Emerging Leader Spotlight: Melanie Dancer

Every month we ask an emerging leader we admire to share what she is doing to take the lead in her career. We invite her to share how she achieved her current position, what obstacles she encountered on her climb, as well as tips for how to be a rising woman of influence.

This month we shine the Emerging Leader Spotlight on Melanie Dancer, Manager – Program Delivery, South Australia and Tasmania with Principals Australia Institute.

Melanie Dancer
Melanie Dancer

Favorite leadership quote:
“A good leader is someone who goes the way, knows the way, shows the way.” — John C. Maxwell

What is your leadership style?
A few years ago, in my early years of management I was asked by a CEO about my leadership style. I commenced stuttering my way through an answer that just sort of sounded logical.

From that point I had a really hard think about that question and what it meant. I considered how I interfaced on a day to day basis with not only my direct reports, but with other staff up, down and sideways. Sharing and paying forward skills and ideas, while keeping people informed in decisions and processes that effected and affected their work was something I knew I was good at, and enjoyed.

My clear preference was as a distributive leader — to share and distribute knowledge, concepts and information in ways that produced outcomes as well as providing an environment to prepare and develop people.

What leadership tools or resources have been crucial to your success?
Crafting a bag of tricks to assist me with success and progression through my career as a leader has been a conscious task of mine for some years. The ability to hone skills in communication, including the ability to reflect on my leadership style with mentors whom I trust in a variety of industries and sectors is imperative to my on-going development as a leader.

Listening, and being present when receiving and giving supervision to staff and always being open to being wrong and having the ability to be flexible and savvy enough to change course when required and remain calm while doing it demonstrates that a leader is adaptable and durable.

What is the most important thing you have learned that has been critical to your career success?
Self-control in the face of adversity is a skill that can test you, but sets you apart as a good leader.

A recent career challenge that totally put the magnifying glass on my ability to maintain resilience and integrity was when I self-selected out of a rather toxic environment that I could see was not going to change in the immediate future. I picked my battles, and let go. I was able to come to accept my situation a lot more quickly and move on with my dignity and professionalism intact.

Since then, I have been able to pass the same advice onto other emerging leaders who have faced similar situations. While not pleasant, it’s important to know that you have the power to persist, or retreat. It’s just as powerful to let go sometimes.

Connect with Melanie Dancer on LinkedIn.

Jo Miller

Jo Miller is a globally renowned authority on women’s leadership. She’s dedicated two decades to helping women advance into positions of influence by leveraging their leadership strengths. Based on her work with hundreds of thousands of women, she developed a pragmatic and powerful roadmap that guides women to become the leaders they aspire to be. Jo shares this proven process in her book Woman of Influence: 9 Steps to Build Your Brand, Establish Your Legacy, and Thrive (McGraw Hill, 2019.)

Jo is CEO of leadership development, consulting and research firm Be Leaderly. Learn more about her speaking engagements at www.JoMiller.com and follow @Jo_Miller on Twitter.

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