In this interview with Debbie Ruston, she learns about how her previous experiences have led her to leadership, why some people are managing and not leading, and how to avoid conflict.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to where you are today – where you’re from, your educational and/or work background?
I have been an entrepreneur and trainer since 1986. My initial business was in Ladies’ Fashion. And as a business owner, I was personally committed to ongoing learning and development, and that was really when I was introduced to leadership development.
After 18 years with that business, I was ready for a new direction. I decided to start a business that supported my passion for helping others realize their potential.
What made you interested in leadership?
My own study of leadership and the difference it made in my life. When we see something that is effective in our own lives, it’s natural to want to share that passion with others.
What do you believe is the key to effective communication with your team?
Leading by example inspires others they can do it too, and giving people the training required and the space to make leadership decisions helps them raise the bar in what they are capable of.
It’s important to treat individuals with respect, help them learn, and grow and trust them to be the leaders they are capable of being. We tend to give into the belief that others have of us, so if you instill trust and expectation of what they can accomplish, it tends to give them the belief they can.
How do you keep people motivated despite obstacles or setbacks?
Being solution-oriented and fully committed to your goal is vital. When you are a person that IS solution-oriented, and you are committed for the long term to the goal, you become SELF-motivated. Motivation is great. However, it does wear off. The key is to become SELF-motivated.
Which mistake do you believe leaders make most often, and how could they avoid it?
There are far too many in leadership positions, that are not leading; they are “managing”. Ego often gets in the way of effectively leading people.
What do you believe is a quality that a leader should try to eliminate from their team?
Ego and control have to be removed to effectively build leadership in any organization.
Is there a particular well-known leader or company that you find inspiring? If so, why?
Richard Branson. He is an average guy that took consistent, simple actions on each of his goals. He keeps things simple due to his dyslexia and is one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet. He is not afraid to think out of the box, is willing to go against “conventional wisdom,” and has fun in everything he does.
Are there any specific apps, tools, or software that you use for productivity/communication?
I have used a simple paper daytimer for over 30 years. It is broken down by month at a glance, and then each week is broken down by day, with 15-minute increments from 7 am through to 10 pm. I put absolutely everything in my daytimer: appointments, calls, business tasks, personal and family commitments, exercise, and everything I have responsibility for, and I tick off as I complete.
How do you resolve conflict within your team?
I don’t have conflicts with my team. The key is being solution-oriented and committed and when necessary, brainstorming ideas to solve any potential conflict. Also working with the highest level of ethics and integrity and surrounding yourself with like-minded people.
What advice would you give to upcoming leaders?
Work on yourself and your leadership development. Very often, people are promoted in the workplace because of the results of their previous roles. For instance, a sales rep is promoted to sales mgr because of their great sales results.
This is not enough to lead people, and why many fail to be effective in their new roles. Don’t wait until you have the promotion….work on your leadership development always, help others succeed, and don’t be threatened by their success. This will help you become a strong leader.
Do you have any particular hobbies or interests?
Yes, lots…I love yoga, music, dancing, concerts, travel, reading, studying, personal development, repurposing, gardening, convertibles, cooking, and entertaining. I spend a ton of time with my family and friends and am about to become a first-time grandma, so that will bring about some new hobbies and interests.
Thank You, Debbie Ruston, for doing this Interview!
If you have ideas you feel like sharing with Debbie Ruston, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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