Subscribe to the Leadership with Heart Podcast:
In this episode, Heather Younger speaks with Dr.T. Renata Robinson, Chief Human Resources Officer at Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, about the complexity of leading an organization that serves the poor and at times, employs the poor. She also shares a story of her leadership mishap and some key ways to thrive as a leader.
- Understand that often, we encounter our people in their brokenness.
- Humility is the highest honor.
- Admitting your mistakes as a leader is a sign of strength.
- You must build relationships first before strategy.
- Provide your people the right resources to do good work.
- Allow autonomy to those you lead.
Dr. T. Renata Robinson is a professional of many firsts. She is currently the first Chief Human Resources Officer of the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, as well as the Principal and Chief People Officer of her consulting practice MeekAdvantages, LLC. Dr. Robinson was the first Chief Diversity Officer for the City of Boulder, CO, and Director of Organization Development and Talent Management for Total Long-Term Care Solutions. She has been Vice President of Human Resources for Teach for America Colorado and the Human Resources Manager for Comcast.
Dr. Robinson spends her days cultivating an inclusive culture, bolstering employee morale, and developing leadership skills in others. She has been consistently successful in creating and implementing inclusive human resource programs and initiatives. Having extraordinary change management and strategic leadership skills, she is a high-energy people leader with 15+ years of success in building top performing diverse teams, increasing employee engagement, and developing culturally action-oriented organizations. Her unique approach to innovation, engagement, and culture has improved communication between teams, stakeholders, and executives in non-profit organizations, fortune 100 and 500 companies.
In her free time, she is a wife and mother of two, and she gives back to her community through coaching, mentoring, and helping individuals design and accomplish their career path goals. She teaches youth workshops on public speaking skills, how to become bully-proof through confidence building, personal branding, and interviewing skills.
Dr. Robinson’s educational background consists of a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Leadership, a Master of Art in Organizational Management, and an Educational Doctorate of Organizational Management.
I have accomplished a lot of things I wanted, but there’s so much more out there. I’m still on a journey to accomplish more. I have more to give back and to help people, as well as to develop personally and to grow professionally. Even though I might have accomplished some job positions I aimed for, that’s not necessarily the whole reason I’m here.
I think about life as that dash in between; I look at every morning and ask myself what I do and why I am on earth. I am in a place of wonder, growth, development, and I pull people along with me on my journey.
As a leader, you have to understand that it’s not all about you. It’s about the people around you, helping you to get there.
I am results-driven person, but I am not the type to just run over someone to get the results. To me, the result is not always winning and success, because sometimes, you fail.
Bottomline, you must ask yourself: Did you try? Did you do your best? How did you get there? If you hit your head, let’s not hit your head again. Let’s figure this out. As a leader, that’s how I lead my team. I am flexible and open.
I really care. I know there always different analogies on leadership. But, I would define myself personally as a caring leader because I actually care about my people. It is important to build relationships that support people to get the results.
Understanding relationships is so significant. Afterwards, we need to communicate the plan, be aware of what is happening, and provide the resources needed to get the results. I am very results driven, but in order to get there, I look at three levels: how I look at my relationships, how I communicate, and how I create access.
Finally, the fourth most important thing to me is autonomy. The worst thing a person can do to me is to micromanage me. I don’t believe in micromanagement as a leader. I believe in people giving people the autonomy to do their job.
That also means you have to hire right. You must ask the right questions. Find out what a person can or cannot do. Remember you’re hiring for their strengths and not their weaknesses. You have to make sure you’re placing people to right positions, too.
Take Time Out
If you’re having a tough week, you just have to pause. Often, we feel like we should have all of the answers in the moment. But the reality is, you don’t have all of them.
You also have to reach out to your peers, take a moment, give affirmation, and come back with more insight in order to drive forward. Remember that you just need to take time out for you. Take an emotional day-off of work to recover.
If you’re finding yourself in a challenging place, sometimes you’re in there because of pride. While you don’t want to be wrong, and you’re fighting everyone to be right, the truth is, sometimes you are dead wrong.
It’s not about you. It’s about perspective, and how to shift the narrative. Pause is so important. Get away from the office. Sometimes, the best time to work is when we are not in a building, we are away where we can have transparent conversations, and strategic planning.
Connect with Renata on LinkedIn
Subscribe, rate and review the podcast on Apple Podcast
Listen to the podcast on Spotify