Leading Across Matrixed Organizations as an Individual

Leadership isn’t always about direct reports; it’s about impact.

Learn how Danielle Coady uses her strengths to navigate a matrixed organization with multiple stakeholders.

Leading Without AuthorityHi Dani. Thank you so much for taking part in our blog series, where we highlight people from different industries who are making an impact using their unique strengths. What are your Top 5 Strengths?

My top strengths are Strategic | Achiever | Maximizer | Arranger | Positivity

Tell us about yourself. What do you get paid to do?

I work for Dell Technologies on the ISG side of the business as a Strategic Partner Marketing Manager, focusing on the infrastructure, software, storage, and server solutions. (Dell also has a client-side (CSG) where the laptops, desktops, notebooks, screens, etc., sit.) My role is to manage the relationship, messaging, integrated marketing plan, and go-to-market priorities with our strategic partnerships, such as VMware.

It sounds like you have a lot of moving parts in your job! Which strengths are most evident in your work?

I work with many moving parts and many key stakeholders in my current role, so my Strategic strength shows up most often. Gallup says this strength “enables me to sort through the clutter to find the best route,” and I would agree with that. To do my job well, I need to collaborate and communicate across many different groups. Some find this incredibly hard, but I love it. I enjoy the challenge of a matrixed organization to drive success (Strategic & Maximizer). Then add my Achiever strength in there, where I take great satisfaction from being busy and productive, and the leadership role I have leverages my strengths very well.

You seem to have a good understanding of your strengths. How has this awareness helped you navigate career decisions?

I first met the Strengths Now team when I was consulting because they needed additional support building their website and marketing plan. Years later, I am a client and a firm believer in strengths coaching. Knowing my strengths and the methodology behind CliftonStrengths has helped me make better career decisions and become a better teammate, mentor, wife, mother, and friend.

Simply being aware that others have different strengths is what I find most powerful. What’s more, when I know their strengths and work better together, it’s a win-win for everyone. One of the biggest personal takeaways for me going through this process was the boost in my self-confidence. It helped me appreciate myself and how I have undervalued my traits or what I have to offer.

It’s interesting to hear you mention your strengths showing up as a mother, wife, and friend. After all, our strengths are with us 24/7. What have your noticed?

Outside of work, I have seen my strengths show up in a few different ways. When my kids were younger, I loved coaching their sports. Although I didn’t know about CliftonStrengths at the time, I can see how my Strategic, Developer, Maximizer, and Positivity strengths all worked together while coaching young kids. To this day, even though they are teenagers now, I am still proud of coaching their teams.

And a few years ago, I leaned into my strengths when I got engaged (to my now husband). I truly believe in leading with strengths during times of change that I also asked my husband to take the assessment. I knew it would be a good tool for us to help facilitate some important discussions as we blended our family, brought our kids together, and helped us to be our best.

Wow! Blending a family certainly requires a lot of change management and leadership! How do you define leadership today?

I think we often confuse leadership with management, and therefore I have learned that leadership is not about a title or managing people. Today, I believe leadership is defined by influence, responsibility, collaboration, and inspiring or lifting others up. As I learned more about my strengths, it is clear that my top strengths, when they all work together, are a unique combination of leadership qualities, with my favorite being Positivity. Below is how I would describe myself using my strengths, and this is very me.

I am a positive leader who enjoys maximizing talent, strategically arranging all the pieces or resources, and has a great deal of stamina (achiever). I enjoy my job most when all the parts work together to drive success.

It seems like you created a Unique Contribution Statement, often a coaching activity we suggest for people to articulate their strengths. Was there any aspect of coaching that you found most helpful?

Ironically, one of the most beneficial benefits of coaching is learning how others interpret my strengths and how to leverage this in a team environment. For example, knowing that others may misinterpret my Strategic strength as close-minded or critical is essential. My Strategic strength is not something I learned. Innately, I can make quick decisions or easily spot the relevant patterns and issues. Knowing that I need to remember to take other ideas into account is valuable in a team environment. I am always practicing to be a better listener!

Overall, understanding the value of strengths has helped me navigate career challenges, get “unstuck” at times, and remember to celebrate the wins. I am forever thankful to the Strengths Now team for their support, and while I have always been a big fan of working better together, individual and team morale is instantly boosted when there is a proven method to help you do that.

Thank you so much, Danielle, for your time and for sharing your insights!

To read additional interviews, visit our blog at https://strengthsnow.com/blog/.