13: Leaders with Heart Know Themselves First

One of the things I’ve been finding as I speak to leaders on the show is most of them are really focusing on connecting with their people on a personal level. They recognize the importance of spending 10-30 minutes of their time with their team, not talking about work, but just getting to know and seeking to understand more about them, sharing with them and being more vulnerable with them.

Our guest for today is Trent Selbrede. I’ve been having interactions with him for 2-3 years now on LinkedIn, and every time I would post things related to management, or he would post something, our exchanges are always so rich. I could see that he had a big heart, which is why he’s on the podcast, and that he really led people to a place of empowering them and letting them grow.

Trent Selbrede’s Full BIO

Trent Selbrede became a hotel General Manager at the age of 20 after eight months in the business. He remains a hospitality professional and currently works with a phenomenal team at the Residence Inn by Marriott in San Diego, CA. He is also the Chairperson of the Marriott Champions for Rady Children’s Golf Tournament which raises over $120k per year for the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.

Trent’s ‘why’ is rooted in his wife, 2 daughters, and 2 adopted black lab mixes. In his spare time, Trent enjoys home improvement projects, mountain biking, and extensive community service.

People call Trent when they are stuck in the mud of best practices, checklists, and broken cultures. He’s not a magician, but he is incredibly resourceful and can make magic happen.

In this episode, Trent talks about his background in the hospitality industry, self-awareness, the importance of investing in yourself to become a better leader and a lot more.

Click the play button below to listen to the episode!

“Hospitality Is in My Blood”

Trent’s motivation to lead comes from his family. They make it easy for him to get up every morning and take care of them, making sure his kids have everything they need.

Many people think that I’m in the hotel business, and that’s easy to see from the outside, but I think it’s an important distinction that I’m in hospitality. I don’t even like to call it a business.

Some people say that’s semantics, but our owners are in the hotel business, they’re in it to make profit. Hospitality is in my blood. I like helping people.

Trent shares that hospitality is a great industry for him. Yes, there are financials and administrative work, but it’s also fun and engaging, and every day is different.

He works with a diverse group of associates and guests from all over the world, and they all have different wants and needs. That’s what drives him, because if he gets bored, he gets in trouble.

Self-Awareness and Leadership

I think my self-awareness now is probably better than it’s ever been. So if I’m going off track, or if I know that there’s an outside influence that’s going to try to derail me, I also tell the people around me,

“Hey, I got a lot going on. If I’m a prick, just yell it.”

And I open that door, because if something’s going off-track for them, I’ll try to ask them about it, or I’ll engage with them and try to see what’s going on.

How do we empower, how do we lead and guide, if we aren’t aware of where we sit in our own space, in our own skin? #selfawareness #leadership Share on X

Start Your Day Right

For me, when I enjoy doing something, it’s easy. @trselbrede #leadershipwithheart Share on X

One of my favorite activities right now is I come in half an hour before our back of the house team or housekeepers and I come in and I just hang out and drink coffee with them. We talk, and we laugh, and we don’t talk about scores or financials. We talk about kids, what we’re doing that weekend, or biking.

We’re just being people.

They’ve got a long day ahead of them, I’ve got a long day ahead of me, but – I hate to call that a habit because it’s just something I drive on. It sets the tone for my day, and it sets the tone for their day.

Find somebody you trust and that you can follow, and you’ll learn some great things as well. @trselbrede #mentor #mentorship #leadershipwithheart Share on X


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Leadership With Heart With Heather R Younger

“Heather’s courage and vulnerability to share her authentic self are truly inspiring. She shares the most cutting-edge leadership strategies on topics like emotional intelligence and employee experience. If you’re looking to sharpen your leadership skills, this podcast is for you.”

Heather is a Workplace Culture Expert


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