TULSA, OK-How do you spell Leadership? For SIOR president-elect Angela West, it’s all about the goal and how you get there. But the goals for a corporation, such as CBRE, where she works as a vice president and office specialist here, and for an association such as SIOR are very different, at least on the surface.

“As brokers, we’re measured by our production, by the completion of our transactions,” she says. “For an association like SIOR, it’s how to change and improve the organization.” But while those goals seem divergent, in a broader sense, both scenarios entail “creating an action plan that gets the team from Point A to Point B.”

Defining leadership, she says, is actually a tougher question than it appears on the surface. “We all think we know what it means,” she tells GlobeSt.com. But actively shaping a definition for leadership that is meaningful for oneself is a challenge, one she says, every professional should attempt.

In her definition, much of what entails leadership resides in the process of achieving the stated goal as much as the goal itself. “Whether you’re talking about a company or an association, leadership is the ability to listen and aggregate the available information to create a collective vision,” says West, who in both 2008 and 2010 was recognized as one of the top 50 women of the year by the Oklahoma Journal Record. That entails the ability to engender trust and respect among your constituents. And it means modeling both, “Absolutely.”

West knows that the act of communication is a tough skill to master. The best leaders also have a well-trained sense, a knack for picking up in the discussions, questions and even the body language, when miscommunication is taking place.  

“The words you choose not only describe your life, they actually define it,” she says. “They convey how you see the world.” Like leadership itself, “There are many more dimensions to the art of communication than you can imagine.

“I always want my instincts to be better,” she admits. “It’s a gift that’s valuable across all facets of our lives. It’s something I would always wish to be better at.”

There is one major difference in how leadership functions between a corporation and an association, West believes. On the association side, there is a mixed sense of finality and perpetuity. “SIOR is 75 years old,” she says, and the elected president sits for only so long. “My slice of time as a leader is finite. Part of my goal is to make sustainable changes that will linger and benefit the association long after I’m gone.”

In October, when SIOR’s fall conference convenes in Nashville, West can begin to build that legacy. In the meantime, the critical issues facing a shifting marketplace will take center stage when SIOR convenes for its Spring World Conference in Las Vegas, April 22-25. Click here for details.