This article is based on an interview I had with TiTi McNeill on the topic of leadership.
Nearly 20 years in business, TiTi McNeill is founder and CEO of TranTech, an IT solutions and service provider to the federal and commercial sector. When congratulated for successfully growing her company to the level she has achieved, TiTi responded by saying "It's not enough. We can always do more!"
After speaking to TiTi for just a few brief moments, one is drawn in by her energy, drive and passion. She is clearly dedicated to growing her business in order to provide ample opportunities for her employees as she ensures her client needs are well addressed
When TiTi started her business in 1989, she was motivated by a sense of accomplishment, helping others succeed, and building a growing business. She launched TranTech in a part time capacity while working for her primary employer full time. She continued in this capacity for one year, until she had 6 employees on payroll. These early factors continue to motivate her today. She believes in constantly challenging herself, and those around her.
When asked what she believes makes a strong leader, she didn't hesitate with her response. "You can recognize a good leader quickly. She has energy and passion; always speaks the truth-because you can't camouflage yourself and be a good leader. Good leaders are authentic. A good leader will trust her managers and leadership team to do what is in the best interest of the company. A leader knows what she wants and goes for it! They dream of something big, talk big and have the commitment to follow through." According to TiTi, "The people who do what it takes to get the job done. They make things happen! These are strong leaders."
TiTi's personal philosophy is one of perseverance and optimism. She is always hopeful and believes she and her team can do anything! Although this philosophy has served her well, she also recognizes that it can be an area for development. She has learned to balance her optimism with a realistic view of when to recognize that it's time to stop placing energy and resources into a situation that may not actually be successful.
TiTi believes that good leaders create an environment of trust and honesty. She treats her employees with compassion and ensures they know she cares about them personally. She believes that if you personally care about your team, and make it clear that they can come to you with their issues and challenges-that they will provide you with an opportunity to address a situation before it escalates beyond repair.
She demonstrates this belief with her clients as well. She is honest and direct with her clients and employees alike. She proudly announces "I always say what I mean and mean what I say."
When asked what advice she would give aspiring leaders, she responded by saying: "If you have fire in your belly and really want to do something, to make something happen...then don't let anyone talk you out of it. " Her advice to leaders is to:
- Set goals
- Believe in yourself
- Work hard
- Stay awake to make it happen!
- Understand it may get rough, but don't give up
- Believe in what you're doing
- Believe in yourself
According to TiTi, "If you're not moving forward, you're standing still. And then you die."
TiTi McNeill is a remarkable woman and accomplished leader. Our interview left me energized with renewed optimism to step forward in meeting my own goals and continually challenging myself to stretch beyond my own comfort zone.