholders and make sure those individuals are represented in conversations so that the ideas and solutions to problems take into account the concerns, needs, and suggestions of all groups involved in the situation. Women leaders tend to be very open-minded and are interested in finding ways to continuously improve personally and professionally, as well as in the business context.

Women tend to be more self-aware, which enables us to have very strong emotional intelligence, which is a key characteristic of great leaders. It's also natural for women to be cheerleaders and champions of others in the workplace. We love discovering what motivates people into action and we are excited to provide words of encouragement and appreciation to employees for a doing a great job or going the extra mile. One other important characteristic of women is they know how to handle a crisis situation in a tactful manner and swiftly put together a game plan on how to respond and move forward. For these reasons and so many more, it is so important to have more women serve in leadership roles. 

How are you leading in your career/community?

People often say they don't know how I have accomplished everything in my life, including having seven college degrees and being a Fortune 50 company executive, while juggling being a single parent of five children and also a career as a military reservist. My answer to that is "I'm stubborn." What I mean by that is that I don't take "no" for an answer and if I want to do something in life, I make a plan and take action toward it. That doesn't mean my life is immune to chaos or obstacles, it just means that I am committed to my goals, no matter what comes in my path. I use this same approach when leading others both in the workplace and in my community. If you want to change your life, you have to be willing to get uncomfortable as there is no growth found in comfort. I am often coaching people on clearing their mind of "can't" and removing doubt from their mind. Those who are successful in life are the ones who said "I can" when stared in the face with adversity and kept moving forward when others would have expected them to quit.

Through my book, Move the Ball, my speaking engagements, executive coaching, business consulting, and the motivational/leadership content I publish on social media, I have been able to reach tens of thousands of people and help them bring better versions of themselves into each day and achieve those goals that they once thought were impossible. I challenge individuals and businesses to use non-traditional thinking in order to solve their biggest problems and to develop and apply habits that are going to get them the results they seek. I also work with professional and collegiate athletes, along with military service members on their transition from athletics and the military to their next career. Lastly, I serve on the Board of Counselors for USC's Masters of Business for Veterans (MBV) program, on the Board of Advisors for the Women's National Football Conference and am involved in a number of non-profit organizations that serve military members and current and former professional athletes.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I am excited to share that I am going to be launching a program called "Inside The Huddle" later this summer where I will be providing live monthly leadership trainings. There will also be downloads and worksheets provided each month so that participants can focus not only on the consumption of the training, but the application of what has been discussed. Often time, what happens is we digest information through a variety of mediums (audio, reading, podcasts, YouTube, etc.) and we know that we should make changes based upon that learning, but then we struggle with implementation. This is because our day-to-day life gets in the way, which means we get busy and we revert back to our old routines. This program is focused on helping people apply the concepts so that they can make those changes in their life and get across the goal line. 

Inside The Huddle is also designed to be a community where individuals get the coaching, the support, the accountability, and the championship that they need to continue to achieve excellence in their life and their career over the long-term. More information will be available throughout the summer, with the first live training on September 1st. Individuals can sign up for the program starting August 11th by going to www.jenniferagarrett.com/courses under the Inside the Huddle section. 

What is the best way for someone to contact you?

The best way to contact me is at info@jenniferagarrett.com. You can also get additional leadership training and motivational content by following me on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/movetheball, on Instagram at @movetheball, and on FB at www.facebook.com/movetheballdailypeptalk.