Sandy Higgins: It takes a village to grow a leader

Sandy Higgins in this information packed interview provides a glimpse into an entire career’s worth of leadership tips and examples.  She started in the aero space industry before moving into healthcare as a VP role at SAIC met out host Tony Sherman.  From there she managed a number of projects in consulting and even was the role of COO in a larger health insurance agency.  Through these experiences she mastered a number of leadership techniques which can be learned today.

Sandy begins with some of the most satisfying parts of her career where she was able to develop a hands on and course based leadership development program.  Essentially middle management were provided the skills through courses and role playing to understand how to deal with clients and form lasting relationships with them.  This helped people develop the skills to bring in new sales, start new relationships, and keep the current customers happy with the business.  Sandy was able to watch individuals get promoted from her efforts.  To Sandy, this was one of the most rewarding parts of her career as it impacted real people.

Wikipedia_mini_globe_handheld-720x480Sandy also talks about her struggles stemming from one of the first major changes in her career.  This involves going from the aero space industry to healthcare.  In healthcare, people needed to have closer relationships to understand what needs the clients had where in aero space this wasn’t as much of an issue.  Not having formed these stronger relationships in the context of leadership was something that was a bit of a major shift for Sandy one that she quickly adapted to.

Sandy also shares some major lessons.  She had learned that constant communication and validation with clients is important.  She feels the need to have a regular mechanism to how well you are doing with the client and what could be done better.

Sandy feels very strongly that mentorship is a key element of leadership.  She provides the unique view of having at least one mentor in the organization that you are working with as well as at least one outside of the organization.  To get these mentors, start by forming a relationship with them, perhaps over lunch, and eventually ask for a mentorship.

The interview ends with her basic understanding of what makes a good leader in terms of actions and abilities.  Sandy Higgins provides more than a few nuggets of insight into what could be done to become a much better leader.