Leadership Lessons from the Trenches

When you first thought about becoming a leader, you imagined all the progress you could make …

Getting the business to grow and run more smoothly, helping people, and changing policies so that they made sense. But your dreams were quickly stalled when you realized how many more problems and red tape you’d have to navigate first. You barely have enough time to see your family, your health is getting worse, and those dreams of making a difference feel like a distant memory.

There are lots of places to turn for help, but few of them know exactly what it’s like to be in the trenches.

After a decade in the C-suite, I can help you navigate the leadership landmines so they don’t explode in your lap. You can avoid burnout, minimize health scares, and build a team that gets the job done.

In 2007, I landed in my first significant leadership role. It was amazing. CFO of a $4 million company that multiplied itself many times over in the coming years. We built an exceptional team, and I was constantly traveling.

Perhaps you can predict what comes next.

It almost destroyed me. My weight ballooned by more than 30 pounds. I had all sorts of odd health problems. I was exhausted and cranky, and I wasn’t very good at preventing the stress from rolling down to my teams. Within a few years, I knew I had to step away and regroup.

It was humbling, and I felt like I’d failed. I promised myself that I would be better prepared for the next opportunity. I attended dozens of conferences, read hundreds of books, listened to over 500 hours of podcast interviews, and assembled a team of mentors that I could call upon for advice.

In late 2010, I reconnected with a company I’d worked with before and soon joined their team in the senior finance role. I’d get another chance. And after Port Royal went through several General Managers in a short time, I was promoted to that position. Now, I’ve got the second longest tenure in the history of the organization. It is very intense, but I’m up for the challenge.

I believe that we can learn to live and lead at our best. In fact, I know that’s true.

There’s a core set of skills that set good leaders apart from great ones. These core skills are relatively easy to adopt – but you’ll need to be intentional about developing them. Layer by layer, you can build the habits that will support you in reaching your leadership potential.

Here’s my Leadership Essentials series with my best tips for getting started:

If this sounds helpful and you’d like more support, I’d be honored to be your coach.

After helping over a thousand clients, I’ve developed packages for each stage of the journey: a Leadership Playbook to systematically build your skills, added coaching calls for fine-tuning your schedule and communication rhythms, and intensive daily support for when it matters most.

Want the ‘Official Bio’?

Kendra L. Kinnison, MBA, CPA, is the General Manager for Port Royal Ocean Resort. She also provides leadership and resilience coaching.

Kendra serves on the Board of Directors for the Texas Travel Industry Association, the Board of Directors for the Corpus Christi Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Board of NavyArmy Community Credit Union, and the Advisory Board of the College of Business at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. She chairs the Texas BPW Foundation and is a Past State President of Texas Business Women. Over the last two decades, Kendra has served in leadership positions in a number of community service organizations.

Holding an MBA and BBA from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi, Kendra is the youngest MBA graduate in the school’s history. She is also a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi Class XXX and was the Steering Committee Chair for Class XXXV. Kendra was an inaugural selection to Corpus Christi’s Top 40 Under 40 list in 2006 and was a Y Women in Careers Honoree in 2005.

And the Odd Details?

I’m honored you’re still reading. Here are some more interesting tidbits about me:
– For the first time in my life, I’m learning to cook. Thank you, Blue Apron.
– A few years ago, I learned to ride a motorcycle.
– I work at a standing desk. (It’s an EvoDesk now.)
– I homeschooled my daughter for a few years (and absolutely loved it).
– I’m happiest when all I have is a backpack and Kindle. (I love my Minaal.)
– I love adventure and the outdoors.
– I’m fascinated with words and languages.
– I have a tattoo.