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161: Leaders with Heart Surrender

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Mechelle Roberthon, Vice President/Director of Talent Development at Home BankHeather and Mechelle both share the opinion that this episode is like being in “Leadership Church”. It is 35 minutes filled with rich wisdom and inspirational stories, which we guarantee will fill you up and leave you motivated for the rest of your day, or even your week. 

Lessons learned and discussed in this interview extend beyond the realm of leadership into the reality of being a caring person. Mechelle’s gracefulness, graciousness, mercifulness and willingness to surrender demonstrate the powerful traits that make up caring leaders as well as the hearts of good people. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Be transparent, apologize often, and solicit feedback all the time.
  • Be forgiving. 
  • Be consistent—in your home life, your work life and your personal life.
  • Have self-awareness, but make sure you follow up with action. 
  • Surrender is hard, and feels like weakness like you’ve lost. But surrender is such a strength: to be able to bite your tongue, to resist an unkind gesture, and to move forward.
  • Give your employees grace because you are going to need their grace. 
  • Awareness is huge-be aware and over aware, of who you are, not who people want you to be, or who you hope to be, but be aware of where you are right now including your faults, so you can receive feedback and understand better how to grow. 
  • Your work as a leader is not more important than the work of your direct reports. 
  • Just engross yourself in leadership development, like this podcast. Also, articles, books, you’ll get hooked on a philosophy then work to make it your own.

Mechelle Roberthon is a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) through the Association of Talent Development. She serves at the Vice President/Director of Talent Development for a community bank in Louisiana; which has 40 locations across 2 states. 

Mechelle is the 2021 president of the ATD Baton Rouge chapter and was a 2020 20 under 40 recipient; an award for young leaders in her region. Her background includes training delivery, performance improvement, managing learning programs, and interpersonal/business/personal skills. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Learning and Organizational Change from Baylor University. She holds a Masters of Science in Education with a specialization in Training and Performance Improvement. 

Mechelle is also an experienced career and professional development instructor. She has taught over 500 corporate courses with her evaluations consistently rating above average. Her dynamic teaching style has become a favorite amongst learners. 

Encourage, Excel, Evaluate

I think my leadership style could probably be described as encouraging. I’m going to develop you. I’m going to give you autonomy. I trust you to do what you need to do. I will take the time. I will carve out the time for you to make sure you have all the resources and all the tools you need. I hold them accountable. I demand excellence. I’m also transparent as a leader. I apologize often if I think I’ve wronged or offended you. I solicit feedback all the time. It’s just who I am.

I think employees should always assess their leader. How can a leader get an evaluation if no one talks to the people they're leading? – Mechelle Roberthon #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Provision, Awareness, and Surrender

I don’t think I’m stagnant, but where do I have the opportunity to become better? My philosophy is, if I can love up one my people who report to me, I’ll give them everything that they need. Not only will this be an enjoyable place to work for them, but they will thrive. You take care of them, and they’ll take care of the business.


Surrender is hard. Surrender feels like weakness. Surrender feels like you’ve lost. Surrender feels like you’ve quit. But surrender is such a strength, though, as well as maturity. I’m still young and maturing but surrender is such a strength. To bite your tongue is such a strength. To resist unkind gestures is such a strength. Awareness is huge, leaders—being over aware. Be aware of who you are, not who people want you to be, who you hope to be. Who are you right now, flaws and all, because the more aware you are, the more prepared are you for any type of feedback you receive.

If I can love up one my people who report to me, (I’ll) give them everything that they need. – Mechelle Roberthon #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I'm still this work-in-progress. I don't know if you ever really arrive, but I take all of those (learnings) and I'm always trying to sharpen (myself). – Mechelle Roberthon #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Graceful, Merciful, Reflective

Who I am today has a lot to do with my spirituality. I’m more graceful, more merciful, and more reflective. I try to be gentler. I try to model these biblical principles so that it’s not a separate life—not this is not my home life and then I’m a different leader at work. I just want to be the person the Bible wants me to be. That shows up in how I lead so I’m way more reflective in 2021 than I was in 2011. I’m way more gracious now than I was then. I apply those principles in my real life, and my real life is my work life. All honor and glory to God because that’s how I get through every week, every day. I pray and read my Bible regularly because I know God is gracious. I’m way more forgiving in my life now than I have ever been. Who I am as a person, like at home is who I am at work. If you talk to my direct reports and my husband, they’ll say the same thing about my opportunities and strengths. I just want to bring my full self, and my full self is my spiritual self.

Give yourself grace. – Mechelle Roberthon #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I try to let my team know that they are leading with me, not for me. – Mechelle Roberthon #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Mechelle on LinkedIn

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