Transcript

Dr. Dave Miles: Thank you for joining “Conversations on Leadership with Dr. Dave,” your weekly visit to the crossroads of leadership, communication, and engagement. We provide captivating conversation while helping you create your compelling company culture. We give meaningful insights on these topics from fascinating interviews with top business leaders, trendsetters in leadership research, and perceptive commentary from your host, myself, Dr. Dave Miles. Today, we are lucky to have Sierra Collins with Sierra Learnership Collaborative as our guest. Welcome, Sierra!

Sierra Collins: Hi, Dave, thanks for having me.

Dr. Dave Miles: No problem, no problem. I want to get started with a little bit of your background. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey?

Sierra Collins: Of course. I’m Sierra Collins, founder of Sierra Learnership Collaborative, where I’m a leadership development coach, speaker, and trainer. My background is a bit different from the typical coach. I started in education, passionate about teaching from a young age. I earned my MS in Education from West Virginia University and spent 10 years in the public school system in Fairfax County, Virginia, and Winchester, Virginia. I enjoyed my time in education but felt limited to one classroom. I sought leadership opportunities to expand my influence, providing professional development at the district level. My goal was to move into principalship and potentially become a superintendent. However, due to health reasons and a recommendation to reduce stress, I decided to start a business. I wanted to help people grow at all ages, not just youth. So, I founded my business in June 2020, focusing on character development and leadership skills for youth and working with adults to help them grow in their positions. I initially got certified through the John Maxwell Leadership Program and found the transition natural. Now, I love what I do and get to talk to people like you.

Dr. Dave Miles: Great, great. So, what does leadership mean to you, and what does good leadership look like?

Sierra Collins: Leadership to me begins at a very young age. It’s about influence, not just titles or positions. Effective leadership involves intentionality, always seeking to grow yourself and others. It’s about developing leaders around you and setting an example through your actions. Good leadership, or rather effective leadership, involves being intentional, thoughtful, and willing to get on the level of those around you. It’s about not being afraid to do the hard work and modeling the behaviors you want to see.

Dr. Dave Miles: What does effective leadership look like in practice?

Sierra Collins: Effective leadership means not being defined by your title and being open to feedback and growth. For example, as a teacher, I initially feared observations, thinking they were judging me. But I became effective when I opened my door to criticism, using feedback to grow. Effective leaders should always seek to improve and not become stagnant, believing they are at their best because of their title.

Dr. Dave Miles: Excellent points. Now, moving on, what was one of the biggest leadership challenges you’ve faced?

Sierra Collins: One challenge was not realizing I was a leader as an educator. Another major challenge was being a young leader. I graduated high school at 16 and had my master’s degree by 21, starting my teaching career at that age. Leading veteran teachers was challenging because they didn’t initially believe in my capabilities due to my age. Starting my business was another challenge. People questioned my ability to teach leadership because of my age and experience. But I bring a different perspective to the table, and collaborating with others helps me grow and help others grow.

Dr. Dave Miles: That’s definitely a challenge. What do you see as one of the biggest mistakes leaders make today?

Sierra Collins: The biggest mistake is not investing enough time, money, or effort into continuous growth for themselves and their teams. Building a cohesive team culture and providing professional development are crucial. Many businesses struggle because their teams aren’t working cohesively or aligned with the mission and vision. Leaders need to focus on their own growth and the growth of their team to succeed.

Dr. Dave Miles: Absolutely. Investing in growth is vital. What do you think is the best way for leaders to improve their leadership skills?

Sierra Collins: Surround yourself with leaders you admire. You should never be the smartest person in the room. Be around those who have qualities you look up to and who can hold you accountable. Networking groups, chambers of commerce, and professional organizations are great ways to connect with such individuals. Additionally, having a coach can help you reflect on your goals and align with people who can support your growth.

Dr. Dave Miles: Excellent advice. Changing your room can make a significant difference. Now, we have about two minutes left. How can listeners connect with you and learn more about what you do?

Sierra Collins: Listeners can visit my website at www.sierralearnership.com. I believe in lifelong learning and effective leadership, which is why I named my business Learnership. You can also follow me on social media for updates on upcoming events and workshops. I provide workshops on various topics, such as using DISC as a tool to close deals. I love working with both individual clients and teams, offering tailored workshops and coaching sessions. Feel free to reach out and connect with me.

Dr. Dave Miles: Thank you so much, Sierra, for joining us on “Conversations on Leadership with Dr. Dave.” It’s been a great conversation. Thank you to our listeners for tuning in. Take care.

This week our special guest is Sierra Collins.

Sierra Collins is the Founder of Sierra Learnership Collaborative, where she is a Certified Leadership Development Coach, Speaker, & Trainer for both youth and adults.

Sierra spent many years thinking about her purpose and the areas in which she felt she could have the greatest impact. She found hers, and now she has the ability to help you discover yours.

Her purpose is to share her passion for growth with you so you can be inspired to become an effective leader and lifelong learner who is always striving for personal and professional growth.

You can find out more about Sierra and what she does at https://www.sierralearnership.com/

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