Being a leader is more than just giving orders and ensuring employees complete their work on time and with a high level of quality. Leadership entails motivating your team and being a driving force of positivity and inspiration. Mark Gerardot, the Creative Director for AMResorts in Philadelphia, PA, is the type of leader who leads by example and never fails to set the bar high while also encouraging his team to go above and beyond. Mark possesses over 20 years of experience in the marketing industry and has proven himself time and time again, not only as a marketing and branding expert but as someone who truly cares about the work he does as well.
It is increasingly rare to find a person who genuinely loves their work and looks forward to the challenges they may face each day. Mark Gerardot is one of those few and has inspired those who work with him to love the work as well. Mr. Gerardot began his career in the graphic design field and quickly transformed this skill into a career in branding and marketing. Before finding his niche in the online marketing for the travel sector, Mark accrued years of experience in marketing for corporate real estate and publishing.
In 2001, Mark Geradot decided to focus on marketing for travel and tourism. He co-founded Gerardot & Co. and worked as the Creative Director for ten years. While in this position, Mark led all of the branding strategy efforts and earned over $6 million in new business. Also, Mr. Gerardot launched a boutique hotel brand that garnered international press from prestigious organizations such as Time, Conde Nast Traveler, and National Geographic. A natural-born leader, Mark used his superior skills to lead a team of architects to design branded restaurants, and retail spaces to enhance customer experiences and also led an entire group of designers, developers, writers, and marketing strategists to make his vision a reality.
Once the economy took a downward turn, Mark Gerardot decided to leave the business to focus on assisting higher education clients with their branding needs. He accepted a position as Creative Director with Up&Up, where he helped carve out their niche and transformed the company into one of the top five higher education agencies in the United States. After getting a taste for helping expand the reach of higher education agencies, Mark realized that he was equally as passionate about this cause as he was travel, and served in this capacity for six years. Mark Gerardot then spent six months working for the University of Delaware, where he increased student enrollment and awareness via the creation of branding and marketing materials.
Mark Gerardot feels inspired every day because he has the luxury of doing what he loves. He always has the opportunity to challenge himself creatively both in written form and visually. Mark hopes he can inspire others to find a career they love the way he did, no matter if their passions lie in exploring, learning and recharging by visiting new places; or if their ultimate desire is to pursue higher education. Either way, Mark’s work in both sectors serves as a guiding light to assist others in their decision-making processes.
Above all else, Mark Gerardot aims to entertain with his work and provide an authentic experience regardless of what his team is marketing. He believes customers deserve honesty, value, and authenticity. Mark creates brands that a person can be proud to stand beside. He is a prime example of what it means to lead by example and will continue to inspire others through his work and incredible leadership.
Recently, Mark Gerardot published his book, Irreparable. In this true crime drama, Mark shares his insight into the tragedy that has become his life. Learn more at MarkGerardotBook.com
Leadership is, more than anything, a set of personal disciplines. After all, the most inherent meaning of leader is simply someone who goes first. Leadership is not dependent on title or rank but rather behavior. The truth is, anyone can be a leader. At its deepest root, leadership is exhibiting certain traits and skills that make others want to follow your example, generally to achieve the same results that those traits and abilities brought you. Long before leaders become leaders, they typically develop specific characteristics and skills that help them excel once they achieve a position of leadership. Here are three tips for developing leadership skills in your everyday life.
- Speak up
Any time you speak, particularly in a group setting, it puts all the attention on you. This can be a very vulnerable position to be in, which is why so many do not speak up. When you speak up, you make yourself vulnerable to criticism and possibly even attack but also change never comes without individuals standing up and speaking up. Whether it is sharing a new idea or criticizing current policies, a leader has to learn how to be at the center of controversy and manage it well.
How successful you are when you speak up is going to be mostly dependent on how well you listened before you did it. If you repeat what someone else has said, you will look like a fool. If you express the sentiments everyone else is thinking but have the tact not to say, you will look like a buffoon. If you dare to say the thing that needs to be said, but no one else wants to say, you will gain the respect of your peers and in some cases, even your superiors.
- Always have a goal to pursue
Movement is at the very heart of leadership. People can’t follow a parked car. The goal itself does not matter but having one does. Your goals can be personal, professional, or even “frivolous” as long as you are chasing hard after them. Whether it is mastering the highest level of your favorite video game or increasing sales by 30% over the next quarter, goals give you purpose, direction, and almost palpable energy that others want to feel.
Personality plays a large part in influencing many aspects of life, and leadership style is no exception. It is important, however, to note how gendered expectations impact development and personality preferences, which then influence one’s leadership style. In recent years, the word “bossy” has almost become a damning term for girls and women. By labeling them “bossy,” many women end up suppressing their natural inclination towards positive leadership traits in favor of conforming to stereotypes and expectations that don’t necessarily work with who they really are as people.
Leadership styles tend to correlate to a person’s Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type. The majority in leadership positions show a preference for Thinking and Judging (as opposed to Feeling and Perceiving), according to research done by CPP, Inc. Characteristics of Thinking types include being analytical, logical, and reasonable; Judging types are regarded as organized, systematic, and decisive.
When the personality types are left to develop within their natural preferences, leadership characteristics have the potential to develop in the best possible way. People who grow up expected to conform to specific behaviors may never get to grow into their “best self,” and with regards to leadership style, they may even develop behaviors that will work against them.
Women with the MBTI preference for Thinking tend to be viewed as “aggressive,” as Patrick Kerwin observed in True Type Tales. This comes from a cultural bias for women with the preference towards Feeling. In many instances, when people act out of line with the expectations, often set by their family and environment, they are met with disapproval. In some cases, their personality preferences manifest in an underdeveloped manner because they’ve never had the opportunity to fully explore and develop them.
Honing one’s leadership style requires self-awareness, and a good place to start is with psychometric assessments like the MBTI personality test. These assessments can provide a qualitative analysis of your personality traits that influence your leadership style and ability. They may reveal insights on how you think, act, socialize, etc, that can form your starting framework on identifying your personality type. Once this foundation has been established, developing a style that reflects your personality type will help you to act with confidence and vision. Furthermore, from this framework, you can build on other pillars of effective leadership, such as communication and work relationships.
At this point, 2019 is officially halfway over, but that does not mean that it is too late to work on your New Years resolution of being more productive at work. If you need inspiration from other leaders who were able to shape their careers, I have compiled a list below of some of the top books on leadership for the year.
“The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance” by Steven Rogelberg
Meetings are hardly the highlight of most people’s workdays, so what if there was a way to attend fewer but more effective meetings? Steven Rogelberg delivers evidence-based ideas on how to improve meetings, drawing on his work as a researcher of teamwork and meetings at the University of North Carolina Charlotte.
“Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport
This book follows Newport’s first book, “Deep Work,” and explores the effects of technological interruptions on our personal lives. Newport suggests that people adopt a “full-fledged philosophy of technological use,” and fleshes out the steps to do so that are a little bit more drastic than simply not keeping phones at the bedside.
“Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries” by Safi Bahcall
In this book, Safi Bahcall explains how goal-oriented teams start to reject new ideas and suggests, instead, better ways to nurture them. One of the arguments that Bahcall makes is that structure is underappreciated, meanwhile, culture is appreciated too much, and that this contributes to the problem of not embracing the crazy notions.
“Nine Lies about Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World” by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall
Buckingham and Goodall assert that many of the basic truths of the workplace are not actual truths, but are distorted conventions and wrong assumptions. Their book examines ingrained ideas and challenges them, which can help one to rethink their organization’s thinking.
“The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World” by Melinda Gates
Gates weaves in personal stories of her life and of the women she’s met to call to action the need to empower women in order to change the world. She organizes the book by topic to explain that empowering women is the key to lasting change.