Name: Tonya Dittman
Business Title: Director of Culture
Company/Organization: Miron Construction Co., Inc.
Favorite Musician: Callum Scott
Favorite Vacation: Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands
Favorite Restaurant: Bay Family Restaurant – Green Bay, WI
BILL MARKLEIN: What is in the DNA of a servant leader?
TONYA DITTMAN: I believe the DNA of a servant leader is made up of empathy, self-awareness and selflessness. Servant leaders have a rare desire to serve others instead of self, and gain a sense of true fulfillment in their ability to grow and help those around them to be successful. They don’t shy away from tough conversations and coaching, even if it isn’t what their team members want to hear. They share what they need to hear, in a positive and giving way. Imbedded in their DNA is a true desire to do more than manage others in the short-term; they are committed to the long-term growth and success of those they are responsible for leading. They view this relationship as one of service since they are in a position to serve those they lead, and not the other way around.
BILL MARKLEIN: What has been the most important factor(s) in your leadership development journey?
TONYA DITTMAN: My experiences at my first employer had a large impact in my leadership development journey. I was fortunate to work with many servant leaders in my 10 years with that firm. I’ve come to realize how fortunate this experience was as I’ve grown older and have worked more in the industry; servant leaders can be rare. These leaders did not believe in separate offices; all people, regardless of title, existed in an open office environment. The CEO and other owners were also very transparent in how they communicated the financials and other important information at the firm. They trusted in my abilities and empowered me to make decisions. They offered a flexible culture that allowed me to work when and how was most effective for me; something that was definitely helpful in a position that required long hours and a lot of travel. In addition to empowerment, flexibility and transparency, they did not “manage”; instead, they humbly shared their vision and were able to articulate how my skills could help realize the company’s vision. Beyond work, they built a culture that was committed to building a sense of team, introducing all manner of teambuilding and fun events that brought all members together to celebrate successes and appreciate one another. All of these things have contributed to my views on leadership and culture.
BILL MARKLEIN: How does Emotional Intelligence, the awareness and management of your own emotions and the emotions of others, play a role in your leadership?
TONYA DITTMAN: Emotional intelligence and the ability to be aware and manage my own and others emotions has played a large role in my leadership abilities. It shows up as I’ve begun to build my new culture team and have reached out across our 1,500 person organization. Culture change happens slowly and depends a great deal on building relationships and managing change. EQ is the foundational element of my efforts with these things. I continue to try and grow my EQ so I can successfully have an impact on the culture here at Miron. In my new role as Director of Culture, it is very apparent that our team members’ level of EQ has, and will continue to have, a huge impact on our ability to build strong relationships with clients and employees. Relationships is one of Miron’s drivers; it has contributed to our long-term success and EQ will be the foundation of that success. In fact, I’m currently working on a class to help coach our team members’ on growing this skillset; something that is vital as we continue to grow.
BILL MARKLEIN: Who has made the most positive impact on your life and what is this individual’s attributes?
TONYA DITTMAN: My grandmother was the person that had the greatest positive impact in my life. Her greatest attributes were unwavering kindness, humility, a positive spirit and a complete lack of judgment and acceptance of others. She showered me with unconditional love for 38 years and demonstrated, through her daily interactions, what it was to be a selfless human being, whose greatest gift and joy was found in serving others. She did this throughout her entire life; a life that saw the hardships of the Great Depression, WWII, etc. Even when she had very little, she selflessly gave to others. She was a leader within her family, with her neighbors, and within the communities where she called home. She led with love, always sharing her positivity and giving of herself and her talents with those in need.