Event Recap: How HR can Help Turn Managers into Strategic Leaders

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Last week Sounding Board co-hosted a fireside chat where Christine Tao, our co-founder and CEO, participated alongside Bart Macdonald, co-founder and CEO of Sapling, and Shane Metcalf, Chief Culture Officer of 15Five. It was a fun evening with a lively discussion about how HR can help develop strategic leaders. While there were many valuable insights from the discussion, below are a few key takeaways from the topics discussed.

Event Recap: How HR can Help Turn Managers into Strategic Leaders 1

How do you identify when someone is ready to be a manager?

Deciding who to put into a management role is an important decision and you have to be  thoughtful about who becomes a manager. One mistake companies often make is promoting someone into management just because they’ve been in their role for a long time or are a top performer, but those aren’t necessarily indicators that someone will be a good manager.

So, how do you know when an employee is ready to be a manager? Below are a few tips our panelists gave during the fireside chat.

  • Your employee is thinking more strategically. A big component of being a manager is to think strategically. If you see that your employee carries a broader perspective about the organization and industry, it’s a good indicator they’re thinking beyond the scope of their own job or function. The ability to hold a long term vision of the company is often an indicator of manager readiness
  • They’re able to work cross-functionally. Being a manager also requires being able to successfully work with members in different departments and functions. Giving cross-functional tasks and projects is a simple way to see how they work with other teams and test their skillset as a manager.
  • Ask! Keeping an open dialogue with your employees is the easiest way to know if your employee is ready to be a manager, or even wants to be one. Having that open communication will ensure your employee is on the career path they want. And that it works for the company.

Make sure to connect with us so you can stay up to date for Part 2 of our recap from the event “How HR can help turn managers into strategic leaders”! We’ll be highlighting some common challenges first time managers make that Christine, Bart, and Shane have seen first hand. Plus, we’ll provide some insights on how to overcome these challenges!

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Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & Chief Coaching Officer

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.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.

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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