Lynne Wines is an experienced leader in the private sector, she has been a COO and serial CEO of a couple banks. She leads with a sound mind and dedication to those she serves. She is currently an Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard University.
“Leadership is a skill something that you can build and learn and get better at. It isn’t something that is granted to you. Nobody can grant you leadership.”
“They can grant you titles, they can grant you money, they can grant you the big corner office, but they can not grant you the respect and trust that you have to have to be an effective leader.”
In this episode Lynne makes a clear distinction between being in an authority position and making acts of leadership. In one of her stories she describes how without declaring herself to be a leader, she found ways to improving the company she was working for towards an early stage in her career. Her inspirational story reminds us that you don’t need rank or the cornor office to support needed change in your organization.
She explained, that people want and naturally gravitate towards someone who will take responsibility and lead. This has a tendency to build a degree of informal authority in the organization or around the people you work with.
During her early days of making acts of leadership, she didn’t identify herself as a leader. She identified that there were better ways to do things and better ways to treat people. She sought to give people a voice in the positions she held. Her ability to be mindful and aware in her workplace allowed her to not only see what needed to be done but also prompted her to take action aligned with her beliefs.
These early acts of leadership were not easy. Lynne described feelings of anxiety, especially when one of her bosses ‘supposed leaders’ held negative attitudes towards women.
Lynne described a desire to not come of as being bossy. As she began to realize that her actions were helpful she also began to notice how those around her were perceiving a benefit of her actions. She built a collaboration among her colleagues to create plans for the organization. And they stepped up.
In her explanation of managing a small department she described, you need people to do the big jobs. To build that action you need to cultivate your ability to lead. She continued in explaining that “leadership is a skill something that you can build and learn and get better at. It isn’t something that is granted to you. Nobody can grant you leadership. They can grant you titles, they can grant you money, they can grant you the big corner office, but they can not grant you the respect and trust that you have to have to be an effective leader.”
Lynne also described her number one belief to build the right culture and that is to be the role model. She described it as her driving force to running her banks. For her it was especially as the first woman CEO in Florida of a financial institution. For Lynne leading isn’t just making sure the job gets done, it is about creating a learning environment within the organization, which means open and transparent communication. She described that 95% of what goes on in the company is not confidential. She stressed “if you want to know something ask me.”
A tip that Lynne described was keeping her calendar open to everyone so they would know what she was doing. This was an extra level of transparency, and acted as an invite to everyone in the organization to speak with her.
Lynne described herself as unpopular in her younger years, she wasn’t a joiner of things. She worked hard to put herself through college. Was has been working since the age of fourteen and graduated high school in just 3 years.
In this episode Lynne explains that she was shaped greatly by her mother, brothers and uncles. Her mother was very intelligent, and went back to school at an older age. She successfully graduated high school, college, and graduate school at a time when women didn’t do this. There was a respect for education and drive from her mother.
Lynne described a moment when she was pushed to her limits. She describes the time following the passing of her husband, a time when she worked as a CEO of a bank that had just gone through a major merger. While she was in this role she also oversaw the United Way, an organization that she dedicated quite a bit of energy to. Shortly after returning the CEO of United Way came to her and told her she needed to quit and that she was offered a position at another organization that was too good to pass up. In this moment where Lynne was still coming to terms with losing her husband she responded to the CEO with, “Jennifer I am so excited for you, this a great opportunity for you. We will make United Way work, we will get through it.” It was in this moment that Lynne demonstrated herself to be a servant leader, even though she was going to lose one of the most important people in one of two organizations she over-saw she knew that it was the right more for this individual.
Lynne also worked with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to assist them in starting their own financial institution.
Lynne now has her sights set on supporting individuals with cognitive exceptionalities, where she hopes to improve their lifelong support.
servant leader, banking, struggle, compassion, transparency, communication
You can learn more about Lynne’s work at her website