Name: Ashley Skoczynski
Business Title: Leadership and Career Development Manager
Organization: Greater Green Bay Chamber
Favorite Musician: Since it’s the holiday session, I’m going to say Bing Crosby
Favorite Vacation: Hawaii
Favorite Restaurant: Anything local
EMPLOY HUMANITY: What is in the DNA of a servant leader?
ASHLEY SKOCZYNSKI: Desire to serve and commitment to the common good. Leadership is about walking alongside people through their life’s journey, calling them forth to be the highest version of themselves, and guiding them to grow and stretch in new ways they couldn’t imagine for themselves. Leaders see what others cannot. They must have a desire to serve others because leadership isn’t always fun and it is the core value of service that will carry a leader through tough times when hiding or turning back seems like the easier option. Leaders must have conviction for their values and be able to stand up for what they believe even when no one else agrees.
In terms of more tangible assets, impactful leaders must also have these qualities:
Sight and strength to call people out on their stuff
High emotional intelligence
Ability to listen (which is different from hearing)
The gift of foresight and having an above average sense of what will happen in the future
EMPLOY HUMANITY: What has been the most important factor(s) in your leadership development journey?
ASHLEY SKOCZYNSKI: Suffering. It’s a prerequisite for leadership. It creates strength, wisdom, depth, and understanding of the world, and compassion for others. I would not trust a leader who has not suffered. Everyone has moments or sometimes entire chapters of life that involve suffering and it is the wounded and then healed leader who can move others into meaning and wholeness.
EMPLOY HUMANITY: How does Emotional Intelligence, the awareness and management of your own emotions and the emotions of others, play a role in your leadership?
ASHLEY SKOCZYNSKI: We use emotional intelligence every moment of every day. Within myself, I’m working on acknowledging and accurately assessing my emotions, which helps to better guide my decisions and actions. If I have a gut feeling about something, I try to follow it because most often that is the right choice. The ability to read other’s emotions is vital because it helps me know how to respond to others to develop the easiest relationship and create the best outcome of our shared goal, whatever that may be. Also, the more information I have about someone’s emotions, the better I can relate to them and interact with them.
Leaders use emotional intelligence to make others comfortable and uncomfortable. By this, I mean that leaders create an environment of psychological safety where people feel comfortable being themselves, trying new things (and maybe failing), and developing genuine relationships. Leaders also make others uncomfortable because they push others just past an individual’s edge because that is where growth happens. This includes the edge of an individual’s abilities, self-belief, and goals.
It’s like running. A leader pushes you to run 30 more seconds each time you practice. It’s uncomfortable but overtime, you become a better runner. And you feel safe enough to keep trying, knowing it’s okay if you fall. This is all done through a leader using emotional intelligence, knowing when and how to push or pull back.
EMPLOY HUMANITY: Who has made the most positive impact on your life and what is this individual’s attributes?
ASHLEY SKOCZYNSKI: Celebrities rarely have a meaningful impact on any one individual (though they can influence a culture). It is the real relationships we cultivate that form who we are. My family, friends, and mentors have formed me (too many to count). Their attributes are listening without judgement, helping me see where I need to grow, valuing me enough to be radically honest, and reminding me of my goodness.