Become a Leader Others Want to Follow

No one wants to work for a bad leader. People are drawn to leaders who are respectful, empathetic and inclusive. Great leaders also foster a culture where learners can become leaders themselves. Here are six steps to become a leader that other people want to follow. 

Leadership is both rewarding and demanding. It is a balancing act of pushing limits and finding new horizons while making sure that all team members are well cared for and valued. The truth is that a bad leader can damage company culture, and stifle productivity. An effective leader, on the other hand, takes teams and businesses to new heights and new levels of efficiency. 

No one wants to work for a bad leader. People are drawn to leaders who are respectful, empathetic and inclusive. Great leaders also foster a culture where learners can become leaders themselves. So what can you and your organization do to create a culture of strong leadership? Here are six steps to become a leader that other people want to follow. 

Foster a Culture of Mutual Respect

Good leaders understand that respect is not a one-way street. Recognize that every single person on a team has something valuable to contribute, treat people accordingly. Employees shouldn’t be treated as dispensable. In addition, respect also means respecting their employees time and capacity. Interrupting someone’s well-deserved vacation time or handing off a bunch of busywork you don’t feel like doing isn’t going to make your team feel respected or valued. 

Encourage Team Members to Speak Up

Prospective leaders need to know their voice matters. A person who knows they are valued and listened to will be more ready to contribute than someone who does not. Employees should feel confident to share their thoughts with the team, and know their team leads encourage diverse thinking and points of view. This kind of confidence can spark better thinking and more participation in the future.

Model Humility and Curiosity

The best leaders understand that they do not have all the answers. Nobody does. This is why it is so important to work as a team. Part of problem solving involves admitting that you do not know everything. And a humble, effective leader will do this often. Good leaders also ask questions that they do not know the answers to. They’re less interested in being the smartest person in the room, and more concerned with finding the best possible solution to a problem. 

Allow For Mistakes

Making a mistake can mean that you went out of your comfort zone and tried something new. This is actually a win! After all, mistakes are often stepping stones to success. A curious, confident, competitive leader is bound to have some bad ideas once in a while and that is okay. This can provide a learning experience and help you think even more critically in the future. 

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

People tend to feel the happiest, most fulfilled, and most productive when doing something they are good at. And nothing is as discouraging as trying to carry out a task we do not feel cut out for. However, it’s important to maximize our strengths. Help your team become aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Help them work in the areas of strength and supplement their weaknesses with extra instruction or help from other team members. 

Delegate, Delegate, Delegate

The most effective leaders understand that they cannot do everything themselves. Part of moving into a leadership position means transitioning from being task oriented to being more strategic. This often means handing tasks to other team mates or even subordinates. Instead of seeing this as a negative thing, look at it as an opportunity to upskill your team and increase productivity. 

Healthy leadership starts with a healthy mindset. Team members should feel valued, included, and encouraged to grow. Strong leaders recognize the importance of working together, and that ultimately you’re working towards a common goal. 

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Piyush Gupta

Chief Product Officer

Piyush Gupta is Chief Product Officer at Sounding Board and champions the voice of customers and users with deep empathy. Piyush envisions Sounding Board to be the first window of coaching experience for professionals and leaders worldwide. His approach is deeply rooted in proven scientific research, modeling human behaviors, and data-informed insights to deliver mindset shifts and desired business outcomes for organizations at scale. He believes that a world-class UX is key to drive simplicity that will lead to millions of professionals to access coaching for their development.

Piyush co-invented the world’s first ‘landmark intelligent driving directions’ technology that led Google to redesign their routing algorithms for the Asian markets. For the next decade, he led two disruptive FinTech companies to the market leadership positions and delivered two award-winning products that serve more than 70 million users worldwide. His teams filed 20+ patents while he himself authored three patents. He is an active startup investor and advises selected AI-driven startups on business and product strategy. He is the recipient of the World Summit Award, one of the most prestigious international honors for product innovators. In addition, he is a James Swartz fellow, the most prestigious fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University funded by the founder of the iconic venture firm, Accel Partners.

Piyush holds an MS in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Tommy Perkins


Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

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Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

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Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

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