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The How of Leadership

Being a great leader requires honesty, openness (more on that in a minute), and a willingness and ability to put the needs of others and the organization above personal motivations and agendas. 

Communicating with honesty, openness and willingness is the how behind all great leaders. 

Leading How?

I work with founders and executives who want more than:

  • Monetary success
  • Beating the other guy
  • Leading because you’re right and they’re wrong, dammit

Being truly exceptional means providing stewardship during uncertain times, making hard decisions when no one else wants to, and staying open when being closed feels a lot safer and more comfortable.

One of my favorite clients manages tens of millions of dollars and shepherds a flock of incredibly diverse global business interests. Yet I’ve heard him in high-stakes meetings pause heated moments by articulating what everyone else in the room is acting out on but too afraid to admit: “I’m feeling vulnerable.” .

That willingness to be open and honest enough to expose what most of humanity considers a weakness takes incredible courage. Done in the right way–not whining, not blaming, not demanding restitution–it allows others to be equally courageous and present. I’ve worked for nearly a decade in Silicon Valley, during the years in which every citizen on our planet has seen a social and economic sea change led by the gigantic checkbooks and even bigger egos of tech startups and their billionaire investors. The kind of honesty, openness and willingness demonstrated by my client puts most of that culture’s notions of “transparency” to shame and we need more of it.   

Mastering the HOW of leadership is the way I’ve helped my clients become high-performing, successful, and deeply respected.  

Cultivating honesty, openness and willingness  may sound simple, but the introspection this requires, not to mention the implementation and consistency once you’ve identified your HOW, can be a lot harder than it seems. Let me explain. 

My work in Silicon Valley began in the field of business communications. From blogs to speeches, to tweets and emails – I edited, wrote for, and strategized upon the  endless array of channels we all have available to us today, knowing that each touchpoint was an opportunity to inspire, to change, and – to lead. 

My job was to express my clients’ interests in their own voices–but better. That work required knowing my clients quite intimately, not just in how they might turn a phrase, but in what their deeply held values and beliefs were and how they could manifest those into words as they were manifesting them in products, services, and their own business cultures. Writing and editing for someone else provided me with the kind of privileged access most people only experience in their most private moments. 

In their sessions with me, they had no reason left to lie, no motivation to be guarded, and nothing but a desire to get better.
-Elea Carey

Clinton Senkow

I am hungry for more of this kind of work because being real in a world that sometimes seems to demand otherwise feeds me like no other work does. It takes me back to the days when I counselled prisoners in military corrections units. If that sounds crazy-wrong, consider this: The people I worked with had lost everything, usually through some horrific personal failing. They were incredibly vulnerable and had absolutely nowhere to go but up. In their sessions with me, they had no reason left to lie, no motivation to be guarded, and nothing but a desire to get better. That’s how I want to face every day and it’s an attitude I help to cultivate in my clients.  

Every day there is an opportunity to take ownership – of yourself and of your leadership capabilities and results. HOW are you leading?

Do you feel empowered and successful in your role? Are you enjoying the results of your leadership, or do you feel like you have a real opportunity for self-improvement – to drive increased performance for yourself, for your business, and for the audience you’re serving? If it’s the latter, let’s talk. Book a meeting with me and let’s get started.

Across three decades of experience that has ranged from startup and VC communications to counseling in military corrections facilities (yes, I mean jail), I've had the privilege of working beside powerful leaders who have shared with me their struggles and successes. What did I learn along the way? What it takes to hold on to your integrity and humanity while navigating the rigors of success. During the last nine years, I've worked intimately with founders and investors as they built...

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