Reflect Forward isn’t your everyday leadership podcast. This show is about exceptional leadership. Game-changing leadership. Learn from peers, experts, authors, and more on how to be an uber successful leader…one that stands out from the rest. One that inspires others to do great things. One that others want to follow. How does Reflecting Forward fit into exceptional leadership? You can only become great at what you do by deliberately creating your future by reflecting on the past and present…what you did well, mistakes you’ve made, and lessons you’ve learned.
Kerry Siggins is the CEO of StoneAge, the global leader in the manufacturing and distribution of high pressure waterjetting tooling and automated equipment. Kerry is also a member of Young President's Organization (YPO) and sits on several boards. She is a sought-after speaker, thought leader, leadership blogger and podcast host.
Five Ways To Motivate Employees In Uncertainty
How do you inspire your team in the face of uncertainty and at risk of burnout? We will talk about that in today’s episode of Reflect Forward: Advice From a CEO.
People are feeling overwhelmed. There’s so much noise and conflict in the world. Managing inflation, workloads, childcare, and other life’s demands – on top of the conflict of political polarization and war – sometimes it’s just too much to take. Your employees are at risk of burnout. But as a leader, not only do you have to manage these tense times yourself, but you also must keep your team motivated and moving forward. You have to support them tough these touch times to encourage their well-being.
That’s why I share my five tips on leading through uncertainty to keep your team motivated and reduce the chance that they will experience frequent burnout.
Manage yourself: No matter how turbulent you feel on the inside, you must remind cool, calm and collected. Remember, you set the tone, and your team will be stressed out if you are stressed out. Why? Because they model and mimic you. To be this, you must prioritize self-care. You can’t take care of others if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
Make courageous decisions: Your team needs you to make brave decisions. That means you must step into the discomfort of making difficult decisions. Your team and company require you to be decisive, especially when making tough and unpopular decisions. I get it, it’s not easy, but it must be done. My best advice is to show the vulnerability that making tough decisions requires. You may not be sure of the outcome or if you are making the right decision, but you must make them. Don’t be afraid of failure; instead, embrace the learning that failure might bring.
Listen, listen, listen: Everybody wants to be seen and heard. It’s part of why people leave their jobs; they don’t feel seen, heard, and valued. Many leaders would rather hunker down and get things done, but when times are stressful, the best thing you can do is sit down and listen. Dialogue matters.
Be transparent: All your employees want to work for a transparent leader. Why? No one likes to be left in the dark or to have partial or no information shared with them. Lack of transparency creates more fear and uncertainty because people tell themselves stories in the absence of information. So be transparent, tell the truth, and share as much information as possible. And okay with saying, I don’t know. No one has all the answers.
Build connections: Help your employees feel connected and like they are part of something bigger than themselves. Everyone wants to feel part of a team and that they belong. Ask them questions and create opportunities for them to connect with their peers.
Question of the Week
How do you have difficult conversations where people walk away feeling positive?
You can have difficult conversations, and you can have people feel motivated and inspired and walk away feeling positive. How do you do it? Here’s a straightforward trick: In addition to listening and engaging in the conversations and being open-minded, I turn negative language into positive language. You can say the same thing using positive language.
“Your communication style is hindering your performance. You need to stop interrupting and listen more carefully to what’s being said.” This statement is relatively negative.
Try this instead
“I’d like to talk about improving your communication style so you can be more successful. I’ve witnessed you interrupting, leaving people feeling like they aren’t being heard. I’d like to see you develop some tools that will help you be a better listener.”
Listen in for more tips on how to turn negative language into positive.
How to Build a People-Centric Company w/ Jocelyne Morin-Nurse
Guest: Jocelyne has been called an "architect of success," possessing an "impressive understanding of business." In a career that took her from public service to entrepreneur to CEO of a software company, Jocelyne has found a passion for impactful leadership, sustainable growth and business agility.
Jocelyne has led teams of 40+ members, managed operations through crises and transformation, redesigned recruiting processes and overhauled business financials, leading to profitability and measured growth. Through her company, Loxentus Inc.,
Jocelyne teaches entrepreneurs and leaders targeted recruiting, impactful leadership and operational optimization leading to growth.
Jocelyne is also the Chair of the Forbes Business Council's Employee Empowerment group and a member of the Women Executives and Public Speaking groups.
Episode in a Tweet: When you deepen your self-knowledge and understanding of others, you'll become a better leader and more able to build people-centric companies.
Background: I had the pleasure of meeting Jocelyne through the Forbes Business Council, and we hit it off as I share her philosophy on building people-centric organizations. During the interview, Jocelyne tells the story of how she became a CEO, which wasn't until she left a stable, well-paying public service position – and sold her home and almost all of her possessions – to go cruising on our sailboat with her husband even though she had been "warned" this would ruin her career. She created income by freelance writing, and then one day, she joined a software company as an executive assistant and, a few years later, was running the company. Sound familiar? Her passion for leadership and hard work paid off.
Jocelyne believes that the more we lead and work at deepening our knowledge of ourselves and understanding of others, the more effective we become as leaders. During this episode, Jocelyne and I discuss why it's important to develop self-awareness and share stories about how we've tripped ourselves up over the years. Jocelyn also gives her tips on how to recruit and keep talent by meeting each persona where they are at.
I know you'll enjoy this fun and engaging interview. Be sure to check out Jocelyne here:
Four Ways to Be a High Impact Leader
If you're listening to this podcast, I must assume that you are interested in leadership development and becoming a high-impact leader. But the path to high impact can be confusing, and no journey is the same. And with all the advice and leadership books out there, it can be overwhelming. This week's episode of Reflect Forward: Advice From a CEO highlights the top four areas you should focus on to be a high-impact leader.
Develop Other Leaders
The most important thing a leader can do is develop other leaders. You must be good at building a team, giving feedback, and helping people do their best work. Great companies and great teams are filled with great people, and no leader is successful on their own.
Embody Company Values
To be a high-impact leader, you must embody your company's values and principles, even if they don't serve your self-interest at the moment. Your people are watching you, and if you don't walk the walk, all the company values are is a list of words on a wall poster.
Know When to Lead vs. Do
As you develop as a leader, you must learn to let go of doing and instead lead. Letting go isn't always easy, especially when you base your value on the work you produce. But high impact leaders know that they must delegate effectively by setting clear expectations, giving smart goals, following up appropriately, and then getting out of the way.
Understand Emotional Impact
High impact leaders understand the emotional impact they have on their employees and company. Leaders should be emotionally impactful but in a positive way. Every word you say, every facial expression you make, has an emotional impact on somebody and with this comes great responsibility. Develop self-awareness and understand that you set the tone.
Question of the Week
This week's question came from a podcast guest who asked me, "how are you so good at so many things?"
I giggled at this question because I think I am terrible at many things. But I am committed to excellence, and that's why I work hard to develop my skills and talents. My best advice is this: if you want to be good at something, practice. Work at it. Practice makes progress, and when you make progress, you improve. It takes consistency, discipline and feedback to get good at something, and that's why you've got to work at it. So pick a skill in which you want to excel and practice it. You will get better over time.
Boost Your Peace, Potential, and Paycheck w/ Kelli Thompson
Guest: Kelli Thompson is a women’s leadership coach and speaker who helps women advance to the rooms where decisions are made. She has coached and trained hundreds of women to trust themselves, lead with more confidence, and create a career they love. She is the founder of the Clarity & Confidence Women's Leadership Program, and a Stevie Award winner for Women in Business—Coach of the Year. She is the author of “Closing The Confidence Gap: Boost Your Peace, Your Potential & Your Paycheck,” releasing the fall of 2022.
Episode in a Tweet: We all have self-doubt and sometimes even imposter syndrome. But we all deserve a seat at the table. That’s why it’s important to push through these feelings and claim your power.
Background: Kelli Thompson is on a mission to help women advance to, and make an impact in, the rooms where decisions are made. During our fun and enlightening conversation, Kelli shares that oftentimes, we label self-doubt as imposter syndrome and how that label can feel overwhelming. We all have self-doubt, and it can be used to propel you forward. Kelli believes that it’s important to have organizational conversations about the systemic issues are at play that perpetuate imposter feelings and address them, even if they aren’t easy conversations.
Kelli and I share stories about being told we are too aggressive (me) or too direct (Kelli) and how we moved through these labels to create success. We talk about how to turn your flaws into superpowers and why it’s so important to use your unique talents every single day. Kelli says, “Not only will you benefit in terms of your own personal happiness and energy, but others will, too, because they are counting on your unique calling.”
I know you’ll love this interview with Kelli. I can’t wait to have her back on the show, once her book has launched.
How to find Kelli:
Seven Tips for Effective Internal Communication
When we think of corporate communication, we consider how we talk to our customers or handle PR. But what matters most, especially if you are building a people-centric organization, is internal communication. How you communicate to your employees and teams will make or break you as a leader.
In this week's episode of Reflect Forward: Advice From a CEO, I give seven tips you can use today to create effective internal communication.
1. Vision and Values: everyone needs to understand where you are going as a team or company. Communicating vision and values increases the chance your employees all pull in the same direction and understand what's important to the company.
2. Set Expectations: If people don't know what's expected of them, they probably are going to fall short.
3. Listen: most people think that internal communication is just about sharing information, but equally important is listening. Communication is a two-way street, and you need to pause and hear what your employees are telling you.
4. Meet Regularly: Most people want to interact with management, so I recommend more personal communication. Take the time to talk with every person on your team at least once per week. Another option is to hold monthly company meetings where you share information, showcase progress on company initiatives, and celebrate wins.
5. Streamline communication channels: there are so many ways to communicate within a company that it can be confusing to know when to use what channel. Clarify how you want your employees to use the various communication methods within your company.
6. Own and Celebrate Mistakes: communication is stifled when people are afraid of failing or making mistakes. Talk about mistakes and failures openly, even celebrating them. No organization or person is perfect so make it safe to fail.
7. Ask More Questions: the best way to learn what's going on with your employees and teams is to ask questions. Be curious and encourage people to talk to you by asking open-ended questions.
Question of the Week
This question ties into this week's topic of creating better internal communication. A fellow YPO'er asked about my town halls. He asked, "how do you structure your town halls to make them feel safe and effective?" I share my tips on how to hold small town halls where employees feel heard and can ask you anything.
Why Being a CEO is Not About You w/ Dermot O'Shea
Guest: Dermot O'Shea is an entrepreneur that has jointly founded and run Taoglas for over 18 years and grown it to more than 425 workers with ten global locations and over $100M revenue in sales per year.
Dermot is a recognized thought leader in the IoT industry and is also accredited with creating "The best IoT party" and networking event every year at MWC Americas. When not selling Taoglas, Dermot enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his wife and three sons. Dermot also serves on the board of Alpha Antennas and the Board of Trustees of La Jolla Country Day School.
Dermot and his wife Ciara set up unityforukraine.net, a nonprofit to help protect Ukraine civilians in the war. So far, Unityforukraine.net have sent over $100,000 worth of essential equipment to help their friends and colleagues - civilians - in Ukraine.
Episode in a Tweet: Being a CEO is not about you; sometimes, it's about taking the backseat and letting others lead.
Quick Background: Dermot O'Shea learned the hard way that leading isn't about being the most intelligent person in the room or always being in the spotlight. After years of dealing with the stress a hard-charging leader brings, Dermot realized that he would be happier and a better leader when he let other people shine. So, he stepped back and made room for others.
In this very candid interview, Dermot and I talk about how imposter syndrome forces you to overcompensate and how to get over insecurities as a CEO. He also talks about his journey as an entrepreneur and how betting on himself paid off even though it seems risky. Dermot shares his passion for the Internet of Things (IoT) space and how he and his partner built a $100M company.
I'm confident you'll love this vulnerable and honest conversation with Dermot O'Shea.
How to Find Dermot:
Had to tune in for the Jimmy episode!
Fun thought provoking episode with Jimmy Peck…saved channel for future episodes! Will use love=time and mirror vs windshield concepts.
Fun and real conversations
I recently guested on this podcast and enjoyed the open and authentic conversation. Lots of great topics discussed in a very casual way very relevant to listeners interested in business and entrepreneurship
Relatable and entertaining
Kerry keeps her podcasts relatable, entertaining, and full of information people will actually use… she has a welcoming voice and it seems like each guest she brings on, she has known for years. I’m excited for what’s to come!