Leadership Lessons: Leading with Your Authentic Self | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University
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Leadership Lessons: Leading with Your Authentic Self

Posted 12.12.2022

Leadership Lessons: Leading with Your Authentic Self

 “I thought a leader was somebody who was authoritative and confident; someone who takes charge and makes the tough decisions.”

In the past, Dr. Tania Markanian relied on this common image of what a leader should look like as a model for her own leadership style, even though it never felt like a natural fit to her.

That was before participating in Leadership Deep Dive (LDD): a premier, cohort-based leadership development program offered exclusively by Weatherhead Executive Education.

Already an established leader and successful in her career, Tania believed that improving her leadership skills demanded that she establish more of a commanding presence. However, with the help of LDD’s instructors, Tania was able to expand her understanding of what being a great leader really means. 

She learned strategies to harness her innate strengths and put them to work for her.  She discovered how to manage her relationships in new ways.

“Your emotional intelligence is actually an asset, not a hindrance. Being compassionate, being empathetic – balancing that with an analytical mind really helps you to be an outstanding leader. It was eye opening for me to see the science behind it; to be validated with data.”

In the past, Tania devoted a lot of energy to avoiding confrontations, but these days she actually embraces challenges, calling them “learning opportunities.”

Clashes of opinion are an invitation for Tania to pivot, look at the situation differently, and reconsider her perspective.  She practices being calmer and less reactionary during stressful interactions, which in turn has allowed her to diffuse situations and redirect the conversation.

Since completing LDD, Tania’s attitude toward conflict has completely flipped.

“LDD broadened my perspective in ways I never thought possible.” Now she realizes, “This is a moment I’m going to grow. I look at the challenge now, and I think; bring it!”

What does Tania say to those who still cling to the old command-and-control model of leadership?

She reminds them of the author Adam Grant’s words, “If knowledge is power, knowing what we don’t know is wisdom.”

Her advice to leaders: “It’s time for you to get wise and find a new perspective. It’s time for you to check in and evaluate what blind spots you may have.”

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Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University cultivates creativity, innovation, and purpose-driven leadership to design a better world.