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NxG: What’s your Authentic Leadership Style?

The FBC hosted its first-ever NextGen Networking Event at Chicago’s own City Winery. The venue served up a bevy of craft beer and wine, and gave all of our NxG attendees an after-work hangout to eat, drink and mingle with their peers.

Our aim for the event was to build community. We wanted to carve out a designated time and place for NxG Members to get to know one another, since there’s a large pool of NxG leaders within our membership who just haven’t had the chance to meet. This event gave them the opportunity to introduce themselves, shake hands and connect.

The event kicked-off around 5:30pm with an introductory welcome by yours truly. In my work with many NextGen family members over the years, I’ve found that the most successful ones are those who can tap into, what I call, their authentic leadership style. What is an authentic leadership style? It looks something like this:

  1. Authentic leaders pursue self-knowledge. They are constantly asking themselves: what am I good at, what am I passionate about, what are my weaknesses, what are my blindspots?
  2. Authentic leaders are continually learning and exploring. Leaders need to explore a variety of opportunities and try them on to see if they “fit.”
  3. Authentic leaders seek out community feedback and support. Leadership can be a lonely place and lots of times family members can’t be objective. It’s important to find support from an outside community of other family business leaders.

After I’d finished and everyone settled in with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, our NxG hosts were handed the mic to talk about their experience as NxG family members:

Jaclyn Tracy from Dot Foods spoke about her current leadership roles, and how she goes about gaining knowledge of potential leadership roles in the future.

Joe Glunz from Louis Glunz Wines spoke about his path to leadership. Joe is also a graduate of the FBC’s Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI), and he talked about how the program contributed to his understanding of self and family within his business.

Liz Mudd Iozzo from Mudd Advertising talked about the importance of finding your NxG community–more specifically, the importance of building confidential friendships and support while you grow in your roles, both in your family and your business.

The discussion about family business and NxG leadership continued throughout the room, both one-on-one and in small pockets of conversation. By the end of the night the chit-chat was still going strong and the (wonderful) City Winery staff had to politely nudge us along so they could close-up shop and send their bartenders home.

All in all, a successful evening of community building and NxG comraderie. Thanks to our hosts, Jaclyn Tracy, Liz Mudd Ioozo and Joe Glunz, and to the Chicago City Winery for helping us make it happen!

What are you doing to find your authentic leadership style? How do you seek out feedback and support?

For those NextGen leaders interested in participating in our upcoming Next Generation Leadership Institute class, contact FBC Membership Director, Anne Smart. The kick-off retreat takes place on Sept. 20-21 at the Hotel Arista, and there are only 3 spots left.

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