67 episodes

You've got real-life, feet on the ground kinds of questions that need answers so you can become the leader you want to be AND develop the next level of leaders around you.

Each episode focuses on questions submitted by listeners just like you. Join in the discussion and get answers in each episode to the questions you've been asking.

Lead Your Leaders Annie Perdue-Olson

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 14 Ratings

You've got real-life, feet on the ground kinds of questions that need answers so you can become the leader you want to be AND develop the next level of leaders around you.

Each episode focuses on questions submitted by listeners just like you. Join in the discussion and get answers in each episode to the questions you've been asking.

    Ways To Leverage Team Strengths

    Ways To Leverage Team Strengths

    In the last episode we talked about how to uncover the strengths of your team even in the middle of chaos. Not the individual team member strengths – but what collectively as a group emerges when you work together that makes the team better together. Let’s take the question deeper:
     “How can we leverage the strengths we’ve identified for our team to work better together?”
    If you’ve named that a strength of the team is that they are responsive to the needs of each other >> well then tomorrow when you go to work you might start seeing how they listen, step up, and help others.  You’ve put on a lens that changes how you see what is going on around you.
    Now that we see them, how do we reinforce them?
    UNCOVER STRENGTHS STORIES - ON REPEAT
    Every 3 to 6 months, repeat the session from the last episode where you identify the strengths you see in the stories. You’ll also get a chance to notice trends over time.

    What are some of the new strengths you see emerging?  When you add people to the team, how does it influence team strengths? What do you notice about what the team is capable of?  REINFORCING KEY STRENGTHS
    You see it’s not only about naming the strength, but clarifying the situations where that strength is a strength and what situations might derail that strength and burnout the team or negatively impact the client served by the team. If your team has a strength of responsiveness, then try out some questions like this:
    What makes responsiveness an important strength for our work? What are the kinds of situations that we need to respond to? What are the situations that are okay to let go and not be so responsive? How do we manage this strength of responsiveness so that doesn’t burn us out? EMBED A STRENGTH INTO A PROCESS
    It’s really about creating norms for how this team does what it does. All too often, norms are more like unwritten rules. If you’re around long enough you might be able to pick up on the team’s strengths, but nobody has really solidified that into the way work gets done. People just have to figure it out as they go. A way to really leverage a strength is to take the implicit understanding of how things get done and why it matters and make that explicit.
    The more you can make the strengths you have as a team move from the unwritten rules to embedded in the way things get done then the more you are able to leverage that strength.
    LINKS TO CHECK OUT:
    Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 65: Uncover Strengths Through Stories Episode 38: Shift the Negative Vibe on the Team Episode 32: Starting Your New Team Off Right Learn more about Annie

    • 8 min
    Uncover Strengths Through Stories

    Uncover Strengths Through Stories

    “How do we figure out what our strengths are in the middle of all the chaos that we are dealing with that tends us towards focusing on what’s wrong or what we need to fix?”
    Let’s dive into a way for you to work with your team to change the narrative through a storytelling activity. Listen to the podcast for the full description and use the instructions below as a guide if you’d like to facilitate your own team activity. 
    PREWORK:  Set a meeting time – 90 to 120 minutes. To prepare for the session, ask participants to think of one or two stories BEFORE they come to the meeting. 
    Plan your meeting in 3 steps!
    STEP 1. Have everyone think of their one or two stories they prepared on how they experienced the team at their best. Ask them to write down a few notes on a piece of paper to remind them of the story. Give them 5-10 minutes. Use these question prompts:
    What happened?  What contributed to making that experience good?  What was the result of the team working at their best? STEP 2. Everyone takes a turn sharing a single story - round robin style. It’s okay if someone wants to “pass”. They can still contribute to the discussion, because there are two roles to play:
    The storyteller shares what happened, what made it good, and what was the result of the team being at their best – and in 2 minutes or less. You’ll need a timekeeper. It’s not a deep dive into one story – but seeing trends across many stories.  The audience in the room writes on post it notes a word or phrase that describes the strengths that they hear demonstrated in the story. After the storyteller is done, the audience shares their post it note and places it on the wall. Then move on to the next story  After everyone who wants to share has told one story, you can wrap around again to people who might have a second story to share. You can’t have too many because in the next step we will narrow it down. 
    STEP 3: After you’re done storytelling, leave the last 30 minutes of the meeting to step back and cluster like post-it notes together as a group. Which ones are duplicate words that came up across the stories? What are similar themes that emerged through the storytelling? If your list still seems too big and a little unwieldy, then have the group vote on their top three with check marks or sticky dots. When you’ve narrowed it down, ask the group to reflect on the strengths they see and ask a few reflection questions like:
    How do these strengths make us a better team? What are we doing right now that could benefit from leveraging more of our strengths? Sometimes strengths go unnoticed and then underutilized. By mining for strengths through storytelling you can find ways to “formalize” the use of strengths in the way you structure work or project timelines. You end up solving problems without overfocusing on what’s wrong, instead you’re focusing on what is right about the team.
    LINKS TO CHECK OUT:
    Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 38: Shift the Negative Vibe on the Team Episode 32: Starting Your New Team Off Right Learn more about Annie

    • 11 min
    How Leaders Become Leaders

    How Leaders Become Leaders

    What makes someone a leader? It seems like some people are thrown into leadership and others strive for it?
     You can hear both parts of the question that are really linked together. One, what is a leader? And the other is how does one become a leader?
    Last episode we walked through the conversation on what actually is a leader? But how do leaders of any kind become leaders? It seems like some people are thrown into leadership and others strive for it.
    THROWN INTO LEADERSHIP
    There are some leaders who seem to just fall into it. Even at a young age people recognize their influence and follow. They may rise up quickly and can be given higher levels of responsibility and influence. There are strengths and shadows on both sides of being thrown into leadership.
    Strengths – In these moments when someone sort of “falls into leadership” the key relationships and the natural charisma  contribute to influence. They can be like accelerants that open doors more quickly so it can seem like they are “born leaders.” These qualities allow them to rally followers and create momentum into the future. 
    Shadows – Quick rise risks not developing the character needed to sustain the pressure of leadership or they may be sidetracked by the realities of living leadership in the trenches. It creates a potential blindside that if left unaddressed can lead to burnout or poor choices in personal morality that can have devastating effects on other people.
    Leaders that “fall into leadership” have a great responsibility to steward their gifts, opportunity and relationships with humility and put in the work to surround themselves with honest friends. 
    STRIVE FOR IT
    Leadership isn’t handed to them, but they have to work for every ounce of influence they have, they have to pursue positions that might not be readily handed to them. There might be more asking – and having to face some rejections along the way and rebound from it. 
    Strengths - influence through the setbacks is a more sustainable influence built on experiences that ultimately followers can resonate with. 
    Shadows - resentment can build up in the face of life’s setbacks and some give up the striving. 
    Many potential leaders do the work, get the training, have the expertise and can still hit a glass ceiling or unfair limitations. If you’re one of those striving for leadership and hitting a ceiling, my challenge is to broaden your definition of leadership if you haven’t already. Check out the last episode!
    The risk in either scenario is that you focus on leadership rather than the person who you want to be and the person God wants you to be. So, do the work to build your character. Surround yourself with people who can be honest with you. Walk in humility and self awareness. Continue to pursue growth.
    LINKS TO CHECK OUT:
    Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 52: Leading a Mentored Life Episode 47: Leading From Your Center Episode 35: A Non-Anxious Presence in an Anxious World Episode 27: The Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make Blog: Let Your Values Be Your Guide Learn more about Annie

    • 11 min
    What Makes a Leader a Leader?

    What Makes a Leader a Leader?

    Are leaders born or made? It’s human nature to sort things by comparing this or that. However, this kind of sorting has significant limitations. In spite of that, this exercise of sorting can help us achieve a deeper understanding of a thing or get clearer on our criteria for a decision. Add to it a lens of both / and it can be helpful in answering today’s question. 
    What makes someone a leader? It seems like some people are thrown into leadership and others strive for it?
    Let’s first dive into the question of “what is a leader?” Next episode we’ll talk about how  some people are thrown into leadership and others strive for it. So, what is a leader…
    Positional Leadership
    In my opinion this is the least influential type of leader. You could say they have followers because the org chart draws a line from other people to the leader. But, if you define followership as loyalty and support – well, it doesn’t take much to see how limiting this definition of leadership really is. 
    Expert leadership
    When people see competency they are drawn to it. There have been leaders – without an organizational title – that have changed the world and people have followed the ideas of inventors or scientists and that influence has moved well beyond any organization. It also shows up in other roles like trainers, or consultants, or contractors; an author or podcaster who contributes their expertise to influence the direction or capacity of the team. 
    Thought leadership
    Closely associated with this subject matter expert or expert leader is a thought leader. A thought leader is more like a mentor or a sage. Someone who has been where you are and offers insight and wisdom into your situation because they have been there before. Roles might look like a board member who serves as an advisor, it might be a senior leader who offers advice to other leaders, it could be a consultant outside the organization who brings their wisdom from experience to you to share. 
    Relational leadership
    There are people on our team that are just natural at creating allies, networking across the organization and bringing people together. This relational influence is powerful when accompanied by a positional role, but doesn’t require a position to be leadership.
    If you look around your team or your organization, you’ll notice the people that have influence regardless of position. People know them. People go to them. Their words have impact. People will follow their lead even if they don’t have the position. 
    Links to Check Out:
    Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 52: Leading a Mentored Life Episode 48: Helping Others Embrace Change Episode 47: Leading From Your Center Episode 27: The Biggest Mistakes Leaders Make Learn more about Annie

    • 12 min
    Making Time to Think Strategically

    Making Time to Think Strategically

    "As I take on more leadership responsibilities, I’m finding that I need more time to step back and do more planning and strategizing. How do I make that time productive so I don’t just spin my wheels?"
    It’s true that the more responsibilities you take on the more time you need to step back and plan things out a bit. You can actually keep falling behind if you don’t step back and get a little strategic. It is actually a productivity strategy. 
     PLAN YOUR TIME TO PLAN
    First, you do have to plan the time. Block it on your calendar. Notice when you blow through the time block and do something else instead. You need to run a few experiments. Try different times of day. Try different techniques during the time you block. Give yourself a trial period maybe weeks or months
    FIND THE RIGHT TIME
    Everybody has a “most productive time of day.” It’s usually a block of 2-3 hours when we feel fresh. Creativity is easier to access. You have the capacity to do things that require focus. Finding the right time for thinking time is about that space in the day when you are most alert and ready to engage creativity, strategy and imagination. If you are low on energy when you start, you’ll likely quit and as the brain will go back to the easy thing.
    ENGAGE THE SENSES
    Another way you can help your brain be activated during your thinking time >> thus making it more productive >> is to engage your senses. It’s not just reflection but writing too. Not just dreaming but drawing too. Not just planning, but sharing the plan or talking it through with others.
    STRUCTURE YOUR TIME
    One of the reasons your thinking time can turn into just wheels spinning is because you don’t have a goal or a framework for your time. Having a target for your time will make it more productive. And, a framework can accelerate your thinking. Give you a track to run on so that you move toward your goal.
    Play with some of the ideas and then step back and reflect on what’s working and what’s not. 
    LINKS TO CHECK OUT:
    Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 60: Finding the Unasked Question Blog: Eisenhower Matrix Blog: Meeting Framework Blog: Team Decision Making Framework Episode 10: Questions to Help You Make Decisions Learn more about Annie

    • 8 min
    Know if Change is Working or Not

    Know if Change is Working or Not

    If you are changing something and you want to know if it's working or not, the place to start is making sure the target that you’re aiming for is clear. Without that clarity, you can't know if you’re hitting it or not. With that clarity, you can notice the clues that tell you you’re on the right track.
    How do I know if an idea for improving our program is working or not? We've got some great testimonials, but that's about it. What else should we be looking for?
    GET CLEAR ON THE TARGET
    If the target is too big, it’s hard to collect data so we tend to focus on stories. You can’t adapt and make changes if you only focus on stories. Objective measures are needed to know if your target is actually the right target. 
    If it’s too narrow, then you only look in one place, one data set: the number of participants or attendance. If you do that then you might miss some of the other clues that your change is having an impact. 
    BEYOND THE TESTIMONY
    Program outcomes are sometimes harder to measure because they are less tangible than say profits or number of sales or something easier to capture. That shouldn’t stop us from trying. Let’s make it simple and talk about the words you use.
    Verb: If you are making a change to your program, then you should be using a verb, right? Verb is action – you are doing something, taking some sort of action that will have a different result. So, what’s your verb?
    Noun: Once you have your verb, then think about your noun. Who or what will be affected by the change? Find your WHO will need to make change and WHO will benefit from the change. Then, identify a NOUN that describes the WHAT. What behaviors will change in either the participants or the program leaders to reach your target? 
    WHAT TO MEASURE
    You can start with testimonies and stories you’re hearing and even proactively collect them with targeted questions that help you see if the change is working. Then, add some other objective measures:
    It might be financial measures like cost or cost savings or revenue generation. It might be more outcomes based, like activity or satisfaction data It could also be that pre-data and post data comparison over time  You could also tract participation or even retention over time Any of these measures add more nuance to the testimonies and stories you collect. All of those things together can help you know if your idea is working or not.           
    LINKS TO CHECK OUT:
    Send your question HERE – in writing or by recording Episode 60: Finding the Unasked Question Episode 48: Helping Others Embrace Change Episode 10: Questions to Help You Make Decisions Learn more about Annie

    • 12 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

TFEtim ,

Great tool for leaders

This podcast is such a powerful resource for leaders. The host gathers questions from listeners and dedicates an entire episode to answering that one question. That makes it so easy to scroll or search the episodes to find the topic/question. Great tool for leaders.

seamomof8 ,

A Must-Have Podcast for Leaders

Wow. What a great podcast! Annie has such a great catalogue of topics, that I didn’t know I needed to hear. The episode on friends in the work place, brought up so many great nuances and dilemas that I have come across over time. She gives great perspective AND strategies. And she shares it all from a place of experience. Highly recommend!

SuperMarkus ,

Love this show!

This is a great leadership podcast! I love that each episode addresses a specific question and gets right to the point. I’m finding that I don’t have patience for super long-form podcasts anymore; these concise and pointed episodes are perfect.

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