Posted in Forbes Magazine today was an interview with Sandra Peterson, CEO of Bayer CropScience. I think I would really like to hang out with Sandra. She seems like my kinda gal!
“I believe a great leader has better people working for them [who] can do their jobs better than [the leaders] themselves… I am very comfortable not being the expert and actually putting people who work for me forward. I don’t need to know all the answers and I don’t need to be the one who’s out there up front. It’s not about me. It’s about the organization being successful and promoting those who work for me to give the board presentation or to be the one who talks about the work that’s being done for the company.”
That is true leadership! She also said….
“I don’t compromise at all on how people lead and manage other people. I don’t want to work in an environment where people are belittled and berated. I don’t believe in management by fear. I also won’t sacrifice the future of a company for a quarter. To me, the biggies are things about how you treat your customers. Do you respect and appreciate your customers and feel good about what you’re doing? But it’s also how you deal with people in your organization and how you deal with your customers and treat them with respect.”
Sandra has three steps for helping women
“I consciously make an effort to get to know some of the women who may be in the middle of the organization – they’re not at senior management levels – and try to figure out whether there’s a new opportunity they can take on that enables them to shine and succeed in a way they may not have in the past. I don’t overly focus on the women, to the detriment of others, but give them some advice and counsel in that regard.
“The second thing I do is to be very clear about any job that becomes open in the organization that we must evaluate a diverse slate of candidates. I have this basic belief that you can talk a lot about diversity, and you can do all sorts of networking and mentoring things, but unless you actually measure progress against it and have metrics being tracked and managed against, you don’t actually see the change in performance in the organization. Simply put, people in business are trained from the beginning that what gets measured is what matters. So I ensure that the male leaders and managers also have this as part of their objective as well… I push very hard to take the extra time to identify the unusual candidate, which may be somebody who may have some inherent skills but is not the obvious candidate for that job.
“And then the third one is I try as much as I can to talk to women as they go through different phases of their career about some of the issues and challenges that they may face and how to think about those. I also make an effort to mentor and support other women and give them advice, to the extent I can be a positive role model for these women.”