Leadership

10 Leadership Lessons to Learn from Ursula Burns

Leadership Lessons from Ursula Burns

If you’re looking to be inspired by women in leadership, then look no further than Ursula Burns.

Ursula Burns, former CEO of Xerox Corporation, is a good example of a leader worth following.

As the first African American female to lead a Fortune 500 company, Burns has left quite an impression on the world of business. 

So, with that said, let’s see what we can learn from her.

Here are 10 leadership lessons you can learn from Ursula Burns. 

Who Is Ursula Burns? 

Ursula Burns is the former CEO of Xerox Corporation leading from 2009 to 2016.

She became the first African-American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company.

Burns is also known for serving on the board of directors of many major American brands, including Uber, American Express, and ExxonMobil.

We can go on and on about her accomplishments as Burns has made her mark in the world of business and leadership. 

10 Leadership Lessons From Ursula Burns

1. Lead by Example

Burns is known for her strong work ethic and hands-on approach.

She shows us the importance of leading by example, being involved, and demonstrating the dedication you expect from your team.

2. Never Stop Learning 

Burns is a lifelong learner, having pursued engineering and later an executive degree program at Columbia University. 

Her commitment to continuous learning teaches us that leadership involves ongoing growth. 

3. Get A Mentor 

Burns promotes the power of mentorship. She often speaks about the guidance she received in her career from mentors. 

This teaches us to invest time in mentoring others and seeking guidance from those with more experience.

4. Get Comfortable Making Tough Decisions

Burns led Xerox through challenging times, including navigating the company through a major transformation. 

Her leadership teaches us the importance of having the courage to make tough decisions for the long-term benefit of a company. 

5. The Customer is First

Burns emphasizes the significance of understanding and meeting customer needs. 

Putting the customer at the center of decision-making processes is a key leadership lesson we can take from her.

6. Don’t Fold Under Pressure 

Xerox faced significant challenges during Burns’ time as CEO, including the decline of traditional printing. 

Her resilience and ability to guide the company through such challenges highlight the importance of overcoming hardships in leadership.

7. Collaborate Don’t Compete 

Ursula Burns stands by the idea that collaboration and teamwork are key to a company’s culture. 

Building a culture where people collaborate instead of competing is a leadership lesson we can learn from her successful career at Xerox.

8. Empower Underrepresented Talent 

Ursula Burns is an innovator, being the first African American woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. 

Her leadership teaches us the importance of tapping into an underrepresented talent pool. 

9. Stay Flexible 

In the fast-changing business world, Burns emphasizes the need for leaders to be adaptable. 

Being open to change and having a flexible mindset is crucial for success.

10. Effective Communication

Burns is an effective communicator. Whether it’s addressing shareholders or employees, clear and concise communication is what makes her a strong leader to learn from. 

This teaches us that articulating a vision and strategy is vital for success.

Final Thoughts 

Ursula Burns is the goat when it comes to female business leaders to learn from. 

By studying her leadership lessons, you’ll get the guidance needed on your journey to the top. 

Burns leaves a legacy that challenges leaders to rise above tough situations, promote inclusivity, and lead with integrity. 

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Over To You

Which female leaders would you like to learn from?

Let us know in the comments section on social @netwerkmovement. 

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