Lessons of Leadership

By Ashley Mayer, Lead Mission Manager


Leadership can be defined in various ways depending on whom you talk to. To me, leadership is something that I had to grow into and learn to embrace. Once I began to see the impact I could have on others through example, I began to embrace leadership.

When I was in college, I was part of the track and cross-country teams, and an outstanding coach led both teams. He taught me what it meant to be a committed leader. He worked harder than anyone I knew and made it his mission to help every athlete on the team become their very best. His authenticity and pure love for the sport were things that made the team want to be better. Through his example, we pushed ourselves to run the extra mile because we knew how much it meant not only to Coach, but also to the team.

The same goes for business. When you have a leader who inspires you and challenges you to be your very best, the entire team rallies around the mission of the organization and wants to do better and make a greater impact. My mission has become one to positively impact others- whether it’s my clients, my teammates, my friends or my family. I want to be a woman of influence and make a true difference in this world. I believe the only way you can get there is by becoming a leader who lifts others up and carries a positive attitude. I am fortunate to work amongst extraordinary leaders- women and men who have taught me that hard work, dedication, authenticity and doing the right things go a long way.

What I have learned from the many leaders in my life is there are several traits that hold true for a successful leader. Those traits are:

1. Authenticity

An authentic leader is not afraid to show people their true colors. This is the leader who has boldness and charm in their actions and people gravitate towards that. This type of leader is one who knows how to laugh at oneself and speak from the heart when needed.

2. Integrity

This is a big one. A leader with integrity is one who says what they are going to do and follows through to deliver on that. Someone of their word and reliable. Integrity goes a long way for a successful leader.

3. Vision

A leader with vision is someone who can get others to see what they see and excite them about the possibilities. Vision is what keeps people working towards something bigger then they thought possible. A leader is someone who can help their team achieve the overall vision.

4. Inspiring

This is a trait that is unique for some leaders. Inspiration is what I like to think of the extra layer of motivation–that trait that not only gives people a sense of hope but also excites them. An inspiring leader is someone whom others look up to and stand behind their mission.

5. Committed

This trait refers to the type of leader who makes it their mission to see something through until the end. Even if a project or challenge goes south, the leader’s commitment to their team and mission keeps them honorable and trustworthy. People want to know that the person they are following is one who will stick with them, even if times get shaky.

6. Puts in the extra hours

Someone who not only delegates the work, but also puts in the extra hours on their end to see it lead to success is admirable. This is a trait of a leader who leads by example.


I challenge you to take some time to reflect on the type of leader you may currently be and the type of leader you aspire to be. Are they the same person? Is one more aligned with how you picture a leader to be? Life is so great in that every day it gives us a new opportunity to change our course, to make a new decision, to live a purposeful life. Choose to be the best leader you can be for your organization and your team every day.

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