53 episodes

You can become a cultural architect no matter your position, your title, or your authority. Timothy R. Clark is joined by global experts and cultural architects to take on the big questions in leadership, diversity, equity, employee mental health, psychological safety, and team performance. You’ll learn how to build cultures of inclusion and innovation by design. Join us in influencing the world for good.

Culture by Design LeaderFactor

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 15 Ratings

You can become a cultural architect no matter your position, your title, or your authority. Timothy R. Clark is joined by global experts and cultural architects to take on the big questions in leadership, diversity, equity, employee mental health, psychological safety, and team performance. You’ll learn how to build cultures of inclusion and innovation by design. Join us in influencing the world for good.

    10 Misleading Leadership Theories

    10 Misleading Leadership Theories

    Leadership is not an ethereal concept. It’s not as cinematic as you might think. It is about one simple and profoundly human thing--Influence. In this episode Tim and Junior breakdown 10 misleading leadership theories and how to avoid them. It's a straightforward and practical episode focused on core leadership lessons we can all learn from.
    (13:32) Leadership is not about charisma. Just because you have a personal magnetism, dash, and style it doesn't make you a leader. Charisma can be deceptive and superficial. Don't let charisma be the only qualification for leadership.
    (15:50) Leadership is not about eloquence. Eloquence, like charisma, can be deceiving. The question is "see what's behind them, what lies underneath those traits, because if what lies beneath is high quality, it's high character, it's good ethics, it's all of those things, then absolutely, add charisma to the pile, add eloquence."
    (22:03) Leadership is not about power. Your position, title, and authority cannot be proxy for leadership. "This is a diagnostic question that anyone can ask, and that is when you're looking at leaders, ask the question, "Is there fear around them? Do they produce fear? Do they use fear? Are they cultivating fear?" Fear is symptomatic of poor leadership.
    (26:31) Leadership is not about seniority. The passage of time "does not translate into greater experience, knowledge, expertise, competency, all of those things."
    (29:57) Leadership is not about scale. You are not by virtue of the fact that you're working on some important scalable issue, then by extension and by affiliation and by association a great leader.
    (32:08) Leadership is not about popularity. "The danger, I think, as leaders is when we're aiming at popularity." Oscar Wilde said, "Popularity is the penalty of success." Popularity can insulate you from critique. "You enter an echo chamber."
    (35:29) Leadership is not about fame. "You can see how people get to this point of thinking that popularity is synonymous with leadership. "Oh, this person has a massive following, right? They must be able to lead." That's certainly not true."
    (37:47) Leadership is not about winning. We do want our leaders to be competent but, "if you're framing leadership is about winning, then that's a zero-sum adversarial frame. You can do better than that."
    (39:32) Leadership is about wealth. We cannot judge someones ability to lead simply by the number of zero's in their bank account. Wealth is not a proxy for leadership.
    (42:38) Leadership is not about education. Simply having a degree or credential doesn't make one a leader. We do want highly competent people in leadership positions. However, gaining competence alone does not endow you with the ability to lead.
    Some people possess all of these things and are not leaders. Others possess none of these things and are. These 10 things only point to the possibility of leadership, but make no promises.
    Important LinksLeading with Character and Competence - Book10 Things Leadership is Not - DownloadPsychological Safety Podcast SeriesStage One: Inclusion SafetyStage Two: Learner SafetyStage Three: Contributor SafetyStage Four: Challenger SafetyOverview: What is Psychological SafetyBonus: What Psychological Safety is Not

    • 59 min
    Two Leadership Failure Patterns: Paternalism and Exploitation

    Two Leadership Failure Patterns: Paternalism and Exploitation

    In this episode Tim and Junior introduce the two leadership failure patterns found in The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety™ model - paternalism and exploitation. This is a very practical episode for managers and leaders but applies to anyone working with other humans. Progressing through The 4 Stages of Psychological safety requires balancing a combination of respect and permission while avoiding these two failure patterns.
    (03:11) Where did The 4 Stages of Psychological safety come from? While studying psychological safety Dr. Clark worked to identify how psychological safety is developed. During the research a pattern emerged, a sequence through four successive stages. Psychological safety isn't something you have or don't have. Every organization has a level of psychological safety it's a matter of degree.
    (10:16) The failure pattern of exploitation. Exploitation is the combination of low respect and high permission. Simply put exploitation is " treating someone unfairly in order to benefit from their work." All organizations are exploitative to some degree. "Think about, not, do we have exploitation in our organization, but to what degree and in what forms do we have exploitation?"
    (21:15) The failure pattern of paternalism. Paternalism is the combination of high respect and low permission. "I care about you, I value you, but please sit in the corner and don't touch anything." Paternalistic leaders are micromanagers and yet they're well-intentioned. If you want to overcome paternalism you need to learn how to transfer accountability and the critical thinking.
    (36:53) These patterns exist on a spectrum. In some cases there are blatant acts of exploitation as well as intentional acts of paternalism. Our intentions and motivations matter. "We need to have some time for reflection, and we need to think about the way that we're interacting, and it goes back to what we said before, let's examine our motives and our intent, is it clean, is it pure?"
    Important Links:The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety - BookWhat is Psychological Safety - Introducing The 4 Stages of Psychological SafetyThe Complete Guide to Psychological SafetyPsychological Safety Podcast SeriesStage One: Inclusion SafetyStage Two: Learner SafetyStage Three: Contributor SafetyStage Four: Challenger SafetyOverview: What is Psychological SafetyBonus: What Psychological Safety is Not

    • 46 min
    The 5 Functions of Leadership

    The 5 Functions of Leadership

    In this episode of Culture by Design, Tim and Junior explain the 5 Functions of Leadership, originally created to provide a job description for a CEO. When you're an executive leader, nothing is your job and everything is your job. Delegated authority is hard to find success in, but this episode will help you better understand how to be effective in any leadership role. Function 1: Vision & Strategy (07:26)
    Vision and strategy represent the direction of an organization. Inherent in the leader’s role is the commission to give the organization sight by painting a portrait of the future and inspiring others toward it. The essence of strategy is the deliberate reduction of alternatives to determine how value will be created. To achieve the vision, leaders need to apply strategy principles to achieve competitive advantage.
    Reflection Question: How are YOU doing painting the vision?
    Function 2: Alignment & Execution (19:56)
    To align an organization is to load-balance and pace the organization, and then cognitively and emotionally prepare people to achieve the vision and execute the strategy based on specific goals. Through alignment and execution, leaders convert vision into plans and plans into concrete activity. They merge priorities, plans, incentives, expectations, and measures to get desired results.
    The 5 Alignment Questions

    What are your concerns? Don’t ask people if they have concerns—of course they do. So let’s get them on the table and discuss them.
    In your view, why are we doing this? You need to check understanding, which you can only do if your people explain where you’re going and why, back to you. They need to teach it back.
    How do you see your role in this? This allows people to see themselves in context and personalize the direction they’ve been given.
    What support do you need? Again, it requires the individual to think more carefully through the personal implications of what they’re being asked to do.
    And finally, how committed are you to support this direction? This last question assesses the level of commitment; it ties a bow on the whole thing.
    Reflection Question: Are you prioritizing until it hurts?
    Function 3: Change & Innovation (31:22)
    By definition, leaders have a contradictory role. On the one hand, they need to preserve the status quo to create value today. They also have to disturb the status quo to create value tomorrow. Organizations change for three reasons: 1) to achieve higher value, 2) to achieve lower costs, or 3) to ensure compliance with legal, regulatory, and safety requirements. Businesses need change and innovation because competitive advantage isn't promised, it's perishable.  It’s the leader’s role to initiate change and innovation in order to gain, maintain, or reclaim competitive advantage.
    Reflection Question: Is my communication as a leader more discovery- or advocacy-based?
    Function 4: Talent Acquisition & Development (38:17)
    The fourth function is to acquire and develop human capital. Given the transitory nature of competitive advantage, the true source of sustainable competitive advantage is ultimately people. They are the source of ideas and action—the two assets most responsible for organizational performance. Senior leaders must be deeply committed to and engaged in acquiring and developing talent. They are in large measure defined not only by what they do but also by who they leave behind in the leadership pipeline. Leaders who develop a climate of psychological safety and cultivate a high tolerance for candor engage and retain their people at much higher levels than the competition.
    Reflection Question: Do you have top talent leaving? Why?
    Function 5: Values & Culture (45:46)
    Values are the primary ingredient in any culture. Research confirms what we now call the culture formation hypothesis–the modeling behavior of leaders is the central factor in culture formation. Leaders either show the way or get in the way. This central question now becomes: Cu

    • 59 min
    Achieving Physical Safety Through Psychological Safety

    Achieving Physical Safety Through Psychological Safety

    Psychological safety is the key to creating a safer workplace where employees can bring up concerns and problems before they become disasters. This week Tim and Junior explore the link between psychological safety and physical safety for organizations where lives are on the line.
    (02:24) Tim shares a personal experience about his time managing the Geneva Steel Plant. Safety protocols were not followed and a critical accident happened. The life of a worker was lost.
    (11:26) The Duty of Care and the fundamental hazard categories. In 1788 British Parliament passed The Chimney Sweepers Act which established a legal and a moral obligation to keep each other safe in the workplace. Frameworks have evolved around this duty and we've identified four fundamental hazard categories. They are chemical, biological, ergonomic and physical. We've used that framework for more than 200 years to make the workplace a safer place by identifying and removing hazards in these four categories.
    (28:36) Passive observation vs active participation.When we engage in an activity we do so on a spectrum of passive observation to active participation. During activities where safety is at risk passive observation enhances that risk. Passive observation is more likely to occur in environments with low levels of psychological safety.
    (36:18) Toyota production lines and the andon cord.Toyota's introduction of the andon cord is a great example of what it means to "stop the line". The andon cord enabled anyone on the production line regardless of position, title, or authority, to stop the line by pulling the cord. The main concern for Toyota was quality assurance. We can apply this same concept to safety. Anyone on the job, regardless of position, title, or authority should be given the power to "stop the line" at any moment and not be punished for it.
    Important LinksEbook - Breaking the Chain of Command: Achieving Physical Safety through Psychological SafetyWebinar - Breaking the Chain of Command: Improving Physical Safety through Psychological Safety

    • 49 min
    What Psychological Safety is Not

    What Psychological Safety is Not

    In this episode Tim and Junior discuss the seven misconceptions surrounding psychological safety. Some organizations and some leaders dismiss psychological safety because they believe that it means a whole host of things, that it doesn't mean. So they dismiss it and they ignore it. When helping leaders understand the topic of psychological safety, defining what psychological safety is not can be just as helpful as defining what it is.
    (03:19) What is psychological safety? Psychological safety is a culture of rewarded vulnerability. It is an applied discipline that requires effort and a high bar to create this kind of culture. Individuals and teams progress through four successive stages of psychological safety.
    (10:06) Psychological safety is not "niceness". Tim wrote an article featured in Harvard Business Review titled, "The Hazards of a Nice Company Culture". Sometimes a thin layer of niceness is spread over a thick layer of fear. We're not saying, don't be warm, hospitable, or caring. When we are collegial to a fault, what happens? We create false harmony and false compassion. A barracuda may smile at you, but don’t pet it. Niceness without pure intent is counterfeit. It still induces fear and mistrust.
    (26:03) Psychological safety is not consensus decision making. Yes, psychological safety should do much to neutralize the power differential created by hierarchy, titles, and position, but I’ve seen employees who believed that their organization’s emphasis on psychological safety invested them with veto power. Psychological safety should give you voice, but it does not change decision making authority.
    (42:13) Psychological safety is not rhetorical reassurance. Some leaders try to enact psychological safety with words. They mistakenly believe they can decree it into existence by simply saying, “Psychological safety is a priority for our organization. Please speak up. Give us your honest feedback and candid input. It’s now safe.” Just making a declaration won’t make it so.
    Important LinksHBR - The Hazards of a “Nice” Company CultureWhat Psychological Safety is NotThe Complete Guide to Psychological SafetyWhat is Psychological Safety - Podcast EpisodeWhat is Psychological Safety - Website

    • 51 min
    How a CEO Can Create Psychological Safety in the Room

    How a CEO Can Create Psychological Safety in the Room

    There’s a power dynamic in every room. If you’re the CEO and you’re in the room, you control that dynamic. Positional power is consolidated in your hands, and what you say and do can draw people out or make them recoil with anxiety and fear. In this weeks episode Tim and Junior discuss 10 ways CEO's can create higher levels of psychological safety in the room.
    (11:48) Hierarchies often create inequality and that inequality can foster some of those negative outcomes. Leaders should strive for cultural flatness. Cultural flatness is a condition or an environment where people as they're interacting they become agnostic to title and position and authority and therefore they're able to debate issues on their merits. The best ideas in the room win rather than the hierarchies in the room.
    (21:58) As the CEO you can re-distribute the power dynamic in the room. Two concrete examples are 1) by delegating the conducting of the meeting and 2) by not sitting at the head of the table. You've got to disrupt the power dynamic by avoiding the head of the table and sitting next to someone different.
    (35:35) Rewarding challenges to the status will bring more psychological safety to the room. The premise of this recommendation to stimulate inquiry before advocacy. It's not enough to ask for feedback you have to respond positively to feedback and buffer strong personalities to encourage everyone's participation.
    Important Links:HBR - How a CEO Can Create Psychological Safety in the RoomThe 4 Stages of Psychological Safety Behavioral GuideWhy Some Leaders are Afraid of Psychological Safety

    • 50 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

Tonettesocal ,

BEST Human-Centric Leader Blueprint

I’ve been listening to this podcast and following LeaderFactor on LinkedIn for about 2 years. The frameworks provided are incredibly relevant tools, especially during a time where culture is completely transitioning do to the Great Resignation etc. These insights are about teaching leaders how to truly unlock talent by peeling back deep layers of unconscious behavior, usually stemming from the leaders themselves!

Mgrabanqqqq ,

So helpful

This podcast is a treasure, trove of contents and insights that some people would charge a small fortune for. This free podcast is such a gift. I’ve learned that I cannot listen to this while driving because I want to stop and take so many notes, especially the four episodes about the four stages of psychological safety.

心理97 ,


Wonderful content!

Top Podcasts In Society & Culture

Michelle Obama
Jennifer Welch and Angie “Pumps” Sullivan
This American Life
Kelly Ripa
Hoda Kotb, TODAY

You Might Also Like

Pushkin Industries
Pushkin Industries
Hidden Brain, Shankar Vedantam