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Name: Angel Radcliffe
Title: Business & Technology Integration Lead
Angel Radcliffe is a Technology Transformation Thought Leader & Advisor and with 15 years experience. Her specialty includes Digital & Financial Transformation related to Strategy/Operations, and business processes/automation within accounting/finance departments. Building her corporate profile, she found she has a passion for both Finance & Technology, eventually blending the two skill-sets through various consulting projects.
She has a track record of executing projects across Global & Domestic teams. Radcliffe has proven not only be a leader but a persistent team player who brings positivity, innovation and initiative to her projects while being dedicated and driven. She is also passionate about creating diverse & inclusive environments, while being an advocate of change.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader who is empathetic and always advocating for leadership development, I have found that one of the most challenging aspects is striking the perfect balance between being assertive and being approachable. A leader should be assertive and clear in their expectations, but at the same time, they should also be approachable and open to feedback and communication.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
From my perspective, leadership is not about title but rather about actions and behaviors. I became a leader by taking ownership of my work and taking the initiative to help others around me succeed. In a role where I had 5 direct and 8 indirect reports, I saw an opportunity to mentor and develop my team members into strong leaders themselves.
To start, I took the time to understand each team member's strengths and weaknesses. From there, I worked with them to set individualized goals and action plans that would help them grow and develop in their roles. I provided ongoing feedback and coaching to ensure they were on track and making progress towards their goals.
I also encouraged a culture of collaboration and open communication among team members. I facilitated regular team meetings where we discussed challenges, shared best practices, and celebrated successes. By creating a supportive and empowering environment, I was able to foster a sense of ownership and accountability among my team members.
In terms of how I became a leader myself, I attribute it to a combination of factors. As a naturally empathetic and collaborative person, I have always been drawn to roles that involve leading and working with others. I also sought out opportunities to develop my leadership skills, such as volunteering for leadership positions in college organizations and taking on management roles in various jobs.
Additionally, I have learned a great deal about leadership through my experiences working under and alongside great leaders. Through observing their behaviors, communication styles, and decision-making processes, I have been able to develop my own leadership style and approach. Through a combination of these factors and a commitment to continual growth and development, I have become the empathetic and effective leader that I am today.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
To structure my work days effectively, I rely on a well-balanced routine that covers all aspects of my life. It starts with allowing time for a morning workout, followed by a cup of coffee and sometimes breakfast. This allows me to start the day on a positive and energized note.
Once I am settled in, I dive into catching up on my emails, ensuring that tasks are organized for efficient execution. As for daily activities, there are regular meetings and syncs throughout the day, ensuring that our project goals are aligned with the company's vision. I also make it a point to check in with my colleagues, particularly those who aspire to become leaders.
Exchanging ideas on how to achieve company goals, plus ones and corporate citizenship initiatives, keep us all motivated. At the end of the day, I have an end-of-day wrap-up to reflect on the day's accomplishments, and what can be improved. This helps to give perspective and allows me to prepare for the following day. I also tend to work out again in the afternoon for an energy boost. Once the workday is over, I make sure to break off completely from work-related tasks.
I prioritize my dinner and allow quality time for my loved ones. I allocate time to work on something I am passionate about outside of work, Lastly, preparing for the next day ensures that I am organized and ready to hit the ground running every morning.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
One recent leadership lesson that comes to mind is the importance of authenticity. Authenticity in leadership means being true to your values, beliefs, and personality. It means leading with integrity, honesty, and transparency.
Leaders who are not authentic can come across as insincere, manipulative, and untrustworthy. They may say one thing, but their actions and behaviors communicate something else entirely. Authentic leaders, on the other hand, build trust with their team members because they are consistent, reliable, and true to themselves.
In conclusion, authenticity is a crucial leadership quality that can make all the difference in building trust, inspiring your team, and achieving your goals. As a leader, it's essential to stay true to yourself and lead with integrity, even when faced with challenges or adversity.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
One book that has had a profound impact on my leadership is "How to Lead When You're Not in Charge" by Clay Scroggins. This book helped me understand that leadership is not just a position or title, but a mindset and a skill set that can be developed regardless of your formal role.
I came across this book well before I was in a leadership role, and before reading this book, I often felt frustrated and limited by the fact that I wasn't in a formal leadership position at work. I didn't feel like I had the authority or resources to make a significant impact. However, this book challenged that mindset and showed me that there are plenty of opportunities to lead from any position in an organization.
One of the most helpful concepts I learned from the book was the idea of "leading yourself well." This involves taking ownership of your personal development, setting goals, and cultivating habits and practices that will help you become a more effective leader. I found this idea extremely empowering, as it made me realize that I didn't have to wait for someone else to give me a promotion or a leadership role in order to start improving my leadership skills.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Being Authentic & Self Aware
• Being in tune with your emotional intelligence.
• Show up as your authentic self and being self-aware.
• Ask for feedback and learn to take constructive criticism.
• Self-Advocating – While you may have mentors and allies, remember to speak up for yourself as well.
• Self-Reflection – Revisit your goals & celebrate your success.
• Leadership does not equate to a title; it’s more about your actions, behaviors, impact, and influence.
• Embrace your past failures – Use your missteps to guide others.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One meaningful story that comes to mind from my time as a leader was when I had to deal with a difficult employee who was not meeting expectations and whose attitude was affecting the entire team. I approached the situation with a clear plan and open communication, ensuring that the employee understood the issues and the impact it was having.
Instead of resorting to disciplinary action immediately, I took an empathetic approach and worked with the employee to identify the root cause of their behavior. I created a development plan and scheduled regular check-ins to track their progress.
Over time, the employee’s behavior improved drastically, and the team dynamic shifted from negative to positive. The employee went on to become one of the top performers on the team and was even promoted to a leadership position within the company.
This experience taught me the importance of taking a human-centered approach to leadership, and that investing time and effort into employees can yield incredible outcomes. It also reinforced the importance of open communication and addressing issues head-on, as well as the value of providing development opportunities to help employees reach their full potential.