Our Women in Tech Are Leading with Authenticity
Jennifer Martino, Technology Communication Lead
It’s lunchtime at the office, and six people are sitting around a table eating and talking about their plans for the weekend. Nothing out of the ordinary, but there is one thing that catches my attention. All six people are men.
If you didn’t already guess: yes, I work in IT.
Wait…those are my strengths?
I had, in my possession, a detailed report containing my top five leadership strengths. I did complete my undergrad in less than four years, so the fact that my top strength was “Learner” seemed to hit the mark. While some strengths were obvious to me, others felt a bit…soft. Were my strengths the “right” strengths if I wanted to grow into a leadership role? How did I stack up to other women in IT?
Maybe I’ll just keep that information to myself.
And here is where the magic happened...
With this groundwork underfoot, it was time to get real. All of us, with our Strengths results in hand, found that we were in the same boat: we were about to get pretty vulnerable with each other, and there was no room to let our insecurities inhibit the process of diving into who we are as individuals, but also who we are as unique pieces of a team.
I would be the first in the group to share my strengths. Not just verbally, but in writing. And not in just any writing—in bold, bright red marker on the whiteboard for the whole group to see. And one by one, as we bravely took turns sharing our true qualities, I realized the power of this exercise. Not only was I learning about myself and my coworkers, I was practicing being an authentic leader by openly talking about and owning my strengths. Being provided a safe space to practice authenticity—loudly and proudly—is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.
This group will continue exploring Authentic Leadership over the next several months through further discussion, activities and guest speakers, and I am 100% on-board. I am grateful to work for an amazing company where the leaders demonstrate their belief that all team members, including women, have the potential to grow into leadership roles. The leaders at Tyson Foods are taking tangible steps to develop females in IT though the exploration of our individual strengths. As a female working in technology, I couldn’t be in a better place.
Published February 21, 2019.
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