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7 Questions with Heather Myers
7 Questions with Heather Myers
Name: Heather Myers
Current title: Chief Psychology Officer
Current organisation: Traitify
An experimental psychologist and statistician with more than two decades of focus on personality psychology and psychometrics, Dr. Myers leads a cross-disciplinary team that creates Traitify’s validated assessments and its diverse slate of content to enhance employee engagement. Dr. Myers received a bachelor of science degree in psychology from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a master of science in statistics and a doctorate in psychology from Stanford University.
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader of a small or medium enterprise?
I would say the greatest challenge I have faced has been keeping my team excited and motivated during the difficult times of the pandemic. We have all struggled this year and leading through change and loss has been a real experience of growth for me.
2. How did you become a leader of an SME? Can you please briefly tell the story?
A former professor of mine who was working with Traitify in an advisory capacity introduced me to the founders. I started off in a consulting role, helping the company validate their initial assessment. Then as we moved to develop and validate new tools for use in the talent acquisition space I was promoted into my current role.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
As many people I work with are based in different time zones, I tend to start my work day on the early side. I make sure to leave myself enough time for breakfast, coffee and checking my emails and Slack messages before any meetings. The structure of my day after that varies based on my meeting schedule and the projects that I'm working on. I also try to stay away from work after dinner to give myself time to recharge and spend time with my family.
4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?
The most significant leadership lesson I've learned recently is the importance of leading with adaptability and compassion. Not everyone handles life's ups and downs in the same way and as leaders we need to be mindful of this. It is so important to check in with your people and to manage each in a way that works for them as well as your team as a whole. Keeping everyone motivated and working together well sometimes depends on shifting one's leadership style to match the current needs of your team members. What works today may be very different than what worked six months ago!
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 can't honestly say that there is one book that has profoundly impacted my leadership. I tend to draw on information from lots of different sources for my inspiration and guidance, including academic articles on leadership and psychology and time spent with other leaders. Over the years, leaders that I have interviewed and spent time with have had the most profound impact on my leadership.
6. How do you build leadership capacity in an SME?
I think building leadership capacity begins with trusting your people from the start. Decide together with your teams who will do what and trust each member to do their part. Make yourself available to be a supportive sounding board. Then, over time, increase responsibilities and autonomy. One of the most difficult things to do as a leader is to give up control on important projects to others. However, the best leaders empower their teams and trust them to get the work done well.
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader of an SME so far?
At a leadership team meeting, I used our personality assessment product to lead a team building session. It was so exciting over the following months to see the team's enthusiasm around the insights they learned during the session and to watch them put them to use in their everyday work lives. The session brought our product to life for each of us in new ways and made us all even more enthusiastic about the work we do.