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In this episode, Heather speaks with DeeDee Williams, Director of Human Resources at Davis, Graham and Stubbs LLP, about her leadership journey, her focus on compassion, and her strong moral compass which she fights to maintain. She also shares a powerful story of when she was not the best leader she could be and what she did to come out of it.

Key takeaways:

  • Be a compassionate leader.
  • Don’t allow your circumstances to define who you are and how you show up.
  • Be available when employees need you. Put the phone down and give them your attention.
  • Find a workplace that allows you to be the leader you want to be.
  • Show your people you appreciate them and they are important.
  • If a person feels valued, then they will do their best work.

This is a nice episode! Listen and learn!

DeeDee Williams has over 12 years of experience in human resources and is currently the Director of Human Resources for Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP (Denver), one of the leading full-service business law firms in the Rocky Mountain West. At DGS, Ms. Williams has helped foster a welcoming culture that, while success-driven, places particular emphasis on the well-being of its employees. This holistic approach to leadership and to nurturing leadership skills in others has enabled the firm to attract and retain talent, especially in a competitive market. 

Ms. Williams holds a B.S. from the University of Houston and is a native of Texas. 

Better Questions

I don’t really think of my career as a “leadership journey.” 

Currently, I am trying to provide the best HR department to the firm I have worked for 12 years. My current mindset revolves around the particular needs of my firm and the employees from an HR department, together.

I would always ask: What does my firm and my employees need from me? How can I do the best for them? In all of my past roles, as it stands now, I have more experience and understanding of what they’re looking for, a better sense of how to ask better questions, and better ways to really try and help my people.

In HR, you’re helping on both sides: you're helping the business be a better business, and you’re also helping the employees be the best version of themselves. – DeeDee Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Wonderful Connections

Every day is not my best day, and I acknowledge that. I am definitely not perfect and I know that. Well, no one is, as we’re all just trying to do our best every day. That’s ultimately the goal.

But let’s just focus on one thing we are going to do well. Sometimes, you just have to approach the day that way. If you are tired, and you’re not probably going to do well, just focus on one thing and give it a 110%.

I work with an amazing group of people who acknowledges that everyone is not perfect. We have a wonderful connection and it doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to know everything about each other. 

At the end of the day, I cannot just assume that I am a great leader because of me. The people I work with contribute to the success in my leadership. They play a huge part in it and I try to let them know that all the time.

Eye contact is incredibly important in conversations. – DeeDee Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Happy Compromise

I am driven by knowledge. I like to learn and understand things. That would certainly drive me as a person. When somebody comes to me with a problem, I want to understand their problem. Then, I want to understand the right solution. 

I think a lot of people are very black and white. I have watched how people get affected by operating in right and wrong, or in black and white. So, over time, I have learned how to operate in a total state of gray. 

Then, I realized that everything is about perspective. You just have to understand the perspective from all sides.

Before, if I wanted a particular thing, but it is something that I couldn’t have, my mother would offer me another thing and say, “Is this a happy compromise?” 

Now, I find myself asking people in my workplace, “If we do this, is this a happy compromise?”

You can get a good pulse of a situation through a conversation. – DeeDee Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Everybody has to give up a little bit of something. But is it something we can live with? – DeeDee Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

At times, a person needs another person to blame for their emotions. – DeeDee Williams #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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