138: Leaders with Heart do What is Necessary to Lift Others

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In this episode, Heather speaks with John H. Chuang, Founder and CEO of Aquent about his leadership style, a time when he was not the best leader he can be, and some great tips for leaders new and seasoned.

Key takeaways:

  • It’s less important if something is easy. Make it happen; be different.
  • Focus on people and do the right thing for them always.
  • Help your people realize their highest potentials.
  • Make people feel like they are a part of something new and exciting.
  • Using data is a brilliant way to scale better employee experience.
Prepare your ears for this insightful episode. Thank you for listening.

John H. Chuang is the CEO of Aquent. He founded Aquent in 1986 in his Harvard dorm room, and grew into the largest marketing and creative staffing agency in the world. 

Over the course of his career, John has been widely recognized for his entrepreneurial leadership and accomplishments. John’s accolades include Boston Business Journal’s “40 Under 40,” Mass High Tech’s “High Tech All-Star,” and Ernst and Young’s “Entrepreneur of the Year” for New England.

How it started

Aquent didn’t start with some master plan.  It started very organically. I was in college with some roommates who are still my partners and shareholders today. We’re all working together for 35 years.

We saw an opportunity while working on a student newspaper together. We did desktop publishing for companies in the area and it did really well. Then we thought maybe we can help other companies by sending people. We did well in Boston and we just started opening other offices. That’s how we got started.

We're always looking to differentiate and to add value. That's how we add value to the world. – John H. Chuang #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Right Communication

Right communication is so important as a CEO. If you don’t like saying the same thing over and over again, you’re not going to be a very good CEO. When you communicate and you have 10,000 employees, you’re often saying the same thing over and over to a large group. You’re talking and writing about it. Nowadays, you’re doing videos about it as well.

You’re constantly communicating. The CEO needs to emphasize, reemphasize, communicate and over communicate a single message. You’re saying the same things over and over, but with a different twist, every time and with as much excitement that you’re almost like an actor. This is why actors sometimes become great leaders.

I say something for the hundredth time but I need to say it with as much passion and genuine feeling as I did the very first time. That’s what you have to do for the person hearing it as they might be a new employee, or someone hearing it for the first time. That’s part of the job requirement as a CEO and a leader.

If the message you’re saying is correct, then it will stand the test of time. It will resonate over and over. It also has a reinforcing quality. If the message is actually correct—if it’s actually working in the marketplace, that message will resonate.  It will be possible to continue to do it because it’s really working.

If it is not working then perhaps you want to shift or change strategy. I believe company strategy changes, but company values do not change.

The message and the values that a company has shouldn't be changing every day. They really need to be grounded and rooted. – John H. Chuang #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Sometimes, it's people that stop themselves. – John H. Chuang #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Worthy Accomplishments

There’s constant adversity. You have tough competitors that arise in the market. There’s lots of change. So, what keeps me going is the self-reinforcing satisfaction that comes from accomplishing worthy tasks. When we accomplish something or achieve something that the world has never been able to accomplish, that’s what I live for.

The satisfaction of being able to accomplish something for people drives me and leads me to keep on pushing forward to do more. For example, in 1992 we became the first staffing company to offer full health insurance to all of our temporary workers.

Today, we are one of very few companies and we are definitely the company that offers the very best benefits to our temporary help employees. We’re extremely proud of that. During the coronavirus pandemic, we became the first staffing company and first gig economy company to give sick pay to all our employees in all states. Again, it’s that satisfaction of being able to accomplish things that are worthy.

You need to be bold enough to take risks and not worry so much about what might happen if someone says no. – John H. Chuang #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

What's great about today's generation is they really care about impact and making a difference. – John H. Chuang #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


Connect with Curtis through FOCUS

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123: Leaders with Heart are Co-Owners of a Vision with Those They Lead

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Craig Miller, President of FOCUS or Fellowship of Catholic University Students, about his leadership style, where his drive to lead comes from, his focus on minimizing his ego and much more!

Key Takeaways:

  • Don’t focus on serving yourself but serving others.
  • Decide whether or not you are claiming positions out of ego.
  • Bring people along with you by spending time with them, and help them see their role in a vision.
  • Search for those who have an ownership mentality and not a hireling mentality.
  • Try to harness a common mission.

Craig Miller is the president of FOCUS. 

In 2003, after a career in Silicon Valley that included leading sales and cooperative marketing for Cisco’s global accounts, Craig accepted Curtis’ invitation to help manage the operational needs created by FOCUS’ growth. Since then, Craig has overseen all aspects of operations, administration, development, and finance as FOCUS continues to grow and develop on more than 100 campuses today.

He lives in Genesee, Colorado with his wife, Melissa, and four of their six children.

Student of Leadership

I’m a student who is always in a mode of learning. I think one of my greatest fears is to watch things in your life happen to other people. I think it will only happen if you let it, like thinking that you have arrived and stopped at being a student of leadership. There’s just so much to learn.

I am blessed with working with a lot of young people in the work that I do. There’s so much to learn there, and hopefully the journey continues. I am always a willing participant, and I will take up as much as I’m allowed to.

Get a drive from a more pure place. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Building People

A lot of people who work on missions have personal goals that align really well. With these people, it’s more like brothers and sisters in a band together for a common purpose. It changes the way you perceive your staff and how you manage them.

But I struggled with why it isn’t good enough in itself. Why is having people with a great passion or temperament for the type of work they’re going to do not good enough? Why can’t we just let it work there? If things aren’t really working out for them, or they’re not really thriving in the selected work, why don’t we just leave them alone?

You owe it to your people to challenge them to be the best in what they’re doing and to give them a sense of pride, being, success and achievement towards the things they believe in. Nobody wants to flounder. Nobody wants to be left somewhere where 10 years later, they look back and say, “I’m not sure. What did I do? I didn’t make a difference, and I don’t feel like I learned a lot. Nobody ever challenged me.”

Find that place within a very loving, not for profit environment or find that place where you’re calling people to whatever God has gifted them with—talent, virtues, experiences—and help them plug those in so they have full meaning to them.

If I have a particular vision, I know how to get there, and other people want to come along, that feels like a full invitation for leadership. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I found my voice strongest when something is wrong and unfair in areas of justice. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Owning the Vision

I think it’s always good to be patient, sit back, spend time with people, and bring them to your vision that’s driving your passion. Take the time to communicate it, let them have the drive and then move forward with them.

It’s so important to not put yourself in a relational position with others while you’re heading on a common mission together, or whatever that might be. I think it’s very important to create a separation, in a sense that it’s your vision. You are the owner, and they support, or they are the laborers in this vision. 

I once heard a great talk on an owner mentality versus a hireling mentality. If you want to establish a group of hirelings, they have a mercenary mindset. So, they’ll do what you ask them to do.

It’s better to build owners. You could give them things to own and really allow ownership mentality and energy to come alive in them. Then bring that ownership in their hearts, all into a common mission. With that, you’re in a much better place.

You have to change the way you think about everything. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

You owe it to your people to challenge them to be the best in what they're doing. – Craig Miller #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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70: Leaders With Heart Empower Their People To Do Their Best Work

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Larry Sutton, President of RNR Tire Express. Larry enlightens the listeners with his anything-but-straight leadership journey. Not only that, he also highlights the importance of transparency and empowerment. 

Key takeaways:

  • Don’t miss the learning that takes place in the journey.
  • Hire people smarter than you.
  • Show you care for your people by demonstrating it in your actions. 
  • When you’re not transparent, nothing else works. Whatever else you say doesn’t matter. Credibility is everything.
  • If all of your people agree with what you say 100% of the time, then you’ve hired the wrong people.
  • Empower your people to challenge you when you are going off course.
  • Hire people with an open mind.
  • Focus on serving instead of service.

There are so many nuggets in this episode! Also, his mesmerizing voice is a bonus! So, don’t miss this one.

Larry Sutton’s Full BIO

Larry Sutton is the Founder and CEO of RNR Tire Express. Raised by a single mom in a one-bedroom duplex, Larry Sutton learned from an early age that if he wanted something, he needed to work hard to earn it.  

In 1981, he became a business partner in Champion TV & Appliance Rentals and helped “grow it into one of the most admired RTO businesses in the Southeast.” In 2006, he received the Association of Progressive Rental Organizations Lifetime Achievement Award. For the third year in a row, RNR was listed as the No. 1 in category for wheels and tires in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2018 Franchise 500 list among several other prestigious accolades.

Larry has four children—two boys and two girls, and his brother, Steve, is a partner in the Ocala RNR store. Larry is an avid reader and partial to thrillers written by Brad Thor. He plays golf, likes to attend concerts, but his main interest is RNR.

Never Ending Learning

Learning is the key element of leadership. There are things that you learn and there are things that you re-learn, because you knew them before, but you quit on doing them.

A smart guy once told me that he likes to learn every day. If he doesn’t, he knocks on the next-door neighbor, and when they answer, he would look at them and go, “Teach me something.”

When I sold my first business, I thought of playing golf, and I played every day since I have nothing else to do. After six months, I ended up hating it. Before, it was my fun getaway. It took me a while to figure out that I was missing the learning, and my relationships with my people. 

When I was growing up, my uncle said, “Son, you need to understand that in order to be truly successful, you have to hire people smarter than you.”  - Larry Sutton #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Freedom To Disagree

We know we’re going to fail. But let’s fail fast and get it over it so that we can learn what we need to. - Larry Sutton #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I’ve often told my folks in staff meetings, “From time to time, I am going to say something stupid. I am going to have the wrong idea. Now, what I expect from you is to stand up, slap the crap out of me and tell me I’m wrong. Do not sit back and tell me I’m right, if you’re thinking I’m wrong.”

Oftentimes, I will get quite spirited disagreements. The reality is, if all of your leaders are agreeing with everything you’re doing, saying, or proposing, then you probably have the wrong people, or you have given them the wrong advice on how to work with you.

They are not truly empowered if that’s the case. If they’re not empowered, they wouldn’t grow to be the best they can be. So, it all goes hand in hand. If they don’t have the freedom to disagree, their empowerment will start chipping away. 

One of my early partners called me after opening four stores together. He said, “I thought you never wanted to grow.” I said, “Of course, We’ve already opened four stores! I want to grow.”

He said, “Well, that’s not going to happen, unless you stop managing four stores and start getting some managers to manage them. Look, you’re managing four stores. You’re not letting people do their job because you’re overseeing everything. You think you’re the only one that can do it right. That’s a big mistake.

Big Awakening

Realizing that I haven’t empowered anybody, but just over-lording and micromanaging was a big awakening for me. 

It began a journey of getting into people’s heads, talking to them and allowing them to actually manage other people while trying not to interfere.

I am passionate, and sometimes passionate overrides good sense. There are times when I’d probably blown up, especially in the early part of my leadership. 

I was too expectant of people’s dedication and I was not as much as in tuned with what they needed outside of work, especially time with their families.

But along the way, you’ll get it right. It just becomes natural. Some of your learning from early on becomes part of your natural leadership style. Early on, I was more of an admonisher and less of a teacher. But, becoming the teacher was a big part of my leadership journey. 

Listen to what your people are telling you. - Larry Sutton #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Credibility is everything, all the way through. - Larry Sutton #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Your people are going to make mistakes, but they’re going to learn from them. - Larry Sutton #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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67: Leaders With Heart Naturally Think Of Their People First


In this episode, Heather speaks with Greg Wathen, President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana about a recent post on LinkedIn from one of his employees, which sparked so much attention — over 3.2 million views, with mostly responses of admiration. Greg shares his unique leadership perspective, and some great advice on strengthening one’s leadership.

Key takeaways:

  • Leaders must walk the talk.
  • Leaders need to deal with the facts surrounding their people’s personal lives.
  • Think from the other person’s perspective.
  • Do the little that means a lot.
  • Allow your people to put their best into what they do.
  • Be clear about your goals.
  • Celebrate wins.

This is an amazing conversation with a true leader with heart!

Greg Wathen’s Full BIO

Greg Wathen serves as President and CEO of the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana. Since March of 2007, his leadership has helped garner over $3.2 billion in investment, over 4,000 jobs and $74 million in state and federal grants for the region. 

Prior to his work at the Coalition, Wathen worked as the Executive Director for the Perry County Development Corporation and was Public Affairs Manager for the Greater Louisville Economic Development Partnership. He also managed the Greater Louisville Media Information Center. In 1999 and 2001, he was part of a five-member U.S. team who taught the first tertiary and advanced economic development courses in New Zealand.

A graduate of Indiana State University, Wathen is Accredited in Public Relations by the Public Relations Society of America and held the position of president for the Bluegrass Chapter of the PRSA. He is a past president and served on the board of directors of the Indiana Economic Development Association.

Greg and his wife have three grown children, 5 grandchildren and live in Evansville with their two red and white Irish Setters and two rescue horses.

Alleviate the Barriers

Too often, we have a tendency to forget that even though you may be in a work environment, you’re still working with people. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle. So, we try to remove as many barriers as there would be in our workplace in order to help everyone, and we hope the people saw that in the viral post.

A lot of people find it a real challenge to be within the workplace, to deal with all the day-in and day-out challenges one can have at work. That’s why we are focused on how to attract and retain talents, whether you’re in a corporate structure, or you’re working in a non-profit structure, or you’re within a broader community.

If you don’t walk the talk, then I think we’re missing something. In fact, everybody faces this  challenge on a daily basis. Hence, we want to alleviate any of those barriers possible so that they can have a really rewarding life, as well as balance their life with work, with the family and with the community.

In leadership, sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and they’re not always easy, but you try to make the best ones at the time with the right amount of information you’re given. - @GregWathen #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Standing Meetings

Until you ask the question and until you have the conversation, you’ll never know. - @GregWathen #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Our meetings have a pretty collaborative process and I will say this: We get a lot done.

We work with a lot of various constituencies, from both private and public companies, to working with municipalities and other units of government, to working with non-profit organizations. Hence, we try to do meetings in a manner that really provides value to everyone. We don’t just have a meeting for the sake of having one.  

All of our meetings are no more than an hour. Our team huddles typically are no more than 30 minutes and they are always standing meetings. We sit down and talk through a lot of different things, but we always do three things. We ask people: 

1) “What are you doing?” 

2) “What challenges do you have?” And 

3) “How can we help you?”

Then we ask something totally out of the ordinary such as, “If you’re stranded on an island but with all essentials to survive, what extra thing would you bring along?”

The process in our meetings helps us focus and refocus on what is important. It also helps us get a breather. It works out really well for us.

Significant Changes

You can make significant changes in your neighborhood and in your community. Those can be actually meaningful and can transform someone’s life. But, it’s difficult to do because sometimes, we don’t know how to do it.

But, once you start that process of trying to make some changes, down the road, like simply by holding the door open for someone, saying “Good Morning!” or just being nice, or having a smile on your face, that could really change somebody’s attitude as they move forward.

It really is something that we try to ingrain in what we do in our organization and within our community.

We only have two goals for our organizations as we go forward and these are building the talent pipeline and boosting our fiscal wellbeing. Everything else is superfluous. - @GregWathen #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
Recognize that each of us have different sets of skills. We have different styles and we have to respect those. - @GregWathen #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
We may not always agree, but it’s important for us to hear and listen. - @GregWathen #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Greg on LinkedIn and Twitter

View the viral LinkedIn post here

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64: Leaders With Heart Help Their People Focus On A Common Mission


In this episode, Heather Younger speaks with Giridhar Akkineni, CEO of AkkenCloud, about his leadership style, his anything-but-smooth journey to leadership, his hyper-focus on all things customers, and how he helps his people find meaning in their work.

Key takeaways:

  • Make it your focus to give your people something to be excited about every Monday morning.
  • Be open and personally connected to your people.
  • Customer success can be a driver for a bonded culture.
  • Set clear goals so that everyone can know how what they do connects to the bigger picture.
  • Never assume anything; ask the right questions.
  • Rely on your team at work and at home.
  • Connect at a personal level with your team.
  • Always be a learner.
  • Focus on time management.

Giridhar provides a very transparent path from which we can all learn! Listen in!

Giridhar Akkineni’s Full BIO

In an attempt to control the losses of his staffing company in 2002, Giridhar Akkineni started looking for a platform to centralize information, enhance efficiency and boost profitability by automating the “fill-to-bill-to-pay” process. 

Surprised and disappointed, in 2005, he set off to build AkkenCloud, an infinitely flexible, remarkably intuitive, and astonishingly powerful platform for the Staffing & Recruiting Industry. 

Hundreds of Staffing and Recruitment companies, with thousands of temporary employees, successfully run their businesses on AkkenCloud’s SaaS Platform. On average, Staffing and Recruitment companies that use AkkenCloud’s SaaS Platform grew by 220% within the first nine months.

Openness and Having a Personal Connection

For me, it’s an obligation that I keep learning every day –to find something new, bring it down to the people that are looking up on to me and make sure they’re excited and enjoying what they’re doing.

I am open and straightforward. I work very closely and I don’t have barriers for anything. We laugh and joke together. That openness, personal connection and having fun in everything we do is what people like about me.

Time defines everybody looking up on you because their lives depend on it. - @GiridharAkken #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

On a Timely Basis

Continue to focus on your customers. Invest on what they would need and support them for life. - @GiridharAkken #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

There is one thing that no person was able to get back no matter how much money they have, and that’s time.Trying to be able to achieve success in a defined time frame is very critical. 

Just because I am an entrepreneur or I don’t give up doesn’t mean that I can take forever doing what I need to do, or keep on failing and failing. Of course, there will be success for sure, but how soon is that?

Do everything but it has to have a time limit. You need to plan accordingly to achieve your goals in that time frame.

At the end of the day it all comes to, “What is the ultimate goal for all of us to achieve and how can we achieve that on a timely basis?” For me, there is no other option than being successful. But, what’s the time frame to achieve that?

Customer Success

We focus on our customers and what they need. We talk to them and we put things in place through technology to make them feel, “Oh, this is so easy.” That gives great satisfaction to us.

Once we take a customer, we ask: “How can we help them? What is it that we can do for them?”

If our customers follow the best practices, that’s when they’re successful, so we need to be able to support their best practices. We need to be able to share the best practices from successful customers that we had to struggling ones.

I need to learn every day. I don’t have superpowers and answers to everything. - @GiridharAkken #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

You need to plan accordingly to achieve your goals in the timeframe. - @GiridharAkken #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet
If our customers follow the best practices, that’s when they’re successful. - @GiridharAkken #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


Connect with Giridhar on LinkedIn and Twitter

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57: Leaders With Heart Create Psychological Safety For Their Teams


In this episode, Heather speaks with Melissa Ebert about her leadership style, concepts of psychological safety, why self-care is so important and a few challenges she had along the way.

Key takeaways:

  • Get input from your team to understand where they come from.
  • Seek first to understand.
  • Help your people live in their strengths.
  • Make sure to be specific with your people when letting them know about an expected result. They may not fill in the blanks.
  • Hope is not a strategy.
  • Allow your people the space to decompress.
  • Take to time to rejuvenate so that you can be the best for your people.

Melissa Ebert’s Full BIO

Melissa has been to different places learning and serving her community by facilitating youth activities through leadership conferences and summer camps. She worked four years with People to People Student Travel as Head of Admissions for a six-state area meeting wonderful families and educators. 

She presently serves as the Manager of Sponsorships at FOCUS: Fellowship of Catholic University Students. She’s visited 47 states, 5 continents, enjoys meeting great people, working out and trying first-time experiences. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado and deeply enjoys visiting her parents, three sisters, two brother-in-law’s and one nephew in Kansas. 

Collaborative and Empathic 

I don’t intuitively consider myself a leader in the terms of the typical traditional sense of it. I’ve come to realize that we all do need one in some manner, whether it’s official or not in terms of other co-workers. 

I have leadership experience overseeing teams and individuals and I’m also still growing. I’d say I have come to a new level leadership role from an official strategic organizational standpoint.

I am very collaborative and empathic from a leadership standpoint. I want to get inputs from the team. I also try to empathize and understand where they’re coming from, then lay out the best options for ‘win-win-win’ opportunities.

There's a reason that we seek first to understand rather than be understood.  #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Team Growth

Build rapport and respect with your team so that they will feel safe to be vulnerable. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

I think, years ago, I would have been someone who really didn’t want to be leading other people and I would be a better individual contributor. 

But, as I have been getting more experience at taking some leadership roles, I think part of what drives me are the team results. We have accomplished so much more as a team and I am also a team-minded person. Also, you’re building rapport there.

Then the second guiding motivator for me is seeing the growth in the people whom you’re leading. Getting to help them become more in lined with who they’re designed to be and living in their gifts and skills would be a big reason for me.  

To those that I lead, I believe we have enough respect for each other that we know if we bring something up, it’s not attacking the person. It’s actually saying we want what’s best for each other and it’s built on that respect and safety. 

Specifics and Freedom

When I look back over the last 6-8 years of some leadership roles that I have been in, the consistent theme of where I can get better is providing more specific direction and guidance for the requests that I make. 

Sometimes I can be so laissez-faire that I need to be more clear about what the X-results is and maybe providing a little more guidelines along the way.

I found out that there were misunderstandings and a lot of wasted energy on both sides trying to clarify what were needed to be done. It’s a very small thing but it makes sense. 

I think part of that too is, the more specific detail you can give them with the freedom to do it in the way that they need, is more than efficient. Because, if there is something that needs to be done and they’re creative in the way that they do it, then you’re allowing both to happen. 

If there's struggle or a lack of motivation, connect with the why. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Hope is not a strategy. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet There's a reason why we need a mental pause in the afternoon. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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