Leaders Inspire People

by Becky Armendariz
I presented the keynote address last month at a “Woman of the Year” luncheon for an Arizona-based professional networking association. I was a bit shocked (and humbled) to find out I’d be the signature speaker for an audience filled with businesswomen who have achieved both personal and professional success.They asked me to talk about communication, and how these individual women could use communication to build a presence in their companies, in Arizona and around the world. My talk focused on my “Getting Becky a Job” campaign—the very campaign that inspired me to begin my “What I DO know is…” blog on IABC eXchange. I talked about how I was faced with the difficult task of entering the workforce during an economic recession, and how I had to leverage my network and build my personal brand to “Be Heard” by prospective employers.

It went well, but the speaker who followed me sure stole my thunder! A successful businesswoman, author, mentor and passionate leader, Katreena Hayes-Wood spoke to the audience about leadership.

I give credit to anyone who braves the topic of leadership because it is extremely complex. What is a leader? How are leaders different from managers? What qualities do leaders possess? These questions are difficult to answer and entirely subjective—they depend on how each individual defines the terms.

Hayes-Wood started her talk by saying that managers manage people; leaders inspire people. They are two different titles, and they are not interchangable. Leadership is a responsibility, and not everyone possesses the qualities to be a good leader. For those who do, Hayes-Wood says they must consider it a blessing, because they have found a way to make the world about more than themselves. They have achieved success and are part of a much greater purpose than gaining recognition for themselves. Their responsibility now is to teach future leaders and help them achieve success even greater than their own.

After defining what leadership meant to her, Hayes-Wood listed the five qualities that she feels are essential in leaders: having integrity, and being informed, insightful, intelligent and inspiring.

She said that leaders must have integrity. They must always be honest and reliable. Leaders should be informed: aware of what is going on in their immediate surroundings, the community and across the world. Informed leaders make decisions that go beyond their immediate needs. They are forward-thinking. Leaders are insightful and intelligent. They know the best approach and can guide others to make the right choices. Last, leaders are inspiring. In order to inspire, you can’t be overly concerned with how something will affect you as an individual. When you’ve reached this stage of leadership, it isn’t about you anymore—it’s about your company. And by company, Hayes-Wood doesn’t mean just the business. Rather, it is about those around you who will one day be in your shoes, leading others.

I am neither a manager nor a leader, yet. However, I hope to be both someday. I have been fortunate to work with the “managing manager” and the “inspiring leader” throughout my seven-year career. And I can tell you this much: Managers are forgettable, but leaders are irreplaceable in the process of personal and professional development. Leaders make you want to follow them, and they give you the building blocks to one day lead others.

So ask yourself: Are you a manager or are you a leader?


Rebecca Armendariz is a public relations specialist at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and sits on the IABC/Phoenix board of directors as vice president of community involvement. She can be reached by e-mail at Rebecca.Armendariz@BannerHealth.com, Twitter @rarmendariz, or through her IABC eXchange site, “What I do know is…” http://rarmendariz1.x.iabc.com.