Deirdre Waldron is a partner with Fuzion Communications, a national, award-winning communications and creative agency providing innovative and strategic communication solutions, across traditional and digital channels, for top public and private sector clients in Ireland and internationally.
Deirdre founded the firm in 2000 and works with a core team of 15 talented graphic design, communication consultants and media trainers between Fuzion’s Dublin and Cork offices. www.fuzion.ie.
Can leadership be taught? If so, how?
I think leadership can come naturally for a lucky few, but I think that leadership can be learned, as opposed to taught; learning from example and great leaders always lead by example.
What do you think is the difference between management and leadership?
Managing is a process – a very necessary one, whereas leadership is about connecting with people, bringing them along on a shared journey to success – whatever that may look like.
The world around us is changing faster than at any time in human history and we need more leaders to emerge. How do we make this happen?
We can nurture more leaders by giving people more responsibility and giving them the tools to manage this responsibility. I think individuals/future leaders have a responsibility here as well, to communicate with decision-makers in their organisations and their line managers that they are up for challenges, that they see themselves as future leaders and that they ask for upskilling and career advancement opportunities. They shouldn’t wait to be given a seat at the table, they should let decision makers know how ambitious and capable they are, asking for advice, training, the experience that they need to become a great leader.
What is the one mistake you witness leaders making more frequently than others?
Working in their business instead of on their business.
What advice would you give to someone dealing with a high-pressure situation in their life or work?
Start every day with a list of things that have to be done that day; rescheduling non pressing items can free up so much head space and actual time, delegate and share the heavy lifting if possible, make sure to have some downtime away from the issue during the day – walk the dog, listen to some music, turn off the mobile device – give yourself that gift of time to reboot yourself. Finally, surround yourself with positive people – radiators rather than drains!
What are a few resources (books, blogs, podcasts, courses etc) you would recommend to someone looking to gain insight into becoming a better leader?
As I travel a lot for work I listen to a lot of podcasts. There’s a regular podcast from an entrepreneur based in the East Coast Tech Hub in US, Christopher Lochhead and his podcast is Legends and Losers – https://legendsandlosers.com
Closer to home, my other half Greg Canty, also of Fuzion has just started to record his own podcasts – called Fuzion Win Happy – he interviews homegrown influencers and leaders such as Brendan Foster, outgoing President Dublin Chamber, Louis Copeland and GAA legend Tommy Doyle, owner of seven all Ireland Medals and CEO of Kinsale Bay Food Company. You can download the podcast through iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Really worth a listen.