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kind leadership, good results
Episode 3414th September 2022 • PowerPivot • Leela Sinha
00:00:00 00:10:37

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What if everybody had "I will not take it out on others" on their top priority list?

Transcripts

Leela Sinha:

Hey, everyone, thanks for tuning in. So there

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are ways in which being a leader is hard. And one of the ways

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that that's hard is that we have to recognize the amount of

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influence that we have over the people who are following us.

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Whether that's the people in our companies, or whether that's our

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audience, or whether those are our clients and customers, we

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can have so much influence on the world that we're in. And

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that means that when we do stuff in public, and by 'in public' I

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mean anywhere in any of those contexts where others of those

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people will see us or hear us, we often can mess things up

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pretty badly. Because we're human, we're made of human and

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the idea that we're going to be pristinely perfect and above

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reproach is absurd and outdated. So we can just set that one

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aside, that's not happening. However, it is fair for us to

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expect ourselves, and for others to expect us, to do as well as

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we can under the circumstances in the context of spaces where

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we have influence. So for example, if I am the leader of a

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company, and I make a public statement, it's on me to try

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really hard to make that public statement as undamaging as

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possible. If I'm a leader of a small company, a micro company,

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three people, whatever, and I'm meeting with my team, and I'm

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having a crappy day, for reasons, for any reasons, really

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even ones related to the company. Taking that out on

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those people is not going to make the situation better. It's

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just not, it's not going to improve things, you do not want

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people scared of you. That's not a way to lead. I know people are

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going to disagree with me. But I believe that one does not get

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the best work and especially not the best innovative creative

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work out of people if they're scared. And when we do decide to

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let the shit roll downhill, when we do come out of the gate

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swinging in ways that we shouldn't, then it all

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eventually collects on the person at the bottom of the

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chain, whatever that is. So like, you have, you know, like

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the "Rainy Day Book," which is this, I think, 1950s children's

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book, little tiny square book, not very many pages, pen and ink

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and watercolor illustrations. And it's this story about like,

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the dad sticks his head out the door before he leaves for work,

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and it's raining. And so he is grumpy and doesn't kiss his wife

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goodbye. And so his wife is grumpy at the kid and the kid is

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gru- right like down the chain, a couple more steps. And then we

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get to the dog who gets like shoved or something, but then

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comes right back and is like waggy waggy, waggy, waggy lick,

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lick lick. And the dog turns it around. Right. So then the dog

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is nice to the kid. So the kid is nice to their siblings, the

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sibling is nice to the mom, so the mom is nice to the dad,

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right? And so everybody's happy by the end of the day. But that

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model is not necessarily the healthiest model because it

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assumes that the person that's at the bottom of the chain is

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responsible for making everybody above them happy. Like it's you

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know, if you can just be happy and kind and sweet and good

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enough, everybody else around you will feel better. That's not

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a message I would want to pass on to my kids. Just saying. And

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that is the message that our culture tends to give. So when

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we as leaders take responsibility at the top

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instead, at the beginning, and we say "I am not going to start

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that process, I am not going to be grumpy at the next person

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down" in a way that leaves them feeling bad in a way that makes

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them less resilient, less able to hold whatever happens in

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their sphere with grace, right, I'm not going to take up that

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energy from the other people. What I'm going to do is I'm

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going to own my stuff here, I'm going to keep it with me. I'm

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going to dispose of it appropriately. I'm going to

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manage it with my therapist or with my coach or, or with my

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friend but in a way that is not mean to my friend, I'm just

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going to say to my friend "Hey, can you can I vent to you for

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like 20 minutes because I'm so out of sorts and I have a

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meeting and I don't want to go into that meeting in a bad

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mood." And most of the time your friend will be like sure you can

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vent and you can just like talk about what's happening but not

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be mean to them. And then they can usually hold that space and

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then you can go into your meeting and it's fine.

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We need to carry that ethos t hat philosophy, as much as we

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can. We're all human. But as much as we can, everywhere. And

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a lot of times especially in small businesses, there's,

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there's no, there's no second in command, right? There's the

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founder. And then there are like the three team members. And

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that's it. And so you can't just say to your deputy, you know,

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leader, "listen, I'm having a bad day, can you go have that

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conversation?" Because there's nobody else to have that

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conversation, it's got to be you. And so you do, and you do

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the best that you can, hopefully. When it comes to

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larger companies, right, the influence level just gets

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magnified. Look at, you know, what if, what if Facebook, were

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trying to be good? Just trying even? Or what if, what if Uber

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were just trying to be good? Or what if, you know, what if

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everybody had in their top priority list, "I will not take

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it out on others." When a company does that-and people can

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tell- what happens is that company attract better

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employees, that company has better employee loyalty, that

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company has better customer loyalty, that company has often

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better quality products or services, because the people

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involved in producing them are happy. They feel respected. They

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feel like their humanity is important to the leadership of

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the organization. So we have a choice. As leaders, we can own

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our stuff, make sure it doesn't roll downhill and build that

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into the culture of the company. So that at every level of

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leadership, every leader decides is this useful? Is this

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effective? Is this going to help? Or is this my frustration,

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my anger, my bad day from somewhere else, whatever it is,

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my fear, my anxiety- is that what's at play here? Is that

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what's going to influence how I present this in this meeting to

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this person, to the organization itself. When we make those

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decisions consciously, when we build rituals into our days, and

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into our systems, that allow us to double-check ourselves before

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we go into a meeting or at the beginning of a meeting. And to

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be real with people like you can say, "I'm having a bad day." But

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then the next thing you say isn't, "so y'all better watch

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out." The next thing you say is something like "so I'm going to

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not make some of the decisions we were planning to make today.

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Because I just don't think that I'm in the right headspace to be

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making those choices. So we're going to put those choices off

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until tomorrow. I need to take a break, take some sleep, I know

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nobody else can make those decisions. So I'm going to have

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to make them, but not in this headspace. I just- that would

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not be responsible and I'm not going to do it." When we do that

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on an individual level, on a leadership level, and on an

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organizational level, then we start to shift the world toward

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a better way of being. Is this all a long winded way of saying

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"own your shit?" Yes. Is it also a reminder that we're all human?

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Also yes. And we need to find ways of being human that are

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kind and that allow us to make the world a better place. Thanks

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