Lessons in Leadership with Co-Founder of Latinas in STEM

With growth comes managing staff/employees. A rational based approach is critical to handle day-to-day business operations. Jazlyn Carvajal, Co-Founder of Stay On Your Daily and Latinas in STEM, shares her inspirational experience as a leader and gives tips on effective management.

Lessons in Leadership with Co-Founder of Latinas in STEM

Image source:NJTV

At 24 years old, I was an engineer overseeing construction projects in Manhattan. In my first week, a burly and intimidating foreman asked, “What are you doing here? You are a woman. You should be at home. You will get dirty here.” In that moment, I had to think quick, this is a guy I was just about to deliver instructions for what he and his team should be doing that day.

"Do I tell him off for being sexist? Do I pout and turn around and tell my boss? Do I fire him?"

I extended my hand, “Hello, my name is Jazlyn Carvajal. I’m the engineer you will be working with as long as you are on this project...

"... you will need to accept the fact that the years of education and experience I bring will help this project as much as your years of experience will."

"If you cannot accept me here, then I will need to speak with your boss.” He smiled, shook my hand and stated, “Welcome.” We had a good working relationship from then on. We listened to each other. He was able to take direction from me on a daily basis. He would walk with me on the job site and show me how his team was progressing. He would propose new ideas. When he wasn’t able to communicate effectively with another contractor, I would help mediate the situation.

As you grow in your career, you will manage people. They may be older, they may be more experienced, they may be from a higher-ranking school. You may end up with a team of varying years of experience and education. What is important is that you all work together. From day one, you need to set clear expectations. Make everyone excited about your mission/vision. Your clearly stated expectations for each employee will be met so long as they feel invested in your company.

"You should respect the people you hire, otherwise, why are they there?"

Listen to them. Trust them when you assign them tasks. When they make errors, take the time to correct them. Do not take their task away “because only you can do it right.” Do not micro manage every step they take. Allow them to figure the best method for accomplishing a task for themselves. Alternatively, if an employee habitually makes mistakes or does not meet your expectations, then take immediate action.

Leadership is about getting the best from everyone around you, and growing together. Everyone works as one cohesive unit, motivated by the same goal.

"Put your ego aside, stop coddling those that aren’t pulling their weight, and start staying on your daily." 

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