By Amy L. Shoemaker, PHR, CMC, EMBA, Kennedy and Coe, LLC and
“The leader who leads by pointing the way leaves no footprints for his followers.” African Proverb.
When I attained my first vice president position; Sally, another vice president, came to me and shared that she had decided that since the last 3 terminations in her department were African American employees, she no longer wanted me to send her African American applicants. I empathized with her dilemma and then reminded Sally that the 6 terminations prior to the recent 3 were all Caucasian employees; therefore I would no longer send her Caucasian applicants either. She cried out “you cannot do that!” I cautioned her that she had made the rule; I was simply asking her to be consistent. Sally responded “you’ve made your point.” She left deep in thought. The next applicant Sally hired was an African American woman who was promoted to a supervisor 6 weeks later. Two weeks later Sally apologized for the conversation, thanked me for helping her think through her decision, and for listening to her. Years later she continued to have a trusting and deeply respectful relationship with her supervisor.
Every day we have the choice to challenge and expand people’s thinking or to say nothing. I have invested my career as a vice president for large corporations, in developing women and minority high potential leaders for advancement to the C-Suite. Helping leaders develop their voice at the table and learn to influence others to grow the business has been my passion. This experience is the foundation for the CWCC Corporate Executive Leadership Academy. Join us to explore leadership topics, including Authentic Leadership – leading with your values and beliefs, and Compassionate Courage – communicating tough decisions to allow the employee to leave the meeting with their self-respect and dignity in tact. These are only 2 of the many leadership topics we will explore in this exciting new Academy, created uniquely for the CWCC.
Let’s hear from you: What leadership characteristics do you look for in your future leaders? How do you recognize those characteristics as you select leaders for promotion?
Amy L. Shoemaker, PHR, CMC, EMBA has 18 years of experience as a vice president developing leaders for growing corporations such as Cox Communications, Knight Ridder, Koch Industries Inc., Pizza Hut, Via Christi Health Systems, and Farm Credit Bank of Wichita. She attained her Executive MBA and completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business HR Executive Program. Amy currently serves clients as the Director of People Growth Strategies for Kennedy and Coe, LLC in executive coaching, leadership development and the integration of leaders and employees during mergers and acquisitions. You can reach her at 303-993-2364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Kennedy and Coe, LLC
Founded in 1932, Kennedy and Coe, LLC serves clients domestically and internationally from offices in Kansas, Colorado, Mississippi, Wyoming, and Washington D.C. Ranked one of the top 100 largest accounting and consulting firms in the U.S., more than 200 Kennedy and Coe professionals deliver creative ideas and valuable results to clients in the industries of food and agriculture, biofuels, construction, financial institutions, manufacturing, and professional services. The firm is named a Best Accounting Firm to Work For in 2012 by Accounting Today. For more information, visit www.kcoe.com.