Interview with Nikki Muntz, EVP Business Development for Publicis Health
Hard work pays off.
And not just hard work, but good work. Smart work. Intentional work.
These are simple words to consider when you look at the highly successful career path and lessons learned by Nikki Muntz. When reflecting back on how she has reached this this status, Nikki says “it takes a lot of perseverance. You have to work hard. I never seemed to be in the right place at the right time to get something handed to me. Living and working in the moment and getting stuff done really well is how you will move farther, faster”.
How does hard work apply to leadership?
Going from sales to marketing to business development with titles and accolades to accompany, Nikki learned quickly that hard works pays off. But more than just doing great work, Nikki had the aspiration to not just deliver, but to become a great leader, which is also hard work. Through observations, managers that have influenced her, and some good old fashioned trial and error, Nikki believes that there are a few things that make a great leader and are absolutely part of her unique style:
Create an environment of trust: don’t micromanage or try to control your team. Offer a level of autonomy and flexibility and your team will be more motivated and inspired to deliver. “A healthy dose of respect and trust is going to get you much further in the world than being a micromanager or taskmaster…I believe in hiring good people and really trying to support them how they wanted to be supported and what works best for them, but in no way trying to micromanage what they are doing.” When you are a high performer, being micromanaged or controlled is one of the most annoying – and probably offensive – things you could do, as people will take it personally and feel that you don’t trust them. It certainly does not motivate or inspire either.
Surround yourself with talented people: “and never have in your mind that you don’t want to hire that person because they are more talented than you.” Trust that surrounding yourself with great people will provide far better ideas, more diversity of thinking, and a better final product. It also frees up any anxiety you that may have as a leader that work needing to be done is actually getting done!
Build consensus and inspire ownership: by allowing the team to have stock in the idea with guided direction. Know what you need to do and what needs to be achieved, but let the team figure out how to get there “building consensus and getting everybody united on a joint vision is always a better way of working”. Plus, since you have a great talented team already, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be part of the process to get things done.
And finally, gain respect by delivering right alongside your team: finally, don’t worry about being liked as much as worrying about how to get the job done. “People trust and respect you if deliver good work, and focus more on the delivery of good work and a little less around getting people to like you.” Have a healthy balance between and gain respect by showing people the really good things you can do. Know your team personally, who they are at their core, but remove the emotion from the day-to-day and focus on delivering excellence. “Develop relationships and connections with people who you are working with at a personal level and be in the trenches together. Move past the mundane routine things into stuff that really matters…having a good understanding of what people are really all about and what matters to them.”
But Being a Leader is more than Hard Work Too
For Nikki, its more than just working hard. Performance is the key to success and shows up in everything she does – both at work and at home. Nikki believes that she is (and we all are) the “CEO of two things – I am the CEO of my job and the CEO of my household.” She believes in a “push and pull” approach to have balance to always be on her A-game, especially when it comes to what matters most. She focuses on flexibility and being efficient with her time so that she can excel professionally and personally - shifting gears to take on her CEO role at home with her husband and children. And through that focus on performance and balance – in addition to hard work – Nikki has a very fulfilling career and personal life too.
Thank you Nikki for the great words of wisdom and a chance to learn more about your inspirational leadership style.