Trixie Whyte, founder and CEO of Q2 HR Solutions, delves into navigating setbacks and why authenticity is a leadership strength across cultures. Through countless obstacles that have come her way, Trixie has learned that the most humble and effective way to lead is to rely on others and to continuously seek improvement.
Finding Great Work For Great People
Trixie comes from a line of entrepreneurs. Growing up, her mother and grandmother set examples of strong leadership marked by charisma and generosity. The leadership quality Trixie knew she most wanted to emulate most however, was her mother’s desire to learn.
[19:37] “I think [the thirst to learn] is one of the most critical characteristics of any leader […] — knowing that you don’t know everything and you’ve got to be able to use resourcefulness to find solutions.”
That skill has led Trixie to help thousands of people in her native Philippines find employment. For Trixie, making a positive impact on people’s lives is about more than helping them secure work: she teaches them skills that will grant them long-term independence.
Trixie believes that real leaders take action by:
- Freely sharing their knowledge and skills
- Holding high standards for themselves and others
- Being strict yet fair
- Giving credit where it is due
Navigating Setbacks With Your Team
In 2006 Trixie’s company turned six years old, and she and her husband were making great strides at its helm. They were an excellent team; she handled the customer-facing tasks and he managed the finances and back-end work.
But that same year, her husband fell ill and in 2007 he passed away. Trixie found herself facing her biggest challenge yet. With three young children and a business starting to struggle seriously, she had to decide whether to resuscitate it or re-enter corporate employment.
She brought that question to her leadership team, showed them all the numbers, and asked what they would do in her place. They urged her to keep going — and they stuck with her.
Though it wasn’t until 2009 that her company got on its feet again, Trixie attributes this success to her ability to be vulnerable with her team.
[27:39] “I had the support of the people around me, and it was the people that could make a difference.”
When faced with a huge decision, don’t go it alone. Ask the people around you what they think and work together toward the right decision for the team and the business.
Authenticity Translates Across Cultures
Trixie has led and worked with people from around the world. While there are some differences in leadership styles between Eastern and Western cultures, she affirms that authenticity remains valuable across cultural contexts.
[33:32] “Authenticity is a cross-cultural leadership [quality] that I’ve seen in many people.”
Being athentic and telling the truth always comes with the risk of scaring people away. Strong leaders are comfortable with this and recognize it is possible to be direct and compassionate.
Adversity Is a Gift
Leaders aren’t the only ones who have good ideas. Trixie emphasizes that it’s important to listen with the goal of understanding.
Trixie sets the example by asking the following questions as she listens:
- Where is this person coming from?
- What motivates them?
- What can I learn from them?
To young leaders looking to become the best leader they can be, Trixie advises:
- Don’t dwell on setbacks
- Invest in a system
[42:53] “Everyone experiences setbacks, and instead of [looking at] those as challenges, […] they’re adversities that are gifts; they’re allowing us to see what’s not right and fix it. But it can only be done that way if there’s a system that allows us to see [adversity] for what it [actually] is.”
Also Mentioned In This Episode:
- “Integrity: The Courage To Meet The Demands Of Reality” by Dr. Henry Cloud