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Build yourself a backstop

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Billie Williamson’s biggest mistake, she says, was not realizing earlier in her career that leaders are interdependent, not independent.

“You need to build relationships all around you,” says the Ernst & Young partner. She says she understood about building relationships with her staff, but assumed that peers and supervisors would acknowledge her great work.

They didn’t. “You have to invest time to build those relationships,” she says. “Then it’s more comfortable to take a risk or try something new. You’ll have people all around you to help when you do fail. Someone to say, ‘It’s not a big deal. I did the same thing before.’ People to pick you up and shove you right back in there.”

Lesson: “There is no one in any top leadership position who hasn’t made millions of mistakes,” Williamson says. “The key is to learn and not keep making them. At least move on to new mistakes.”

—Adapted from “Levelheaded Leader,” Taylor Mallory, www.pinkmagazine.com.

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