139: Leaders with Heart Start with Caring for Themselves

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Mario Harding, Associate Chief Operating Officer at Denver Health, about the origins of his leadership style, leading him to success as a humble leader. Mario relays a story when he was not present for his team during a time when they needed him. He sheds light on important qualities of a leader: vulnerability, being present, taking care of yourself first, balance, putting yourself out there for your team, giving yourself grace, and strong support network. 

Heather and Mario also discuss how to reconcile personal drive with true care, as well as the sacrifices necessary in leadership not only to care for others but to care for yourself better as a leader. Delegation can be key to improving yourself, by allowing you to be more present and providing others with opportunities to grow. 
 
Key Takeaways:
  • Don’t let your circumstances define what you can do. 
  • Take care of yourself and balance priority projects. 
  • As a leader, always be present especially during tough times. 
  • Be a vulnerable leader and put yourself out there. 
  • Being a leader means giving yourself grace. 
  • Ask yourself as a leader, “What can I let go?”
  • Delegation can be seen as giving a gift to someone else. 
  • Hear from other leaders; let their stories lift you out of self-doubt. 
What an insightful episode! Hope you don’t miss this!

Mario Harding currently serves as the Associate Chief Operating Officer at Denver Health.

Mario has over 20 years of healthcare leadership and management experience in non-profit academic and public health care systems. He attained administrative and operational skills in hospital and clinic operations management emphasizing patient care, education and research. 

Mario continues to grow and augment leadership and managerial skills to reach career goal of President/CEO of hospital or health system. He earned his degree in Zoology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and his Masters in Healthcare Administration at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.

Seeing Both Sides

My leadership journey continues to evolve and grow. I’ve been in the healthcare industry for over 20 plus years now. I have worked at various organizations and hospitals that have way more money. 

Then there’s places like Denver Health, whose mission is to serve the underserved, the uninsured, and the very vulnerable patient population. So along with that comes this humility that I’ve been able to see both sides. As a leader I continue to learn and to educate myself from others.

 

I won't allow my circumstances to define what I could do. – Mario Harding #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Building Support Systems

I’ve had times where I’ve made mistakes or failures, but I don’t let that override what I’ve accomplished. I try to find some balance in making sure of the things that I do and how I contribute in the organization. It’s also critical to be authentic, and at the same time making sure that the things that you’re doing are really valuable to your time as well.

If you are striving for perfection, if that’s what you choose to do, just know that you may not get there. But why put that on yourself? I think it’s extremely and absolutely critically important as a leader that when you find yourself in a place where you make a mistake, learn from it, move on and forgive yourself.

But like I said, learning point. I think the other thing that comes to mind really is also about surrounding yourself with people who support you. Whether it’s professionally or personally, you’re going to need folks to maybe vent, have honest conversations, or have something that’s creating a challenge for you.

It’s absolutely important to help people more to build you up and not tear you down when you need it the most. Again, Support. Surround yourself while there’s enough negativity out. With the pandemic right now, there just is.

If you're not taking care of yourself, it's quite a challenge to think that you can do just as well with someone else. – Mario Harding #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

You have to acknowledge that you can't do it all. – Mario Harding #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Personal and Professional

I don’t know it all as a leader. You have to be in a position to make sure that you rely on to those around you who may have greater experience or knowledge in the subject to help you get to where you need to be. That has helped me in the years as a healthcare lever.

I look for opportunities to find leaders who need to be elevated and taken out of their comfort zone a bit. As I work with my direct reports, I really encourage them to do the same—find someone who has a voice but may need to be given the opportunity to use that voice more so than they have in the past. I am very much about supporting my team, lifting them up and being transparent

I want to do more. I want to do better. I’m blessed, because having people around me to help support my career certainly has put me in a place that has impacted my leadership role. I take that personal side really intersects with my professional journey.

When you have that doubt sitting there, you need perspective to overtake your head and reassure you that it's okay. You can do this. – Mario Harding #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Your integrity and ethics are absolutely critical when you're trying to establish credibility with others. – Mario Harding #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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131: Leaders with Heart Know the Power of Appreciation

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Danny Langloss, City Manager at City of Dixon in Illinois about his leadership style, the importance of showing appreciation for those we lead, a time when he was not the best version of himself, and much more.

Key takeaways:

  • There is a delicate balance, for the leader, on being self-aware and managing emotions.
  • There is a big difference between being very aware of who we are and how we are feeling, than how others are feeling or responding to who we are.
  • We should have robust personal and organizational or team mission to hold on to when things get tough. That is our north star
  • The leadership journey is not simple or easy.
  • We’ve got to show the right amount of care first, before we can focus on productivity and timelines.
Prepare your ears for this insightful episode. Listen and learn!

Danny Langloss currently serves as the City Manager at Dixon, Illinois.

Danny is a leadership speaker and coach specializing in leadership mindset, employee engagement, creating high performing teams, cultures of leadership, organizational excellence, change leadership, and crisis leadership. He is driven to inspire, motivate, and help individuals and organizations reach their full potential.

Danny believes the best way to predict the future is to create it. He is a lifelong student of leadership with more than 13 years of executive leadership experience. Danny is fueled by the value of being committed to excellence and is constantly looking for new, progressive strategies that drive employee engagement, ownership, and excellence.

Over the past 5 years, Danny has served as the keynote speaker for national and state conferences on leadership, substance use disorder, brain health, and protecting children from child predators. 

Great Profession

Honestly, it bothers me not to be in law enforcement. There’s so much change that needs to happen in that great profession.

Before becoming the City Manager, I was getting ready to run for the International Chiefs of Police on four premises: first was leadership, developing leaders, and forefronting meaningful, progressive change. Second was to build meaningful strong relationships with communities of color. The third was substance use disorder and addiction. The fourth was mental illness. I wish I could’ve stayed but I love Dixon. We’re doing great things at Dixon.

There's no destination in our leadership journey. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Great Commitment

We really try to create a culture that is really consistent with the feeling of getting a family where we hold each other accountable. I talk a lot about a relaxed environment, where the expectations are high and we’re going to perform to a certain level. But in a relaxed and caring environment, it’s all about inclusion, empowerment, growth, opportunity, and innovation.

It’s funny that you get different feedback the farther you move up in an organization. I just had my evaluation a couple weeks ago. I was blown away by a lot of the words and the things that our top team members have said. I would hope that my commitment to doing the things I just talked about would be reflected there.

My team is so amazing. They always rise to the occasion and that has never been more evident than during this whole COVID- 19 situation. When the state of Illinois came out with the downstate small business stabilization grant, the city had to be an applicant and every business had to be a separate application between 80-100 pages.

But our team rose to the occasion and we submitted 54 grants on behalf of our community. That is true dedication, living one’s purpose, and ownership. That is commitment. It was inspiring to be part of that, to see us deliver, and come through for our businesses.

The more you give back, in the end, the more you receive. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

We're not perfect. When we think we are, we're done. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Great Passion

I’ve always wanted to be in the position that gives me the ability to make the biggest difference with my current skill set. When I was a police officer, I never said I want to be the police chief. I just always wanted to be in the position that would give me the chance to make the biggest impact. Early on, that was as a patrol officer. Then it was as a detective.

I’m very passionate. One of the things I’m very passionate about is giving a face and a voice to victims of child sexual abuse. I specialized in that for ten years. I worked on these cases, and I was sent to incredible trainings. Also, I helped create our first child advocacy center.

I was very frustrated with the way victims were treated when they came forward. When I became police chief, that wasn’t a destination. That was the beginning. I used my badge as doors to create major community awareness and prevention campaigns, to raise money for our local center, and to help Erin Merryn create Erin’s law, which is the first law in the country that required age appropriate child sexual abuse prevention education in grades Pre-K through 12.

While my passion is one of my greatest strengths, it is also my greatest weakness.  – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Proactive communication is one of the greatest tools of leaders during these times. – @DannyLangloss #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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125: Leaders with Heart Course Correct Themselves and Others with Care

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In this episode, Heather interviews Curtis Martin, CEO of FOCUS about his drive to lead, his leadership style, his struggle with patience, and a time when he took his eye off the business and abdicated responsibility.

Key takeaways:

  • Don’t abdicate responsibility but be there to guide people.
  • Show the balance of care and strength. 
  • Take the long view when leading so that you can create tension for the long term goal benefits.
Don’t miss this insightful episode!

Curtis Martin is the founder and CEO of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), one of the fastest-growing college outreach apostolates in the Catholic Church. 

FOCUS was founded in 1998 as a national outreach to college students on campus. Starting with just two missionaries on one campus, FOCUS now has hundreds of full-time missionaries serving tens of thousands of college students on campuses throughout the United States. FOCUS is working to play a vital role in the New Evangelization called for by Pope Saint John Paul II. 

Curtis Martin holds a master’s degree in theology and is the author of the best-selling book, “Made for More.” Curtis is likewise the co-author of “The Real Story: Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible” with Dr. Edward Sri and “Boys to Men: The Transforming Power of Virtue” with Dr. Tim Gray.

In 2004, Curtis and his wife, Michaelann, were awarded the Benemerenti Medal by Pope Saint John Paul II for their outstanding service to the Church.  In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Curtis as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council of the New Evangelization. Curtis and Michaelann live in Westminster, Colorado. They have been blessed with nine children.

The Prodigal Son

The story that Jesus told of the prodigal son was my life. I was blessed to have parents who love me. The table is set for me. It was a great life, but I wildly squandered it growing up. I was a train wreck when I was 18. I realized that I have only one life and I can live differently. So, I decided to come back to my center and live.

Sometimes people walk through life saying, “I could do whatever I want. I’m not hurting anybody.” In truth, you might not be hurting anyone but you are supposed to do something to help people. 

I cannot fix everything. But I can fix something. – Curtis Martin #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Ripple Effect

The key is create a ripple effect of impact by God’s grace—not just setting things better for others, but to teach them how to do it for others whom could also be taught how to do it for their people. 

With this, you’re also able to impact people you’ll never meet by paying it forward. This is a better way to live life than simply avoiding hurting people.

Some people believe in life after death, and some people don’t. But whatever it is, you’re done. All you have is a memory, but that memory lives on.

We live in a world with radical poverty. There’s breakdown of families, and marriages and children are in need. There are more people in slavery right now than ever in the history of the world, whether it is the typical slavery of work, sex slavery, or drug abuse.

You could spend the rest of your life addressing these issues and making people’s lives better, or walk through life hoping not to hurt anyone. I think that the former option, choosing to live for others is such a compelling invitation to form meaning and purpose in people’s lives. That’s a really exciting way to live and to help other people to live.

People start to come alive when they realize that they could walk through life and set things better. – Curtis Martin #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Friendship is a wonderful ointment—in the midst of life, you are sharing life. – Curtis Martin #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

On Friendship and Parenting

I’ve worked to establish friendships with the people that I lead. It’s been an honor to not just work with them but also to be invited to weddings and to their homes. You may throw an elbow or step on a toe unintentionally, but friendship is an ointment that heals that wound. I’ve been blessed to work with great people

Many of us are parents. I am working with a 12 year old, and I have an impatience with parenting. It’s a slow walk, and I know they’re not going to be living in a mature life overnight. 

My goal is not to be a buddy, but to be a coach. We can be buddies 20 years from now, but I want to be friends with you a million years. So, I do not care whether I lose a little bit of credibility because I take phones away.

As a father, I have to play the long game all the time. Sometimes it’s three steps forward, one step back, and that’s okay as long as we continue to make progress.  But remember the goal we’re aiming for.

We are patient with one another, even in failures because we’re willing to lose our battle. This is not a war against people. We aim to win people’s minds, hearts, and trust to care for them and help them overcome obstacle that keep them from experiencing lasting joy.

Great vision and great investment covers for impatience and imperfections. – Curtis Martin #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

We're always grateful, but never satisfied. – Curtis Martin #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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114: Leaders With Heart Strike A Balance Between Heart And Drive

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In this episode, Heather Younger speaks with Frank Ricotta, CEO and Founder of BurstIQ about his leadership style, his unique background that instilled in him a drive to lead, and a time when he was at a low in his leadership and what he did to come out of it. He also shares some key tips to move and iterate during a crisis.

Key takeaways:

  • Strike the balance between both nurturing and being a visionary driving for goal achievement.
  • Focus on growing and lifting those you lead.
  • If we don’t learn from those around us, we cannot lead well.
Are you ready to lead with heart to the next level? Listen and learn!

Frank Ricotta is an accomplished CEO and CTO with 30+ years of experience empowering people, building companies, and creating innovative solutions. 

Frank has been able to combine his love for people and building high performance teams with creating and applying innovative technologies. Strong entrepreneurial, problem solving, and communication skills allow him to see what “can be”, resulting in a relentless pursuit to create world-class solutions that capitalize on market opportunities. He is a life long learner that possesses a healthy balance of business, leadership, and technology acumen, providing a foundation for success regardless of company size and industry.

His skills include blockchain, business transformation, organization development, information security, product and technology strategy, agile transformation, enterprise content management (ECM), Big data, cloud, and healthcare IT, as well as software as a service (SaaS) and compliance. 

Frank’s professional career is guided by three principles: make a difference, have fun, and make money. He also finds it most gratifying when he keeps his principles in perspective

Learn and share

I’m in that stage in life where it’s really been more of a mentoring phase for me. I would love to really pass on all the things I’ve learned over the years—the good, the bad, and the ugly to a next generation of leaders that can go out there and truly be servant leaders.

You take learning from your kids. You have to learn from them, incorporate their leadership styles, and take what’s best in terms of how they respond to you as a parent and as the leader in your house.

If you're not learning from all the people around you, you can't be an effective leader. – @fricotta #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Balance the drive

Early on in my career, and even growing up I like to always be the leader, or at least be in an influential position.

I’m probably my hardest critic. I’m most critical of things I do and how I respond in different situations. I am a nurturing leaders that would set a very aggressive and bold vision. I work to get the team empowered to go execute on that vision.

You can set high expectations and goals and not have to be unkind about it. The key is really lifting people up to be the best they can be, particularly in the context of a team, and creating high performance teams. They are happy, motivated, and really energized to achieve the same goals you’d like your company to achieve.

You also have to recognize when you’re already pushing people out of balance. When I started, I was all focused about driving people a lot. However, I was starting to hurt my own team by driving them too hard and not letting them maintain their balance. If you don’t create the environment where people are allowed refresh their mind,  body, health, and spirit, it’s hard to sustain anything for any length of time.

People perform best when they are happy. – @fricotta #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

If you don't believe where you’re going and you don't have the passion, it's hard to motivate and lead people to achieve anything at all. – @fricotta #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Know your people

Money only goes so far. 

People are focused on what their earning potential is and they should be paid according to what they’re worth in the marketplace. But that’s not the top factor that keeps people on your team, without moving around. It’s the culture, the environment, and their fit in that environment.

Everybody has a different set of goals. Not all your execution superstars necessarily want to move in a position of leadership or management because they really like doing what they do in an execution perspective. This is very true for technical talent. So, how do you nurture that forward for exponential contribution? 

You have to have a regular cadence where you’re focused on the actual delivery side, so they’ll know that there’s going to be a consistent amount of communication. It’s an open environment to share any problems so we can solve collectively as a team. 

Never confuse activity with productivity. – @fricotta #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

You have to know your people. – @fricotta #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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