WHAT DO YOU NEED TO LEAD?
July 15, 2022
People skills, charisma, organization, and problem-solving among top traits
Jeff Lyons, senior copywriter and public relations manager, CSC
There’s no one sure recipe for success. But if you want to become a successful leader, you need to have certain characteristics. CSC leaders Katie Cushing, Lynda Leahy, Kristyn DiIenno, and Lynda Kenny offered their ideas about these traits.
“You need to be charismatic and have a genuine interest in people,” says Katie Cushing, a client service manager with CSC’s Digital Brand Services business. “You have to be able to talk to people one-on-one and understand their business needs and personal needs.” CSC’s commitment to exceptional results and service begins with the company’s commitment to its people and its customers. It’s through this people-first approach that CSC continues to earn their trust and exceed their expectations every time.
“This business moves fast, so you need really strong organization and prioritization skills,” Katie continues. “And you need to be able to ask for help. You can’t do everything all the time; you can’t be everything to everybody all the time. It’s OK sometimes to put up your hand and say, ‘Hey, who can help me with this?’ Showing vulnerability shows that you know you’re not perfect. Nobody’s perfect. It’s OK to ask for help.”
Lynda Leahy is vice president of operations at CSC and says being a problem-solver is a key attribute for a leader. “You have to be patient, and you have to be able to network,” she says. “There’s no way I could do my job here at CSC without the help of so many other teams and so many other leaders throughout the organization.” CSC is built on teams, and it’s common to find employees from various departments working together and supporting each other. Their efforts allow CSC to deliver results that are superior to the results of individual efforts.
“It’s all about building relationships and working as a team to support common goals and initiatives,” Lynda says.
Kristyn DiIenno, senior human resources director, is a f irm believer in being able to give direct, open, and honest feedback to the people that work for you and with you. “In HR, we’re asked to give feedback to a lot to people, and we can get into some really challenging conversations,” she says. “The ability to give that kind of feedback honestly, in a way that’s kind and considerate, is one of the best traits a leader can have.” Being genuine—direct, open, and honest—is one of the company’s five core values. Employees and leaders being genuine with each other and their customers has helped CSC become a trusted community partner for more than 120 years. It has also helped employees improve professionally as they pursue their yearly and long-term goals.
“If I don’t give my team feedback, they won’t get better. If I’m not honest, I’m holding back—and that won’t help us be the best we can be,” Kristyn says. “The things that have helped me do well are being collaborative, honest, and fun. You need to have a little fun and focus 100% on our customers, who are CSC employees. We want to create a great employee experience.”
“You need to be tenacious and communicate honestly,” says Lynda Kenny, fund services associate director for CSC’s Global Financial Markets business in Dublin. “You need to be very clear. You need to be able to have conversations with the chair, people, or boards who don’t want to hear the message you’re telling them. You need to be confident in your own ability.” To help develop communication and other professional skills, CSC offers hundreds of free LinkedIn Learning courses as well as custom upskilling resources.