Leadership in Difficult Times

By Jasmine Patel

In this profile, Carla Harris, vice chairman, managing director, and senior client adviser at Morgan Stanley (and that’s just the beginning of her long list of credentials!) offers compelling insight on what it takes to lead during exceptionally complex times. And while the article looks at many issues from a staffing industry perspective, the lessons apply to all industries. Here are some of the biggest points that stuck out to me:

  • The Importance of Balance: Harris’ definition of work-life balance transcends the typical interpretation of just balancing work and family, and expands to include making time for anything that brings you joy. Whether that’s writing a poem or taking a pet for a walk, creating joyful balance is what will keep you motivated to do your best work.
  • Showing Up as Your Best Self: This requires intentionality. Know who you are authentically, and intentionally bring that person to work. Create an understanding of what success looks like for your team, and intentionally be there for them with empathy and transparency.
  • Leverage Unique Voices: In order to get the most creative ideas to address modern challenges, leaders should make a point to hear everyone’s voices. Harris suggests inviting individuals by name to contribute to group discussions — suggesting that over time leaders won’t need to solicit feedback because people will feel seen and heard, and will contribute without being prompted.

These points are just a small snippet of what Harris offers in this piece. She goes on to discuss personal and professional growth, common mistakes leaders make, and how and why executives can and should embrace diversity and inclusion in the current climate.

If you need a lot of ideas in that room, you need a lot of perspectives in that room, because ideas are born from perspectives. If you need a lot of perspectives in the room, you need a lot of experiences in the room, because perspectives are born from experiences. And if you need a lot of experiences in the room, you better start with a lot of different people in the room, because experiences are born from people. That is the business case around diversity and inclusion.

This article was originally posted in People Scout.


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