Yolanda Cash Jackson
Firm: Becker & Poliakoff
Name a secret ingredient or two for effective mentoring? My two secret ingredients are compassion and empathy. A good mentor will never forget what is was to be in the shoes of a mentee, and a good mentor should always offer advice for the mentee as if they were standing in the shoes of the mentee. You don’t know what you don’t know!
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and why is it so valuable? I’ve learned most importantly to take responsibility for leadership decisions I‘ve made good or bad. A true leader leads by example and be willing to take the heat when the plans are not successful. On the other hand, a true leader should also be humble enough to accept praises and accolades when decisions are proven to be a good.
Which leadership skills were the most difficult for you to develop? I had a hard time developing patience and listening. A good leader is willing to wait until the time is right to lead and or to be led, with the ability to know the difference. A good leader should listen twice as much as they talk. The ability to listen without overreacting is a skill I’m still learning.
How do you teach negotiating skills? I believe negotiating skills for the most part cannot be taught. Negotiating skills are based upon the person’s core values and willingness to be flexible.
When trying to obtain buy-in for something new or sustaining, what tactics work for you? I would first research the idea. If this has been done before successfully or unsuccessful, then talk to the individuals to alleviate any concerns or issues with the idea.
Do you have any quick tips for re-energizing an overworked team? Bring in a third-party professional to work with the team. The professional can get to the root of the needs of the team, bring new ideas and therefore make the team more productive.
What are the best ways for people to stay connected to a key mentor over time and locations? I stay connected with my mentees through phone calls, periodical emails with announcements about their successes and progression, and connecting in person or virtually.