Leadership Development Influences: Susan Rozzi
All leaders begin somewhere. Along the way, they accumulate a few pivotal relationships and experiences to whom and to which they are able to trace their development as leaders. There is no denying the importance of these people and situations—leadership development influences—in the formation of leaders.
As you would expect, the same thing is true of our team members at Rozzi and Associates. We thought we’d capture some of the highlights of our most significant leadership development influences in a series of posts. (See previous posts featuring Kevin Carr and Rob Meyers.)
Last, but not least, here’s what President Susan Rozzi had to say about her leadership development influences.
Rozzi and Associates: Who has made the most profound impact on you as a leader?
Susan Rozzi: Without a doubt, my dad has been the biggest influence on my development as a leader. He’s the original Packard! My husband and I named our son after him. In addition to being a great dad and grandpa, he’s an incredible leader. He earned his MBA from the University of Washington and moved to the Midwest to work at Proctor & Gamble, and then spent a couple of decades in advertising. As if that wasn’t enough of an accomplishment, he earned a law degree in his 50s (while I was in college) and practiced entertainment law in New Orleans until he retired a few years ago. What a career!
He taught me a great deal about leadership through his own situations. One that has stuck with me is a situation that happened just as he started in a VP role at an ad agency. He was unpacking his office when he heard a group of junior advertising executives working really hard to determine which ad their senior executive would want to be placed. The deadline was looming and, frustratingly, the senior executive was out of the office and couldn’t be reached. My dad asked if he could help. He listened to their ideas and encouraged them to go with their gut. They placed the ad and, shortly thereafter, the senior executive returned. He found out what his junior executives had done and he blew a gasket! He was incensed that they had preceded without his approval. Dad learned what was happening and he completely took the heat for the decision. You can imagine the impact that had upon the ad executives. From that point on, they knew that he had their back. Dad was a huge encouragement to them, not only in that situation but in many more. As a leader, Dad was the last person to take credit for success. But, he was the first one to take the blame. He taught me that if you are a good leader, you never have to fear allowing others to be credited for your success.
Rozzi and Associates: What experience has most profoundly shaped you as a leader?
Susan Rozzi: I have grown most as a leader in situations in which I haven’t gotten what I wanted.
Looking back, if I had received several of the things that I wanted the most along the way, I would have turned into a terrible leader. I learned so many lessons by being denied what I wanted. I learned patience, which is one of life’s most difficult lessons. I developed creativity from working to turn frustrating situations into opportunities. I learned how to deal with difficult people and developed vital emotional intelligence skills. I learned, thankfully, that most setbacks are temporary. And, even in the midst of disappointment, I’ve learned how to truly appreciate and enjoy life moment-by-moment and how to be sure I don’t take the good stuff for granted.
It’s incredible just how often I’ve been able to reflect upon the setbacks I’ve experienced and use them in coaching leaders as they persevere through trials they’re experiencing.
Rozzi and Associates: What one thing do you most hope to pass on to the leaders you’re developing?
Susan Rozzi: Every leader has a sweet spot, a unique way that God has created them. If I can help a client see his or her strengths with greater clarity and learn how to move forward even just a little, that’s all I can hope for.
Let’s continue the conversation. Think about the people and experiences that have been most effective in shaping you as a leader. Maybe you have emerging leaders around you. What are you doing to develop them? Maybe you would benefit from having someone who is dedicated to your development. At Rozzi and Associates, everything we do revolves around our desire to help good leaders become great. Get in touch. Let’s talk about how we can support you in your development.