IBM’s Stacey Mason: “How Do You Know What to Say If You Haven’t Heard?”

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Stacey Mason says she has “a lot of skill sets in my bag” alternating from her years as a competitive cheerleader, apprentice electrician and computer storage sales specialist, the last of which helped her rise through the ranks at IBM. Current made able to rise. Position as Global Managing Director for Corporate Relations with TD Synnex.

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But the skill set she takes most pride in is being “the one to ask questions.”

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“I like to ask questions,” Mason said, answering a question or two when asked why she likes to ask questions. “How do you know what to say if you haven’t listened? If a leader isn’t spending a good deal of his time talking to his customers and his employees, what point is his message going to get across?”

All fair questions, and Mason regularly answers each through his own leadership style, recognizing that in a diverse workplace and world, the best bet is to assume nothing, ask everything, and most The important thing is to listen carefully to what is being said. When she asks a teammate, “What are you feeling right now?” Or a customer asks, “How do we compare to the competition?” She is not going through the motions or being submissive. She’s showing interest and creating a “respectful environment” in which honesty can flourish — and isn’t afraid of what she might hear.

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“You get a lot of answers you don’t want to hear,” Mason admitted, “but if you don’t know the problems, you can’t fix them, right?” You must have an open heart to listen to whatever they say.

In the podcast, Mason shares her best practices for communicating successfully in a variety of business settings, including meetings, face-to-face, and mentoring. Listeners will enjoy his lessons on what makes a good listener and a good mentor, including:

• Three leadership qualities every mentor should develop with their mentors.

• How to determine whether you want to be a leader or an executive leader.

• Decency vs. Respect.

• How to blindspot-proof your leadership team.

Mason says the most effective teams she’s been on were filled with people of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas. “The last thing you want is a team that has a bunch of people who say, ‘Hey, we’ve never done it this way, so it can’t be done.'”


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