Each month in our newsletter, we feature an interview with one of our Instigators. Recently we featured an interview with Leigh Steere, Co-founder, Managing People Better, LLC—a management research firm/think tank. Professional kettle-stirrer. Writer. Curriculum developer. Connect with Leigh on her LeadChange profile, website, or Twitter and check out the Managing People Better assessment where you can get some feedback on your management style and help with a research project.]
I am a researcher and product developer in the people management field. Over the years, I’ve held various management and leadership roles, gaining a firsthand glimpse of the challenges leaders face. These experiences piqued my interest in creating leadership development tools. As I listen to workplace stories and witness manager-employee interactions, I note differences between strong leaders and struggling ones, inspiring leaders and ones who cause employees to shut down. It’s been fun to share these observations at LeadChangeGroup.com.
What do you do to engage in leadership?
Peter Friedes and I created a free online tool, www.ManagingPeopleBetter.com, which allows managers to look at the strengths and weaknesses of their management style. We also offer fee-based tools and content to help managers and leaders with self-reflection and managerial skill-building.
I have an insatiable drive to read, observe and create. So even if I’m reading a science fiction novel or touring a historical site, I’m constantly on the lookout for new management and leadership insights.
Do you have a book or person that particularly influenced you?
Many people and books have influenced me over the years, so it’s hard to pick just one. I consciously started thinking about leadership in second grade after an experience at Neiman Marcus. That year, the retailer hosted an Australian Fortnight. They decorated the store with a Down Under theme and imported Australian merchandise of all sorts. I fell in love with a toy koala bear and decided it was all I wanted for my birthday that year. However, when we went back to buy it, there were none left.
Stanley Marcus was a hands-on manager. He walked the floors and talked with customers and happened to wander by as I was trying to hide my tears. He knelt down and asked me what was wrong. I explained about the koala bear, and he replied, “You’re in luck. I am flying to Australia next week and will bring one back for you. You’ll need to wait a bit, because I’m going to be there for several days.” But he indeed brought one back in his suitcase. He showed how customers and promises matter and how one impression can last a lifetime.
What would you like to get out of your membership with the Lead Change Group?
I was toying with the idea of setting up a blog and researching the best way to do that when I found LeadChangeGroup.com. The idea of being part of a group of bloggers resonated with me. I like the different perspectives we each bring to the table and feel that we as a group help readers explore leadership issues more fully than any one of us could alone. And in the process, we bloggers are also learning from each other.
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