Rhonda Vetere is a top technology executive. She’s served as the Chief Information and Technology Officer at Estee Lauder, and has contributed her knowledge to institutions like the US Olympics and Paralympics, George Mason University School of Business, SWAAY Magazine, Miss Fashion Week and more. Rhonda likes to play golf, and encourages her friends and associates to pursue active, healthy lifestyles as an integral part of career success and improving performance.
“Ask Rhonda” is a monthly column where Rhonda will answer all your burning questions about starting your own venture, moving up the career ladder and more! In today’s column, we discuss leadership.
Q: Please tell us what you think makes a good leader (what characteristics)? What separates a good one from a bad one?
A: A good leader is someone who gets their hands dirty and leads through example. This is how I have always worked with my team, in the trenches. It is what I call “full contact management.”
My ten guiding principles are the embodiment of my philosophy and enable me to successfully enact my mission.
BE ON TIME
DISPLAY MANAGERIAL COURAGE
RECOGNIZE YOUR TEAM
KNOW YOUR METRICS
Q: Can you elaborate on your mantra of "trust and transparency" and what it means to leaders?
A: Trust and transparency is so key to have a high-performing team. It is important to make people feel in the know and valued like you are all part of a common goal. I believe in open communication, being honest, and having tough convos so we can eliminate roadblocks and propel the team to move forward. If you do not have open and honest dialogue, you are not operating off the truth.
Nothing is off the table. I want folks to speak their mind. I can’t fix it as a leader if I am not aware of it.
Q: As a leader, how do you manage your stress levels? Millennials, in particular, complain a lot about feeling stress and anxiety at their jobs, especially when they are in charge.
A: For me, I manage stress through fitness and my training schedule. Don’t let your health go by the wayside because you think you have to work 24/7. If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t manage a team.
So remember to take time for yourself, especially if you’re feeling under the weather. I make a huge effort to plan my schedule around my training. This helps me to manage stress and I find that I have more clarity in decision making when I incorporate fitness into my days. For me, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is all-encompassing. I have a cadence at work like I do with my running and training style and I pride myself on being disciplined with time – professionally and personally.
Q: Please list 2-3 obstacles you have faced on your way to leadership. (These could be either personal or professional obstacles.)
A: 1. Learned that it was important as a leader that we take breaks throughout the day to think and regroup. I block out 15 minute breaks, twice a day to pause and reflect to ensure we are focused on the right things as a team. We often get caught up in fire drills and need to keep focused on the strategic business outcomes.
2. Prioritizing what’s urgent at the moment vs. what’s important in the workplace.
3. Balancing taking care of myself through fitness while working around the clock on different time zones.