Virginia at Work: Leaders who inspire

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Having a role model, a leader to emulate, can help a manager lead his or her own team to success.
In our Virginia at Work series, we wanted to find those leaders who inspire.  Leaders who dream big, are innovative, remain positive and constantly look for ways to build others up.

CEO of Cortex Leadership Consulting, Lynda McNutt Foster says, “I think the most important thing leaders can do, is realize they can’t do it alone. When you look at the most inspiring leaders, that’s one of the first things they’ve learned.”

We start with Sheila Umberger, the Director of Libraries for the city of Roanoke. This past Spring, after several of her team members nominated her, Umberger learned she had won the 2016 Peggy Sullivan Award … which goes to one library director in the entire country each year.

We spoke with Sheila for this week’s podcast to learn more about her success … something she says she’s always trying to cultivate.

“The best part of my job are the people I work with actually. It’s always a continual thing. Like, you’re never quite there ‘perfect’ with it. Even now, I’m starting small groups, four people at a time. We will read articles together, because I want to interact with all of the library staff, which is about 55 people.  So, I think being genuine takes you a long way. If you are approachable, genuine… I think what happens – you can rush out of the building and you realize you didn’t say hello to someone who is working really hard for your organization. I think part of it, is taking a moment to look around and think about that. Because if you are viewed as more genuine, then you will have people approach you. I think it’s trite to say my door is always open, then it’s closed and you’re rushing out to a meeting.  I think you have to take a deep breath and think, do I really mean that, it means you need to look around and say hello, or say I’m going to this meeting and share something with them so that they understand the role you’re playing in helping them do their job,” says Umberger.

Foster adds, “I watch her with her team and the thing that she does.  She can just zero in quickly on what somebody’s strengths are,  then she motivates and engages them.  She allows them to fail, but fail forward. She’s in a constant, continuous improvement cycle.  With herself, with her team, with her division, with her organization.”

Both Sheila Umberger and Lynda McNutt Foster will join our Good Day Virginia team tomorrow morning to talk about about successful leadership, connecting with your team and inspiring them to move your mission forward.
And again, we sat down with Sheila for our podcast this week – you can listen to the entire discussion here.
 
 

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