How to Be a Better Leader for Your Business

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How to Be a Better Leader for Your Business

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We are each a leader in some way, but just because you call yourself a leader doesn’t mean you’re actually livin’ it and doin’ it. And even when you’re not leading, you need to be following the right leaders. You’re definitely going to want to listen to this podcast because we are going to be talking about the qualities of leadership that you can build in yourself and that the leaders you should follow have inside. Our guest is Tim Spiker, founder of The Aperio, a leadership development brand. Tim has over 15 years of experience in leadership, and he has some real truth to share. 

One of the biggest things you should take away from Tim is the “who not what” principle. Tim says that leadership is not about what people do, but about who they are. How do people feel when they are around you? You can’t expect to lead people who don’t like and respect you as a person. Think about a big, beautiful tree: you don’t see the roots, but the roots are what make the tree what it is. Leaders, like beautiful trees, are grounded below the surface, and that’s what makes them successful. 

Leaders are made up of two main qualities: they are inwardly sound and others-focused. They are inwardly sound because they are not easily thrown off course. Their stability encourages people to trust them. When you are trustworthy, the engagement of those around you increases, which leads to better results. If you wonder how you can build people’s trust in you, ask yourself how you can become more trustworthy first. Again, your ability to lead has everything to do with who you are inside. Remember also that good leaders are unselfish. They want others, especially those in their charge, to thrive. 

If you are looking to build the qualities of a leader in yourself, start with focusing on others. Develop genuine curiosity in the lives and perspectives of other people. Ask them follow-up questions. Then, focus on improving yourself by asking for feedback from others on what you could do better. This takes courage, and keeping yourself from becoming defensive is so hard, but you’ll learn so much if you do! If right now you are looking for leaders to follow, make sure that they are others-focused and inwardly sound. There is so much more to learn about leaders worth following, so I hope you’ll join us by listening to the podcast! 


  • The “Who not What” principle
  • Aspects of a well-developed leader
  • Tips on developing yourself as a leader


We have to work on who we are if we want the part of leadership that everybody sees and follows to be big and strong and healthy.

The best leaders are self-aware, and they create space for genuine feedback from the people that they are leading so they can understand where they’re doing well and where their shortcomings are.

When we get inwardly sound and others-focused, we become more trustworthy.


Tim Spiker is the founder of The Aperio and the Who* Not What Principle, a profound research-based truth that has powered 15 years of leadership development success. Tim’s book, The Only Leaders Worth* Following, reveals that 77% of leadership effectiveness comes from who a leader is and not what they do. Using this principle, Tim helps people become, be, and stay leaders who are actually worth following. Tim’s work includes delivering keynote talks, creating unique and customized learning experiences, and guiding long-term development journeys. Tim has worked with leadership teams in North America, Australia, and Asia. He currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and four children.

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    • Check out Tim's book Only Leaders Worth Following Succeed HERE


Hey, y'all, it's Angela, I'm back for another episode of business unveiled. And I'm so excited to chat with our guest today. And a couple months ago, I got this book in the mail. And I'm not that good of a reader. But I will say it was a beautiful cover. And the title really struck me. And I'm like, Okay, I'm gonna put this next to my bed and like, read a few pages every single night. And I haven't finished it, I'm gonna be honest, but just diving in and starting to learn, I am obsessed with learning about leaders in leadership. And so I had to wait a few months to bring on this guest. But it's all good. You know, we wait for good things. And so this book, it's called the only leaders worth following.

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And so I know that everybody listening today, you are a leader, or you are some type of a leader. And you're gonna want to read this today. And you're definitely going to want to listen all the way through because we're going to be talking about tactics about leadership. And so if you're following leaders, it's like, Are you following the right leaders? And who should you be following because not everybody, just because you call yourself a leader? I mean, come on people. Just because you say it that mean, you're actually living it and doing it. And so Tim has some actual like research base, which you guys know that I'm an analytical data geek now. And he's got some truth to some some real treat to share with us. It's really powered by 15 years of leadership. And he has an awesome company to out of Atlanta. And we'll get a little bit into that, too. So Tim spiker, welcome to the show. Thanks, Ray. I'm really looking forward to our conversation. Yay. So awesome. So before we dive in and start talking about you being an author and doing all this cool stuff with leadership, like, Did you always know that you wanted to be a leader and talk about leaders? Like, tell us where you grew up? grew up? Tell us about your journey of like, how you got to where you are today? Yeah, no, for it wasn't always on my mind to be really focused on the issue of leadership.
It really happened in one night. What? One One night, one night, you have these kinds of occasionally you have these epiphany moments. And maybe even sometimes you don't totally realize it's an epiphany. But you look back and like, that was the turning point. I was about to start grad school. And I was waiting tables at a restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri, like we all do. Right? That's right. Many of us have had that experience. And one of my fellow servers invited me to an open house for a marketing company. And I thought, well, I'm going to be studying marketing as part of my emphasis in my in my graduate Business Studies. And I was at a point in life, where if I thought there was going to be free food, they're pretty good chance I was going.
I thought, okay, something interesting and a free meal. I'm there. Now, if any of your listeners if anybody ever invites you to an open house or a marketing company, I'm going to suggest that you ask a few clarifying questions.
I did not. Oh, yeah. What happened? So by the time I got there, there was only seed slept in the middle of the room, I figured it'd be a little bit of a presentation of some kind. So I sat down at about three minutes and to what was happening, I realized what this actually was. So an open house for a marketing company is actually a
recruiting meeting for a multi level marketing company that was selling a lot of
weight. Did you say water filters or purifiers? Yeah, so water. Oh my god, I think I think I worked with.
And here's what I would say I've got nothing against MLM blast a lot of people, but I can honestly say I had no intention, no desire to sell water purifiers to my family and friends, right? So I certainly I felt kind of duped into this, but I also had a choice. So sitting in the middle of the room, and so okay, I can get up and walk out and make a scene. Or I can just wait it out to the break, grab my sandwich and leave. So I decided, Okay, I'm just gonna wait it out. There's no need to be rude about this. But that's when the pivotal moment for me happened. in that meeting, they started talking about what does it mean to be an employee. And at that moment, it was like this dark cloud of doom and gloom entered from the back of the room. And there was weeping and gnashing of teeth and everything was, everything was awful. And I just thought, Why on earth is that the reality of being an employee? How come? How come when somebody says to you, hey, what's it like to work for so and so? How come? The answer isn't? It's, it's one of the most incredible blessings of my life, I can't believe how much I'm growing. I can't believe how much we're accomplishing. I can't believe how they care about the whole of me, not just the part that produces work. But nobody was answering that way that everybody's talking about how negative it is to actually be led. And so the break came, and I grabbed a sandwich.
And I left but I was I was captivated in that moment, thinking about the issue of leadership and thinking that if we lead in the ways that we're actually capable of leading that the answer to the question of what does it mean to employ to be an employee could be drastically different than it is. And that's the night I decided I was going to see how much I could study and learn and interview people about leadership. And that was, that was about 20 years ago. And so here we are today. That's awesome. So so but before you became an author, you went and started a company, right? Yes, yes. Well, tell us about that. Yeah, so the name of the company is the appirio, which is Latin for the reveal. And our major work that we do as an organization, is we help leaders understand those hidden truths about leadership that aren't getting enough airtime to aren't getting enough discussion. And so as I started down that path, it was really I've never worked in consulting firms, I've worked internally as a leadership development manager for our company. But in all of those environments, there was always some type of Governor or limitation on what we could talk about. And I realized, because of some of the research that I had a chance to be lucky enough to be to be in the room where it happened, I got a chance to be in some places and see some things and realize that there was a, there was a bigger conversation in leadership that needed to be happening. But in the consulting firm, and even in the other organization that I worked in, well, there were some wonderful people there. And they were doing some really good things. They were just always some things that were off limits. And politics always played a role in limiting what we could talk about. And so I just decided, you know, we had our we had our third child had just been born at the time, well, you know, three kids under the age of six, perfect time to start with Wow.
You know, but I didn't, I didn't want to land, not that 50 years old is some magically horrible time, hopefully, we're getting our stride at that point. But I didn't want to hit 50. And say, I never tried to actually do the thing that I was most passionate about. And so that was that was seven years ago. And we've had tremendous fortune.
But just incredibly fortunate in terms of the people that we've got a chance to work with, to this point. And very, very quickly got connected with an organization that literally took us all over the globe, working with their various executive teams around the world. And so we got to not only see the reality of that research at play in North America, in the United States, but we got to see a play in Asia, we get to see it at play in Australia. And it's great to be able to look at those things that UK with a research then it's not a cultural thing. It's true, regardless of culture, regardless of what type of industry you're in, you see that in data. But then when you get to experience that need a knee with people, it's really rewarding. So we've been we've been so fortunate and blessed with who we've gotten to work with very early on our getting started. That's awesome. And so when I was looking at your website last night, as I was like preparing for everything, I'm like, Damn, they know exactly what they do. And the top of your website is like the perfect thing because it's like, it's one thing and so it says we help individuals and organized
Asians Do one thing. One thing you guys. So I know all of you, entrepreneurs out there with entrepreneur, itis and I am one of those girls, that I'm like, I just want to do everything. And I would help everybody. Once you get really clear, really clear and granular clear on what the hell you do. And there's one thing and the most important thing, in my opinion, just in my experiences lead better. And we're always trying to figure out I am, how can I be a better leader? How can I be a better communicator, when you're a better communicator, you're a better leader. And when you are a great leader, I mean, we could sit here all day and talk about how many great leaders we've had not only in our own country, but in it sounds like you've gotten the opportunity to work in a lot of countries we have to. And so it's just not about our leaders in our country. But I have gotten to know and meet and learn about so many amazing leaders all around the world. And so it really opens your eyes to make a decision of Who am I going to surround myself with? And am I going to learn from that person? And and what is the value? So it's always about, you know, we as leaders, we can give value all day long, at least I feel like I can, but are you getting the value? Are you getting the value from the leadership you actually need? And so it's very interesting. So tell us about what is the who not what principle? What does that mean? And like, what does the little Asterix mean? Like, how is that discovered? Tell us more about that. There is an asterisk on the front of the book. In fact, there's an asterisk throughout the book. So that's.
So if you haven't read the book,
because this is what that means.
So the who not walk principle is something with when I was with the boutique consulting firms that I worked at, that we just really accidentally found. And I read that part of the story. Because when you're, when you're doing research, and you accidentally find something, I think it adds a little extra measure of validity. I'm not saying that, if you're looking for something and you find it that that makes you a liar. I'm not saying that. I do like this part of the story where, hey, you're looking for this, and we found it. So when I was working for that firm, we would bring people up to the west side of Pikes Peak in Colorado here in the United States for a week at a time, and we would put them through a number of exercises around leadership. And as part of that, we would give them a number of assessments, we have three assessments that we were administering one was a personality assessment. The other one was assessment around natural abilities. And the last one was a leadership 360, where you got feedback from peers, subordinates, and your boss around how you were doing. As a leader, we were looking for connection points between those things, because our clients were saying, is there a magic mix of personality plus natural ability that, you know, gives me a better chance of being a more effective leader or when I'm selecting people for promotion and leadership positions? Is there a certain personality type plus natural ability that I should be looking for? And so we had enough data to run that analysis. And so my colleague, Vanessa Kiley, she, she did all the number crunching. And I remember the night that I was in her office, saying, All right, what did we find? And she said,
That's what she said that because there was no correlation. Um, like, what?
Not go down, though. There was no statistical connection. I don't know, personality type, natural ability and leadership performance. And I was like, Okay, great. I mean, we have an answer. The clients are constantly asking, so now at least we can say, hey, there's, there's no connection between those things. I turned to leave her office. And she said, but we did find something else. And I kind of like, turn around like, Okay, what, what do we find? And she said, we found that just two aspects of our leadership assessment, are driving just under 70% of the results. And we had eight different aspects of leadership that we were measuring. So just think about it like a pizza. Okay. He says, I go to pizza as often as I can. So think about it as a pizza that split up into eight pieces. Any two pieces on that on that pizza should be worth one quarter of the pizza 25%. But our data was showing variability that was almost 70% from just two areas. And then when the data got rerun a number of years later, with 10 times the data point, we found then that the percentage of impact of those two areas was up at 77%, even bigger than we initially thought. So Wow, conclusion that we're all wondering then is, wait a second. What are these two areas about? What is it that's unique about these two versus the other six? How could these two
be driving three quarters of the variability on this leadership assessment. And you know, agile, sometimes you don't see stuff when it's right in front of you. Right. And we knew it was important. We knew it was unique, we knew we need to pay attention to, but we really didn't know what it was three years later. So hopefully, we can save everybody who's listening a number of years, three years, three years later, I'm at another company, I'm sitting in my office one day, not doing what I was supposed to be doing.
I was, I was focusing on leadership, as I often do. And it just struck me struck me in a moment that I had been in front of me all along, I just hadn't seen it. But I realized in that moment,
that the six areas that were not as influential were about what leaders do. But the two areas that were responsible for over three quarters of the variability on the assessment, those two areas are about who you are as a human being. And I remember running down the hallway, just about my mentor was a couple of levels up from me in the organization, kind of like, Are you talking to anybody? Okay, good. I'm glad to hear give me a marker. And I'm,
I'm at his whiteboard kind of explaining this. And that's when that's when it all just kind of clicked together for me that three quarters of our effectiveness as leaders comes from who we are, not what we do. And that is not what principle.
It's so true, though. Like when you stop and think about it, I'm just in some of my experiences that I've had an entrepreneurship. And sometimes people look at me with 10 heads. And I'm like, but that's who I like, that's how I grew up. Like, that's who I am. And all of each experience, like, good or bad, and I don't perceive thing as bad, any experience is bad. So I mean, you know, their sadness in life, I mean, shed that's life. But it's like, how you handle it, and who you become from those experiences is much more powerful than like dwelling on them, and be negative about it. And so it makes us stronger. I mean, everything that happens, always makes us stronger. In 2020, when there's a pandemic, and everyone around was freaking out, I'm like, Listen, this is like the third big recession thing. And you know, in this entrepreneurship journey, roller coaster thing that we're doing, I'm like, I'll figure it out, like, give me a few days. I don't know, we're gonna do like, quit pressuring me for answers right now. But like, we'll figure it out. So just go chill out. And if you want to go watch the freaking news, I'm not going to do that. Because how is that going to help me like it's not? So it's gonna cloud everything, actually trying to figure out so you can always draw like exactly what you're saying, like, Who are you? What do you stand for? What are your morals? What are your values? What are your beliefs? How can you add value, and lead with that, and it goes back to like, leading with passion, as ladies say it and, and the money comes, like, you're passionate, and you can be helpful. And so what? What did you have like an epiphany, one of these where you're like, Oh, my God, I gotta I gotta write a book. Like, I got to tell the world about this. Like, how did that all happen? Did you just say, I gotta do this. I mean, it got there eventually, I think at first, it was kind of sad, it was still kind of, it almost felt like a stunning perspective, even though all the kind of logic it had to it, like it made sense. But nobody was saying, like, if you walk through the airport, and you see all the books about leadership, you're gonna see a bunch of stuff about execution, you're going to see a bunch of stuff about motivation. And you're going to see the most stuff about strategy. And none of those things are bad, all of those things are important aspects of ship. But what we have seem to have missed is how do we are plays into those things, how who we are connects into, in other words, somebody is going to be a lot more motivated by and I think what we'll get into the two things that make up a well developed two in a second, but when when I am the type of person motivation is a lot more than what words did you pick to use? It's like, Are you are you are you a noble person and I want to be around. That's, that's a big part of motivation that maybe we don't talk enough about, we think about the rah rah speech. But what is it like to be in my presence every day, ultimately has a huge impact on how people are motivated. And we can even get into aspects of no strategy, which there's a gazillion books about a lot of really good books about business strategy, organizational strategy, but ultimately, what if my ego and insecurities don't allow the smartest people to be in the room to help them make the strategic decisions. Now all of a sudden, who I am in my insecurity, makes me a less strategic leader, and so it's just connection points.
Between who we are. And what we do. And our the analogy that we use with our clients is that of a great big, strong, healthy tree. We drive past one of those I did actually just this just this past weekend, my family and I were coming back from the weekend that we spent up in the mountains. And in the meeting of a highway was this big, beautiful tree, just perfectly round, strong trunk. The leaves hadn't fallen off yet. And it just beautiful tree. But you don't drive past. I mean, rarely do we go, if ever go past a tree like that and think, man, I bet it has some awesome roots like that. You're like, I see the beautiful part of the tree, above ground. But the reality for that tree is that it is big and beautiful and strong and awesome. Primarily, not exclusively, but primarily because of what's happening below. And that reality that we use to help leaders understand, it's not that the what of leadership is bad or unneeded. It's that it is so deeply influenced by who we are those roots that are underground. And so we have to work on who we are, if we want the part of leadership that everybody sees and follows if we want that to be big and strong and healthy. We've got to do the work underground. Oh my gosh, totally. I love that analogy. And you're the book, like the cover is beautiful. And it is a big, beautiful tree with some roots growing, you know, underneath it. So you got you guys, I'll tag all everything, like where you guys can go and get it. But so Okay, let's talk about development. And like the connection to producing results as a leader, because I know just as me as a leader, you know, there have been times where I'm like, Oh, my God, did I do the best I could have done? And why didn't this go perfectly, you know, behind the scenes, I quit second guessing myself after a few years of it because I felt like I was just having this toxic conversation in my head. And then I wanted to become more of a control freak, which I'm not a control freak actually don't want to control anything. But somebody's got to do it sometimes. Right? And so how does being more of a well developed person, which I think it has something to do with roots. But how what's that connection to like producing really solid results and to get the results to be a good leader. So let's talk about the two things that make up a well developed who and that will give us I think a window into this, how does this all perfect. So those two things that we found in that research that were driving 77% of the variability, and we use three quarters just as a rounded number, but the actual technical number is 77%. Those two things are being inwardly sound, and others focused. And weirdly sound, and others focused. Those are the two things that make up who we are now, I can be terrible in both of those areas, it's going to have a negative impact on my leadership, I can be really well developed in those two areas. And it can have a really positive impact on my leadership. And so ultimately, the connection point between those two things, and results. And I'm an engineer by education. So I like spreadsheets, I like data. And I like logically playing things out. So I kind of had to do this for myself. Because once the data showed us that who not what existed as a principle, it still didn't answer the question, why? Why Why is it that way? I mean, just the fact that it exists is one data point, but ultimately, how does it work? So I want to lay out this connection to results that you asked about. So I want you to think about somebody who is very inwardly sound, and others focus somebody who is not easily, easily thrown off course, by challenges, they're able to take a punch and keep on going. They just have a real steadiness and fakeness about them. I'm describing what it means to be an inwardly sound person. And others focus person is somebody who is not showing up every day, for the sake of of their own self. It's not all about them. It's not all about their career. It's not all about their bank account. It's not all about their ego, they're genuinely showing up for the sake of others. So that's the magical combination. In really sad and others focused when we run into people like that. We find them to be more trustworthy. That's the that's a huge connection point. Because if somebody like take inwardly sound, take somebody who is really unstable. We'll take the extreme examples of it usually helps teach the point a little bit, somebody who is easily thrown off course, who would get a piece of news that comes from the marketplace and say, Okay, okay, we need to change direction. Okay, the whole one. That was just last week's numbers. Let's see what happens now. Next week. You know, ultimately, you want somebody who is stable and secure in who
are so they're not running willy nilly, that's part of him really sound. And again, you know, we get to the other focus side, I'm not just doing this for me, when somebody asks you to go jump through a wall Angeles, we're over a hill or whatever the chat might be, you want to know that they're not asking you to do that just for their own benefits. Right? Say, Hey, we're going to do something hard. And by the way, the whole goal that what if we said the truth sometimes? And by that, I mean, what are some ways that somebody just said, Hey, we're going to take on this really, really big project. And the number one goal I have out of this project is that I would get promoted to Vice President.
You know, that's like the most inspiring thing anybody could say, right? So So this is where the trustworthiness comes in, is when I'm following it following an inwardly sound, and others focus person, they get into that discretionary effort with me, there's always that part of us. And it's not always conscious. But there's always that part of us where there's there is the extra mile that we can go, and do we choose to and who draws that out of us. And ultimately, it's people that we trust, that gets the very best of us. So when we get inwardly sound, and others focus, we become more trustworthy. When we, when we become more trustworthy. I do a little exercise with our clients where we walk through what does it mean, to hear from a trustworthy leader, and from a non trustworthy leader. And every single time I do that exercise, the impact on engagement, the impact on engagement by followers goes up at least 200%. Whenever we look at the issue of trust, and so that's the connection point is we go from being inwardly sound, and others focus to becoming more trustworthy. When we're more trustworthy, our followers are more engaged. And there are over 300 studies across the globe, that show the connection between engagement and better performance and results. So that connection, one called the ark of leadership, where it starts with being more in release and another's focus, goes through trustworthiness and engagement, and eventually produces better results. That's why who not what principle exists.
So guess what, if you haven't heard this term, people buy from people they trust, period? Like it's true. And how do you build trust, you share the UPS, you share the downs, you're honest, you're vulnerable, you tell it how it is. And I can't tell you how many people I talked to, it's a lot. And they will have talked to a father, other companies who say they kind of do the same thing. And they're like, Hey, can you run a Facebook ad, we have $5,000. And I'm like, hold on, let me Google your company. And I'm like, you have no landing page you have no CTA. It doesn't look like your your Google Analytics setup, you don't have this, you don't have this, you don't have this, I'll be happy to help you. But there's about 90 days worth of work and foundation, just like you're saying tin roof. You got laid to get results, people. And so it's like, I'm not going to tell I'm gonna tell you how it is. Because you know what, I've been there. And I've had people screw me and I've had people take my money. And I've had no results given to me because no one educated me. And so I may not say what you want to hear. But at the end of the conversation, nine times out of 10 people are like, Oh my God, thank you, thank you for like telling me what I need to hear and just not taking my money and doing what I'm asking you to do is like, I'll take your money, but I'm not going to do what you're asking me to do. Like we need to sit down and come up with a strategy and a plan and what are your goals? And what's the outcome? And it's like, no one has pushed them. You know, so I just kind of laugh at it. Some of my team members are like, you sound pissed. Like, I'm not pissed. You're confusing passion with being pissed. Like, I'm passionate about making sure people are educated. Regardless if they hire my team or not, I don't care. Because if I take your money and you we don't get results, you're gonna you're gonna be pissed. And then so you got to build trust with people, which you know that that all comes from experience. But even if you're a young entrepreneur, and I don't mean if you're like a set 15 1617 I mean, young in that not an age, but like, there's 56 year olds at the AEC that we hope that our young entrepreneurs, they have been told what to do all their life, they've never actually been able to build their own routes and their own foundation and become their own leaders. And they're learning how to do that because they did it for somebody else for 35 years, and now they're retired and shit, they want to do it for themselves. So there's something to that. Just remember to build trust, build trust, and I agree it makes a good leader 100% 100%. So one thing Angela, I want to want to I want to invite you to consider
A little different way to say that, yeah, tell me, okay.
One of the things that we get into with our clients is this idea of building trust. And, like, there's nothing wrong with building trust, I tell people all the time, like, you know, I'm up for a good whitewater rafting trip, like the next person, that's fine, let's go.
Let's get down the river.
Let's go do some of those things. But as leaders, if we want to reach our potential and be the very best we can be in who we are, I think we need to shift the language there a little bit. And instead of talking about building trust with those that were leading, instead, ask ourselves, How can I be more trustworthy? And there's, there's a shift that happens in that because building trust is like, hey, it's a two way street. And all the little nice things that we say about that. But when I wake up in the morning, and think about it every step of the of the way today as I lead, how can I behave and think and act and communicate in a way that makes me worthy of somebody else's trust? How can I be taking responsibility for responsibility for myself? How can I be more trustworthy today than I was yesterday, and so it's not an anti building trust message. It's just suggesting, then when it really comes to working on the inner core of who I am, as a human being, if I focus on being more trustworthy, it's going to call me up in a little different way, when they're when I'm just looking out to build trust. Does that make sense? Absolutely. 100% 100. And, and that's a more eloquent, it's like a much better software.
which I love. I love it. That's awesome. So what is something that anybody listening right now? What can they do to? Well, you can go read the book. But in the meantime, what's something that they can do to apply the who not what principle like right away before they go and read the book? Yeah. What are what are a few like takeaway things that they can do right now. So I'll give you a one on each side of the coin. Some really sounded others focused. And I'll give you one that's fairly simple. And then another one, that's pretty scared. Okay. Buckle up. Here we go. So one of the aspects of being others focus that we dig in really far with as we're working with leaders, the idea of being curious. And if you go out and do a Google search, start looking for articles, you'll find a ton of articles, talking about how leaders need to be curious. But those articles are almost exclusively talking about intellectual curiosity. Now, intellectual curiosity is important. But what we find that leaders really lack, while they might have tons of intellectual curiosity, they don't have curiosity about people, literally, like the people that are around them. They're working and working with, and I'm not necessarily saying, okay, you know, what are what are all your favorite foods? I'm not talking about that, Oh, that's a fine thing to know, it's, are you really interested in other people's ideas? Are you really interested in other people's perspectives? And so it seems like a really, really simple thing. But when we, when we look in the mirror long enough for most of us, we find that we're not that curious when it comes to other people, we even if we are intellectually curious. And so one of the ideas that we share with our clients is super simple idea. But we we tend to do things over a longer period of time, because we're working on who we are. So it's not like, you know, how long does it take back to our tree analogy? How long does it take to grow a big strong tree? Like it's, you know, not overnight, unless you're in Narnia.
But except for that, it takes a long time. So, so this is a long, concerted effort. But a really simple thing that I would offer your listeners as an idea is, what if over the next 90 days, you said I'm going to tell I'm going to use the phrase, tell me more about that 100 times. Tell me more about that. Just open ended.
I can say I was taught that phrase by Dr. Mary shippi. So shout out to Dr. shippi. She had a huge impact.
She has that she's not She's not dead. She's still.
She's, Yes, she's had a huge impact in my life, both personally and professionally. And teaching me that phrase was one of the biggest things that she's done for me. And what I have found is that when I openly and genuinely use the phrase, tell me more about that, I'd say 98% of the time, I learned something that I didn't know before. Now, it might not be 180 degrees from what I was expecting. But you know, 5% difference over a long period of time makes a big difference. And so just tell me more about that. And then listen.
And then I have to say that sometimes because it's some people say tell me more about that. And then they don't shut up long enough to listen, so you have to listen. So if we're going to become more curious and thereby
Others focus. One way to do that. If you don't have to be a robot about it, maybe you like some variations on that, like, Can you say a little bit more? Or can you double click on that? There's a lot of different ways to say. But the idea is, Can I hear a little more from you? I want to understand a little bit more your perspective? or Why do you feel the way that you feel not just how you think the way that you think, but also know what you're feeling about this? Tell me more about that. So that's one thing on the others focus side of things as we look to become more curious leaders that we could use as, as a habit that will really help us be more curious. So that was the simple one. Now you're ready for the scary one. Yes.
So the scary one takes us over to let's go look at the inwardly sound side of things. And I will tell you from getting to do work in these areas with our clients, the inwardly sound work is harder than the others focus work is getting a little more personal, or we're up in the kitchen a little bit more. And sometimes that can be difficult. So in the area of self awareness. Now, now, Tasha eurich, is a researcher who estimates the 10 to 15% of executive leaders are actually self aware, which should scare the garbage out of all.
It is tough to speak truth to power. And he, as leaders, if we want to be self aware, even as we escalate in our influence in our careers, we have to be proactive about making it okay for people to tell us the truth about us. Because it is very difficult, very easier for some than others, but very difficult on the whole for everybody to tell the leader when he or she is not all that bag of chips, said, it's important that we kick that door wide open. Now one of the ways that we can try to do that this is the scary part is just take again, we tend to do our stuff in the course of 90 days. So I'll use that time during the game timeframe again,
what if, what if I were to say I'm gonna pick five people
in my life, and I'm gonna give them a couple of questions. To think about in advance, I'm springing this on them, say, hey, I'd like to go to lunch with you in a couple of weeks. Or if you're in, you know, a COVID lockdown, I'd like to eat lunch with you on a zoom call. And we can talk about this. And here's a couple of things, I'd like you to think about. What is it that I'm doing that I need to keep doing this making a positive difference for you or in our organization, it's important that we hear the things that we're doing well, because sometimes we don't realize how valuable those things are to other people. Sometimes we're doing things very naturally without thinking about it, which means we might forget to do it if we're not conscious of it. So it's important to hear, what am I doing that you believe is adding a lot of value either to our group or to you personally, what do I need to keep doing? Now you know what the other question is, right? I
know what's coming?
What do I need to change? What
if you could pick one thing and say, wave a magic wand? And I want this to be different about you? Oh, what would you want it to be? Now, give them the questions ahead of time. And when you're having the conversation, I'm going to give you an image, I'm going to give you a way to absolutely destroy this exercise. Okay?
If you get defensive in any way, it's over, over game over, over, not get great. See, I mean, this is the equivalent of shooting the messenger. The number one thought in your mind, even if you disagree with the analysis has got to be Thank you. And I don't mean that in a fake way. What I mean is, even if somebody is telling you something about you that you categorically disagree with, you can be thankful still forgetting to understand that that's their perspective and how they see things. And if you want to, by the way, you can easily then say, Well tell me more about that. Like,
here's an opportunity to say, aye, aye. Aye. I've not seen it that way, helped me understand it better from your perspective. And we've got to grow and appreciation for somebody telling us it is again, it is hard to speak the truth to the person who you are following, especially when maybe they hold your job security in their hands. It's really hard. We've got to have an appreciation for that. And so if somebody gives us some feedback that we don't agree with, we've got to we can leverage that curiosity. We've got to want to hear more, we've got to manage defensiveness, we've got to look to curiosity as the antidote to defensiveness but defensiveness will destroy this, and it will hurt you. In fact, I would say this. It would be better to not do the exercise at all than to do it and be defensive.
It would be better to do that. So
This is scary for people. And it's like, oh, no, what am I? What am I gonna hear and like, you know what, take a deep breath and take your medicine. You know, it's time to be a new girl is gonna be a big boy. Yeah, this is what the best leaders do. They are self aware. And they create space for genuine feedback from the people that they're leading. So they can understand where they're doing well, and where their shortcomings are, that you are more self aware. That makes you a more inwardly sound leader. And in the long run, that helps you get better results.
Yeah, this is like super powerful stuff, like the most powerful stuff that we've talked about. And so I mean, just to share a personal experience when I worked in healthcare, and I had a boss, and I did not really care for her that much. After she told me that I was, was so reactionary and I was being so defensive. And it was, so it was like a way that I had talked to a physician that we were in the middle of recruiting, and apparently is it looked as though I was throwing her under the bus as I do air quotes, which is nevermind tend to throw anyone under the bus. But apparently, that's how she took it. And then when we have like, an offline conversation, she was just I perceived her, I'm like, Oh, my God, you were such a bitch, you were really rude. Like, I would have said it so differently. But now, you know, that was so long ago. But now, the role that I've been in and the opportunities that I've been given to be a leader, I actually take it took a step back, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, that's some of the most valuable advice that she actually told me like, stop reacting, stop jumping to conclusions. You don't know the whole story, you don't know the big picture. And she was right. And it's like, I didn't like her. Because she was right. But you know, she in age and any life experience and work experience, she was probably 30 years older than me, and I should have respected her, and exactly what you're saying to him, I should have thanked her. And so sometimes it does take us a little bit of time to take a step back, and build more confidence and get more momentum. And there are other books out there and things that I've listened to, that have helped me understand like, wow, shit, I need to more be more self aware. And so never stop learning. And you set the number one thing, exactly what you said is the defensiveness. You cannot, you cannot get to that. Otherwise, you're you're never going to learn, you're never going to grow, you're going to stay in your little mindset. And you're going to make a lot of opportunities disappear for you, that you could that could have opened the door for a better life, a better way of leadership. And so when you ask, and I love that, like, ask Tell me more, you actually really have to freakin mean it. Like an active listen. Yeah, that's true. That's true. And by the way, my emphasis around defensiveness, Angela is not only because of my work with clients, it may have a connection to some of my own personal experiences where I have failed in that regard. So for right now, we're not going to bring my wife into the interview, but she did a lot of stories. And I mean, in all transparency, I did not see myself as a defensive person. And then I got married. And that was eye opening. And, you know, in many ways, I'm still recovering from this first few years of marriage, where probably just about anything that my wife said to me was met with defensiveness. And that wasn't fair to her. And it wasn't good for our relationship. And it reduces my influence and what otherwise could be a healthy relationship. And there are all kinds of negatives, so we can talk about it. We talk about leadership at home, we talk about leadership at work, the story's the same. I don't just know some of these things because of research and because of clients. Some of these things I have absolutely experienced personally on the negative side, which is why I say it was such, yeah. And you have three kids, four kids, now for now, our wall armies for kids 11. And under, so it is a everydays got laughter and tears. But you are you are the work that you're doing. I mean, think about the roots in the foundation that you are passing on to your children, and how many children I mean, I have a little brother and sister, my sister has four kids, and some of the things they do and say like we could not be any more different. And I mean, she's a mom, she stays at home and she's got a different life and I'm the career sister and you know, I'd go all these places and do all these things, but it's the life I chose. It is a choice. And we sometimes win and I have the kids a lot. And you know when I had they'll say something
I'm like, wait a minute. Well, Mama said, I'm like, I know mama said that. But this is what your an Angela is going to tell you.
You know, we're not always on the same page. And again, there's nothing wrong with that. But it's like, you groom your kids into being like, a little mini us sometimes. And the things they say, I'm like, What did you just say? I'm like, No, no, we're not gonna have this mindset of like, you know, I don't know, it's just, I could go into a whole thing. And the, my sister will text me or marcopolo me, and she's like, you're not a mom, you don't understand. Don't say that to my kids. And don't talk to them like that. I remember. And I was like, you know, what, we are a family therapist.
And we and family therapist is like, Angela, you have to meet them where they are, sometimes, you cannot always bring your big life, you know, all the things that you do into their life and their zip code and where they live and how they live, because your sister and her husband in the life they created, they're never going to have the life you have, and you're never going to have what they have. And that's okay. And so you've got to be, again, more self aware to what you're saying. And sometimes it's not the appropriate time to be saying these things to the kids. And I'm like, you're right, thank you, thank you for helping me, you know, sometimes I just have to bite my tongue is the and and then as they get older, I mean, now the oldest one, she's 18. But I can see such a difference. And like the way that these kids have been shaped because I'm around them so much. And so good for you for like being a dad and being a leader, but more importantly, the legacy that you're gonna leave for these kids. And then what they're gonna go on to do for your grandkids and your great grandkids. You know, it's like, the foundation, your lane is incredible. Like, it really is, I appreciate that. I hope that it turns out that way, I will say that, it really just like any leadership situation, my my kids are gonna pick up way more from, from my example than they are from my words. And, you know, I can say all day long, don't be defensive. But if they see dad being defensive, that they have way more influence the fact that I'm saying Don't be defensive. And so you know, it's really, it's a matter of, it's great that, you know, okay, so I've got this research and these stories, and I can share with them, I can talk about it. But ultimately, the most important thing that's going to happen is what do I model and that
that story is not always quite as, as neat and tidy as the research is. Yeah. And so if you're a mom, or an aunt, or we all have family, and so even before you bring it into your business practices, practice it with your family, because those are the people who think they know you the best. But when it comes to family, and who you are around your family, and how you treat them, and how you respect them, it very much can carry over into business. I mean, I see it every day. In fact, there are some days where my mom or my brother, which my brother now owns a business, but I remember the years before he did, and he's like, this is not a business project, quit trying to find the lesson. Everything is everything a lesson. I'm like, Yes, my whole life is lesson, like, learn from it. But sometimes you just have to go through it. And you and and I have to take a step back and realize, like, you know what, I had to go through some hard things. And I had some great mentors who told me and guided me, you shouldn't do it that way. But I had to learn it the hard way. And that's what makes me who I am today. So that's not a bad thing. But also, if I would have been a better listener much early on, you know, things might be different. And, you know, that's okay, so well, as we wrap up, I could talk to you forever, Tim about all this stuff, because I just love it. I'm a geek when it comes to all this stuff. But for anybody that wants to become a leader worth following, how can they do that?
Well, we're working with leaders all the time, the easiest place to find us is the th e only liters calm. And there you'll find anything that you want to know about us there is there's a little promo code there. And we've got something for your listener. So well what Angela, what do you want the promo code word to be? You get to pick it right now. GSD. All right, get shit done.
As the GST if you put GST in the promo code, we have what we call journey groups where we go on these extended times. And by that I don't mean an actual trip, but I mean the work of becoming a well developed who, and we're starting new journey groups in 2021. So anybody who puts GSD in the code there, if they're interested in in going
On one of our or being part of one of our journey groups, they only get $500 off being part of it, who not what journey. And so that's something that we wanted to offer your listeners. Also, we have a discussion and study guide coming out to go along with the book that if you sign up for our email list, you'll get that for free. We're not quite done with it yet. But when we when we get down with it, it'll go out to everybody that email. So there's an opera, some opportunities there for your listeners. I love it. Thank you so much. And y'all, we'll put it all in the show notes. So if you're driving, no worries, you can always come back, I have so many people that are like, I was driving, and I was listening. And I'm like, and then you pulled over, right? Like, don't text and drive you guys like for real. So we'll put all that in the show notes. And I love that I love journey groups because it is it's all about a journey. Life is a journey, business leadership. It's always a journey. And guess what is never gonna stop. Like you want to keep going on that journey. And going down those roads of being a better listener, and making sure that you are self aware which it never goes away. I'm always learning and how to be an active listener. And then don't be defensive guys consider, we'll invite you to consider I like to say that because it sounds much more nice than like, just don't do it.
Tim, this has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for joining us today. Bye, y'all. What's up GST leaders. Thank you so much for tuning in. And I would love for you to text me your number one takeaway, any feedback that you have, and we're also starting a new series called The number one time suck how you can be more productive and GSD and everyday life so you can be present. So if you can help us out and let me know just text me your number one time suck 6155 to 78755 Let's get shit done.


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