Lessons From Leaders

At the beginning of April, I attended a Suncor Student Community event that had four senior leaders speak to us students over Teams. They spoke of their careers, positions, and each shared learnings/wisdom down to us students.

Their authenticity established a psychologically safe environment, where us students felt comfortable asking questions (I asked 2)! In this online environment, I have noticed that students often are quieter than in person, so it was nice to see that this hurdle was overcome.

I thought it would be prudent for me to share some of these teachings that were passed down at this event.

erosion of rock

Photo by Rory McKeever on Unsplash

Key Takeaway #1 – Do what you say you will / Small things can erode trust

The message here is that life is not purely transactional, and that trust plays an integral role in many parts of life, especially business. In these relationships, trust can be built by following through on commitments and demonstrating your dependability. Conversely, even well-founded trust can be eroded by small errors over time. Small issues highlight to someone that you didn’t care enough to make sure they didn’t happen.

Overall, whether small or large, make sure to follow through on what you say you will if you intend to build trust.

Key Takeaway #2 – Treat others how they want to be treated

While the classic golden rule is to treat others as you want to be treated, it ignores the individuality and differences between everyone. There is a different between putting yourself in someone’s place and putting yourself in someone’s shoes. In the first example, your focus is still internal and about yourself while in the second example, the focus shifts to empathy and understanding of how it feels to be the other person.

Without this understanding, you are acting in self-importance instead of making an informed decision.

Key Takeaway #3 – Don’t limit yourself

Just because you like one thing doesn’t mean you can’t like something else. For example, just because you like pizza doesn’t mean you can’t also like burgers. There might be some sort of preference, but you would never know until you have tried both. Similarly, it might feel when you are in one sort of job that you must stay there forever, however, you might like and/or be good at a different job if you tried it.

Many people have multiple careers, and if you have the right attitude, willingness to learn, and maybe even some transferrable skills you can succeed in new role.


Key Takeaway #4 – Record the accomplishments and when you make a difference for others.

Everyone has good days and bad days. Especially on the bad days, it may be particularly helpful to have a recording of your accomplishments, and the impact you had on others. This can remind you of who you really are, boost self-confidence, and self-perception.

Being able to refer to these accomplishments can also help you advocate for yourself (particularly useful in job interviews). Breaking cycling of negativity and nurturing positivity is the type of adversity and challenge that all people encounter. Having tools like this record assist you in these situations and help you overcome them.

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2 Responses

  1. Charles says:

    Awesome post Riley! Takeaway #4 definitely resonates a lot with me. Even though I thought it was cheesy at first, having a mental stash of my biggest accomplishments and being more conscious of them has been insanely beneficial for me. Would highly recommend!

  2. Aaron says:

    Nice Job Riley

    I like # 3. New skills come with taking risks!

    Well written