Hack Away with the Leadership Hacker

Steve: Some call me Steve, Dad, husband, or friend. Others might call me boss, coach or mentor. Today you can call me The Leadership Hacker.

Thanks for listening in. I really appreciate it. My job as the leadership hacker is to hack into the minds, experiences, habits and learning of great leaders, C-Suite executives, authors, and development experts so that I can assist you, developing your understanding and awareness of leadership.

I’m Steve Rush and I’m your host today. I’m the author of Leadership Cake. I’m a transformation consultant and leadership coach. I can’t wait to start sharing all things leadership with you.

Welcome to the very first Leadership Hacker podcast. I’m incredibly excited and I’m grateful for you tuning in. Today’s show will give you a flavor of what you can expect from future shows, what kind of things you’ll experience and how by subscribing now will mean that you won’t miss any of our regular lineup of guests, their stories, their future hacks, and their great leadership insights. To celebrate our launch and as a special thank you for subscribing to the show, I’ll be giving away 10 signed first edition copies of my book Leadership Cake along with 10 e-copies too. Stick around to the end of the show. Find out how you can win.

Picture the scene. I want you to imagine you’re traveling to your favorite destination. You get stuck on your journey or you’re delayed, maybe at the airport or train station, and you have got some time on your hands. Perhaps it’s lunchtime for where you work, and the restless curious inner self says I want to learn, gather insights, tips and ideas about leadership and leading others. So, you reach for your device, and when you open where you normally download your podcast, you hit The Leadership Hacker and subscribe. 

So by now you probably wondering how by subscribing to The Leadership Hacker podcast that will help me fill my time, right? Well, each show I will have a guest or guests join me and share what leadership means for them, how they’ve learned from others, and how they’ll pass on their tips and experiences with you. We’ll introduce you to how you can learn more about each guest and grow your knowledge base. Each show will look at the news and explore where leadership is present – or not, as the case may be – in global events, and understand the role that leadership has played in global decision making. As well we’ve also grow our community of leadership hackers over time, and as we do, we’ll learn from each other. 

Today’s show is going to be a bit of a smorgasbord of future guests and friends of the show sharing their top hacks and tips to give you a snippet of what’s to come. Today I’m going to explore with you the principles of leadership comfort, and if that supports growth and results or how in fact, it might hold a team back, but first, it’s Leadership Hacker News.

The Leadership Hacker News

Everywhere you turn in the news at the moment, you’ll bump into a story about Covid-19, or commonly known as Coronavirus. The question we need to ask is, does leadership or has leadership played a part, in either its spread or containment? Just like with a national or international crisis like coronavirus, when disaster happens, it’s not about the disaster, but how you respond and you react to it. Some say the World Health Organization was too slow from December to February, in giving clarity and direction and insight as to how to contain the virus, whereas others look to the leadership of China to over trade on goodwill and to damp down its severity, both of which can play an important part in how people respond to a situation. So if you think this is a leadership hack that we need to hack into, send us your insights. Comment on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, and let’s get the debate going.

Let’s go to our first hack of the show. It’s retired US Navy captain and best-selling author of Turn the Ship Around and Leadership is Language, David Marquet.

David: Steve, my top leadership hack. Start your question with how. How sure are you? Not, are you sure? 

Steve: Thanks David. What a neat idea, and a great way to find out better data. Are you sure? Yes, or no? Bad data? How sure are you? This means that someone’s got respond with a level of certainty or assurance, which gives you as a leader an opportunity to ask more questions. So, let’s go to our next hack.

Andy: This is Andy Brogan from Easier Inc. My hack for leaders is to stop thinking of leadership as on a continuum with followership. Leadership isn’t about creating followership; it’s about creating fellowship, and in that regard, leaders can come from anywhere. It’s not a role. It’s an activity. Perhaps, more correctly, it’s two activities. The first one is the act of leadership, being about ensuring that what really matters really matters here. And the second one being that of leadership is about growing fellowship, and that means that what really matters here has to include what really matters to each other.

Steve: Great words, Andy. I really love that whole principle of fellowship. It’s about creating an environment where there is an absolute connectivity with the people who you lead and the people who you work with, and the whole principle of fellowship versus followership I think most people can really resonate with. Superb stuff!

So up next, we have coaching catalyst and leadership expert, Byron Lowe. What’s your leadership hack, Byron?

 Byron: Hi, Steve. My number one leadership hack is turning thoughts into tools. I believe anyone can learn how to turn their most useful thoughts into tools that can help them grow, solve problems, live the life they want, and experience meaningful and fulfilling work, and it all begins with our thoughts.

Steve: Thanks Byron. What a really interesting philosophy, and we all have our faults, and we all have the ability to influence others, but do we genuinely think of our thoughts as being tools in our kitbag as leaders? So we’re going to have one more leadership hack and then we’re going to turn our thoughts to think about how we deal with comfort, and whether it helps us or holds us back, but first is over to Tony Burkinshaw, Harley Street cognitive hypnotherapist with his leadership hack.

Tony:  Hi Steve, it’s Tony Burkinshaw. When sharing visions, I think vision is a really important part of leadership, but in terms of vision, making sure that each member of your team, the team you’re leading, can share that vision. Not everybody does visual equally well so the name ‘vision’ is a bit of a misnomer. So be prepared to share your vision in a variety of different ways, to make sure that each member of your team is fully on board with it, and can absorb it in their own preferential way.

Steve: It’s a great call, Tony. So, we all see the world, feel the world and experience the world in different ways, and vision by default appeals to those people who have a vision or a seeing experience of the world in the way they represent the world, and therefore we need to be thoughtful of those people who are more auditory or more kinesthetic, and need that feeling and sense. So in describing a vision, make sure that you’ve described it visually, auditory, and with some feeling too. 

So, I want to tell you a little bit of the story as to why comfort could be a problem in us achieving great performance. Just think back on your last 24 hours. You woke up and I suspect you followed many routines – took your coffee, went to the same train station, or airport, took the same route if you’re driving. When you get to work, you find there is a little routine or pattern of behaviors that you do throughout the day, most of which might be unconscious, but we’ve created this bubble. The bubble is there in our life and our work too, and it’s a bubble of routine and comfort. We are creatures of comfort and creatures of habit. 

However, when we’re looking to achieve high performance, holding us back is the enemy called comfort. Why is that such a problem, I hear you cry? Well, feeling good and feeling assured is right, but comfort creates habits and habits don’t look for opportunities, unless we create new habits that force us into new behaviors. Perfect example – I’m not a broadcaster, but I am today. So the start of this Leadership Hacker podcast for me is me moving outside of my comfort zone and trying new things and testing new ways so that I can help others broaden their awareness of what leadership is.

I want to share a story with you about one of my childhood heroes. As a young boy growing up, I was a big racing fan. There was a Formula One World Champion at the time called Mario Andretti, and year on year he managed to find new track records, and new ways of driving, and engineers and spectators alike were really spellbound by the way he used to control his car, and I remember as a young child watching him being interviewed, and in one particular interview he was asked, so Mario, how is it that you find new ways of doing things behind the wheel of a car? And his response was, when I find myself being too much in control and feeling too comfortable, I know I’m not pushing myself hard enough. 

And we can all look around our towns and our cities, and when we look back 5 years and 10 years ago, there were stores on the corner that are no longer there, that were vibrant businesses that were no longer there. And when we transfer that to sports teams who are sometimes top of the leagues and top of their games and then don’t sustain it, when you dig deep, what you find is complacency and comfort. Only way to change new things and find new ways of working is to get hold of your discomfort. And being really clear about what it is you want to achieve and how you’re going to do that.  

What’s most important is doing nothing creates more comfort and more satisfaction, and we need to find a way as leaders to help our team move away from what they know to be true and comfortable and to help them explore new, exciting and alluring ways of working, and in doing so you could find great performance. So, let’s hear from one of our other friends of the show. Who’s up next with their leadership hack?

Govert: So… Govert van Sandwijk here, and I’ve got the following leadership hack and this goes for leaders on all levels so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a team leader, a frontline manager, or the Chief Executive Officer. You find yourself in front of your team during a team meeting. You start to think, hey, why is my team so passive? And actually, you’re a little bit irritated.

 As soon as you as a leader start to have those feelings, then basically, you have to check your own behavior. Sit down, shut up, ask a question which will for sure activate the team. So again, the leadership hack is when you start to feel, hey, my team is too passive. Why are they not being more participative in the meeting? Why are they not saying anything else? Check your own behavior. Shut up, sit down, ask a question, and let them become active.

Steve: Thanks for that hack, Govert. What this tells us guys is we are all human, and we will all have a natural neurological response, and what Govert’s sharing is that strategy for dealing with that moment where that chimp inside us, or the amygdala in our limbic system has triggered a neurological threat response in us, take some time out, ask a question. It allows us to regain our cognitive awareness of how we can respond and respond in the right way. So let’s go to another leadership hack. Who’s up next?

Andrew: Hi.. This is Andrew Bryant, Author of Self Leadership, how to become a more successful effective and efficient leader from the inside out; and of course my top leadership hack is to practice self-leadership which I define as, “the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling and actions towards your objectives. You see, self-leadership contains self-mastery, that ability to move yourself towards your vision, and alignment with your values. You see, when you practice self-leadership and personal mastery, you become an influencer and a more effective leader, so this is my top leadership hack from Andrew Bryant – the self-leadership coach.

Thank you Andrew. He’s right isn’t he, the reason why you are listening to this Podcast today is part self-mastery which we can also define as life long learning. The more we learn, the better leader we become, the better leader we become,  the more we have to give and offer others.

Now out next guest has become renowned for creating simplicity

Simon: Hello, Steve. This is Simon Tyler, coach, facilitator and author, author of The Attitude Book, Keep it Simple Book, The Impact Book, The Simple Way, and I’m here today to talk to you about my hack you’ve asked me to come up with. There’s no hack like your hack. 

There’s something about the whole world of all these wonderful ideas that come at us that we pick them all up or drawn to them, we think we want to do something about them. But in truth, the ones that we need are really appropriate and curtailed and personal just to us. So, I say again, there’s no hack like your hack. But if I was to land on one thing, Steve, it would be awareness. Anything you can do to wake up your awareness, to heighten what you know about you and notice about you, the better it will be for you. And as you go through any exercise to heighten your awareness, it’s not about what you do with it. Simply the awareness can be enough. First, pause more often. That means in your speech, in your day, in your working week, even if it’s just for a minute, or an hour every few days. It’s just those gaps and in those gaps is that moment when you can slow stuff down, and will start to notice stuff around you and about you. And I look forward to helping you and any of the people that listen to this podcast heighten their awareness.

Steve: And awareness is a real key attribute for great leaders, isn’t it? The perception of a situation or effect of being able to adjust our style, so that we can be the best we can be. And to our next hack, we go to friend of the show, John Spence.

John: Hey, Steve, this is John Spence. And my leadership hack is to be curious, to ask thoughtful questions, focused questions, and then be an intense listener. If you hire great people, which you should be, then you want to take every opportunity you can to get their feedback, best ideas, suggestions, to get their help, which will help you grow your business and become an even better leader. So that’s my leadership hack. Steve.

Steve: That’s a great message, John. Thank you, and for me curious is about wanting to learn, wanting to learn more about my people, wanting to learn more about my clients, my environment, my community, and actually just learning about me too on that, where curiosity can stimulate things in me to ask questions about my capabilities and can I do and can’t I do, and what’s causing me to think that way. So great message. So, let’s get to our next hack. 

I want to introduce Michelle Boxx, CEO at Boxxbury Business, Speaker, Columnist, and all-around business advocate, Hi, Michelle.

Michelle: Hey, Steve, this is Michelle Box, the blonde fixer. My leadership hack would be to get aware of how your team processes, whether it be internally or externally. It’s not that the quiet person in the room doesn’t have anything to offer. They just need a few minutes in the meeting to process internally before they speak up. Creating that space within a meeting allows everyone to be heard and the best ideas to come forward.

Steve: And that’s great, and in my experience, the best ideas are ones that just take a little bit of nuancing and a little bit of thinking. And if you have people in your team who are sound in their ideas, they’re being thoughtful, they’re being introspective, it’s our job as leaders too to make sure that we’re involving them, and being thoughtful. Keep an eye out for the body language, the nonverbal cues. The book tells us people have something to say and it’s important that we help them say it. So, I’m now going to introduce you to a future guest and friend of the show, Michael G. Rogers. Welcome to the show, Michael.

Michael: If I was to provide one leadership hack, it would be to really care about your people. And the reason why is because when you care about your people, they will care about their work. 

There was a Gallup survey done, where people were asked whether their supervisor or anyone else at work cared about them. Only four out of ten strongly agree with that statement. That means six out of ten people don’t feel cared about or at least had the perception of not feeling cared about at work. We have to bridge that gap. Perception of reality are not the same thing here. If I ask the leader whether they care about their people, I’m sure every one of them would say they would, but that’s not how employees feel. So we have to get to a point where we can demonstrate that and employees can feel that because again, care about your people and they will care about their work.

Steve: Such a simple message, Michael, but I wonder how many of us as leaders take the conscious time out to evaluate how we’re caring about people, and ultimately caring about people helps create trust. The more trust you have, the more honest and more candid conversations you have, and the more of those conversations you have, the easier is to cut through complexity and drive great results too. 

Okay, we’re going to go to our final hack for today’s show. I’m going to take you to Chief Delighting Officer, Avi Liran.

Avi: My name is Avi Liran, and my leadership hack tip is actually starting with a question. What is the one thing, one action, one verb, one mind-state way of life, that if you do that one thing – unconditionally, consistently, continuously – it will be the quickest way for you to earn trust, gain influence, be accepted and feel a sense of belonging, even if you’re very new, and feel happy together with the people around you? Well, the answer is very simple. It’s contribution, and the difference between contribution and giving is contribution adds value that the other people need, so go, contribute and make a better world for yourself and others.

Steve: Avi, thank you for giving us that delightful message around contribution. I think it’s incumbent on us all as leaders to really create value when we contribute to others. So hey, it would be unfair of me to leave you today without me passing on my contribution of my lifelong leadership and dedication to learning about leaders and leadership. And I find that there are four essential ingredients in leading others. not the only ingredients, but they are essential ones. 

All great leaders I’ve ever worked with, and for, have been great communicators. They learned to adapt their communication style. I call them communication adapters. They’re able to flex in an instant how they can change their tone, their pitch and pace, so that they can build rapport, affinity and still be relevant. I find that all great leaders are authentic. They just demonstrate who they really are and what they’re really about. They don’t mimic, they don’t copy, they are just who they are, and knowledgeable but not overly knowledgeable, about the business they’re running. Too many leaders spend so much time immersing themselves into the detail of the complexity of their business, it gives them no room for asking crazy questions. 

And the most important ingredient that I find in leaders that binds people together – empathy! Empathy and understanding about what people do, how they do it, their motivations and their reasons, creates the real context and cohesiveness in helping others lead too. Communication. Authenticity. Knowledge, and Empathy. 

So at the beginning of the show, I said to stick around to find out how you can get a copy of my book, The Leadership Cake. We’re giving away 10 signed first edition copies and 10 e-copies, and here’s how to do it.

First things first, you need to subscribe to our podcast. That’s number one. Number two, we’ve got a number of different mediums and social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Tumblr, YouTube, etc. Go ahead and subscribe or like two of those, and in your social media channels just say ‘today I listened to the Leadership Hacker podcast today, and the key thing that I learned was…. whatever that was

So just to remind you three things – subscribe, join our social media tribe, and in there share, I listened to the leadership hacker podcast today, and I learned this. We’ll take a straw poll from all the people that do so, and we’ll announce the winners and post those books out first-class around the world, next week. 

So, we’re coming to the end of our very first ever leadership hacker podcast. I just wanted to say a massive thank you to the guests that appeared on today’s show. You’ll be in for some more of those as the weeks and months progress.

I generally want to say a heartfelt thanks for taking time out of your day to listening too. We do this in the service of helping others and spreading the word of leadership. Without you listening in, there would be no show. So please subscribe now if you haven’t done so already. Share this podcast with your communities and network, and help us develop a community and a tribe of leadership hackers.

And finally, if you’d like me to work with your senior team, your leadership community, keynote an event or you would like to sponsor an episode, please connect with us on social media, and you can do that by following and liking our pages on Twitter or Facebook. Our handle there is at @leadershiphacker. Instagram, you can find us there at the_leadership_hacker, and on YouTube, we’re just Leadership Hacker.

So that’s me signing off.  

I’m Steve Rush, and I have been The Leadership Hacker.

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