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Patricia Hayes: Vulnerability and Strategy are the Keys to Growth

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Patricia Hayes: Vulnerability and strategy are the keys to growth - The Creative Executive

Patricia Hayes‘ career started over thirty years ago in the legislative world, where she adored developing the strategy behind public policy. Increasingly, she found herself mentoring colleagues, a role she enjoyed, especially when it came to career transitions and professional development. Though she didn’t plan her pivot to full-time coaching, it seemed to her a natural progression of her career. Whether it’s policy or people, Patricia can quickly identify the issues blocking the pathway to growth and help you create a plan to achieve your goals strategically.

Transitions Require Discomfort

Whether she’s working one-on-one or with teams, the need for vulnerability is a consistent theme, especially given what we’re experiencing together as a global society. Patricia believes that expressing vulnerability is one of the primary growth facilitators in working with high-level executives. Whether they are in a career transition themselves or trying to lead an organization or team through a period of uncertainty, or a hybrid of the two, the ability to be genuine and unguarded is paramount. Vulnerability makes people uncomfortable, but it also pushes their thinking in how they approach opportunities. The friction between discomfort and openness creates a unique pathway for growth.

Part of modeling vulnerability is not always having a quick answer. For the leaders of the future, Patricia sees the ability to slow down and engage in reflective thought as a valuable asset. In our “hurry up and go” world, being willing to go against the flow and slow down to consider your actions and next steps will be a powerful decision-making tool for our fast-changing work ecosystem.

Speaking of next-level leadership, Patricia believes that successful leadership of the future requires three things. One, they embody servant leadership. Rather than leading from their position of authority, these leaders leave space for autonomy, individual and team growth, and the innovation that happens when you throw away the “cookie cutters.” Two, influential leaders embrace risk, even if that sometimes means doing the unpopular thing. And three, they lead with strategic thinking over crisis-led reactivity. It’s so crucial for leaders to take a step back and reflect because it allows them to respond from a position of thoughtful strength.

Reconnecting and Caring For Your Network

Building and staying connected with your network can be daunting in normal times. With the post-pandemic era fast approaching, some of us may be overwhelmed at the thought of rekindling professional relationships that may have suffered due to the stress and distance of the last year. Patricia’s particular superpower is nurturing her professional and community network.  

Her advice: take a deep breath. We’re in a moment in time when everyone is forced to slow down, and although everyone’s discomfort level is different, we’re all experiencing it. When you reach out to anyone in your network right now, you first need to remember they are people just like you—people with children schooling online, people sharing a workspace with a partner or spouse, people with concern for their loved ones, and oh yeah, that work thing! Patricia says, “Don’t be afraid to ask people how they are doing and then actually listen to their response. Ask what they need help with, and then leverage your connections to help meet their needs. It really is that simple.” 

If you’re feeling uncertain about getting back to your network and community, she recommends identifying three to five people to reach out to now. Even a simple email will go a long way. Patricia loves this Maya Angelou quote, and she strives to abide by this philosophy, particularly when it comes to caring for the people around her.

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." - Maya Angelou

Clients love working with Patricia because she brings her whole self to the table. That means you get the analytical attorney, the collaborative community leader, the strategic executive, and the relationship-building legislative advocate—all of those skills and abilities gained over thirty years blend to guide your executive decision-making and career transition journey. She says, “I can’t ask you to be committed and all-in on the process if I’m not willing to be there with you.” With so much focus on building her business, Patricia recently realized that she had disengaged from her creative side. This past year, she has devoted more time to explore new and old hobbies and interests, from reading more for pleasure to re-establishing her indoor garden. She has also re-engaged with her love of paper crafting, especially making handmade cards to send to friends and colleagues. What keeps her inspired is being open to receiving the unexpected gift, note, or word of encouragement, especially from the most unexpected places. As she says, “You never know how you are impacting the lives of others.”

Connect with Patricia on LinkedIn.