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The Qualities That Make You a True Leader, According to a VP and Women’s Resource Group Co-Chair | Fairygodboss
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Leadership Lessons
The Qualities That Make You a True Leader, According to a VP and Women’s Resource Group Co-Chair
Photo Courtesy of Spectrum.
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Spectrum’s Vice President, Partner Channel Sales Michelle Kadlacek has been with the company for over eight years. And in every role, she’s been impressed by the way her leaders have advocated for her career growth. 

“The best bosses aren’t bosses, but leaders... These leaders have motivated me to be the best I can be, inspired me to be better and have invested time in helping me sharpen my own leadership skills,” she said. 

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It’s this type of leadership that inspired Kadlacek to get involved with the Spectrum Women Business Resource Group, where she serves as co-chair. As part of the resource group, she works to “empower women at all levels to reach their potential professionally and personally” by creating learning opportunities, mentoring colleagues and providing advice from the lessons she’s learned along her own career path. 

Thankfully for us, Kadlacek recently shared some of that advice in a conversation with Fairygodboss. Here’s what the VP and recognized mentor had to say about time management, being a great leader, navigating the job search and working at Spectrum. 

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously? 

I’ve been in my current role for the past two and a half years. Prior to that, I held a similar role as Senior Director for the Partner Program within Spectrum Enterprise. I’ve been with Spectrum Enterprise for over eight years.

What’s the first and last thing you do at work every day? 

The first thing I do at the start of every work day, now, is complete my online employee health assessment, designed to keep our employees and offices safe. Aside from that, I double check my calendar so that I can properly prioritize my day. Given that I’m not traveling, I have found that my calendar is full of conference calls on most days. The last thing I do every day is also the first thing I do: Check my calendar. I do this to ensure I am prepared for any calls or meetings that are taking place the following day.

What’s the most unique or interesting aspect of your job or company?  

The most unique aspect of my job is that I get to work with not only internal employees but also authorized agents for Spectrum Enterprise. These individuals or companies are entrepreneurs who resell Spectrum’s products and services. My team and I interact with these agents as much as we do with internal Spectrum employees, so it’s an interesting aspect of my role.

What is your favorite perk about working at your company?  

Free cable! Although I genuinely believe that working at Spectrum is a perk enough.

What’s something you think most people (perhaps even current employees) don’t know about Spectrum that you think they should?  

Approximately 18 months ago, Spectrum launched new Business Resource Groups (BRGs). I was honored to be selected to Co-Chair the Spectrum Women BRG. Employees can sign up to participate in any of the five BRGs. These voluntary groups enable employees with shared characteristics, life experiences and/or interests to advance our culture of inclusion and drive business success. The Spectrum Women BRG empowers women at all levels to reach their potential professionally and personally. 

What’s something you’re especially good at work? 

I’ve spent most of my career building and managing relationships with sales partners. Part of building those relationships is gaining trust and confidence, and I’ve successfully done that by helping partners grow their business while also helping to solve challenges. In addition, I’m also highly organized. There is a place for everything and I typically purge my emails a few times a day as I don’t like to have my inbox cluttered or emails unanswered.     

What about outside of work? 

I’m a planner and love to entertain, so I will often plan trips, dinners, excursions, etc. for myself and friends. For instance, the past couple of years during the holidays, I’ve arranged and hosted a large ladies’ dinner night and invited many of my local, Charlotte friends. I ask that anyone who attends the dinner to help out a local charity, A Child's Place, by bringing an item on their essential needs list. We always leave the dinner with a carload of essential needs items that are then donated to the charity. Being able to give back to those less fortunate can infuse one’s life with more meaning and helps promote happiness.

What are you trying to improve on? 

Delegating more and learning to say “no” more often. I tend to take on additional workload and just do tasks myself instead of delegating them to other members of my team or supporting business partners. And then, personally, I tend to never say “no” and end up taking on more than I should at times.

What’s the one career move you’ve made that you’re most proud of? 

Early in my telecomm career, I made a jump from a Sales Training Position in Raleigh, NC to a Channel Sales Manager position in Columbia, SC. It was a completely different role with a monthly sales quota and it required a move to a different state where I knew no one. Had I not made that leap, I would not be where I am today.

What do you love most about your job or about Spectrum? 

I’m not sure I can narrow it down to just one or two things I love the most about my job at Spectrum. I often tell folks that I am a walking billboard, as I truly believe Spectrum is one of the best companies to work for. There are many opportunities to grow your career at Spectrum and my leadership has always been very supportive of my growth and the learning opportunities that help forward my career. It’s why I am so honored to co-lead the Spectrum Women BRG and to play a leadership role with the Spectrum Enterprise Women’s Leadership Development Initiative. I want to share my experiences and mentor other females at Spectrum to help grow their careers.  

What are you currently reading? 

I listen to Audible books when I run or workout. I don’t listen to them any other time, so when I’m listening to a good book, it’s a motivator for me to lace-up my shoes every day and workout. I’m currently listening to "The Wives" by Tarryn Fisher.

What’s your No. 1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now? 

My No. 1 piece of advice is to be visible and develop a strong personal brand. One can do this by starting with a very strong digital profile, by professionalizing their social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Building a solid, online professional network is also a key component of being visible, so connect with as many business and personal contacts as possible.  

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received? 

Believe that you can do it and you will. As women, we tend to not raise our hand or throw our name in the hat for promotions or jobs if we don’t check all the qualifying boxes, whereas men will typically apply for jobs while only checking half the boxes. Bottom line: Women need to believe in themselves and have more faith and self-confidence.

What was the best quality of the best boss you’ve ever had? 

The best bosses aren’t bosses, but leaders. I’ve been fortunate to have many leaders as bosses over the years, including mine today. These leaders have motivated me to be the best I can be, inspired me to be better and have invested time in helping me sharpen my own leadership skills.  

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