In this episode of Taking the Lead, host Christina Brady welcomes Jenny Floros from Advance Forward Consulting. Jenny, a seasoned professional with a career spanning three distinct chapters, shares her insights on leadership, career development, and the nuances of effective management. Starting with her early days in live entertainment ticketing, moving through a transformative period at Groupon, and culminating in her current role leading Advance Forward Consulting, Jenny’s journey is a testament to adaptability and growth.
Jenny emphasizes the importance of authentic relationship-building and eliminating negative terminology like ‘weakness’ from professional vocabularies. Instead, she advocates for focusing on strengths and opportunities for growth. Throughout the discussion, the theme of trust and respect in professional relationships is recurrent. Jenny advises listeners on navigating difficult conversations with superiors and peers, highlighting the value of presenting alternative viewpoints with tact and respect.
The episode also dives into the challenges faced by leaders in various organizational roles, from middle management to C-level executives. Jenny underscores the necessity of a diverse team where each member contributes unique strengths. The conversation culminates with a discussion on the emotional maturity required in leadership, the need for professional respect, and the value of knowing when to assert oneself and when to yield.
This dialogue with Jenny Floros offers valuable insights for professionals at all levels, emphasizing the importance of authentic leadership, respect, and the continuous pursuit of personal and professional development.
Name: Jenny Floros
What she does: Founder
Company: Advance Forward Consulting
Noteworthy: Jenny Floros’s career, described in three chapters, began with a 10.5-year tenure in live entertainment ticketing, working for venues, promoters, and Ticketmaster.
Embracing Strengths to Build Effective Teams
Jenny Floros emphasizes the significance of recognizing and leaning into individual strengths within a team. She advises leaders to adopt a ‘divide and conquer’ strategy, identifying each team member’s top three strengths and utilizing these to achieve collective goals. This approach not only fosters a more cohesive and efficient team but also instills confidence in the team members, encouraging them to showcase their unique skills. Jenny highlights that understanding and playing to one’s strengths is pivotal in creating a productive work environment.
The Difference Between Managers and Leaders
Jenny makes a compelling distinction between managers and leaders. She describes leaders as those who build skill sets within their teams and bring people along on the journey, focusing on collective growth and purpose. In contrast, managers are more tactical, handling situations as they arise. Jenny asserts that both roles are essential, but they require different skill sets and approaches. This insight sheds light on the varied dynamics within a workplace and the importance of understanding one’s role in either leading or managing.
The Power of Authenticity in Building Trust
Throughout her career, Jenny has prioritized building authentic relationships, a key to her success as a leadership coach. She underscores the importance of being true to oneself in professional interactions, as people can discern inauthentic behavior. Her approach revolves around genuinely wanting to help and support others, fostering trust and belief in her leadership. This philosophy highlights the critical role authenticity plays in forming strong, trusting relationships in a professional setting.
Journey Through the Tech Industry
Jenny Floros reflects on her transformative journey in the tech industry, particularly her 11-year tenure at Groupon. She describes this period as pivotal to her professional development, equating it to earning an MBA through real-world experience. Jenny led a substantial team, encompassing sales, account management, and customer success, which enabled her to hone her leadership skills. She credits this time with giving her the platform to build and develop leaders.
“I worked for a startup company, a cause-based marketing program for a couple of years and then that led me to Groupon. For 11 years, which was incredible. I got my MBA approved because…growth, change, let a business unit of 300 inside outside salespeople, 150 account management and customer success people.”
Building Radically Candid Environments
Jenny discusses creating radically candid environments within organizations. She advises leaders to adopt a ‘divide and conquer’ approach, focusing on identifying and leveraging individual strengths within their teams. This strategy, according to Jenny, should be the foundation for any leader responsible for a team, helping to build a culture where team members can confidently contribute their unique skills and knowledge.
“Divide and conquer. That is what should be the foundation and the framework for any leader who’s hiring people and who’s responsible for a team of individuals…What are your top three strengths? Lean into that and then build your team goals.”
The Lens of Leadership and Management
Jenny dives into the various perspectives that different roles bring within an organization. She highlights that everyone, from managers to VPs, views situations through their unique lenses. Understanding and accepting that one may not always have the full picture is crucial for effective leadership and management. This insight underscores the importance of diverse viewpoints in decision-making processes.
“Everyone at every level sees things from their own personal lens. A manager is going to look at things from their lens…And you have to be okay with there just could be some information you don’t have the full picture on.”
Crafting a Career Legacy and Impact
Jenny speaks about her current chapter and the legacy she aims to leave. She has transitioned to focusing on leadership development, particularly for mid-level management, through her business, Advance Forward Consulting. This move represents her passion for nurturing leadership skills and contributing significantly to the careers of others, which she considers her biggest accomplishment.
“I’m currently in chapter three…taking what I love most about my career and carving it out and building a business called Advance Forward Consulting where I focus on leadership development for mid-level management.”