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Two High-Performing Executives Share Their Thoughts On Leadership

Two area executives recently stopped by the Success Labs office to talk with a group of emerging leaders and share their experiences and advice on everything from motivating teams to work-life balance.

The talk, which featured Jason Latiolais of Barrier Construction and Lesley Tilley of Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, was part of our Management Incubator, a development program for talented individual contributors who are emerging as leaders within their organizations.

Both business leaders fielded questions from our Incubator participants and offered valuable insights into their career paths and leadership styles. Here’s a look at some of what they shared.

Stepping Into Leadership

As VP of Asphalt Operations for Barriere, Latiolais is responsible for leading the company’s three asphalt groups — located on the South Shore, North Shore and in Baton Rouge. He first joined the company in 2008 as a field engineer and worked his way up to Group Manager of Barriere’s North Shore Asphalt Group before taking his current position this year.

Latiolais, who is a graduate of the Success Labs Leadership Coaching Series, approaches leadership from an inclusive and collaborative perspective, focusing on fostering buy-in from his team and molding his management approach to the strengths of individual team members.

“Leadership is doing what you say you’re going to do,” he says. “And don’t tell someone to do something that you’re not willing to do yourself.”

Lesley Tilley, serves as VP of Operations at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center with responsibility for Case Management, LSU Health Baton Rouge, Post-Acute Services including the organization’s Rehab Center, as well as Acute Care Physical Medicine and Pharmacy. She also continues to lead Care Management redesign efforts across the company.

A graduate of Success Labs’ Management Incubator, Tilley first joined OLOL in 1994 as a registered nurse on the Medicine Unit before serving as case manager, Director of Medical Management, and a divisional Director of Nursing.

Tilley says building relationships has been the single-most beneficial action she has undertaken for her career. She says getting to know people and understanding what motivates them is critical to leadership success. “Developing relationships, getting people to trust you, and being willing to roll up your sleeves and get in it with them, that’s important,” she says. “It’s easy to sit in your office and tell people what to do, but no one is following you.”

Changing Perceptions on Leadership

Tilley says over time she has learned to be more patient rather than trying to force initiatives or ideas through on an artificial timeline. She says things often “happen in their own time and their own way,” so your focus and intention is often more important, especially during the first few months of a leadership role.

“As long as you’re true to who you are and the mission and goals of your organization, things work out,” she says. “If you really love what you do and really love the people you’re working with, you can really make difference.”

Latiolais says stepping into a leadership role has given him new insights into why certain business decisions were made before. He’s also learned patience, particularly when it comes to changing policies or procedures that have been in place for a while. He says you have to spend time prioritizing and implementing the most important initiatives before moving onto the next —  and that often requires spending time changing the culture that has built up those policies.

“You cannot just force acceptance of these things,” he says. “You have to listen.”

Motivating Teams

Latiolais says everyone in the workplace wants to win, which can make failures some of the most difficult events to navigate. In times of difficulty, he says it’s important to focus on the positives and find the opportunities for small victories rather than to try swinging for the fences to make up for the setback. “Small wins go a long way,” he says.

Tilley says she focuses on creating a shared vision for business success, which means allowing team members to have input in building that vision. She also says failure ranks among the top fears for most people, which means creating an atmosphere where failures are treated in a constructive manner is important. “There are a lot of things that we do that don’t work, and we have to ask, ‘what can we learn from that?’” she says.

This is only a fraction of the insights and wisdom these business leaders shared during this lively and informative discussion. At Success Labs, we’re grateful to be able to connect rising business leaders from varied backgrounds with established executives in their fields.

The next Management Incubator series is set for Fall 2019 and enrollment is now open. Participants leave with an understanding of the competencies they’ll need as they take the next steps in their careers and action plans to help develop those competencies. The ideal candidate is a successful individual contributor who was recently promoted or is being considered for promotion to a supervision or management position. Contact us to learn more.

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