Answer: Vicky was not interested in the spotlight for herself. She was motivated more by helping others succeed. Mentoring was a natural way to share her insights and assist up-and-coming professionals mature and perform more effectively. She was an empathetic listener. Her values were transparent and that built trust. She was sincere about her interest in others and let her team know that they could reach out to her when they needed to — not only when it was convenient or in a formal review session.
She described one of her talents when we began our first conversation. She had an ability to understand the politics and viewpoint of each participant in a meeting. She grasped what each executive hoped to gain and how to bring the meeting to a successful conclusion — for each player. Attendees felt satisfied with the outcome and that they were heard. That was one of the lessons she shared as she mentored her staff.
She prepared her team in advance for important meetings by asking questions about the politics and anticipated outcomes. She insisted they had a sense of what to expect and how to keep a meeting on track. She invested in this effort so that her team would become sufficiently experienced to ultimately gain the savvy and skill to assume senior leadership roles.
Her clarity of observation was due in part to the fact that she herself had no real political agenda. She was an objective observer of the jockeying that could be expected.
She described one of her fundamental principles, “Play Well with Others” that meant always expect to be on your best behavior under all circumstances — from having an informal conversation, attending or leading a meeting and to being flexible about adjusting as circumstances change.