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 TweetYou 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 TweetYour 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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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 TweetSometimes, 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 TweetWhat'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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137: Leaders with Heart Lead with Integrity

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Tara Healy, VP of Compliance at Cherry Creek Mortgage about her leadership style, a time when she was not an empathetic and responsive leader, and some great tips for recognition and getting through this pandemic with our teams.

Key takeaways:

  • As leaders, we must be people of integrity.
  • Ask yourself whether you are congruent with who you say you are.
  • Are you creating safe environments for others to be themselves at work?
  • Do you recognize your people in the ways they receive it as such?
Hope you don’t miss this pearl of an episode. Listen and learn!

Tara Healy currently is Vice President of Compliance for Cherry Creek Mortgage Co., Inc. She is a well-respected mortgage professional with 20 years of experience and with specialized skills in the areas of Origination, Operations Management, and Compliance.

A true advocate for the mortgage banking industry, Tara serves as the youngest President of Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association (CMLA), a member of the CMLA Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Committee, past Chair of the CMLA Education and Events Committee, and a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association Legal Issues & Regulatory Compliance Committee. 

Tara was awarded the prestigious Certified Mortgage Banker designation in 2018. She is only one of 11 women in Colorado to have this designation.

Leadership and Styles

It truly is a journey and it’s a fun one. Honestly, I talk about retiring just on the hard days, but I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon.

I don’t think there’s actually one leadership style. My style varies depending on what we’re trying to accomplish, who the person is if it’s a one on one, and if there’s a certain goal we’re trying to kick off and implement. Over the years, I’ve come to learn that there’s not a one size fits all. I’ve learned that watching how it went well and how it didn’t go so well with other leaders.

Helping people is what drives me the most. – Tara Healy #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Leading with Integrity

Integrity is doing something when no one’s watching—doing the right thing when no one is watching you. That sounds really silly, but it’s true. 

When I lead, I would say one of my leadership styles is I’m very honest. If I’ve messed up, you’re going to hear it from me. I’m going to own it and I’m going to apologize for it. I’m going to try to make amends. Leading with integrity—hearing people, understanding people, expressing empathy and just doing the right thing—is not easy, in all honesty.

It also means having difficult conversations oftentimes, which is saying what needs to be said. It doesn’t mean you have to be nasty or mean, but it’s having difficult conversations because they need to be had.

This is where it gets a little bit interesting from an executive perspective, because you’re trying to tell your executives, the people that you report to, something very difficult to say like telling them they’re wrong.

It doesn’t always go down well. So, over the years, you learn how to craft that message and get to the same result. That’s been something I’ve struggled with in the beginning, and I’m still here.

You're always a work in progress. It's never done. – Tara Healy #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBusiness is personal. – Tara Healy #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Water Cooler Meetings

We have 30-minute water cooler meetings even before COVID. We don’t talk about work. We just talk about what’s going on. It’d be the one of the things you would do on a Friday in the office, where you’d walk around and talk to people. But you can’t do that right now, so that’s our Friday water core message during Zoom calls.

I have a stack of thank you notes by my desk. When I see something, I write them in and I just send them out. It’s a small little touch because it’s personal. Over the years, I was told to keep business and personal separate.

But I’ll be honest with you, I think business is personal. You’re dealing with people and it becomes personal. Recognizing people for their talents, their time, or their treasures, is a great thing.

Give yourself some grace. – Tara Healy #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBe patient with yourself. – Tara Healy #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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136: Leaders with Heart Embrace Their Own Leadership Style

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President, Commercial Partner at Microsoft about her leadership style, her drive to lead, a time when she was not the most empowering leader, and much more.

Top Takeaways:

  • As leaders, we have our own brand of leading.
  • We must be true to our own leadership style if we are to uplift those around us.
  • We must take time for ourselves.
  • We can see adversity as a gift by reframing and helping our team do the same.
Hope you don’t miss this gem of an episode. Listen and learn!

As a C-Level Microsoft Executive and Thought Leader, Gavriella has grown a P&L of $6.5B and currently lead a global portfolio of channel partners that has influenced over $1 trillion in ecosystem revenues. She brings over 20 years of leadership in digital and cloud transformation roles, driving strategy and execution spanning all aspects of business model and product development, launch, marketing, sales and partner development. She leads global recruitment, enablement and engagement of Microsoft’s fast-growing partner ecosystem.

As a builder and change agent, she builds and turns around businesses by inspiring a vision for future customer relevance and engaging teams in developing the roadmap. She is qualified to assist a board in developing their vision to transform the organization through new technologies including cloud and artificial intelligence (AI). Notable achievements include:

  • Doubled P&L in 3 years, increasing by double digits consistently YOY for 5 years for Microsoft’s global Windows Commercial Business and then the U.S. Cloud and Datacenter business to a growth of over 35% CAGR.
  • She leads the global recruiting, enablement and engagement of Microsoft’s fast-growing partner ecosystem influencing over $1 Trillion in ecosystem revenues –adding 30% more partners YOY and 7K+ net new partners to Microsoft every month.
  • She defined a global portfolio of partner investments to achieve a 10-20X return.
  • Led the launch of 15+ product releases including Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and Windows Intune with engineering, from product, acquisition strategy, business development, licensing, pricing, business model and packaging.

Be an Experience ‘Collector’

We spend so much time in our working lives, helping that build your equity, helping that make you a better person and fulfill your own curiosity, and helping you become an experience collector. I think that’s really what it’s all about.

It is oftentimes the adversity, it’s oftentimes the failures, that you learn the most from, get the most introspection. You learn how to pick yourself back up, you learn what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, and it pushes you towards the things that you love as opposed to things you feel like you have to do.

It is not so much that happens to you but what you do with what happens to you and your attitude towards it. #mindset #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Adversity as a Gift

I live by that. I have just found that to be so true. Even take this pandemic – how are people interpreting that themselves? Do you feel like a victim or you feel like maybe the world’s coming to an end, because there’s just so much terrible stuff going on.

But you could also look at it and say, “I am living through a turning point in history. I am living through an opportunity for us to really come face to face with all the challenges with our society – challenges in our healthcare system, with the challenges in our government, and I am living through this, and I can take on a purpose, and I can take on a purpose to change it. And I happen to be at the right place at the right time – that’s a great opportunity.

What can you take away? What can you learn? How does it help you? How does it help you become a more resilient person? @gavriels1 on reframing adversity #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetYou are a leader when you are connecting with people and you are helping them to shape a vision and they are willing to follow you. – @gavriels1 #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Connecting with your remote team at a deeper level

It’s about making time, being intentional, because it’s so easy to go a whole day and not do that, especially when you don’t see them at all.

We have open teams channels where we just go back and forth all day. We have these daily stand ups where we just see each other face-to-face once a day, we know we’re just going to connect and share whatever is top-of-mind and whatever is going on.

I do a ton of – I just IM somebody and I’d be like, “Hey, do you have a minute? Can we just jump on a call?” All throughout the day I just have a lot of those “interstitials”, I call them, because they’re between meetings. I’ll just grab that minute and we’ll have a quick connect.

Think about what gives you energy and make sure that you are creating the opportunity in every day to do that. In this very chaotic time, create a routine for yourself. – @gavriels1 #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetKeep yourself from getting overworked, because it’s very easy to move from “I’m doing work from home” to “I live where I work.” – @gavriels1 #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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135: Leaders with Heart Lead with Humility

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Dustin Yowell, Director of Operations for Mercy Health Systems about his leadership style on humility and admitting mistakes, his time when he was not the best version of himself and his perspective on resilience in leadership.

Key takeaways: 

  • Humility in leadership is essential.
  • Setting goals and being clear about expectations is not the opposite of leading with heart—it is leading that way.
  • Focus on enduring past the pandemic.
This episode will surely empower your leadership with heart. Listen and learn!

Dustin Yowell currently serves as the Director of Operations for Mercy Hospital Kingfisher and Mercy Hospital in Logan County.

Dustin has over 20 years of experience in managing healthcare organizations and he is adept at sales management, staff training, customer relations, presentation development, corporate budgeting, financial analysis and forecasting, contract negotiations, and strategic planning.

Dustin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a Masters degree in Business Administration at the University of Central Oklahoma.

Always Learning

I am growing as a leader. I have learned over the course of the last 20 years that you can never stop growing. You can never stop learning. That is true in multiple facets of leadership and even personal growth. I would like to think I am in a growing stage and I don’t know if I will ever get out of it. 

There are always something to learn. There are always things to improve on, particularly when you have other people’s lives to affect as a leader or supervisor.

If you're not humble, it's hard to be a good leader. – Dustin Yowell #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Respectful Accountability

As leaders, our job is to hold people accountable. But you can hold people accountable and be a good human being in the process. That’s important for young leaders to understand.

At times, when people make mistakes, leaders think they have to just hammer someone to hold them accountable. That’s not the truth. There are ways to hold people accountable in ways that make sure they are growing and completing their job in the way they need to. It’s not one or the other.

If you aren’t working side by side with your people to set goals and to give them a path for the things to chase, how can you hold them accountable if you’re not part of that process with them?

My philosophy is more of: “It’s our job to get a, b, and c done. So, let’s figure out how we can do that together.” We all have roles. We all have ways to to spend our time, but let’s do this together. Let’s figure this out together and then we’ll chase it together, too. Things work better and your employees certainly would feel stronger about you if you’re side by side with them, caring about them and how successful they will be.

Always be reading. Always be learning. – Dustin Yowell #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetThere are ways to hold people accountable in a respectful way. – Dustin Yowell #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Collective Success

We have a responsibility when we have folks that work with us. These co-workers work with me and depend on me for good leadership and good support. So, it’s really my job to grow and get better.

I am supportive. When you have leadership responsibility, there are a number of things that come with that, and one is to support your employees in their professional growth and also in personal, like needing to balance their life and their responsibilities.

There’s nobody more important than the next person down the hall. That includes me, my bosses and everybody else. Within a hospital setting, if your environmental services staff aren’t keeping things clean, it doesn’t matter how good your administration is or how good your nurses are.

In my opinion, if you’re not humble, it’s hard to be a good leader. If you don’t have that ability, and the love and care in your heart, it’s really hard to be a good leader. Over time, humility taught me that it’s okay not to know everything.

The people that work for us, for me—they’re not employees. They're my co-workers. – Dustin Yowell #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetIt takes everyone to be successful. – Dustin Yowell #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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134: Leaders with Heart Embrace Change and Rise from It

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In this episode, Heather speaks directly to listeners about some recent changes she has made, and how she has learned to embrace change even during this pandemic. Heather also shares some key decisions she has made to create a metamorphosis in her life.

Key takeaways:

  • Now is the time to see change as a positive despite what is front of us.
  • Starting anew right now might be exactly what you need to help you see the situation differently.
  • How aligned are you with your personal and professional mission?
  • There are powerful ways to overcome your challenges and it all starts in the mind.
Prepare your ears for this wonderful episode. Listen and learn!

Embracing Change

I have reached quite a few milestones in my business these last couple of months during the coronavirus. My second book has been completed, and it’s a pretty big deal to write a book during a pandemic. I recognize it, and feel blessed to have done it.  

During this time, I know what I should have done. But I wasn’t doing it. I decided to do something that seems so obvious to me but I kept on fighting it—doing a name change for my business.

To be honest, my heart was really more in the place of employees. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Noble Beginnings

For the last four or five years, the business name has been Customer Fanatix, and I decided to change it to Employee Fanatix. It was obvious because all of my work has been focused on employee listening, leadership development, and everything related to the employee experience, engagement, and retention.

The reason why I fought was because my heart was with customers and employees early on in my career. When I started Customer Fanatix, the idea was I would help organizations understand the connection between how leaders can impact both the customer and employee experience, and how we can look at it as a continuum or a journey. That’s looking at both stakeholders at the same time.

Over time, people were more confused if I was more on the customer side or on the employee side. My efforts and messaging on social media became more singular, focused and it was more about leaders and their impact on employees. I just made a choice not to include all of the customers.

I started my company in 2015. People were reaching out to me because of my writings on LinkedIn. They wanted me to help them on both the customer and employee experience. The focus changed, but in the end my heart didn’t change.

My end goal is to help employees and leaders be better and stronger. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetEverything I do is about how we impact in their (employee) experience, whether they are working with leaders, executive, facilitating groups, or speaking on stage. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

The Metamorphosis

It was always about the underdog. When I was a child, I felt like an underdog. So, I have always been an advocate for people.

We are in very unsettling times. But I am thinking of what’s happening right now as a metamorphosis. It’s all about change and being comfortable with it. To be honest, I haven’t always been comfortable with change.

But what has worked for me in the past is I try to focus on a mission that is bigger than myself. I try to focus on something exciting, powerful, and way beyond me that it helps me move forward past any adversity put in front of me. It helps me build my resilience.

Recently, I have just hired my very first employee, Monica. I just brought in a marketing team to really help me take the business on and take things off my lap so I can be the leader I talk to you about all the time— the one who focuses on caring for myself and my family first.

Aligning what I was already doing and using this time to start anew and afresh help me focus on shedding some of the skin of the past and the pain of the current. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetMy desire is to uplift people by my words and my actions, and to bring people together in collaborative settings of safety. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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133: Leaders with Heart Provide Hope and Possibility for Those They Lead

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In this episode, Heather joins the show without a guest to talk about the status of her next book, The Art of Caring Leadership, which is based upon this podcast. She also tells her perspective on the death of Chadwick Boseman, a former Marvel star and king of Wakanda, the fictitious country in the Black Panther movie.

Key takeaways:

  • All employees are looking for hope, and they need leaders to help them discover it.
  • There is power in seeing someone who looks like you in the highest positions of leadership.
  • Be flexible in your recruitment and promotion practices to be more inclusive, and to provide the symbols of hope.

Updates on the Book

I did finish writing the Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations. 

They’ve sent out my book to three reviewers, which could be very scary. It was really nerve-wrecking. But once I got the first one, I felt that it’s not going to be too bad. They gave some really good feedback that made the book richer, more synced, and easier to read. I hope that you will be proud of how I was able to encapsulate some of the most important voices that you’ve heard here. I am super excited about that.

We have to learn to celebrate our little successes, our big successes—all the same. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Lessons from Chadwick

Just recently, Chadwick Boseman passed away at 43 years old. He died of cancer. If you’d recall, he played the king of Wakanda for Black Panther. He was the first black superhero.  When I saw the news, I felt like I was punched in the chest and the air left out of me.

I didn’t quite think about why until I reflected on some work I’ve been doing on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Looking through survey feedback, we would just keep seeing over and over again their desire to see more people of color in executive leadership roles.

I realized that the reason why people are having such as response about Chadwick’s death is because we saw him as a hero. He was a beacon of light for people who has overcame much and at the same time has represented us.

He got some assistance and good mentorship from other people, and he made it where he was. He did it with grace, even when he was battling with cancer for the last few years.

Inside of organizations, those who are different or considered a minority often don’t feel like they belong. They don’t always feel like they’re part of a purpose that’s bigger than themselves.

When they are able to see people in the highest parts of the organization, they see that there’s so much possibility to become those persons in the role. It’s the possibilities that keeps them having hope and makes them want to stay because they want to see how far they can go as well.

We actually have the ability to achieve. We can do more than what we think we can. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetThere are very few limits in front of us. We can place our own limits in front of ourselves with our own mindset. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Celebrating Self-care

We have to learn to celebrate our little and big successes all the same, or else, our life becomes one big blur of tasks. It’s interesting because in the book, I talked a lot about self-care and self -compassion. We need to make sure that we’re doing that more often. I did that for myself during and at the end of this process to celebrate.

If you are someone who leads organization where you have the ability to think outside the box regarding recruitment and your promotion practices, and to diversify the top ranks in your organization, do it.

We’re making sure that people of color and those who are different than the mainstream are going to be at the top roots, because you want to give everybody hope, a desire, a bigger purpose, and to know that they can do and be more.

It's the possibilities that keep your people hope and make them want to stay because they want to see how far they can go as well. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetIf you have the power, use the power. Let's not just talk, but let's actually walk on this journey together. – @HeatherRYounger #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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132: Leaders with Heart Listen to the Lessons of Imperfection

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In this episode, Heather speaks with Greg Brenner, Assistant Vice President for Talent & Organizational Development (HR) about his leadership style, his great example of when he was not the best version of himself, and some great pearls of wisdom.

Key takeaways:

  • Figure out how you want to engage with those you lead by being more intentional.
  • Put people at the center.
  • Be the grown up in the interactions with your people; take control of your emotions.
  • Choose whether you cast a shadow or not on those you lead.
  • Leadership is not a perfection game.
This episode will surely improve your leadership skills. Enjoy!

Greg Brenner is the author of the “Smack Dab in the Middle of Life” series. His passions are with all things people. In collaboration with his incredible wife, he has two wonderful kids, a sixteen-year-old son and a thirteen-year-old daughter who make him distinctly qualified to be “the Dad”.

At work, Greg supports a wonderful tribe who has taught him to learn, inspire and grow as the Assistant Vice President of Talent and Organizational Development at the fantastic University of Miami and Health System – UHealth.

Greg cherishes the time to write about HR, leadership, and daily life. Thanks to his tribe, colleagues, network, and family, Greg always has plenty of material. Hence, writer’s block is never a problem. Some say he can be very funny, sometimes serious, but always authentic.

Greg’s specialties include executive coaching, organizational development, listening, strategic planning and thinking, employee experience, culture transformation, human resources, recruiting, hiring, compensation negotiations, employee relations, conflict resolution & interventions, operations, leadership training, and team building.

Getting Better

I have learned a lot of things. I have grown a lot more in the senior level. Now, I’m in a space where you can get some more things done. It’s a good place to be. At the same time, it’s surrounded with challenges.

Leadership is not for the faint of heart. It is hard. It takes time. You cannot rely on your laurels. You cannot rely on what you did three months ago. It’s totally different. You have to shake it up, spit it out, do it all over again, then try to do something new. You have to continually get better, learn and grow as a leader.

Not everybody is a people-person, and that is perfectly okay. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Loving the Work

Loyalty, Leadership, and Love. You have to love the work of leadership. You have to love the people. You can say that you don’t really love the people you’re working with a lot. But you have to love them if you’re going to be the difference between someone who is really strong at leadership and one who is just an off-the-chart leader. 

The latter walk in regardless of the fancy shoes they are wearing. You know they’re the leader and they’ve got it all over them. That’s because they love the people that are part of the organization and the mission they have.

I am very much a people-oriented person. I am a big picture thinker and I do things with heart. But my style is not for everybody. I allow people to do the job they’ve been hired to do, and that can rub some people in the wrong way. 

I would rather get ten root canals than work for a micromanager. I am centered at respecting people at their core. But I understand that not everybody is a people person.

Leadership has always been something that is inherent in me. Both my parents, although having different personalities, were so much focused on us being leaders. It was ingrained in our heads. My dad’s strength was showing up everyday for his patients. My mom, who worked just as hard as my dad at home, was all about caring for people.

You have a name, and you have to have respect that goes with the name. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBe a good person. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Listening to the Lessons

I needed to lead better. People can lead when it’s a normal day, every day. The reason why a pilot gets paid so well is not when the plane is flying naturally since it is easy to do. When something does not go right, that’s when they earn money. Hence, I have to be a better leader moving forward.

It is about learning from your failing moments. If I would have gone through that moment and allowed that to be okay, I would have been a whole different leader today than I should have or could have been gone down that road—being another disastrous leader just because I didn’t listen to the lesson.

You’ve got to listen to the lessons. Thankfully, I learned my lessons early in my career. I am far from perfect and there’s still a lot of not-so-great things that I do. But when you put people at the center of it, it gives a lot of sense.

You cast a shadow on the people you are leading. It’s your choice to cast a good shadow or a dark cloud that is going to hang over like an albatross. – Greg Brenner #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetLeadership is difficult. It's not a perfection game. – Greg Brenner #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 TweetWe'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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130: Leaders with Heart Create a Space for Others to Follow

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In this rich episode, Heather speaks with LaToya Lyn about her drive to lead (which you will love), her short time spent with the late John Lewis, civil rights advocate who was very close with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and some brilliant pearls of wisdom for every leader to think about.

Key takeaways:

  • As a leader, it is not what you do, but how you do it.
  • Leaders don’t lead; they create a space for others to follow.
  • Do your people feel like they need an invitation to participate, or are they free to join?
  • Lead in and bring your people into your circle.
Don’t miss this insightful ride! Listen and learn!
 

LaToya Lyn is an HR leader with a deep passion for people within the workplace. 

LaToya has a dual masters in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior from Brooklyn College. Her professional experience spans from executive coaching to driving organizational changes and culture transformations for technology companies globally. She has contributed to the world of cognitive neuroscience, including adult learning theories, and animal research. 

LaToya is also a four-time National DisruptHR presenter, GoCoach, and ThinkHuman reoccurring contributor. She is also a recent Harvard University and MIT executive coaching and artificial intelligence professional. 

Bringing People

I have had various leadership opportunities. I have been blessed with a gift to bring people together, as well as bring out their best selves and their fullest potential in a very authentic way. Also, I have also been blessed to be a student and to learn from them. It’s been just a great journey and I’m really looking forward to my next chapter.

I think I was placed in leadership roles, because people listen to me and not because I had a smart thing to say. If I am asked how did I choose to lead, I think I just don’t know any better.

 

I am in a position to move forward knowing that John Lewis is over all of us. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Not Alone

John Lewis was an amazing figure in everybody’s life from a political and civil rights standpoint. He was best known as Martin Luther King’s right-hand partner, his steady hand, who kind of kept his heart to the ground, and really fought against the adversities among people in the South.

He protested for people of color, Black people especially, who were being oppressed and segregated in the height of the Jim Crow era. He had been a congressman and a part of our American constitution for many years. He had written lots of legislation and fought for everyone’s rights. He was a divine human being.

I had a chance to meet him. A few years ago, I was asked to do a keynote at a private college in New Jersey. Part of it was to have the opportunity to meet Congressman John Lewis, and he was supposed to give us some encouragement to get us juiced up.

Then something told me to just go up to him, so I went up to him. I just said to him, “Why is it so hard?” I am the only black woman in an executive leadership space, and I’m always there to help and guide people through. But no one is helping me.

He looked me in the eye, grabbed by hand very firmly, and told me, “Don’t worry. You’re not alone.” I didn’t explain much but he immediately knew what I was talking about. He also told me, “The ancestors are guiding you. Don’t worry.” Hearing such encouragement was one of the most pivotal moments in my life.

I call the people that report to me my colleagues intentionally. My role as their leader is to inspire them and move things out of the way. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To TweetBeing a leader is a privilege. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Align and Respect

People ask me, “What makes you a good leader?” Or, “What makes anyone a good leader?” That is a billion-dollar industry. But I always advise people to get aligned with their own values.

What’s important to me is that I am high-integrity. I have gone through so much in my life like oppression and traumas. But I act with a sense of urgency, naturally, because time is limited. When I think about integrity, it’s about the intention and not the mistakes

We work in a model where direct reports know more than you. Direct reports have expertise that I don’t have. With that, then what I need to do is to work on my character and how I approach things to get the most out of people. Hence, leaders need to check in with themselves how they can lead their teams effectively.

Another thing that’s really important is respect for my life. Because I have respect for my life, I will automatically have respect for yours.

Our tendency as human beings is either to fight or flight. But to fight when you’re leading someone is very difficult. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet Working with kids had groomed me to be the leader I am today because I had to really listen with my heart. – LaToya Lyn #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

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Read LaToya’s article on John Lewis HERE.

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