T-Mobile Executive: Practice These Leadership Habits at Any Level

11 October 2018

By Dave Hendrick

Leadership is not something that should be limited to executives at the top of the company or even heads of departments, according to Dotcy Isom, T-Mobile vice president of human resources.

Delivering a talk titled “How are Leaders Created” as part of the GMO Forum, a conference sponsored by the General Management and Operations Club at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, Isom described all leadership as contextual, with common currents running throughout.

Isom described his time working under well-known leaders like JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz and now T-Mobile CEO John Legere, and said each had a vision and ability to create followership that suffused the organization and drove the respective companies to new heights.

Isom began his leadership journey in an operations role at Bank One, eventually transitioning to a human resources role after deciding the best way to improve engagement and execute talent strategies with the department was to join and change the culture from within.

“As you think about leadership and you think about where it’s going, you want to be the person who owns the responsibility,” Isom said. “You can own it at any level. You can own it with your peers.”

Isom encouraged Darden students to “Frankenstein” their leadership traits from various sources in order to become the sort of leader they wanted to become.

The T-Mobile executive’s list for developing leadership habits included:

  • Slow down
  • Tolerate chaos
  • Take appropriate risks
  • Take all of the information in, and then promote the best outcome.

Isom encouraged students to focus foremost on doing quality work, saying the positions and responsibility would follow in the wake.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia