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How Bringing Your Best Self Makes You A More Effective Manager

By: Leanne Oliver
Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Frito-Lay North America

Jun 12, 2018

Everyone has their own unique management style.

Over the years my approach to management has evolved as a result of the people with whom I’ve had the privilege of interacting, and through evaluating what makes me most effective in my role. Even today I regularly step back and evaluate what I could be doing better or in a more effective way.

There are some things that have held true throughout my career.  First, every day presents an opportunity to learn something new. Second, investing in yourself almost always pays off.  Third, a large part of success is learning how best to prioritize (and, no, I don’t just mean work deadlines). Finally, and this is hard sometimes, exhibit some self-awareness so that you can be the best version of yourself.

Take learning experiences with you:
Every day offers a new opportunity to learn from an experience. To continuously improve, you can’t shy away from new and different experiences – they are often the most exciting and rewarding.

And remember... you are bound to make mistakes, and that’s OK. You almost always learn more from failure than success. It’s what you do when mistakes happen that matters.

Invest in yourself:
My mom used to say that an investment in education is like money in the bank – it almost always pays off. Education is also something that can never be taken away, and it allows you to potentially discover new interests and talents you didn’t know you had.

Education doesn’t have to be formal. Give yourself permission to read. Know what’s happening in the world and how it could affect the business and your daily life. I once read that when Bill Gates was leading Microsoft he would often set aside a full day just to read. While you may not be able to pause for a full day to read, dedicate the time when you can, and make it a regular occurrence.

Make it a priority:
Prioritizing your time both at work and outside can be one of the biggest challenges. The unexpected will always happen – whether it’s an issue you uncover, something your team brings to you, or something that comes out of nowhere.

My day always seems more productive if I take 15-20 minutes in the morning to plan out my top three priorities for the day. Of course unexpected events will come along, but having those top three priorities in place will help set a path forward once the urgent items pass. Personally I am “blessed” with a fairly long commute that also gives me plenty of time to think through my game plan for the day, and to wind down after a busy day. And don’t forget to take advantage of your quiet time and/or take time to engage in a guilty pleasure. You need that down time to recharge your battery.

Be the person your colleagues want to work with:
Know what type of colleague you’d like to be to others. There’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to working with others. Be prepared to flex your style as needed. And, above all else, follow through on your commitments.   In sum, it’s about the Golden Rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated no matter what comes your way. It’s that simple.


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