Ep #130: The Evolution of a Leader
In the evolution of a leader, there are several phases of leadership. What phase are you in and do you feel like you’re struggling? Today we’re talking about getting to that level of leadership success where you’re attracting team members who genuinely want to thrive with you and will do so over and over again.
What you’ll find in this episode:
- The different phases of leadership.
- The first phase of leadership.
- The growth phase of leadership.
- The juice that drives the growth of your business.
- Why leadership is not narcissistic.
- The reward phase of leadership.
- What servant leadership is.
- What has given leadership such a bad rep.
Featured on the Show and Other Notes:
- How to CEO Week – a 5 day mini-course that I will be teaching. We’re going to focus on doing a team audit on how to really create a team that you love. If you want to get on the wait list, you can go to howtoceoweek.com and put your name and info in and we will email the info to you. It will be a short course for $97.
- The How to CEO program – 12 weeks of advising and coaching, all of the robust blueprint content, PLUS we complement everything with other special guest experts. So, if you are ready to join us, please go to howtoceoregister.com. You can learn all about it, and see all the things you need to see.
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Hey, I’m Kris Plachy, host of the Lead Your Team podcast. Running a million dollar business is not easy. And whether you’re just getting started with building your team, or you’ve been at this for a while, I’m going to bring you honest, specific, and clear practices you can use right now, today, to improve how well you lead your team. Let’s go ahead and get started.
Hello. Hello, welcome. Thrilled that you’re here. How are you? I’m recording this a little late because I went out of town with my daughter to do some college visity kind of things back east, which was super fun. And so, thank you to my podcast producer, Sharon, who is graciously offering to put this together for us a little late because I did not plan well, as often or sometimes might happen. Things get away from me.
So, this week I want to talk to you about sort of, I’m kind of thinking about it as the evolution or the stages of being a leader. And I also want to remind you before I get too far into this, that I’m going to be doing a live mini course on really how to transform your team in about a week. We’re going to be teaching and I’m going to be walking you through really how to do a team audit and how to really know, are you the problem? Are they the problem? If we know that they are the problem, then what are the steps you have to follow to really address whatever the challenges are on the team and resolve them, or I guess a better way to say that, is to come to a resolution, whatever the most appropriate resolution is for you and your business.
I’m excited about it. I’ve sketched it all out. I think it’s going to be really powerful, very short, powerful week, very inexpensive $97. All you have to do is go to howtoceoweek.com and join the wait list. We’re probably going to activate it here pretty soon. And I’m really looking forward to it. We’re going to do a series of short sort of instructional coaching videos for you. And then I’m going to host one live Q&A for everyone who’s registered. And I will coach a few of you through your specific challenges, assuming you’ve applied the tools that I’ve shared with you throughout the week. So, really looking forward to bringing this to you as a way for you to get some help. If you’re struggling with some of the team dynamics, which a lot of people are right now for various reasons, then this is going to be good for you.
The other thing I just want to share, we have a couple… I bring in guest experts to the How to CEO program and just in the last month we’ve had Ann Barnes, who’s the CEO of IMO, which is a very successful health tech business. We’ve had Ali Brown, who is the founder CEO of We Lead and she’s a powerhouse in her own right, in business coaching and supporting other women. She has a really great program called The Trust, which I strongly recommend, I am a part of. And we’ve also had Tanya Dalton, who is the founder of Tanya Dalton Ink. She wrote the book, The Joy of Missing Out, it’s an excellent book. She’s a productivity expert. She is filled with insight and knowings and shared so much great information with my clients.
And then this week, actually this coming week, we are hosting Laura Meyer who has her own business. And she really helps clients learn about scale and do all the things related to marketing. So she’s going to be doing a presentation on how to hire that marketing asset, that marketing resource person into your business. I’m really looking forward to what she’s sharing. And we have several others coming up. One of the other women that just said yes, is one of our attorneys. She’s going to be coming and talking with our clients about COVID and what we really need to be paying attention to as employers, as it relates to COVID. And of course, I’m sure, as a lawyer, she would tell me to say this, but she can’t give people advice, but she’s going to help people know what some of the options are that are out there.
So, all this to say, that the How to CEO program, in addition to the 12 weeks of advising and coaching we provide and all of the content, 12 weeks of robust blueprint content, to help you really design a high-performing team. We complement everything we do in this program with other special guest experts, because it takes a lot of things to know how to do, in order to run your company well. So, if you are ready to join us, please go to howtoceoregister.com. You can learn all about it, see all the things you need to see. And if you’re not quite sure, join our, How to CEO week, and that’ll give you a little taste, a little snack on what it’s like to work with us and me, okay.
So let’s talk about the stages here of you and leadership and I’ve watched this now with so many people that I think it’s a powerful, just ground for us to sort of remember what we’re doing. So, when we start off as “ leaders,” we are the head of something, head of a business. And in most cases for the women I know that listen to this, you have your own business, but I also know there’s many of you who listen, who are working within a company. Regardless, you’re new, you were either hired, appointed, promoted, or you started something. And with newness comes all of the things. It’s like this perfect combination of thrill, excitement, freedom, terror, overwhelm, jubilation, independence, burden, all of it. It’s all in there. But, it’s mostly laced with enthusiasm because you have this position and you have some authority to do the things that you’ve always wanted to do.
And I know when I started my business, that was one of the most exciting things for me was, I could create a PowerPoint for a client and I didn’t have to give it to my compliance department to approve. It’s such a silly thing, but it was so awesome. I could just create whatever the heck I wanted and nobody could tell me I couldn’t and it was so liberating. And so, for an entrepreneur, when you start in that “ leadership role,” leading a person in team of one, it’s very driven by your ideas and your own energy and your own enthusiasm and your clear vision. And because of that, you execute very quickly. So you’re the doer leader, you are both leading a vision and executing on that vision. And so, there’s very little lag in idea to execution, which is great. That’s fun.
And for a lot of people who are entrepreneurs, who are also quick starts, it’s very rewarding because you typically see results relatively quickly. Then we hit what I call the growth phase of leadership, which is now you’ve hit that wall, your business is bigger than you are capable of doing alone. This is sort of that transition to that I talk about of solopreneur to entrepreneur. But from a leadership perspective, this is where we really have to leverage the talents, skills, abilities, experience of other people. We recognize that we need to [inaudible 00:07:35] and we become a little less enamored as leaders with our business. And this is where we start to discover whether or not we actually have the skill to lead other people. When you’re hiring bits and pieces of people to help you with projects, that’s very different than coalescing a team to deliver on a vision.
And this growth phase is really mired with lag, frustration and it is the requirement for us, as leaders in this space, is to become very intimately aware of what we do, why we do it and how we want it done. So in the new phase, we were able to just get a lot done and we didn’t have to think about it because we were just sort of using our own initiative, our own knowing. But now I have to figure out how to get that knowing into other people and that, my friends, is the juice that drives the growth of your business. And this is where most entrepreneurs will stop because it’s hard and it is hard. I don’t want to tell you that’s just your thoughts, this is important work that is difficult. And a lot of people just say, “I’m out. I can’t,” and they get stuck in a spiral.
And I watch a lot of people do this where they want what’s on the other side of this growth. They want what they believe is freedom and people running their company and them not having to babysit and them not having to do, but they’re so stuck in that it’s hard and thinking it shouldn’t be this hard, that they don’t advance. And one of, I think the most critical adopted ideas that I wish I could give you that you would integrate, is actually, this actually came from a former colleague that I know and have worked with. And she said that one of the unexpected surprises of building a company, was how she was able to invest in and grow other people. And help them achieve their dreams, help them make the money they wanted to make, help them do the work they want to do in the world.
And that was a thought that was very useful to her, at a time when her business was growing exponentially. And I’ve watched other women in that same space get mad that they can’t just find people to do the job for them. Her thought was, oh, this is really cool. I can find people to help me grow my business and at the same time, those people also get to win. And so, that kind of thinking is leadership thinking. It’s less about you and what you want and your feelings and your discomfort and your challenge and more about, oh, I am in the process of leading a thing that benefits a lot more people than me. And that’s powerful, if you can attach to that, if you can really allow yourself to see how amazing that is, that something that was born out of your brain is now in the world.
And not only is it in the world, it’s supporting and feeding and curating other people’s success and lives and experiences. I mean, that’s just magic, isn’t it? Isn’t it? I don’t know what else you call that, but when you’re so busy being angry at it, you’re not leading. You’re wishing. And you’re very self-focused. And that isn’t ultimately what I believe is leadership. Leadership is not narcissistic. And so, we always have to start with our own knowing of ourselves if we want to be able to lead others. And if you’re really busy being angry, that is hard. You’re in your own emotional spiral there. So assuming that we don’t quit and we stick through this growth phase and we lean into the power of how a vision was born, I curated it, I put it in the world and now it’s supporting other people and that’s really cool, then we get to what I call reward.
And reward is the reward phase of leadership is when you do have that thriving team, you’re experiencing success, people are thriving. The business is thriving. The clients are thriving. You are extending less effort for much more gain, both from a time resource perspective and a financial resource perspective because you took the time in the growth phase to really build those systems and structures and vision and values and expectations and the job descriptions. All the things that I talk about that are terribly unsexy, but that’s the foundational pieces to how you really get to growth and success, which is reward. But then something happens and I’ve seen this a lot. And so that’s why I wanted to do this podcast. And I see people kind of go in a couple of different ways. The first one is that, is what I really consider to be leadership, which is you recognize the reward of what has been put in the world and you see your role as a leader of this, ultimately just small, tiny little idea, which is now a thing.
You see leadership with a level of responsibility. You see yourself as a steward of both the business and the team. Some people call it servant leadership. I think it you’re a steward, your role transitions from leader, doer, CEO, doer, quick start, get it done today, to transformational participant in helping both the business and the people who work for the business thrive. Your role, I believe both functionally and ethically, is to be the steward for the people that you brought into the world that you created and to do so with integrity and honesty and transparency. But I do see other people get drunk with success and we’ve talked, I know you’ve heard these things in other places, but I thought it would be worth addressing because I see it in entrepreneurs also.
There’s some things that happens to some people, so they do build something really successful, they do build a team that works hard for them and they don’t ever step quite out of the me part. They still see the business as theirs, mine. They don’t see themselves as a steward of something much larger than themselves. They see the whole enterprise as self-serving. My money, my company and therefore, there’s an entitlement that this business is here to serve me. This business’s job is to substantiate my value. And a lot of people get a little consumed with, affected by the positional authority power that comes with being the head of a multi-million dollar business. There’s an elitism that steps in here, that somehow, now, even though you were that person not very long ago with not much, now that you do have more, you’re better than, and that’s a lie.
And that lie creates, not just cracks and fissures, it creates cavernous, huge divides over time. And what’s the most unfortunate is that then the leaders who report to you, who manage your team, they adopt that same mentality. And that’s where this culture comes from that so many companies have, that there’s this somehow when you’re in a leadership role, you’re better. You’re not. You’re fortunate, you’re accomplished, you’re successful, you clearly know what you’re doing. You’re not better. The business is not there to serve you, not once you’ve reached the level of success. The business is there, you curated this thing, you’re responsible for it. But a lot of people don’t see that and they wield their authority and their power so indiscriminately and that’s what’s given leadership such a bad rep because there’s so many great leaders who step up, they build things and then they curate and they are stewards, so much so that I think even the leaders who genuinely are those stewards, are seen through the lens of disdain because of the other ones who are not responsible with their role.
So as someone who stands either now in a multimillion dollar role, business, or someone who is on the precipice of that, I invite you to really recognize that long-term, sustainable leadership success. And I’m not talking about financial success, I’m not talking about political success, I’m not talking about social success. I’m talking about leadership success, attracting team who genuinely want to thrive with you and will do so over and over again. So that eventually, building a team is not hard. I think it’s one of the best gifts of being a successful leader, is knowing that you can call in great talent at any time because who you are precedes you. People know you’re great to work for, above all else.
That is the win long-term for me and that’s why I talk about it. Power that comes with success and money, respectfully, to the people who’ve achieved that, but haven’t gotten this stewardship part, that’s easy and shallow. So, I do watch this from time to time. I think it’s got to do something with human behavior that’s well above my pay grade. All I know is, leaders who behave that way, struggle long-term to curate loyal, long-term team members and cultures.
So I just want to give you some of that for food to thought. So where are you? Where are you first? Are you new? Are you growing? Are you successful? Are you in the reward phase? And if you feel like you struggle here, it’s because we need to work on your awareness. How do you think about and show up to your business and your team and yourself?
Ultimately, the success that we create as leaders comes from our own knowing. And I did hear an interesting interview the other day about self-awareness. It said that very, very small amount of us actually ever gains the level of self-awareness that we think we have, and that there are some powerful tools to help us gain more. But even the exercise of and the willingness to see yourself in circumstances, is an indicator of advancing your leadership skill. It’s the people who come to me, who truly just want to blame everyone else for their problems and are very unwilling to see any other solution, other than externally, that’s where I know we’re stuck and we’re not really focusing on leadership. We’re just focusing on personal comfort. So, thoughts to think.
If you want to join me for our team audit, how to turn your team around, make your team feel amazing, do some great things on that team, go to howtoceoweek.com, register, so we can get you the information. And I’ll talk to you soon.
One more thing before you go, in a world of digital courses and online content, I like to work with my clients live because I know that when you have someone you can work with, ask questions of and meet with, you’re so much more likely to get the success that you want. So head on over to howtoceolive.com, to learn more about our very exciting, very exclusive program, just for female entrepreneurs. We’ll see you there.