Gale Mote/Tree Full of Owls

As I write this article, I think of the many women who have positively influenced my life – from managers who challenged me to colleagues who brought out the best in me to family members who loved me unconditionally – even when I deserved it the least.

In this week’s Corridor Business Journal, we pay tribute to the 2012 Women of Influence who have inspired others with their commitment, compassion, emotional intelligence and servant orientation. Using great quotes from great women, I pay tribute to this year’s honorees for their awesome contributions to their families, organizations and our community.

“Each person must live their life as a model for others.” – Rosa Parks

When Ms. Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in 1955, she made a strong statement about humanity and living a life of integrity. Our honorees inspire each of us with their actions, not just their words. They demonstrate respect, openness and compassion – earning our trust and confidence. True to their beliefs, they show us how to inspire others by doing what is right, not convenient or popular.

“I attribute my success this – I never gave or took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale

“It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Personal accountability builds loyalty and commitment within teams. This year’s Women of Influence know the importance of taking ownership for the results of their actions and behaviors, positive and negative. Blame, looking for a scapegoat, complaining and excuses are foreign to their vocabulary. Action oriented – they would rather talk about solutions than problems. Quick to praise and slow to take credit, they understand real power is in the hearts and minds of volunteers and employees committed to a common cause. Not afraid to admit mistakes, they openly share lessons learned and help others to avoid similar pitfalls.  People will not follow or respect leaders who throw their colleagues under the bus or speak disparagingly about other departments or teams.  Our Women of Influence demonstrate a unified front and love to honor other’s accomplishments and victories.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.” – Maya Angelou

Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” – Shirley Chisholm

Women of Influence respect the Law of Reciprocity – the more you give, the more you receive. Their positive spirit and passion inspires others to be more, give more and take a stand.  Their leadership style enables others and builds on strengths. Intrinsically motivated by a purpose bigger than self, they focus on potential not limitations. Grateful for the opportunity to make a difference, our Women of Influence are often not aware of the many positive ways they lighted the path for another. I believe some were quite surprised to learn of their nomination.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

To influence others, you must be good at team building. Some days, this is more like herding cats. Getting a diverse group of people to align themselves around a common purpose and be willing to put the needs of the team above personal egos is an extraordinary talent. Our Women of Influence set clear expectations, provide the necessary support and coach teams to achieve real synergy. They work tirelessly to break down walls and replace them with bridges using technology, training and shared goals. When team members know what the goal is, what the rules are and what is expected of them, individually and as a team, performance soars.

“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says ‘Make me feel important.’” – Mary Kay Ash

“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends and co-workers – even strangers you meet along the way.” – Barbara Bush

Finally, if you interviewed the people who nominated this year’s honorees, I’m confident they would say that each woman is strong in building positive relationships. High in social awareness and relationship emotional intelligence skills, Women of Influence know how to connect with others in a way that is meaningful to them personally. Positive, forward thinking, attentive, empathic, open to feedback, teacher, confident and candid accurately describe those who can influence others. The ability to build strong relationships based on mutual trust, mutual respect and open communication allow our Women of Influence to effectively manage conflict and disagreement towards productive and constructive outcomes.

Take a moment to think of someone who has been a positive influence in your life. Now ask yourself – was this a person of integrity? Did he focus more on being a change agent than a victim thinker? Was she able to build a cohesive team? Was he more of a servant than a boss? Was she a magnet for positive relationships?  If yes, please help me celebrate this year’s honorees because you know what a difference their spirit and positive influence has on others. We are grateful to have each in our lives. Congratulations ladies. Well done!

Gale Mote is a trainer, organizational development catalyst and coach in Cedar Rapids. Contact her at galemote@galemoteassociates.com.

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