Name: Liane Davey
Title: Co-founder and Principal
Organisation: 3COze Inc.
Liane Davey is a New York Times Bestselling author of three books, including The Good Fight: Use Productive Conflict to Get Your Team and Your Organization Back on Track and You First: Inspire Your Team to Grow Up, Get Along, and Get Stuff Done. She is a contributor to the Harvard Business Review and frequently called on by media outlets for her experience on leadership, team effectiveness, and productivity. As the co-founder of 3COze Inc., she advises companies such as Amazon, TD Bank, Walmart, UNICEF, 3M, and SONY. Liane has a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Liane's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
As a leader, I find it challenging manage my attention and to help others pay attention to the right things as well. There are so many demands on our time and energy and it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if you don't pay attention to all of them, you might miss something. Of course, if you try to pay attention to everything, you will give short shrift to things that matter.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
I started as an individual contributor and showed early on that I cared enough to want to manage the team. I was a manager for several years when I started to think beyond optimizing the status quo to transforming things for the better. That's what I think of as a leader.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As a consultant and writer, my days look very different from one to the next. If I'm in the office, I try to block morning hours for writing and then use midday and the afternoon for client calls and processing routine transactions. Often, I'm out of the office, either giving keynote speeches or facilitating executive team offsites...so many of my days are spent on planes or in hotel rooms.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Leadership is a rough job for nice people. Leadership requires a healthy dose of skepticism and a willingness to ask for something different than what you're getting. Too many leaders are reticent to challenge, shy of giving feedback, and too comfortable with the status quo. That is a recipe for disaster.
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 really love Made to Stick by the Heath Brothers... it's about how to communicate more effectively. I love the story about Commander's Intent and the difference between telling someone what to do versus teaching them how to think.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Before every single conversation you have, figure out what and whom you're fighting for. Then use that conversation to increase understanding, challenge the status quo, and adapt your position based on what you learn from others.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
I once got wrapped up in a situation where I was advocating for change but doing a terrible job in listening to how that change was perceived by others. I was so busy driving for what I wanted that I risked losing the confidence and the buy-in of everyone around me. I thought of their resistance as proof that they weren't "onboard" when really it was just evidence that they were human and I hadn't made a safe space for their experience.