The Leadership Spotlight continues this week with Mark Daniels. Mark is the Business Technology Project Leader for Financial Peace University.
Mark has a diverse work history with 20 years of experience across a variety of industries including a non-profit research organization, a law firm, an IT consulting firm and a large multi-national corporation. Mark has led developers, architects, business analysts and project managers on hundreds of projects. Prior to joining Dave’s team, Mark worked for nine years at H&R Block’s world headquarters in Kansas City, MO, where he held various leadership positions.
This included leading the development team responsible for the tax software platform used in all H&R Block retail offices. When not at work, Mark enjoys spending time with his family and occasionally chasing a little white ball around nicely mowed grass. He and his wife, Jackie, have one daughter and live near Nashville, TN.
CLo: What is your role in leadership?
MD: My current role is really oriented around leadership in two different ways. First, I lead a team of software developers directly. Secondly, I lead a number of initiatives and projects for various departments, which means I lead others who do not directly report to me.
CLo: What is the best advice you’ve ever received about leadership?
MD: I have been blessed to work with some outstanding leaders and I have always tried to learn something from each one. While it is difficult to land on a “best,” here are a few things that stand out:
- Be yourself. Don’t try to lead like someone you are not.
- Empowerment can only truly come after alignment — get aligned with your leader and look to ensure your team is aligned with you.
- Strive to be a servant leader and build relationships with those you lead.
- People follow what is modeled — what you do speaks volumes.
CLo: What is the biggest challenge facing leaders today?
MD: I think it the biggest challenge remains how to communicate effectively. Everything we do involves people so communication and relationship is so key.
CLo: How do you continue to improve yourself as a leader?
MD: Find other leaders I can learn from and then try to build relationships with them.
CLo: How do you invest in others?
MD: I believe people want to know their leader cares about what they do and how they do it. I invest in others by showing them I care about the details of their work and make sure to recognize them for their efforts and contributions.
CLo: What was the last book you read?
MD: I have four going right now: