An Interview with Sarah Liu, VP of Marketing for Melinta Therapeutics
“A study has pinpointed 11:17 a.m. Monday morning as the time we feel most unhappy.”
“76% of American workers say they get the ‘Sunday night blues'”
“Studies show that risk of a heart attack was about 20 percent greater on Mondays for adult men, and 15 percent greater for adult women.”
Let’s face it – most people don’t like Mondays.
But most people don’t work with exceptional leaders like Sarah Liu.
Sarah is one of the few people that I have met that have a personal leadership vision – or at least one of the few that can clearly articulate it (more on that later) – and Sarah’s vision is to “create an environment where my team looks forward to Monday.”
“So, what does that really mean cause Mondays generally stink, right? It means you have to really love what you’re doing and be excited about where you’re going, so much that you look forward to coming to work on Monday. And that is what I strive to ensure as a leader.”
And that sounds like a tall task, but Sarah breaks it down to a few simple things that ensure that Monday’s are simply marvelous.
First: make sure that your team is hungry and eager to learn, that they are being challenged and that they are continuously being given feedback to continue that loop of growth and engagement. For Sarah, education is a core value and it something that she is always seeking for herself and her team as it is a true driver in career and personal satisfaction.
Second: “show people that, first and foremost you believe in them, you trust them, and not only that you trust them to do a great job, but you also trust them enough that if they make a mistake (when they make a mistake because we all do), that they're going to learn from it and grow from it because that's when the most growth happens.” As a leader, you must be empathetic and look at situations from all angles to truly understand what is going on and how best to demonstrate that belief, trust and support. A good leader is there to clear the path for their team and make their jobs easier so that they can truly rise up. This creates a sense of collaboration, ownership and optimism for the future that connects the team and helps to support their love of their job.
Third (and maybe most important): “is strong communication. It sounds so easy and so intuitive, but man is it hard to do. Staying on top of things, understanding what needs to be communicated and what doesn't, having a good filtering system, having constructive conversations, clearly communicating goals and objectives for the organization to show your team that you're committed to their growth. Instruct them and stretch them, and communicate, communicate, communicate.” Sarah knows how important it is to offer clear, concise and necessary information – and the importance of keeping a feedback loop and communication stream open so that it’s truly a two-way street. Knowledge is power, and sharing information is a great way to encourage that continuous growth and engagement.
So for Sarah, marvelous Mondays are driven from constant growth, trust, and communication. Simple, right? Really simple, actually!
But one last really important thing before we go.
Outside of her vision for creating a pro-Monday culture, Sarah is also passionate about the idea of sponsorship. All too often, we talk about the importance of mentorship…who can you learn from, who can shape you, who can teach you. But for Sarah it’s less about that (cuz you’ve already got it girl!) and more about sponsorship, having someone advocate for you. Sarah knows that for women to rise up, they have to be both seen and heard. And while we can do that through finding our own voices and being confident in who we are, asking questions, being vulnerable, being receptive to feedback, always growing, offering our perspective, etc (and frankly we must do those things) – it is almost equally important to have a sponsor to build you up to others too. Simply put, we must advocate for each other and have advocates for ourselves to multiply the impact of the great things that we are doing on our own.
Wow! Now that was some inspiration from a remarkable leader. Thank you, Sarah, for personally inspiring me and sharing your story with the WeInspireWe community.