Published on November 30, 2023, 6:48 am
Building and maintaining credibility is crucial for any leader, especially when it comes to attracting top talent. Darlene Taylor, CIO of Superior Industries, understands this well. With her background in automotive design and manufacturing, as well as experience as an IT leader at prominent companies in Detroit, she has earned a reputation for being highly credible.
For Taylor, credibility starts with empathy. She believes in listening intently to understand where each team member fits into the ecosystem and how technology can help them excel in their roles. During a visit to a manufacturing site, she noticed an operator struggling to enter data due to incompatible gloves. As a result, Taylor and her team worked together to find a solution that improved the user experience for not just that operator but also other workers on the plant floor.
She emphasizes that leadership should extend beyond the workplace hierarchy. Taylor takes the time to build relationships with team members, partners, and customers by getting to know their interests both personally and professionally. She stays connected through personal notes and group chats, celebrating accomplishments and sharing insights about new technologies.
Communication is another key aspect of Taylor’s leadership philosophy. She encourages leaders to engage with their teams on various topics, including strategic plans, technical matters, personal development, and events that reveal more about their personal lives. By asking questions and genuinely listening, leaders can cultivate empathy within their teams.
Taylor’s second tenet is drive. In industries like automotive manufacturing where there are non-negotiable end dates tied to product launches or customer rollouts, she emphasizes action and agility. While managing risks rigorously, she instills a test-and-learn mindset by fostering an environment that encourages momentum and positivity.
Finally, care is at the core of Taylor’s leadership philosophy. It is not just about fulfilling professional responsibilities but also showing genuine concern for colleagues’ well-being inside and outside of work. Acts of care can go a long way in building trust and nurturing relationships.
Taylor exemplifies her philosophy through various initiatives, such as promoting cybersecurity challenges for young girls to encourage their pursuit of careers in that field. She knows that even small acts of care can make a significant impact.
In summary, Darlene Taylor’s approach to building and maintaining credibility resonates with many leaders looking to attract top talent. By leading with empathy, drive, and care, she sets a strong example of how effective leadership can positively impact both individuals and organizations.