Women in Petfood Leadership: 3 keys to leading with confidence and authority

Tamara Ghandour does a deep dive into the art and science of decision making during Petfood Forum's Women in Petfood Leadership networking initiative.

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot
Tamara Ghandour answers an attendee's question during the Women in Petfood Leadership networking lunch on May 1.
Tamara Ghandour answers an attendee's question during the Women in Petfood Leadership networking lunch on May 1.
Lisa Cleaver

As you advance in your career, the complexity and weight of decision-making can escalate, often carrying the burden of more significant impact. During Petfood Forum’s Women in Petfood Leadership networking event on May 1, Tamara Ghandour, founder of LaunchStreet, talked about how forward-thinking women in leadership can explore the art and science behind effective decision-making.

Whether you are at the helm of a department, leading a dynamic team, managing a pivotal project or steering an entire organization, there are crucial strategies and a mindset required to become a bold and impactful decision-maker.

Speaking to nearly 100 women, Ghandour shared three simple but powerful strategies that have catalyzed her career trajectory, established her reputation as a decisive leader — particularly in times of adversity — and enabled her to navigate challenges with greater ease, confidence and authority. Decision-making, much like innovation, is a skill that can be sharpened.

1.   Power of the pause.

“When speaking, a pause is very powerful,” explained Ghandour. “People don’t like quiet. They will fill the air with noise.”

Ghandour suggests speaking less and not filling the air. A pause can be answer in certain circumstances.

“Practice the pause, it’s very powerful,” she said.

2.    Strengthen decision-making skills.

Much like practicing to pause, one needs to practice decision-making to make it stronger. “It’s like working out,” said Ghandour. “The more you practice the stronger the skillset becomes.”

To practice, she said the next time you go out to eat, decide what you want in the first five minutes of sitting down. “Have confidence in what you want, and the decision-making process naturally grows stronger.”

3.    Think of confident leadership differently.

Many people think of leadership as a command-and-control leadership, but confident leadership is more collaborative. It’s about bringing people along on the journey with you, not ordering them what to do, said Ghandour.

“Leadership isn’t about knowing everything and controlling the room,” she said. “It’s more confident to admit that you don’t know everything or have all the answers.”

Ghandour said to change the language is to change the outcome. “Command-and-control leadership is about looking for the ‘yes’ or ‘no,’” she explained. “But people don’t like things pushed on them, so oftentimes, they’ll say ‘no.’ Invite them on board. Let people in.”

If you lead to agree, you’re more likely to get everyone on board. “People don’t need to be right,” she said. “But people want to be valued and heard.”

 Women in Petfood Leadership brings together like-minded professional women in pet food to build a community and interact by offering opportunities for networking, career planning, leadership development and professional support. This program is open to all women, and men, who support the principles of cooperation, education, mentoring, and encouragement for women to grow professionally throughout the pet food industry.

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