Grace Blue’s Inspirational Leaders: Everyone’s a leader, Sherilyn Shackell

The next in our series of inspiring talks came from Sherilyn Shackell who shared her thoughts on what leadership means to her, in both life and business, at our London HQ earlier this month. Sherilyn works with leaders of our industry on a daily basis as founder of The Marketing Academy and believes the term leadership should not be a hierarchal ideology – anyone who has influence over another human being is a leader.

Sherilyn shared her observation that businesses within the marketing industry have traditionally been set up with a functional organisational structure. Leadership teams are given responsibility to manage personnel inside their specialist operation/field and a recognised infrastructure allows management to monitor and measure performance. However, Sherilyn explained, there must be a balance between ‘infrastructure’ and ‘empowerment’.  While the notion of management and leadership are often thought of as one and the same, they are two very different things. Management is a tool to monitor and balance check but leadership is about truly leading with a focus on people and their empowerment.

Such leadership can only be achieved when leaders first understand the art of leading oneself, Sherilyn went on to explain. Once we understand and accept we all have 100% responsibility for the decisions and choices we make, we can then empower others with the knowledge that they too have the exact same responsibility and control over their decisions and the behaviours they present.

Sherilyn also shared her views on how we as human beings naturally have a conflict between our true self and the way we project ourselves to others. It is a battle she categorised as ‘persona vs character’ which lies at the heart of all leadership ambitions.

She described ‘persona’ as the masked version of oneself, where a person is concerned about self-image and focussed on controlling an environment to protect oneself. On the other hand, ‘character’ is one’s true self – those moments when we are totally at ease, at our best and therefore have the freedom to open up, welcome other ideas and truly collaborate.

With this, Sherilyn believes anyone who is an industry leader, or a leader of people should challenge themselves to be true to their ‘character’. Leaders should drop the mask and accept absolute responsibility for their decisions in order to genuinely draw change in the way they operate and more importantly how their teams operate.

These insights and more from Sherilyn are hugely valuable as our team here at Grace Blue works to source great leaders and great future leaders for our clients. We’re determined to help our clients and candidates focus on ‘character’ above ‘persona’ to find absolutely the right person for the right role.

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