Women in Leadership: Jill Lawson
This month's Women in Leadership series features One Call’s SVP of Enterprise Implementation Solutions, Jill Lawson. Throughout her 19 year tenure with One Call, she has held multiple roles focused on driving business results and developing employees. She also carries many years of experience from her time in the Navy, Memorial Medical Center and First Coast Rehab.
What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
Prioritizing my time, knowing when to say yes and being able to say no. In today’s fast-paced environment, I feel there is a tendency to say yes to everything. I have learned that being able to prioritize my tasks gives me the ability to stay focused on what is most important and know that I am consistently delivering my best work.
What are some of the best decisions you have made in your leadership role at One Call?
Two things come to mind. First, not being afraid to surround myself with smart people and second, seizing opportunities that are outside of my comfort zone. There are many times where I have been asked to do things that I feel like I’m not ready for or don’t have all the knowledge in. In these situations, instead of saying I can’t do it, I look at what skillsets I bring to the table while also surrounding myself with a team who has knowledge and abilities that I don’t. This not only strengthens the company, but also strengthens the team you surround yourself with. It provides everyone at the table the opportunity to grow and learn.
How do you maintain your team's motivation and inspiration despite obstacles, push back or setbacks?
The only way I can accomplish this is to create a positive team environment that focuses on solutions; and that starts with me. I set the tone with my direct reports. I expect them to set the tone with their direct reports and then it trickles down through the entire team.
Good teamwork is only successful through open communication, collaboration and a supportive team environment. Our industry is met with multiple challenges every day and the more I can foster my team to come to the table focusing on solutions to challenges, the better my team becomes.
Who are the people who have made a tremendous impact on you and your career?
If I really think back, I truly believe that the women influences I had during my time in the Navy were most impactful. When I was in the Navy, the field was very male-dominated. To be mentored by women naval officers and have the ability to watch them and learn how they spoke and interacted with people, was such a positive influence on me. To this day, I carry the traits I valued in those women with me.
What are you doing daily to ensure your growth and development continues as a leader?
I never stop learning or being curious in life. If I want more information, I’m instantly looking for a book or articles I can read. If I can’t find it there, I am going to the trust army of leaders I have built around me know they can guide me in the right direction.
What is one piece of advice you wish you could have given yourself early on in your career?
Pick your battles wisely and strategize.
Our organization is ever-moving and there are SO many tasks we all wish we could do. I teach my team to focus on the solutions and figure out the right time to present them. Come up with a plan, have it peer reviewed, walk through all of the possibilities and then approach your leader with an educated plan you have thought through from all angles. This will get you so much further in your approach and you will receive a higher amount of respect in your career.
What book/podcast has impacted your leadership style or career success the most?
Everything by John Gordon. He focuses everything he does on positivity. His books are great because they are quick, light reads and are great reminders of what is appropriate in the workplace. The most recent book I read of his was ‘Power of Positive Leadership’. It is a reminder about how to positively lead a team and I carry these tools with me every day.