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7 Questions on Leadership with Melissa Ruth

Name: Melissa Ruth

Title: Sr. Manager, Advisory Services

Organisation: Cohesive

With more than 20 years of experience as a technology consultant and strategist in the software industry, Melissa has delivered results in public infrastructure, specifically airports, and in the heavily regulated Nuclear and Oil and Gas Industries.

She utilizes her MBA, Prosci® change practitioner certification, certified effective facilitator, and certified reliability leader certifications with finesse, assisting each customer towards the goal of finding those quick wins and long-term gains while ensuring both processes and systems work better together.

While her career has been focused primarily on information configuration management as it applies to facility, asset, and document management; it is her passion to help teams work better together that gets her the results her customers need. She has spent her career leveraging effective change management and advanced problem-solving skills in a way that provides a great customer experience.

Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!

I hope Melissa's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!


Jonno White

1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?

Balancing the personal and business leadership skills in order to be both innovative and to inspire the best in those I work with.

2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I believe we are all leaders in our own right. It's not about the title. This was proven throughout my career, as I was often selected to lead even when it wasn't explicitly described as such. For example, I often found myself pausing amongst my daily work and realizing I had followers looking to me to lead. I am now in an official leadership position because I have always done what was needed without question or waiting for direction.

For those looking to become leaders, understand that you are already a leader. There are others looking to you whether you realize it or not. Doing what must be done, producing results and investing in others every single day whether people are looking or not is the key in my opinion.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

My schedule looks different if I'm traveling for work or not. When home, I roll out of bed and make myself presentable for the day every day (regardless of whether I have meetings with customers or not). I then play and care for the pets (currently 2 dogs, 6 puppies, 1 cat, and 1 parrot - the 6 puppies will eventually leave), heading up to the home office (if traveling, I head out to a customer site or the conference I'm attending and speaking at). I then jump in with all my energy until the day's work is done. I wrap my days up making dinner for the family if home and then working on any volunteer work I have to do while sitting on the couch with my mother-in-law and my husband watching a movie or tv show until bed.

4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?

Be clear and succinct in all communication; I do not need to prove myself or my decisions. I wouldn't be here if I hadn't already proven myself.

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?

John G Miller has two books that I believe should always be read in tandem - QBQ! The Question Behind the Question and Flipping the Switch: Unleash the Power of Personal Accountability. Both taught me to look at problems and issues from a different perspective which, in turn, has made me a better leader. I'm aware that blame does not produce results and that we are all capable of being part of the solution even when we aren't the cause or it isn't our job. It has seeped into many other aspects of who I am as well.

6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?

Learn to stand in the silence - encourage the quiet voices or the unpopular voices to speak. You don't need people to always agree with you. You need brilliant ideas and solutions. You only get this by setting the stage and then learning to be comfortable in the silence so others speak.

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?

I questioned myself for years - full of ideas but unsure anyone actually heard them. I lacked self confidence. It wasn't until one of my leaders believed in me enough to not only take my ideas and run with them but to give me the ability to follow those ideas through and get results. It was then that I realized for myself that I actually DID know what I was talking about. That is when I started sitting up straighter and owning who I was—as a leader and a visionary. It is because of this manager that I lead differently now and choose to invest in others just like he did.

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