Name: Elizabeth D Bieter
Title: General Manager
Organisation: CATCo, Inc.
Presently leading an organization that offers online learning of skilled trades. Past includes leadership in energy companies, construction companies, the legal profession, and educational institutions.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Elizabeth's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
The most challenging aspect of leadership is instilling confidence in others. Most employees are afraid to speak up, admit mistakes, or offer suggestions because they have been taught not to be confident in themselves.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I became a leader when I grew frustrated working at a large bookstore. There were so many matters that needed a decision and no one was making decisions. The result of no decisions was additional costs and loss of savings opportunities.
For example, there was a program where you could get a rebate of a certain percentage of the cost of magazine if you did displayed them, but did not sell them. Generally, when the new month's copy of magazines came in, we threw out the outdated magazine.
I had been told about the program and made arrangements for us to participate. I was made manager two weeks later. I spent the first six months finding ways to save, and learning from staff how best to run the business.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my day two hours before my teams. This gives me time to go over the day, catch up on emails and address issues that might effect the days work. It also let's me see the long view without interruption.
After that I have a quick check in with departments. I want to make sure every department knows, I am available. I also want to hear updates of anything that might have happened overnight and want to give any updates.
The rest of the morning and afternoon are spent tackling the projects that are on my to do list and assisting where I'm needed.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
My job isn't to fix everything. My job is to empower others to solve problems and create solutions.
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?
I would say The Screwtape Letters. I realized as I was reading the book how easily negative thinking can impact the whole of an organization.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Be humble in all you do.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I cannot think of a single meaningful story. I think, each time I see someone I have mentored find his/her groove and expand his/her abilities, it's a meaningful story.