98: Leaders With Heart Create Psychological Safety For All

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Cheryl Fullerton, EVP of People and Communications at Corus Entertainment, Toronto’s largest media company. She shares about her leadership style, her super interesting focus on psychological safety for all and her unabashed belief in innovation.

Key takeaways:

  • See your role as a company and people builder.
  • Do the hard work to find out who you are and what you stand for.
  • Try to know the problem before you set out to fix it.
  • People need trust and confidence that they are going somewhere.
  • Embrace the idea of creating clear objectives for your people.
  • Challenge assumptions in a safe environment.
  • Choose what you want for your life.

This is an amazing episode. Don’t miss this one!

Cheryl Fullerton is Executive Vice President, People and Communications at Corus Entertainment, where she is responsible for the creation of integrated and high-impact HR solutions to support the exceptional creativity and performance of the company’s over 3,500 people. Cheryl also oversees the Communications function, which includes internal and external communications strategies and execution, as well as Corus’ corporate social responsibility approach through the Corus Cares program. 

Cheryl joined Corus in the fall of 2015, after over 25 years honing her expertise as a business-focused people expert, in a series of great Canadian companies; Maple Leaf Foods, Canada Bread, Morneau Shepell and Sobeys.

Cheryl has been granted a Certified Human Resources Executive (CHRE) designation, and is a member of the HR Professional magazine Editorial Advisory Board and the CHRO Advisory Council of the HR Professional Association. She has a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude and an HRCCC designation from McMaster University.

Company Builder

I am a company builder. My goal is to build strong companies and strong people. I’m trying to make sure that this company is not only seen from the inside out as strong and but also seen with character and impact on society which we can all be proud of. We’re building strong people to have full opportunities to show their value, develop their potential and support each other. Having these things allows me to lead with impact and with meaning.

Being responsible for building and demonstrating the character and strength of your company is also very powerful. It means that your people are proud to work with you and you’ve got the reputation with partners outside.

Know the problem you’re trying to solve before you do it. – @cherylannmc #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Happiness At Work

You do the good work to figure out who you are, what you stand for and why it is important. You have to do that in order to communicate and share them with people. That is the first foundational building block to a high performance culture.

I like to think out loud. I like to talk through, share, debate, admit the fakes and change our minds. I think it is a way of making sure that we’re all aligned. It is also a way of trusting my own assumptions and building strength in other people. That’s a big part of my leadership style. 

I love what I do. I firmly believe in the possibility of being in a job that you love, so you should embrace that and have fun.

I love to create. I want my team to have the idea that we’re building and using our talents. We think that this is fun and enjoyable. I don’t think happiness at work gets in the way of great results. Rather, I think that it is the enabler of great results.

When you know that something is important, it is important now. It is not important when you can reach perfection. It is more important to get started. It challenges us to try and simplify. We try to get into the heart of what we’re really trying to do, how we do that, and how we can get started. 

Always know why you are doing what you are doing. Don’t just do anything for the sake of doing it. Know the problem that you’re trying to solve before you do it. Having those kinds of conversations out loud just builds strength and much better work.

Always test your assumptions. – @cherylannmc #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Diverse Organizations

I am accomplishment-oriented, so the idea of having to share my work was hard for me early in my career. But I realized that you do much better work when you do that. 

There has to be the right kind of outcome so that when you do it, it is supported and celebrated. Otherwise, you’re just saying things that are actually meaningless.  

Everybody is so different. You cannot force people to show up exactly the same because that is not going to work. Each person is their own mix of all kinds of different identities, hats, and feelings. 

We’re all complicated beautiful people, so a culture that can value each person for their uniqueness is what is going to build diverse organizations. From there, they can develop their own potential, impact, and happiness. 

I don’t think happiness at work gets in the way of great results. Rather, I think that it is the enabler of great results. – @cherylannmc #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

You do the good work to figure out who you are, what you stand for and why it is important. – @cherylannmc #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

When you know that something is important, it is important now. – @cherylannmc #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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