Success University For Women In Leadership - Beyond The Book (part one)

This is the first in a series of posts where I'll be introducing you to several of my fellow co-authors of Success University For Women In Leadership. In addition to sharing snippets from the book, I'll be asking authors questions that tap into their wisdom and go beyond the stories shared on the pages of their chapters.

Meet Co-Author, Colleen Sorensen

Colleen believes that “leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves.” (Stephen Covey) She has a passion for helping others find their voice, their path, their inner strength or personal power.

Teaching soft skills is Colleen’s specialty, as she has witnessed firsthand how fast someone can fail when they lack those skills. Through experiential learning, Colleen allows individuals to identify their strengths and weaknesses, creating self-awareness and an action plan for future development.

With over 20 years’ experience as an administrator and professor in higher education, Colleen has helped thousands of individuals reach higher levels of success.

In her chapter, Step Up To Responsibility, Colleen shares a story of a stressful crisis she faced as a leader in the workplace and how taking ownership of the situation helped to minimize negative fall out. She shares many actionable strategies that others can use including being forthright with information and taking 100% responsibility. Colleen says, 

"Everyone makes mistakes, no matter our age or experience. It is painful to admit our errors, regardless of who is to blame. The real test is in the recovery process; what we do once we learn of the errors." (Page 163)

Beyond The Book

I recently had the opportunity to do a speed interview with Colleen.  What follows is the result of our conversation,

Q. How do you determine when to lead and when to follow? 

A.  Once I recognized I am dispensable, no matter how much time, energy, and effort I put into my job, I decided to step back and really take a look at my leadership style. I realized I needed to step aside and instead assist in developing others in ways that allow them to shift into their own leadership space. I love Nelson Mandela’s comment that it is important to know when to lead from the front and when to lead from behind. I find leading from behind to be the most rewarding. Additionally, all leaders must know how to be good followers. Everyone needs an opportunity to step out in front, so the more opportunities we can provide for one another to let that happen, the more we all evolve into greater purpose and passion.

Q. What's been the biggest reward of developing your leadership abilities? 

A. I know who I am, what I value, and what I am passionate about. With that being said, I know what my voice is and from that place of clarity, I can encourage others to find their voice as well.·  

Q. Sometimes being a leader can feel lonely. What is something you do to maintain a feeling of connectedness?

A. I have a handful of mentors and an accountability partner who I can call on in a moment’s notice to support me when I need a boost or to discuss a troubling situation. I also have an incredibly supportive spouse, who has been my sounding board throughout my professional career.

Q. I talk a lot about 'creating success on your own terms'. How do you think that applies to leadership?

A. One of the greatest miracles of life is that no one is exactly the same, and no two people think exactly the same. So it is up to me to identify what my success is, what I value, and what legacy I want to leave that touches the lives of others for good. A good leader inspires others to greatness in their own way, by encouraging others to make their own recipe for success.  Each success recipe is sought after by others to adapt, modify, and strengthen to assist in creating their own formula (of success). We don’t want clones of each other, we want truly individual masterpieces that inspire us to our own greatness.  

    Q. Great leaders allow space for laughter and fun.  In that spirit, describe your leadership style using a GIF. :)  

    Founded in 2015 by Jan Fraser and Catherine Scheers, Success University For Women™  is an organization whose vision is to educate, empower, and promote women around the world through books, conferences, and courses. I am proud to be associated with this organization and to be a featured co-author in their latest book.Success University For Women In Leadership --the 3rd book in the International Best-Selling Success University For Women series.  Our official launch date is November 14, 2017.  If you would like to stay informed of special pricing, bonuses, and event, SIGN UP HERE.