Listen to the podcast (FULL TRANSCRIPT):
Level Up is a podcast for anyone interested in improving their leadership skills. The series is designed to help you get to know the leaders of Experian and gain insight into the skills needed to grow your career.
Most recently, we spoke to Michele Bodda, General Manager of Experian Mortgage and Verification Solutions in Experian, North America. Michele has held various roles in general management, strategy, sales leadership, marketing, product management, and new business development. She is currently leading the effort to start a new Experian business unit designed to help unlock the modern mortgage through data and analytics and empowered consumers. Michele is also the executive co-sponsor of Experian North America’s Pride Network Employee Resource Group (ERG).
Here are some takeaways from our conversation with Michele:
Being a leader doesn’t mean you need to have direct reports.
Influence is a lot more impactful than power. Like Michele pointed out, most of the leaders at Experian don’t have any direct reports. The greatest assets of a good leader are their influence and integrity, and it’s important to avoid conflating leadership with power.
Put a lot of thought into the team you build.
For those who do have direct reports, Michele says, “The number one responsibility of any leader is the team that you build.” Your team will be contributing to the success of the company and influencing high performance and culture, so handpicking your team will be a very important endeavor. Look for the people with influence, who have diverse mind and skillsets, and know exactly why they’re doing the job they do.
Elevate your team members.
Even if it means letting them go to join a team that will better fit their career path, a good leader will recognize what it takes to elevate their employees. Like Michele pointed out, leaders are only as good as the success of the team. And if you are putting a lot of thought into the team you build, you should also be putting a lot of thought into how you build each individual up.
Don’t forget about the power of your presence.
You would never see Barack Obama running to a meeting, just like we would not see a CEO running to a meeting. This is because someone of such importance running would surely mean something is on fire. Same goes for yawning—looking tired in front of your team will drain your members as well. Leaders set the tone and energy for a lot of things, so don’t forget the power of your presence!
Don’t underestimate the importance of bringing your whole self to work.
Hiding pieces of yourself and suppressing a big part of who you are takes a tremendous amount of energy. Your sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, gender, etc. matter, and hiding any aspect of them is a big burden to carry that can be relieved by bringing your whole self to work. As a leader, remember to create the safe spaces for your team to be open, vulnerable and comfortable.
We were so happy to have the opportunity to chat with Michele for Level Up.