Masters of Leadership is an original podcast hosted by Cotential CEO and Get Big Things Done author Erica Dhawan sharing powerful stories of masters of leadership who get big things done. Learn from business CEOs, entrepreneurs, creatives, authors, and more.
Dan Schawbel: Why “Back To Human” Is The Most Powerful Leadership Strategy
Back to Human: It's the title of Dan Schawbel's new book, and the phrase itself implies that we’ve departed from being human toward one another in significant ways. That’s the assumption behind Dan's work. He has devoted his life to studying human interactions and has compiled much of what he’s learned into his new book. He has tremendous insight into how we can be intentional about our human interactions so that they can be optimized for our health as individuals and our success in the workplace.
You won’t want to miss this insightful episode. Dan shares why emotional intelligence is more important than skill competence, what social media and digital communication have done to us as humans in spite of their obvious benefits, and how we can turn things around to benefit ourselves and those on our teams in incredible ways.
Getting “back to human” means understanding that emotional intelligence is more important than technical skill Think about what is typically looked for when resumes or CVs for open positions are submitted at your company. Typically, the focus is on education and experience. In other words - What has the person accomplished? What skills do they bring to the role for which they are being considered? But is that the right place to look for maximum fit and effectiveness on your team?
Dan Schawbel says that it’s becoming more and more evident that the soft skills we’ve come to describe as “emotional intelligence” have a much greater impact on a person’s fit and effectiveness on a team than do their job-related skills. Why is that? It’s because the relationships within the team underly everything that the team does. If there is tension between team members, the outcomes the team produces will be impacted. That's a relational issue, not a skill issue. Listen to hear Dan share why leaders should focus more on emotional intelligence in themselves and their team members if they really want to move "back to human" in their leadership style.
We are failing to understand and be understood when we only use digital communication Digital communication has been a great blessing to the world. We now have the ability to connect with others who are across the globe with the click of a button or a few minor keystrokes. But the ease of digital communication has taken some of the humanity out of the WAY we communicate with each other. Statistics are showing that though people are communicating with others more often digitally, the experiences of loneliness and isolation are growing exponentially.
Why is that? It’s because there is something missing in the way we are interacting, and Dan Schawbel says it’s the human component of the relationship. He suggests we do everything we can to increase face to face communication with each other, whether we are connected through a work-related team, as family members, or in a service provider-client relationship. Listen to glean incredible practical advice from what Dan has to share.
How do we express more empathy when we are unable to meet face to face? Though the ideal way to move back to more human interactions in our digital age is to get face to face with each other as often as possible, it’s not always possible. What can we do to express empathy and care for others when digital means of communication are all we have available?
A simple first step is to take the needed time to sweeten up our email and text interactions. A few moments used to strategically add complimentary or appreciative words can go a long way toward creating connection with the person on the other end of the correspondence and add value to the interaction.
Leaders can enlist and empower remote workers to lead remote meetings. Not only does it communicate trust, it also engages various team members in becoming known by the team and helps them develop confidence and skill - an opportunity most modern workers are looking for.
For larger companies, Dan suggests that leadership cre
Tasha Eurich: Increase Self Awareness To Maximize Your Leadership
If you are a leader, the data is in: As you increase self awareness your leadership will improve. Self Awareness is a very simple concept, but quite difficult in practice. That’s because we don’t always see ourselves the same way that we come across to those we interact with. On this episode, my guest Tasha Eurich shares her findings regarding the quality of self awareness and drives home how important it is for leaders to increase in self awareness for the sake of their teams. Be sure you listen to learn how simple it is to improve in self awareness and how to establish daily habits that help.
Ask the question, “How much time do I spend focused on knowing myself?” To begin an assessment of how self aware you really are, Tasha suggests you start by asking a simple question, “How much time do I spend focused on knowing myself?” She says it doesn’t take extraordinary amounts of time to get to know yourself but it does require a concerted effort.
On this episode, Tasha shares a few simple but powerful routines you can add to your daily schedule that will help you discover who you really are and then apply that knowledge to your role as a leader. She also shares a free self awareness quiz she’s developed to help anyone quickly ascertain how self aware they really are. Get the details on this episode.
Grow your self awareness by establishing the habit of a daily check-in One of the most highly consistent data points Tasha discovered that was common to people who were highly self aware but weren’t previously was a daily habit of checking in with themselves about how they are relating to others. The daily check-in she recommends consists of 3 questions:
What went well today? What didn’t go so well today? How can I be smarter tomorrow? What Tasha loves about those questions is two-fold: First, it enables you to stay out of “overthinking mode,” which is counterproductive when it comes to increasing self awareness. Secondly, these simple questions can give you micro insights you can use to be more aware of your interactions with others. This can reveal big aspects of yourself that you haven’t been aware of before.
Awareness is at the heart of being successful as a leader - and a human High profile leaders who are self-aware are a rare sight these days. Tasha points out that one of the best models of self awareness she’s met is Alan Mulally, a business leader who turned around two iconic American companies that were in big trouble - Boeing Commercial and Ford Motor Company. What enabled him to turn Ford from a $17 billion loss to a $20 billion profit just 6 years later?
Surely, there were many things he did to enable that kind of turn-around, but he says that at the heart of any success - and something he focuses on personally - is the issue of awareness. When you have that value at your core, you are able to see the gems about yourself or your situation that enable you to make adjustments to what you’re doing. Don’t underestimate the power of awareness.
People in positions of power tend to be less self aware: Find loving critics Leaders are high power, high energy individuals for the most part. But they don’t always have the greatest sense of self awareness. These people must go out of their way to get quality feedback. Tasha calls those who give this vital feedback "loving critics,” people who care enough to tell the truth about how the leader is coming across to those they lead.
This insight alone is a gem that you can use to increase self awareness in a way that empowers your leadership, equips your team to be more productive and creative, and to become better at empowering and equipping others to become leaders themselves.
Don’t miss this great conversation.
Outline of This Episode [1:22] Tasha’s working definition of leadership: Bringing out the best in others [2:01] The power of improving self awareness [3:57] What does it mean to be self aware and how do we grow in self awar
Rahaf Harfoush: Transforming Modern Work To Help Productive Creatives Thrive
The world of modern work is transforming before our very eyes. Remote working teams, new tools that provide faster communication, and a focus on team culture and environment are melding with traditional beliefs about work to create a complicated and often unhealthy place in which today’s workers must perform.
My guest on this episode, Rahaf Harfoush is a digital anthropologist who has devoted herself to studying the many intersections between emerging technology, innovation, and digital culture. Her third book, entitled “Hustle & Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work,” reveals the data and practices behind companies and organizations that are adapting to the needs of modern workers effectively and creating teams that are more productive and healthier, all at the same time. Don’t miss this conversation.
"Productive Creatives" is a moniker that describes most people working today Most roles within companies and organizations these days fall into the category of knowledge work, and in those roles, a growing amount of creativity is needed to truly be productive. It’s an approach to work and performance that is relatively new but is quickly becoming the norm because of the digitally integrated age we live in. Rahaf’s belief is that we need to rethink the systems and approaches to work that have governed the way we work and live so that we can adapt to the needs of the modern worker - the ones she has dubbed “Productive Creatives.” Listen to this episode to hear how she suggests we go about addressing the very real needs that touch most people in the modern workforce.
Does your team need more perks or a better behavioral environment? Policies that leaders often put in place to attract and retain team members are many times nothing more than band-aids - things that don’t truly address the needs of the very people they hope to benefit. In this conversation, Rahaf gives the example of how the leadership at Netflix created an “unlimited paid vacation” policy in an effort to attract and retain team members. What they discovered was that very few people actually made use of the benefit.
What was the reason? It turns out most people felt that taking “too much time off” would cast them in a negative light among their peers on the team. So the desire leaders had to provide a helpful and appreciated benefit wasn’t fulfilled. Their final solution was to create mandatory time off for everyone. This removed the "peer pressure" aspect of the paid time off and gave everyone the permission to rest, decompress, and take much-deserved breaks. Listen to hear how fascinating examples like this inform us as to how companies and organizations are adapting to the modern worker's needs.
Where do we get our ideas about work? How is modern work being impacted? There is a strange fusion of ideologies that go into the way each of us thinks about and approaches our work. Our personal history of work, the enduring idea of the Puritan work ethic, media influence and commentary regarding work, and the way we talk about modern work heroes create a cultural narrative about the ideal or standard of what successful work looks like.
The problem is this: the modern workplace is full of “productive creatives” - people who need a different environment in which to thrive. Creative work requires unstructured time, pauses, rest, breaks, and other somewhat unconventional approaches that fuel effective work actually being done. That’s one of the reasons Rahaf has titled her book “Hustle AND Float” - it’s both hard work AND the “float” time that empowers us to do our best work.
The constant urgency inherent in virtual working teams could be dangerous Rahaf is thrilled that remote work is becoming more and more accepted and encouraged in the modern workplace. But she is concerned that the tools adopted to facilitate remote work have many of the characteristics inherent to social media. Notifi
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic: Removing Incompetent Leaders And Finding Better Ones
If you do a quick Google search starting with “My boss is…” you’ll find all kinds of evidence for the existence of incompetent leaders in business, politics, civic groups, and more. Dr. Tomas Charmorro-Premuzic has made it his mission to help organizations bring together tech and science to predict human performance. His latest book, “Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders And How To Fix It” is a sorely needed wake-up call for our culture.
Tomas points out that much of what passes as thorough vetting of leadership candidates is not thorough in the areas that matter - the data-driven results of past leadership performance, relational skills, and the feedback of former team members. In this conversation Tomas shares how we’ve gotten into our current leadership mess, explains the ways we can turn the ship around, and gives advice to those who aspire to be leaders.
We need to become better at spotting true measures of competence Tomas suggests that much of the reason we’ve wound up with incompetent leaders is that we’ve mistakenly assumed that the characteristics that make a person more likely to put themselves forward as a leadership candidate - assertiveness, confidence, even narcissism - are also the characteristics that will make them good leaders. The data shows this is not the case at all. Tomas says we need to become better at spotting true competence. Listen to this episode to hear how he suggests we do that.
If we want to upgrade our leaders we need to give more than lip service Nobody would say they want a pompous, egotistical person to be their next leader. But when we go with the way leadership selection has always been done, that’s what we get. Tomas suggests three things we should pay attention to if we want our desires for good leaders to become reality.
Focus on the right traits - it sounds obvious but it’s rarely done. Look for the qualities and attributes that make people better leaders. Humility, self-awareness, integrity. We focus too much on charisma, confidence, and self-promotion. Look for reliable data that can help us predict how leaders will perform in the future. You may have to dig to find it, but it’s worth it in the end. We should not lower the standards when searching for female leaders but raise the standards for male leaders. Companies that hire better leaders use performance data well Most of the companies that are getting leadership hiring and assessment right are well-established brands. Pepsico, CocaCola, Shell, Merck - and they all have one thing in common: they use data really well. They have a habit of measuring the performance of their leaders which gives them a data set from which they can establish benchmarks as to what the most effective leaders have in common. They also seek 360 feedback - especially how a leader’s subordinates or direct reports rate them - and then combine it with good scientifically defensible psychometric assessments. Doing this on a consistent basis pays off, with fewer incompetent leaders making the cut.
Advice for those working for incompetent leaders If you find yourself stuck, working for a leader who is incompetent or difficult, Tomas says you need to learn the “soft skills” of getting inside the skin of your leader to discover what drives them and to learn how you can best negotiate with them.
He says first, don’t assume that changing departments or companies will make the situation better. Bad leadership is pervasive and the leader you inherit could be worse than the one you left.
Make yourself useful. Even bad leaders learn to appreciate those who make their role/job easier. Find ways to benefit your leader and you will have a better experience yourself.
Find ways in which your performance and achievements can be recognized by your bosses boss. You may need to get creative but it pays big if you can become an asset to those higher up the chain of leadership.
Outline of This Episode [1:35] Tomas’ definit
Caroline Webb: Tips For Applying Behavioral Science In Management
Thankfully, the days are gone when leaders are prone to ignore the best ways to apply behavioral science in management. That’s because more and more often, the discoveries of science and the practices of leadership and management are converging. The two go hand in glove in the most successful organizations. For that reason, I wanted to invite Caroline Webb to be on the podcast.
Caroline is many things - a management consultant, economist, author, and leadership coach. She specializes in helping people understand the powerful lessons behavioral science brings to management and leadership, which results in a transformed way of living and working. During this conversation we speak about the insights from her book, “How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life”.
It’s vital for leaders to apply the findings of behavioral science in management Behavioral science is a treasure trove of relevant information for leaders. Through its discoveries, we are able to understand exactly what is going on in the brains of people as various situations are happening. Do you see the impact of that kind of knowledge? As leaders, we can learn better ways to relate to and help those we work with when we understand better what’s going on in their minds.
Caroline is a very well-spoken, clear communicator about these issues, bringing the subject matter down to a level we can all understand and apply. Listen to this episode to discover real, science-based tips for becoming a better leader.
People get dumber when they get defensive We’ve all seen the characterizations of old-style, bad leadership. Demands. Criticism. Berating diatribes. All of these are the kind of behavior none of us wants to have to endure from our leaders. Interestingly, behavioral science explains why - those approaches spark defensiveness, which in turn does specific things in the brain, actually making us less able to respond.
In Caroline’s Webb’s words, “We actually get dumber when we get defensive.” Can you imagine the difference it would make if those in management and leadership positions understood the ramifications of this kind of information? We could intentionally adjust our approach to confrontations, meetings, annual reviews - all to increase the likelihood of productive, helpful responses.
Putting yourself at a distance from the problem makes for clearer thinking Every leader knows the difficulty of dealing with a crisis situation and leading a team through it. Stress can dominate - which makes for muddled thinking at best. Caroline recommends a very simple tactic which actually helps to clear the brain for better thinking. It’s called “distancing.”
She tells the story of one leader who was speaking to his team during a stressful situation. He asked them, “2 years from now, what will we wish we had done in this situation?” Do you see what he did? He was leading them all to distance themselves from the problem, to step outside the emotions of the moment to look at things from a fresh, wise perspective. Caroline says that distancing is a practice rooted in the findings of behavioral science, and those in management would do well to employ it.
Tips for developing empathy and understanding within remote teams Even in the context of remote teams, there are powerful ways we can apply the lessons of behavioral science in management. One of the principles that has proven to yield great fruit is the practice of face to face meetings via video. Research shows that individuals are able to have greater degrees of empathy for others when visual cues are present. That means they need to actually SEE each other in order to pick up on things that are going on in the other person. A simple solution for digital teams is video. Caroline suggests that leaders of digital teams use video any chance they get to build more empathy and team connection.
Listen to this episode to hear the great insights Carol
David Peterson: Long Term Leadership Requires Leadership Development Through Coaching
My guest on this episode loves to think of leadership through a long-term lens. He believes that the way a leader approaches today's decisions must be informed by looking toward tomorrow. David Peterson is the Director of Leadership and Coaching at Google where he provides coaching to senior leaders, oversees internal and external coaching programs, and supports a executive development and organizational learning programs. He is the author of two best-selling books, “Leader As Coach” and “Development FIRST: Strategies for Self-Development.”
During this conversation, it became immediately apparent that David’s view of what it takes to optimize an organization for the future is a bit counter-intuitive to the average leader. He says leaders must sub-optimize current performance in order to optimize future performance. Listen to this episode to hear David explain.
In our volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world (VUCO), leaders must hold up a clear vision of long-term values and mission There is so much coming at us these days - and the pace seems to be picking up all the time. Leaders often find their heads spinning as more data, more innovation, and bigger opportunities present themselves every day. If the leaders are feeling the impact of such things, what are those they lead feeling?
David rightly says that the best antidote to overwhelm in light of VUCA is to maintain a clear view of long-term values and mission. It’s how leaders empower their teams to stay on track, assess opportunities as they arise, and stay focused on end-goals that matter.
When quick decisions are required, should you trust your gut or depend on data? Competition and innovation are two of the reasons game-changing decisions feel more urgent all the time. When those moments come, how should leaders make decisions when they haven’t had time to consider all the data?
Some would say you should trust your gut intuition - and David says trusting your gut works well when a situation is similar to things you’ve dealt with in the past. But research shows that even better decisions are made when the leader is able to take 5 minutes to step back and look at the flaws in their model and solicit input.
David's rule of thumb is to make a decision when 60% to 70% of the data you prefer to have is available - instead of waiting for all the information you’d prefer to have. If you wait longer, someone else (a competitor) will make the decision before you do. For best results, act on the data you have and adapt as new data comes in.
Leaders need to learn and teach deep empathy Organizations thrive when healthy relationships exist throughout the organization. Research is proving it to be the case. Leaders have to be out front when it comes to developing that type of culture. When they do, amazing things are possible.
David suggests leaders work to grow in what he calls, “deep empathy.” It has four components:
The ability to see things from other perspectives The ability to appreciate things from other perspectives The ability to anticipate the reactions of various audiences The ability to foster a sense of inclusion (to ensure people feel understood and welcome to share their perspectives). Leaders who employ coaching use it to empower their teams in deep empathy skills, which benefits everyone.
Long-term leadership requires an understanding of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level consequences of leadership development Every leader needs to be developing the Jr. Leaders around them. David cites a few examples of companies who make leadership development part of their culture - some to the point that promotions and raises are dependent on a person’s ability to develop others.
Part of being a mature developer of others is an understanding of what he refers to as 1st, 2nd, and 3rd level consequences of investing in people.
The 1st order consequences of leadership development are that it takes time and you don’t get results right away. That’
Erica is great at moderating. This was great listening experience and very educational. Look forward to more episodes soon. The "Simplifying Complexity" pod was my favorite so far.
Empowering and inspiring!
Loving this new leadership podcast - the guests seem to have been really carefully curated, each bringing an original and authentic perspective to issues of human collaboration and effecting change. A great resource for anyone inhabiting or aspiring to a management/leadership role!
One of the best new podcasts