Sharyn Ford: Leadership Development is Key to Success

training room

Owens & Minor is rapidly growing into a global healthcare services company. We know that the contributions of our teammates and our leaders, who helped us to arrive at this phase in our journey, are key to our future success. As the Vice President of Global Staffing & Organizational Effectiveness, I understand as an organization we need to ensure that we are able to identify, develop, and empower leaders at all levels. Leadership does not automatically come with a title or a position. Leadership comes from who you are and how you engage and inspire your team and those around you. It is all about demonstrating leadership skills in tangible ways every single day.

Over the course of my career in Human Resources, one of the most important things I have learned about leadership is that, as a leader, I need to create an environment where people can be successful—where they can grow and thrive. As leaders, we lead from the front lines. We are expected to look toward the future and envision the trends, obstacles, and opportunities that others cannot see.

For Owens & Minor, exceptional leadership is even more important today because we are transforming ourselves and our company into something new–into a global healthcare services company. In order to do that, we need leaders to catch that vision, articulate it, and then translate it into tangible goals that the team can work together to achieve.

John Maxwell, one of the most recognized global leadership experts, believes that everything rises and falls with leadership. What I have learned from Maxwell is that whenever you look at a successful team, you always look to the leader because the leader sets the tone, creates the vision, and empowers to team to achieve incredible results. One of the essential elements of leadership is being able to create a vision that people can understand and one that will inspire them to follow. A leader must be able to take a vision and turn it into reality, and they must hold themselves accountable for the outcomes.

There is a model I refer to as the ‘E3 Principles' of leadership which stands for: Engage, Equip, and Empower. The ‘E3' model involves engaging teammates in creating a shared vision and strategy. We engage and equip them with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve the vision, and we empower them to achieve their goals and objectives. I have used this model throughout my career, and I have seen the power of the model in transforming both leaders and teams.

We are incorporating these principles into our leadership development model to support our company evolution. The Human Resources team is strategically focused on leadership development that fosters teammate engagement, retention, and growth. Leadership is not a title, position, or designation. Each of us can be a leader; we can all lead, we can all contribute, and, by working together, we can all win.