7 Traits of a Great Leader - Insights from AT&T's Head of Small Business

Having the chance to sit down and chat with Anne Chow, President of National Business at AT&T, was nothing short of inspiring. Anne and Ramon spoke at length about what it means to be a great leader, the importance of diversity, and how small businesses need to utilize the technology available to maintain the right security for their users.  Below we summarize Anne and Ramon’s conversation, in case you missed the podcast.

As the President of National Business at AT&T, Anne Chow supports the small and medium size business marketplace and also works with the AT&T indirect channel, which are 3rd party businesses that resell the AT&T services and products. While Anne has had the pleasure of supporting businesses of all sizes, she’s truly passionate about the small and medium size organizations. 

Let’s Talk About Leadership

Anne manages a large team of employees, and it takes real leadership skills to be able to connect and motivate so many people each day who are in all different locations. Luckily for her team, Anne feels deeply passionate about leadership roles and says 

“...leadership is not just in somebody’s title, or has anything to do with someone’s experience or age, [...] I believe that every single person has the ability to be a leader…”. 

This is a thought provoking idea, especially for small business owners who might not think of themselves as a leader. 

Anne shared her secret sauce of leadership. That’s right - she has found that there are 7 ingredients that make a great leader, and these are all qualities that anyone can possess, no matter the size of their business or team. 

The 7 Traits of a Leader

Let’s break down Anne’s 7 C’s of leadership:

  • Character - because you’re only as good as your words.
  • Competence - Anne says that this trait is critically important, because leaders bring something to the marketplace, and success comes from demonstrated passion and competency.
  • Collaboration - building experience in working with others, and knowing how to work with people.
  • Communication - being able to utilize all the tools available, both online and offline, to be present in one-to-one meetings as well as one-to-many meetings and circumstances.
  • Caring - Caring about your business and results, but also caring about the people who make business possible: your customers, your people, and your community.
  • Curiosity - the best leaders are always wondering how something can be done, and why something is working. Curiosity is a great hallmark of a strong leader.
  • Courage - small business owners and entrepreneurs need to have courage and be able to make decisions, even when they aren’t popular choices or well-received by others.

“I believe that the greatest leaders have unwavering character, and everyone knows what they stand for.” - Anne Chow

Technology & Business

There’s no doubt that this is an exciting time for tech and small businesses. “Every business now, no matter how big or how small, is a tech company, whether they know it or not,” was one of Anne’s first comments on this topic. If you’re a small business owner, that’s a daunting idea, but one that needs to be taken seriously. Technology can enable or disable an organization, so it’s important to be in the know of what’s coming down the pipeline of technology. 

Anne talks about how tech can make any business, regardless of size, seem bigger and work more efficiently. For small businesses especially, being efficient and offering great customer service through technology can take a business to new heights. 

Diversity and Its Role in Small Businesses

Anne and Ramon shifted topics and discussed diversity in the small business market. Diversity isn’t a new topic, in fact, it’s in the media now more than ever before. Diversity in business isn’t just about race or religion, it’s actually much more than that.

Women-ownedle businesses are on the rise, and an integral part of any business growth strategy must include diversity. Anne talks about how making diversity part of your growth plan will foster long-term customer loyalty, which hits home for many of us. It feels better buying products or services from businesses where you can recognize yourself in the brand and the employees. Seeing people of different genders, races, and religions means you’re more likely to be loyal to the brand. 

Ramon’s conversation with Anne was refreshing and thought-provoking. We hope to continue learning more from Anne in the near future!