Shallu Behar-Sheehan at F5 discusses the power of influence


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F5 VP, Shallu Behar-Sheehan talks about power of influence

F5 VP, Shallu Behar-Sheehan talks about power of influence

 In today's working world, motivating and uniting friends, colleagues, and communities is more important than ever. "We are all the by-product of others’ influence—and while the global response to #MeToo, #TimesUp and #PressForProgress has been inspirational—there is still much work to do," says Shallu Behar-Sheehan, Vice President, EMEA Marketing & Global Campaigns at F5 Networks. 

Navigate through the noise to be the power of influence

"To be someone of influence, you need belief in a cause and a drive to motivate others for the greater good," says Shallu. "Throughout my career, I have been in situations where I needed to challenge the conventional, disrupt the delusional, and navigate through the ‘noise.’ Sometimes this made me less than the most popular person in the room but taking the easy or safe route (while comfortable) is rarely the best approach for you or your professional growth, nor does it create opportunities for you to either aggregate influence or use your influence for change. As I gained influence, I used that capital to push a message of inclusivity - creating safe environments for good ideas to shine through. Male or female, we need to redress the balance to give all teammates a fair platform to succeed."

Stereotypes are there to be broken, especially those that impact lives and hamper careers. "Remain faithful to your unique and original self," says Shallu. "But that said, you need to stay relevant to make a difference. You need to push boundaries and involve talent from all areas of the business. By developing your influential style, you can help others to consider alternative ways to improve projects and enhance strategies. Building your brand profile cultivates relationships and lays the foundation to gain respect from people that will follow your lead."

If you have influence,  you can create a brand

As a testament to the commercial power of influence, Michelle Phan, an American-Vietnamese make-up entrepreneur and widely-followed YouTube personality, said, “Influence is the new power - if you have influence, you can create a brand.” She went on to explain how 87% of women today trust credible YouTube influencers over hackneyed celebrity ads and endorsements.

"I work in technology, a traditionally male-dominated industry, but I am encouraged by the fact that the spotlight on equality has helped to inspire a wider diversity of young, entrepreneurial talent to thrive," comments Shallu. "Nevertheless, there is still significant room for improvement. The 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey shows that just 9 percent of senior IT leadership roles are held by women. We all need to be asking ourselves how we can inspire a better balance in the boardroom."

Influence is a skill that should be nurtured and valued

"Throughout your career, you will face many challenges and obstacles. There is a profound difference between management and leadership, especially in terms of the way people think. Influence is a skill. It needs to be nurtured and valued. In my view, its main and multifaceted purpose is to inspire, empower, inform, educate, and challenge the three cousins of corporate sin - perceptions, assumptions, and misconceptions.

"Banging the old corporate drum with an authoritarian stick is just playing second fiddle to failure. Like a finely tuned instrument, influence must be mastered with finesse and artistry. Now is the time to get in tune with a new way of working." 

Shake up the corporate tree

"Getting the best results from stakeholders across the workplace can be initiated in surprising ways. For example, how can a new graduate employee have more influence than a senior executive? Young talent can bring new skills, fresh ideas, and the latest in tech thinking. They are not constrained by decades of disciplines and formulaic thinking," says Shallu.

"When our minds are uninhibited by old methods, the strength of creative agility and the willingness to adapt quickly can have enormous influence across the organisation. Shaking up the hierarchical corporate tree can force a few unsuspecting leaders to fall out clutching their somewhat bruised egos."

F5 supports awareness raising about gender parity

Shallu supported International Women's Day that saw her employer, F5 Networks, celebrate women's achievements while also calling for greater awareness about the importance of gender parity.

F5 Shallu Behar Sheehan

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