120: Leaders with Heart Don’t Seek Perfection in Themselves

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Stephen Christopher about his leadership style and where his drive to lead come from. He also shares about the time when he allowed himself to hold onto an employee who was not open to change, what he did to come out of that circumstance, and what he does now to stop himself for doing that. 

Key takeaways:

  • Set aside time to be with people who just need to talk.
  • Look for greatness in people, but they have to want to improve.
  • Be a student of learning.
  • All your people to be their greatest selves.
Jumpstart your week by listening to this wonderful episode. Enjoy!

Stephen Christopher is the founder of a multi million marketing agency, Wit Digital, that serves home service companies. With a huge passion in intuitive guiding and coaching, He has been able to inspire people to become more than they ever thought possible. 

Stephen helps home service companies grow their business through proper digital marketing strategies customized based on their objectives. He also inspires leaders to learn that they’re in control of their lives and how to harness the power of creation to choose the life they desire to live. 

Stephen also helps business owners exit the day to day of their business while still owning the company, as well as inspiring them to become more than they ever thought possible. 

Student of Leadership

I’ve started a couple companies over the last 15 years and I’ve been running teams really ever since then. I’ve been leading groups of people for well over a decade, but at the same time, I feel like I’m still young, every single day. 

I’m still learning because there’s always something new that comes up—like new situations where I can apply everything I have learned in the past but also learn something new from it. I guess, I’m just a student of leadership.

Be honest with your teams. They don't expect you to be perfect in every single moment. – Stephen Christopher #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Building Up

I don’t believe that I’ll ever be a graduated professional. It’s a constantly evolving learning experience, especially based on how the world outside changes. 

We’re so far different than we were 10 years ago in the world. As those things continue to evolve and change, there’s never one answer that’s going to fit. And, there’s no finish line.

If somebody comes with a problem or an issue, or maybe they’re feeling great, oftentimes what they say the problem is, is really not necessarily the issue nor the root of it. 

That’s why I’m always trying to figure out the more of the root, so we can address something deeper and apply them in a lot more areas. It takes a while to build up that level of trust to where your team will actually tell you the truth. It can take years. But it’s well worth it.

Be gentle on yourself. Take into consideration lessons we can learn from the things we did and how we can do better next time. But that’s it. It’s purely factual information. There’s no need to tie heavy emotions to it because that just drains our energy. 

Also, it makes us a much less effective leader. Nobody wants to go to work or be led by who is down and not being the best version of themselves that they can.

We need every leader to get a little bit better every single day to make the world a better place. – Stephen Christopher #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetThere's nothing you can change about where you are today because the past has already been written. – Stephen Christopher #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

The First Piece

When talking about why, mine is to inspire people to become more than they ever thought possible. Leadership is like “I know that you can. I know you are capable more than you even are aware, and I’m going to offer you the ability to start to tease that out a little bit.”

The most exciting thing for me is having somebody come to us. You hear some leaders say like, “Oh, if only they would try a little harder. If only. How can I get them to work a little harder.”

People making those statements believe that if their people would work a little harder, they would give them a little bit more. But it’s the opposite.

You must give them more, then they will create the things that you’re looking for—better client relationships better output, more creativity and more innovation. You’ve got to put the first piece.

We're all in this human experience. None of us have all of the answers. – Stephen Christopher #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetWe're just so hard on ourselves, but it doesn't do us any good. – Stephen Christopher #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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88: Leaders With Heart Recognize The Smallest Of Changes In The People They Lead

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In this episode, Heather speaks about milestones, recognition, and moving past barriers that can make it difficult for leaders to be the best they can be. Heather also shares a couple personal stories on the milestones of her children last week, how she recognized them, and her past fumble related to it.

Key takeaways:

  • Pay attention to the greatness inside your people or they will go somewhere with people who will.
  • Don’t see obstacles in your way to being the best leader as permanent. They too shall pass.
  • Employee recognition helps them feel seen. Be the gift bearer of that type of positivity.

 This episode sure is a gem. Don’t miss it!

Recent Milestones

This week, three of my children reached significant milestones. My son was promoted to a higher rank and the civil air patrol prepared a pinning ceremony to appreciate his efforts. We attended with our youngest who was beaming with pride for his brother. 

The next day, my eldest son and daughter were promoted in their Taekwondo ranks, considering they only started months ago. Also, my daughter recently got her driver’s license. To celebrate her win, we had a family dinner and gave her a card of appreciation with money as a gift. All of us signed the card, telling her how much we’re proud of her. 

The recognitions to their milestones are well deserved. More importantly, we make it a habit to recognize our people.

Appreciating Efforts

When our people at home or at the workplace achieve milestones regardless of the size,  we want to make sure that we are recognizing them for their effort. We’re letting them know they are noticed. 

Many of us feel like we’re all alone in the world. There’s so many people who are depressed, anxious and lonely. But when we show appreciation for our people, they will know that they are important in your life. You want to be that gift bearer of recognition, so they’ll know you regard even the tiniest of their milestones. 

I wrote an article about this tree in my front yard. Two years after moving in, I barely knew it was a plum tree. Then, I met a neighbor about to move out and said that he just loved the plum tree in front of my house. 

I had no clue it was a plum tree, partly because I am not a green thumb. Also, I just never noticed any plums in the tree. He told me he would collected the plums that fell down, and he would make jam from it. I was a little bit irritated hearing that. Years after, I kept trying to look for plums in my tree but I only tasted its sweetness once. 

Remember to look for the greatness inside the people we lead because if we aren’t, others will find them. Our people will go to where their greatness is recognized and appreciated. They will go to where they are rewarded and awarded for what they do and bring at the table. 

Don’t be like me, who entirely never noticed the plums in my tree for years. Instead, be like my neighbor. Go grab the plums that are over there. Grab the greatness you see inside of your people. Make sure that when you do that, you put it to good use. Folks who doesn’t notice that the organization they are in would allow them to grow, will seek for more fertile grounds.

Be that gift bearer of recognition, so your people will know you regard even the tiniest of their milestones. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet When we show appreciation for our people, they will know that they are important. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Recognizing Obstacles

We positively recognize milestones. But there also obstacles and challenges that prevents us from becoming the best leader. It goes in our way of appreciating the “plums” inside our workforce. 

Yes, there are obstacles and challenges in our way, but those too shall pass. Look at them as temporary things that could pause you to be the best and the greatest leader you can be. 

Look for the plums in front of you. Grab them and leverage every piece of greatness inside of the people looking upon you for leadership. Bypass the challenges and obstacles that are in your way. It’s okay to pause, but know that they’re not permanent. 

Remember to look for the greatness inside the people we lead because it’s there. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet People go to places where their greatness is recognized and appreciated.- @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet There are obstacles and challenges in our way, but those shall pass. - @CustomerFanatix #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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37: Leaders with Heart are Great Followers First


In this podcast episode, Heather speaks with Farouk Rajab about his leadership style, the secret to his leadership success, a time when he was not a shining leader and how he came out of it. You will love this one.

Key takeaways:

  • Leaders must be good followers first.
  • Seek to learn first and teach others to do the same.
  • Give your team members a space to create and flourish.
  • Hire the best talent so they can do their best work.
  • Test your people before assuming their talents.
  • Make it ok not to be perfect.
  • Be tender and kind.

This is a rich conversation that truly brings forth the Leadership with Heart foundation. Enjoy!

Farouk Rajab’s Full BIO

Farouk Rajab currently works as the General Manager of the Providence Marriott Downtown. At work, he uses collaborative communication to motivate his team. He works to earn their trust and empowers them to be their brilliant selves. He is a proactive, quality-focused leader, strategic catalyst, collaborative communicator and a community-driven professional. Rajab has a degree in Finance and Banking from the Arab College in Amman, Jordan. He resides in Stonington, Connecticut with his wife Dima and their three boys – Laith, Sami and Adam.

Empowering the People

We focus our conversations all the time on their learning.

What is this journey all about? What they are learning from? How can they pick those learnings and reflect them on to their performance and show us what they can do?

We always talk about their journey in the future, where they’re going, and where they want to be.

It is communication—talking to the people, understanding what they want and helping them get there.

You have to work hard on making sure that everybody is on the same level and everybody is performing. It’s like sailing your ship. Everybody has a job. You cannot be the person in charge of the sales and the person in charge of others at the same time.

I hire the best talent that I can find, so I can allow them to do what they’re good at, and I will learn from them. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet You’re just as good as your least performer. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet You have to have your own #purpose. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Tenderness and Kindness

We need to provide our people with that tender and kind understanding of the situation of why they were not able to do whatever you are asking them to do, how they can do it and how you guide them through it.

You’ve got to think of those moments in a person’s life, when they walk onstage, how important it is to them and you have to recognize it that way.

You need to celebrate those moments for our associates and other people that we work with, and show them that we appreciate what they do.

Heart Connections

Let’s start with a thank you, because you know how hard they worked. You have to recognize how hard they’ve worked and you have to recognize that it was a busy time for them.

We continue to improve. We continue to seek greatness. We sit down, debrief, talk about what we did, how we did it, and if anybody has any feedback on it and how it could be done better. Was it perfect? Was it good? Then you reset.

We try to exercise those things, the heart connections with our guests, our associates, with each other, so we try to connect through the heart and through those moments of tenderness and kindness.

#Appreciation is sometimes never enough to the team. Click To Tweet The tough times will pass. The good times will pass. #leadership #leaderswithheart Click To Tweet


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