DeCoudreaux remembered speaking candidly with leaders in various companies and with company stakeholders throughout her career, particularly when it came to valuing diversity and the value of women in leadership roles in the workplace.
“It’s my experience that leaders, particularly leaders with positional power, are not always spoken to so directly. It’s also been my experience that this kind of candor is exactly what they need to seek in order to be good leaders.”
“Throughout my career, I often found myself in a position of speaking truth to power, and as often as I could, I tried to seek the truth from those who worked for me and with me. I know this isn’t always easy,” she explained.
“It can be intimidating to be straight with the leader of your organization, especially when you’re just starting out or new in a role. After all, your work and just about everything about you is being evaluated, and the leaders to whom you’re speaking are usually in a position of deciding your role, your salary and, quite frankly, whether you go or stay. The best leaders I worked with appreciated my input, respected my candor and, when the stars lined up, took it seriously.”
As a final thought, DeCoudreaux left Hazelett attendees with this message – a message to remember as we embark on a new year with new promise.
“We have to step up and lead, do the right thing, speak truth to power and lift people up. Leadership begins with every single one of us, each in our own way. We can make a difference, and there’s not a moment to lose.”