SaskEnergy’s female Executives share their advice for aspiring leaders

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SaskEnergy's four women executives stand together in a row, smiling

In recognition of International Women’s Day — celebrated each year on this day — we asked SaskEnergy’s four women Executive team members to share their advice for aspiring leaders. Here’s what they said!

What advice would you give to aspiring leaders? 

Christine Short - Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer: Be authentic and be willing to be vulnerable. Share who you are with your team and your colleagues to develop relationships and build trust. Ask for feedback and act on it. Feedback, when given respectfully, is a gift. It helps us to identify our blind spots and avoid unintended impacts of our actions or words.

Lori Christie - Executive Vice President, Corporate Planning: Do what you say you will do, and never expect more from your staff than you are prepared to do yourself. Be patient and calm. Being a leader is hard work and you will often be required to make unpopular decisions. It does require sacrifice, but reaping the results is so satisfying! 

Maria McCullough - Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Safety: Surround yourself with people that will challenge you, and challenge how you think — you will be better for it. Really understand what you are good at, master that and build upon it. Additionally, understand your degree of emotional intelligence and continue to work on that.

Charlene Greve - Acting Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary: Follow your instincts and aptitudes. Don’t be afraid to dream big and take steps to prepare yourself to be able to realize those dreams. The most important part of the work is the people that you engage with to get the work done. Goals are best achieved together. And … did I mention hard work?

What do you believe are the top three attributes of being a good leader, and how does one build and demonstrate those skills?

Maria: Integrity — This is foundational, and it guides all your actions. You demonstrate this through your decisions.

Strategic — Recognizing the word is overused, it is critically important. You need to have a perspective based on an organizational view, not a narrow one (about you and your team). Your team is who you support and you have a responsibility to help them see the bigger picture.

Curiosity — Be in a constant state of learning, and not necessarily specific to your field of work. This enriches your life.

Christine: Authenticity — Being who you are and being true to your values. Being honest with yourself and with others, and taking responsibility for your actions and the impact they have on others.  Understand your strengths and weaknesses and share them with your team. Transparency will build trust with your team and provide them with a safe environment, so that they feel comfortable being open with you. 

Vision — Creating a vision for the future and inspiring your team to work collaboratively to achieve outcomes. Aligning team goals with Corporate goals to create a sense of purpose and provide clarity in the objectives set out for the team. Ensuring everyone has a clear understanding of their roles and holding them accountable for the results.

Resilience – Staying positive under pressure and facing obstacles as challenges. Resilient leaders can bounce back from setbacks and will develop trusted relationships and strong teams to help overcome challenges and work through problems. They are not afraid to make mistakes and are always using setbacks as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Charlene: Team building — Learn to manage conflict and to deal with issues in a thoughtful and sensitive way. This takes time, patience, listening and practice. Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Get to know your team, and respect each of them for what they bring to the whole group. Encourage them to try new things, and challenge them to develop their skills and broaden opportunities. 

Competency — Demonstrate good judgement and knowledge to engender the confidence of others. Show you can assist them with issues and problem solving.

Consistency — Live and show the qualities that others have a right to expect of you — act with integrity, make good decisions, walk the talk.

Lori: Integrity — Behaving ethically when no one is watching. Integrity inspires trust in teams and promotes honest and open conversations. 

Accountability — Accepting responsibility for your actions and those of your team, whether good or bad. Accountable leaders require personal accounts of their team members while leading by example.

Adaptability — The skill to think critically and quickly make quality decisions, as the environment changes. Much of developing adaptability starts with how you think. As an adaptable leader, you’re willing to make mistakes — but not the same mistake twice. Keep an open mind, and don’t procrastinate!