Join host Marcel Schwantes for deep and engaging conversations with the world's top business thought-leaders, authors, executives, and leadership experts. Marcel and distinguished guests inspire listeners globally to reimagine the conditions necessary for creating caring, humane, and human-centered workplaces that result in high-performing cultures and bottom-line impact. The future of leadership is "love in action." Join the movement!
Leading with Character: Why it Matters with Dr. Jim Loehr
Dr. Jim Loehr is a world-renowned performance psychologist, speaker, and executive coach. His groundbreaking energy management training has received worldwide recognition, appearing in national publications such as Harvard Business Review, Time, and Newsweek. Dr. Loehr has also appeared on national TV shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. Prior to its acquisition by Johnson and Johnson, he was the chairman and CEO of the Human Performance Institute (HPI), which he co-founded. In addition to his innovative contributions to sport, business, medicine, and law enforcement, Dr. Loehr is also a New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book, Leading with Character: 10 Minutes a Day to a Brilliant Legacy, details the importance of character-based leadership for personal and professional advancement, backed by scientific research. He joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss his book and how they apply to businesses today.
“My life isn’t mine,” Dr. Loehr claims. “My life is a gift, and I get fulfillment when I give it away.” He describes his life’s purpose as making a difference, researching, and advancing knowledge to help others fulfill their missions, and being an agent of fulfillment in the lives of others. [3:26]
Marcel asks Dr. Loehr if character still matters. He responds that there are two types of competencies when it comes to character: performance competencies, which include focus, ambition, and discipline, and help drive success in extrinsic ways; and ethical and moral competencies, which relate to one’s treatment of other human beings. “Performance competencies drive what you do, and ethical and moral competencies drive how you do it,” he explains. [7:05]
Dr. Loehr says that the hypermasculine, tough guy persona that is seen as the ideal leader is a tragic misrepresentation of great leadership. While an analytical, strong, and decisive mind is a necessity, so is empathy and consideration of others. [11:29]
“We’re all vulnerable to a number of glitches in our moral reasoning that hijack our ability to make good, solid decisions,” he claims, “and for the most part, they operate out of our awareness.” [15:16]
Dr. Loehr talks about the accompanying journal in his book. Journaling on a regular basis and recording their aspirations had powerful impacts on the way his clients wanted to live and move forward. “What this book represents… [is] writing out some of the most important answers to the questions of life… to feed those muscles of character directly,” he explains. [18:51]
Dr. Loehr shares an exercise he facilitated, where participants were required to list six words that describe them when they are the best version of themselves, and then list six more words they believe would be inscribed on their tombstones. They were asked to read their answers aloud in groups, and were startled to discover that everyone shared similar answers in both activities. The common theme that recurred through everyone’s answers was their connection to other people. [23:45]
Marcel asks Dr. Loehr how to convince reluctant executives to place more emphasis and value on character as it relates to organizational culture. “One of the things I would have a CEO think about is how they like to be treated by people of higher authority,” Dr. Loehr says. Additionally, “what was it that you admire most about the people who led you?” [29:33]
“Care about your people more than the results, and they will do everything that they humanly can to make your business work,” Dr. Loehr advises leaders. “Caring for others is an active process… a leader who understands leadership at its core loves their people because of what they do… they give life to your business. Without them, you have nothing.” [33:11]
Jim Loehr on LinkedIn
Leading with Character: 10 Minutes a Day to
How to be a Positive Influence Leader with Glenn and Michael Parker
Glenn and Michael Parker are a father-son duo and the authors of The Positive Influence Leader: Helping People Become Their Best Self, which is a practical guide to transformative leadership. Glenn is an internationally recognized speaker, consultant, and author. Micheal is the Managing Director for Rockefeller Capital Management and a senior executive with over 25 years of experience in financial services. They join Marcel Schwantes to discuss the power and value of influence.
Marcel asks Micheal and Glenn what inspired them to write their book. Glenn talks about the influence one of his former mentors left on him and how it impacted his life. Marcel shares his own story of his positive influence leader. [3:14]
According to Micheal, the four types of positive influence leaders are: the supportive leader; the teacher leader; the motivating leader; and the role model. He gives examples of each archetype. [8:26]
The transformational positive influence leader is a leader who is capable of embodying all four types. They’re able to identify and embody the appropriate type of leader in each situation. “All of us have the capacity within us to use all four types,” Glenn claims. “We may tend to use one or two more than others, but the ones that use all are the better leaders.” [15:02]
“We've all had negative influences or experiences under the wrong type of leader or boss,” Marcel says. He asks Glenn to give details about coping strategies for dealing with a negative influence. “There are many people in life who think they’re being helpful [by telling us discouraging things] but their words are just code for ‘I don’t think you can do it,’” Glenn replies. He divulges some helpful strategies that interviewees for their book used. [18:33]
Micheal shares how the current pandemic affected their release of The Positive Influence Leader. “At first, we thought the timing wasn’t right and that there were more important things to focus on,” he says. “A week or so later, [Glenn] said that we should turn this crisis into an opportunity we can leverage for however long it takes to observe leaders stepping up and evolving into positive influences.” The pandemic provided them with the opportunity to see in real-time how leaders lead in times of crisis. [23:38]
Micheal talks about what they learned during the pandemic. “Leaders in a time of crisis must be open and authentic; authentic leaders don’t deny, deceive, or deflect,” he advises. Even when they don’t have all the information, authentic leaders are honest, clear and specific. They say things like “This is what we know as of this moment, but the situation is fluid and things can change.” [25:11]
Marcel asks Glenn how leaders can implement the strategies written in their book. Glenn suggests that leadership teams can discuss the discussion questions at the end of each chapter. Additionally, there is a self-assessment survey they can take to discover their preferred style of leadership, which identifies the styles in which they need improvement. [28:07]
Glenn Parker on LinkedIn | Twitter
Michael Parker on LinkedIn
The Positive Influence Leader: Helping People Become Their Best Self | ThePositiveInfluenceLeader.com
Vulnerability, Not Bravado with Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Amy Edmondson
Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic is the Chief Talent Scientist at ManpowerGroup, and an international authority in psychological profiling, talent management, leadership development, and people analytics. He is also Professor of Business Psychology at University College London and Columbia University. Amy Edmondson is an author and the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School. Her work on teams, psychological safety, and leadership has influenced corporate and academic audiences all over the world, and she was recently honored with the Breakthrough Idea Award by Thinkers50 in 2019. Together, they authored the article “Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado” in the Harvard Business Review. They join Marcel Schwantes to talk about the paradox of finding strength in vulnerability.
Leaders who lead with bravado want to be perceived as tough: they have an aversion to displaying weakness or “soft” emotions and are confident even when they are wrong, according to Dr. Tomas. [8:51]
Amy says that a characteristic of bravado is an unwillingness to listen to others. As such, bravado-based leadership falls short in situations where science, facts, or expertise really matter. “You have to say ‘I’m all-knowing, and I don’t need others’ because that’s the whole idea of being strong,” she says of bravado-based leaders. [10:34]
Marcel asks them to define vulnerability in their own terms, as the word has undesirable connotations. “To me,” Amy starts, “vulnerability is a simple statement of fact; it just means ‘I am at risk of being wounded.’ If you are a vulnerable leader, you are simply willing to acknowledge reality.” Additionally, vulnerability in leadership allows leaders to be emotionally honest, authentic, and real. [11:39]
“A BBC journalist once asked me ‘But who wants to follow a leader that says they don’t know?’ And I said, ‘Maybe a rational and mature person,’” Dr. Tomas shares. He explains that those who follow leaders also need to be intelligent and rational enough to understand that difficult challenges may be ahead. [15:58]
Amy advises leaders to ask for help. You can reach out to the experts on your team and be clear about the assistance you require. Approaching them for help also brings recognition and appreciation for their skills and abilities. [20:26]
Dr. Tomas comments that leaders with big egos are usually overconfident and deluded; they never take responsibility for their mistakes because they never think they are at fault. Furthermore, they will not apologize. On the flip-side, leaders who are self-critical are more likely to be vulnerable and acknowledge their mistakes. [23:56]
Vulnerability becomes a weakness when the system or culture you are immersed in does not tolerate displays of openness, kindness, or doubts. In such cultures, doubts or self-criticism are seen as an indication of incompetence. [29:25]
Marcel asks Amy what some of the most difficult obstacles are for psychological safety. “Leadership bravado is a big one,” she replies. She explains how this stymies building a psychologically safe workplace. [34:11]
To Amy and Dr. Tomas, leaders display love at work by caring for and connecting with their teams. Love is a transformational, gravitational force that draws people in and enables them to become their best selves. [39:18]
Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic on LinkedIn | Twitter
Amy Edmondson on LinkedIn | Twitter
Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado
Signposts on the Road to Success with Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick
How can we restore peace this holiday season? That is the question Marcel Schwantes poses today to his guests Chester Elton and Adrian Gostick. Chester and Adrian are the authors of Leading with Gratitude (and many other best-selling management and leadership books!), and Co-Founders of The Culture Works, a global training firm that counsels the leadership of fortune 500 companies. They and Marcel talk about bringing gratitude into our homes and our workplaces.
· Marcel starts the conversation by asking Chester and Adrian what they’re grateful for. Chester keeps a quotation from Russel M. Nelson near his desk: “Counting our blessings is far better than recounting our problems.” This is particularly important to remember during years like this one, when it can be harder than usual to find things to be grateful. Adrian adds that he’s grateful for the opportunity to think about things in different ways. [05:45]
· When we’re in the middle of so much conflict and divisiveness, Marcel asks what needs to happen for us to be more grateful during the Christmas season. Adrian talks about the upcoming virtual or socially distanced gatherings and families who have residual political differences. The important thing according to Adrian, is “to treat people fairly.” Chester comments that we should “focus on what unites us.” [09:00]
· Marcel notes that Adrian and Chester are really digging deep into empathy – and he asks what connection empathy has to gratitude. Chester notes that often when we enter into conflict we want to win, which isn’t effective. He quotes Adrian: “Take a beat. Listen more.” [13:45]
· Adrian reminds everyone that “you really need to do something.” We take for granted that the people we love know how we feel about them. “Tell them specifically why you love them. That specificity is really necessary.” [19:45]
· Marcel asks Adrian and Chester to get into how to actually implement a culture of gratitude. Speaking to the HR or leadership of an organization. Chester says the first thing you need to do is talk about it – identify where you are, where you want to be and how you’re going to get there, and the role that rituals can play in a company. Adrian talks about the importance of looking for small wins, which are really signposts that you’re on the right path. [25:05]
· Chester mentions that one of the benefits of the pandemic is that we’re all working remotely, and leaders have developed much more empathy, since we’re all going through the same things. He talks about 3 of the questions he and Adrian encourage managers to ask their team members. [29:00]
· Adrian reminds us that fairness and equity are not the same. People need to be treated differently, and managers need to know what motivates each of the people you lead. Chester says it all comes back to caring, and knowing that your boss cares about you. [32:15]
· Chester says start and end your day on a positive note, and gives some strategies for how we can do that. [36:40]
Listen to Marcel’s Action steps for this episode at 39:05
Join the conversation on Twitter by joining the hashtag #LoveInActionPodcast
Chester Elton / LinkedIn
Adrian Gostick / LinkedIn / Forbes
Leading With Gratitude
How to be Ruthlessly Consistent with Michael Canic
Michael Canic is the President of Making Strategy Happen, and Bridgeway Leadership, a strategy and execution consultant, speaker, and an author. His book, Ruthless Consistency: How Committed Leaders Execute Strategy, Implement Change, and Build Organizations That Win, is a practical guide to implementing an intuitive yet comprehensive model for success in any organization. He joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss his book and how to apply its principles to your business in these unprecedented times.
Michael talks about the experience of winning the college football National Championship with the University of British Columbia in Canada. “Having a group of people with that intense shared focus on a common goal, and ensuring that, as coaches, we aligned everything to support achieving that goal was a tremendously gratifying experience,” he shares, “and that can be applied to any organization.” [3:01]
Marcel asks Michael what happens when leaders are inconsistent. Michael responds, “It’s when leaders trumpet excellence but tolerate mediocrity, or when they say we’ll fly to the moon but don’t give their teams the resources to get there,” he says. The mixed messages kill leaders’ credibility and undermine efforts. [5:45]
Strategic planning often focuses more on the planning part, and less on putting the plan into action. Michael says leaders should focus on executing the plan to get the desired results. [8:08]
Many people often confuse confidence with arrogance. Confidence is good and healthy, but arrogance is a detriment to your leadership. The antidote to arrogance is realizing and accepting that you’re not the purpose, you only facilitate it, Michael notes. “If you’re leading but no one is following you, you’re just going for a walk,” he quotes. [11:26]
Michael defines culture as “a byproduct of the processes we create, the practices we employ, and the interactions and conversations we have.” He describes the effects that inconsistency has on employees. [14:04]
Leaders must be coaches and not managers. “The difference is that coaches take responsibility for the performance of their people,” Micheal states. “Managers just say ‘Here’s your job, do it,’ and then come back to evaluate performance a year later.” Leaders need to make sure they are regularly giving people meaningful feedback and guidance about their performance. Additionally, leaders help create the right environment by holding people accountable. [17:09]
Valuing people is about respect, trust, and care. You engage people at a deeper level when they feel as though you respect them, trust them, and care about them as individuals. “[Now] more than ever, it is critical that leaders consistently convey that they value their people as human beings and not as objects of productions,” Micheal adds. [20:03]
While having skills and experience is the ideal, we need to look at people’s traits as well before we hire them. Having the traits to be successful make up for lack of experience or skills. [22:44]
“Right now, we have a great need for leadership at all levels and in all kinds of institutions,” Michael observes. “I implore people to be aware that the higher calling of leadership is not just for today, but for the future as well.” [26:18]
Michael Canic on LinkedIn | Twitter
Patience is a Powerhouse with David Sluss
David Sluss is an executive educator, scholar, and Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior at Georgia Institute of Technology Scheller College of Business. He joins Marcel Schwantes to explore the virtue of patience and why it is something we need to actively practice.
Kelly Merbler, Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, leadership development consultant, keynote speaker, and principal of The Kelly Merbler Company, joins Marcel for post-conversation commentary.
We often talk about patience as an abstract concept. However, patience is a leadership powerhouse. Unfortunately, instead of modeling patience, most leaders value speed and urgency. This makes them demand unrealistic deadlines of themselves and their employees, causing unnecessary stress. [2:30]
Good leaders are creative, collaborative, and productive. Patience amplifies these positive traits. According to David’s research, without patience there is no relationship between being a visionary leader (task-focused) and a participative leader (relational-focused). [6:00]
David defines patience as “the propensity to act calmly in the face of frustration and adversity... “Patience within leadership [means] you’re still acting, engaging and doing things, but you’re doing them calmly [in the face of frustration and adversity].” [11:00]
The best way to come up with ideas in a remote workplace environment is to have each individual contributor brainstorm on their own and then pool everyone’s ideas together. [15:45]
David talks about what patience looks like in leadership. During mid-April, “my manager specifically allowed each contributor to speak with him one on one to address any concerns,” David shares. “He allowed us to relax deadlines and constraints that wouldn’t normally be relaxed… patience meant we focused on what was prioritized and needed to go slow [in order] to go fast.” [19:00]
A lack of impulse control is what usually leads to impatience, David claims. “We’re just waiting, not acting calmly, and we’re not doing anything,” he says. This lack of action urges us to want to act and so we move forward without control. [23:15]
Marcel asks David how leaders can design a team for patience. David advises leaders to implement check-ins into team processes. This allows team members to slow down to go fast, and encourages them to act calm when conflict arises. Additionally, these check-ins provide opportunities to consistently re-prioritize tasks to ensure that the purpose or vision is being adjusted as time goes on, which is beneficial in times of crisis. [29:30]
Kelly talks about her personal struggle with being patient. “I have a high sense of urgency,” she shares, “and when patience comes in it takes me off the natural flow [I have] of creating momentum.” [42:35]
Marcel comments that losing your patience is detrimental, because it drudges up other emotions like anger and resentment, and that can cause people to lose trust in you. [46:30]
As leaders, you don’t attract what you want; you attract who you are. If you are impatient, you attract more impatience to your team. [48:20]
David Sluss on LinkedIn
Becoming a More Patient Leader
Kelly Merbler on LinkedIn
Customer ReviewsSee All
Especially loved his discussion with Kerry Wekelo - another great reminder to always infuse gratitude.
This podcast offers insight from leaders working in the real world sharing the good and the bad of their experiences.
If you take the time to listen, there are so many pitfalls they warn about, but also great (and tested) ideas to incorporate in your own leadership journey.
Well worth investing in listening to this podcast - a big thank you to Marcel for all the work he puts into making this an excellent resource.
Marcel offers such a refreshing perspective in his interview style . I love the authenticity and deep dive of every conversation. Thank you for reminding leaders to see 'employees' as real people with lives outside of work. I highly recommend subscribing to this show and sharing it with your friends!