3 Ways to Lead With Impact

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Discover the latest insights in GovCIO’s Transforming Talent Series, where sector and Talent Acquisition leadership share valuable perspectives on workforce developments, best practices, and strategies to position yourself as the strongest candidate in the pool.

Celebrate Women’s History Month by gaining insights from prominent women leaders at GovCIO. Join us as Nichole Hahn, Chief Human Resources Officer, Rebecca Miller, Sector President of Health and Civilian Services and Megha Chokshi, Senior Vice President of Veteran and Enterprise Technology Services, share their experiences and offer invaluable leadership advice, inspiring all to aim for the stars.

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1. The Importance of Mentorship 

“I think probably one of the most valuable pieces of advice I’ve gotten is have a mentor both inside your company and outside your company,” said Rebecca Miller, Sector President of Health and Civilian Services at GovCIO. “A mentor inside your company has both your best interests and the company’s best interests at heart, but mentors outside your company only have your professional best interests in mind.”

Here are some questions to ask yourself when choosing a mentor: 

  • Do I look up to this person?
  • Am I able to work well with this person?
  • Can this person guide me toward my professional goals?
  • Is this person happy in their career?

Creating a Mindset Shift

"Find the opportunity in your professional disappointment, because I'll tell you, I've had some professional disappointments and they've ended up creating the best opportunities for me. So, really find the opportunity anytime you make a mistake. Everybody makes mistakes."

Rebecca Miller
Sector President, Health and Civilian
2. Developing Leadership Style 

“I think of my leadership style as collaborative,” said Nichole Hahn, Chief Human Resources Officer at GovCIO. “There might be a couple people that get together in a room and we have a good idea, but as soon as we start talking to other people it becomes a great idea. So I encourage everyone to have a voice and lead no matter what their role is in the organization.”

Working on developing your leadership style? Here are a few great places to start.

Know Your Strengths (and Weaknesses)

Are there areas where you find yourself challenged? Perhaps you excel in rapid learning assignments and task completion, yet occasionally prioritize quantity over quality. Or, alternatively, you might feel confident in independent work but struggle to assert yourself in group settings. These habits as an individual contributor may continue when transitioning into a leadership role, so self-awareness is key. Being an effective leader requires personal growth to effectively support and nurture others, which may mean a shift in your approach. Being candid with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses is a crucial initial step.

Understand the Influence of Bias

Developing your leadership style involves recognizing that certain aspects of your approach may be perceived differently due to subconscious biases influenced by factors like gender, race, and nationality. For example, research by Harvard Business Review supports the reality indicating that highly competent women may be perceived as less approachable. Conversely, female leaders emphasizing warmth and approachability might face doubts regarding their competence, adding to the complexity of workplace biases.

Be Brave

Research confirms that firsthand exposure to performance records can help counteract subconscious biases. It’s important to be aware of how others perceive you versus your intended communication and to recognize your own biases in judgment. These qualities of self-awareness and introspection are essential for confident leadership, which is crucial for any leadership style.

Advice for Working Moms

"Don't feel guilt for being a working mom. Recognize you can't do it all, and that's OK. Be the best that you can be and whatever the environment is that you're in. Something that I struggled with for the last 20 years, I'm finally at the point where I'm really proud. I'm really proud of my career, really proud of [my children] and I really have eliminated all guilt."

Nichole Gatto Hahn
Chief Human Resources Officer
3. Navigating Power Structures in the Workplace

“Initially, when I started off in my career, it was very difficult because of a couple of different factors,” said Megha Chokshi, Senior Vice President for Veteran and Enterprise Technology Services at GovCIO. “I had to decide what my integrity and my ethics were and the standards that wanted to walk by because to me, that was critical in how I responded. There are often comments [made] and sometimes they may come down to cultural differences, but you don’t want them to derail you.”

Created by psychologists Bertram Raven and John French, here are seven types of power that impact power dynamics in the workplace:

  • Coercive Power: Individuals possessing coercive power can use the threat of punishment to influence others’ actions. For instance, a manager may leverage the ability to give a negative performance review to deter undesirable behavior.
  • Expert Power: This type of power stems from exceptional skills or talents that make someone highly valued. An example could be a bilingual employee in a company catering to non-English-speaking customers.
  • Reward Power: Individuals with reward power can offer incentives or praise to reinforce desired behaviors. For instance, a manager may use rewards to motivate employees.
  • Informational Power: Those with informational power possess specialized knowledge that elevates their status. An employee with unique expertise relevant to the company holds informational power.
  • Formal Power: Formal power is derived from legitimate authority over others. In a workplace setting, this might be held by the CEO or company owner.
  • Referent Power: Referent power comes from being well-liked and influential among peers. A popular employee who inspires their colleagues to achieve goals demonstrates referent power.
  • Connection Power: Individuals with connection power can facilitate goal achievement by providing access to resources. For example, a job recruiter possesses connection power due to their network and access to job opportunities.

The Power of You

"Just be you, be yourself. If you don't go outside your comfort zone, if you don't take risks, and if you don't try new things, you're not going to go on to the next step. The sky is the limit."

Megha Chokshi
Senior Vice President

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