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Unleashing Your Leadership Potential: Embracing Authenticity and Growth

Sofia Nicholson

Jul 28, 2023



Are you facing challenges as you transition into a new managerial role, particularly when it involves leading people? I understand the struggles that come with this shift, but I'm here to share my experience and insights as Sofia, a leader with over 15 years of diverse leadership experience from the U.S. Military and the corporate sector. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a "people person," I want to assure you that you have a place at the leadership table. Let's explore how you too can become a successful leader, even if you think it's not in your nature.


Dispelling the Myth of Natural Born Leaders:

The belief that some individuals are "born to be leaders" is a common misconception. In reality, leadership is a skill that develops and improves over time through various experiences in leadership positions. Some of history's greatest leaders, such as Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Mahatma Gandhi, and Michael Jordan, weren't considered "natural-born leaders" either, but they excelled in their respective domains.

Leadership is a skill that develops and improves over time through various experiences in leadership positions.

Key Traits of Successful Leaders:


Authenticity: Being true to yourself is a crucial trait of effective leadership. People can sense authenticity during interactions, and it significantly impacts trust between a manager and their team. Establishing trust is vital for fostering successful working relationships.


Emotional Intelligence: The ability to understand and manage both your emotions and those of your team members creates a safe and supportive environment. By getting to know your team as individuals, you can cultivate a workplace where productivity thrives.

People can sense authenticity during interactions, and it significantly impacts trust between a manager and their team.

Criticism-Tolerance: Embracing criticism is essential for personal and team growth. As a manager, encourage open and honest feedback from your team, understanding that constructive criticism is the pathway to improvement.


Learning through Observation: Reflecting on past leaders you've worked with can help you identify effective leadership attributes to emulate. Additionally, recognize and improve upon any less effective qualities to develop your personal leadership style.


Reflecting on past leaders you've worked with can help you identify effective leadership attributes to emulate.


The Impactful Role of a Leader:

As a leader of people, you carry great responsibility as your decisions influence the experiences of those you lead, both within the company and in their personal lives. By embodying authenticity, emotional intelligence, criticism-tolerance, and a willingness to learn, you can make a positive and lasting impact on your team members' lives and careers.

Conclusion:

Becoming a successful leader is not about innate talent but rather the development of essential traits and skills. Embrace your authentic self, nurture emotional intelligence, welcome criticism as a means of growth, and continuously learn from your observations. As you do so, you'll leave a favorable impression on your team, becoming a source of guidance, motivation, mentorship, and exemplary leadership. Remember, there is room for everyone at the leadership table, including those who may have once doubted their ability to lead.



 

Sofia Nicholson, MBA, CISA, CEH, is a second-generation Cuban American from Miami, Florida, who embodies the resilience and cultural heritage of her immigrant family. As a Security Operations Center Investigator at Microsoft and a medically retired U.S. Army combat veteran, she brings determination, adaptability, and commitment to her work in cybersecurity. With an MBA degree from George Mason University and prestigious certifications, Sofia's technical expertise is commendable. Beyond her professional accomplishments, she finds joy in family, travel, and cooking. Advocating for diversity and inclusion, Sofia actively supports underrepresented voices in the industry. Her dedication extends to volunteer work, promoting digital literacy and cybersecurity education for underprivileged individuals, aiming to make a lasting impact and foster innovation in the field. She is also the Director of Programs at Latinas in Cyber. Connect with Sofia on LinkedIn to stay updated on her latest insights, collaborations, and contributions to the cybersecurity industry. Copyright July 27, 2023 by Latinas in Cyber. Contact for usage license. Opinions expressed are the guest writers and are solely their own and should not be considered an endorsement by Latinas in Cyber.

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