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Episode 1 - What It Takes To Be a Great Leader

Unknown Speaker 0:15
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the leadership gap,

Jonathan Miller 0:22
the leadership gap, the most fun leadership podcast on the planet

Laura Banks 0:27
on the planet planet.

Jonathan Miller 0:30
And we're here today to talk about a really interesting and important topic.

Laura Banks 0:35
What does it take to be a great leader. And

Jonathan Miller 0:39
before we jump into what it actually takes to be a great leader, I want to preface this that this podcast took us like hours to put together

Laura Banks 0:48
this is such a this is such a tricky topic, because there's really no consensus on it.

Jonathan Miller 0:55
Yeah, leadership is this like phenomenon. We've all seen it, we all know of it. And yet, there's no agreed upon definitions. And yet, we're still gonna take a stab at answering some of these questions so that you know what it takes to be a great leader. Yeah. So what we want to do first, I think, is we actually, before we talk about what it takes to be a great leader, we actually want to take a step back and ask kind of a larger question about not just what a leader is, but what is leadership.

Laura Banks 1:26
So we really like the AIPAC definition of leadership that's developed by Bruce de Snyder from the Institute of professional excellence and coaching. That's a mouthful. So the ipek definition of leadership is that leadership is simply an interaction where influence occurs. So that means that it's a phenomenon that's happening all the time. And leadership is everywhere, because influences everywhere.

Jonathan Miller 1:53
Think about it. And any interaction you have with somebody as long as there's influence, which I think about any conversation I have, there's always some sort of degree of influence happening. Yeah, that it's leadership.

Laura Banks 2:08
Yeah, someone is a leader. In most conversations, it kind of happens

Jonathan Miller 2:13
naturally. And one thing they make sure to note is that it's not it can be positive, and it can also be negative. So

Laura Banks 2:20
now that we have the definition of what leadership is, we can kind of explore the role that a leader plays in creating leadership. So what is a leader drawn

Jonathan Miller 2:33
a leader. And so again, from the same place, we're getting the same definition, a leader is defined as the individual in the interaction, who whether knowingly or unknowingly creates greater influence in the other person. And so the visual I get from that, that I love is, imagine two people talking. And they're going back and forth saying words, and at some point in this interaction, one person becomes maybe more influential than another and it only needs to last for a moment. But in that moment, they're more influential than the other person that is the leader.

Laura Banks 3:09
Yeah, like each sentence bubble has like a plus one or plus two, as you go back and forth. And the person with the most points ultimately becomes a leader.

Jonathan Miller 3:17
That's right. They don't necessarily win, but they become the leader.

Laura Banks 3:21
Leader, being a leader is winning. Just kidding. So just want to bring a real world example of what a leader might look like in a meeting, even from like a negative standpoint, just to kind of like flip the switch of what we're normally used to thinking about leadership as which is kind of like a progression forward, I want to use kind of a this new way of looking at leadership, which is anyone who has influence. So you have someone in a meeting, and you've probably all experienced this at some point where this person is passionately against what is going on in the workplace. And in speaking their mind. They are leading the conversation with their negativity. So they're influencing the conversation with this sense of hopelessness or, you know,

Jonathan Miller 4:10
just negativity. Yeah, exactly. And so that's such a great example, because you're just showing that anyone can lead at any time. It just depends on who has the greater influence in that situation.

Laura Banks 4:22
Yeah. And specifically, anyone can lead consciously or unconsciously, so maybe that person in the meeting, they don't really see themselves as a leader, but they're unconscious of the fact that they're influencing and leading the conversation in that moment. And

Jonathan Miller 4:36
what's so beautiful about that is because then the question isn't whether or not you are a leader, because everyone's a leader. Yeah, everyone's a leader. The question is, how are you going to lead? And so that brings us to the next part of this exploration. Now we know what leadership is now we know what a leader is, what makes a great leader

Laura Banks 4:57
and that's what we really want to dig into. Hear.

Jonathan Miller 5:00
And so when we were looking at different definitions of, and examples of what makes a great leader, we looked at a paper in particular that we like by Amanda Blake and Dr. Chris Johnson. Both are somatic leadership coaches. And we're going to link to the paper in the show notes. But basically, we honed in on this quote, I'm going to read it for you here. One's primary source of power as a leader. What makes others want to follow comes not from position, or rank or technique, but from the qualities that enable a leader to connect, inspire and engage. These are personal qualities, and developing them requires developing oneself. So let's break that down, Laura.

Laura Banks 5:47
So this is a really different way of approaching the topic of leadership, because like Amanda and Chris state, we often think of leaders as people with a certain position or rank or experience, or people who know, certain models or techniques to actually maybe manipulate or influence people. And we all know people in leadership roles that have lots of experience, but really aren't that inspiring to us.

Jonathan Miller 6:15
Yeah, frankly, they might even be just absolutely terrible leaders. I'm not

Laura Banks 6:20
going to call anyone out today on this show.

Jonathan Miller 6:23
Yeah, no, we're not calling you out here,

Laura Banks 6:25
not this episode, at least. But what we really want to look at is how to develop our leadership from the lens of developing personal qualities

Jonathan Miller 6:34
like exactly like our ability to connect, inspire and engage, as Amanda Blake and Chris Johnson said,

Laura Banks 6:40
when we when we approach developing our own leadership from that place, it actually allows us to be leaders now, instead of waiting for some time in the future when we have people under us or more in specific situations.

Jonathan Miller 6:53
And so if we're in this game, of developing these personal qualities, and to do that you need to develop yourself, like one's own personal qualities. The question then becomes, what does developing oneself mean?

Laura Banks 7:10
Yeah, what does developing oneself? I don't know, let's explore, I kind of have an idea.

Jonathan Miller 7:14
Okay. Well, tell us a little bit about it.

Laura Banks 7:17
Okay, so to develop oneself actually is like multifaceted, but where you can start or where we have started, is in developing our own self awareness. Because without developing when self awareness, you don't really know what you're working with.

Jonathan Miller 7:33
That's right. So we're we put together kind of a short list of things that have really made a big difference for us, and for our clients. So that you can take on, again, developing your own self awareness, which is how you improve those personal qualities that ultimately makes you a better leader. So first thing that we would suggest taking a look at, is looking inward and getting really clear on things like your values, what you stand for, maybe you have a personal mission statement, knowing your purpose in life.

Laura Banks 8:06
Yeah, I've spoken to a lot of people who in exploring what their values were, it just made such a huge difference, because it really acts as a compass, to navigate all of your actions moving forward. So when you have that, that those values outlined and your mission and your purpose outlined, it really gives you a wayfinder.

Jonathan Miller 8:28
And what I hear in that is like, being able to make decisions more easily that are aligned with who you will, yeah, that are just like the right decisions for you. Exactly. That and tacked on to that is also knowing your strengths and weaknesses. I think this is key as well, right? Knowing what where your strong points are, and really using those to your advantage. But also being aware of your weaknesses, setting up putting in systems accountabilities, whatever it is to compensate for the weaknesses, or even just putting plans in place to improve on those weaknesses.

Laura Banks 9:03
Yeah, absolutely. So let me give you a real life juicy example of that. So there's a there's an assessment you can take online called the via character strengths. That's a strengths finding. Assessment,

Jonathan Miller 9:16
we'll link to that in the show notes. Thanks.

Laura Banks 9:20
And I had a conversation with someone who his top strength was actually his ability to appreciate nature. Right. And, and, and he actually had not realized this about himself as he had not identified this as a strength for himself ever in his life. And so as he was, you know, trying to figure out what his next steps were, how he was going to develop his business and his career path moving forward. He knew that one of his strengths was, you know, being able to appreciate nature so he actually incorporated that into his business plan and understood How he was going to move forward in that just by, you know, getting present to what his strengths were.

Jonathan Miller 10:06
And that's also not to say that strengths and weaknesses will evolve over time. But I love that example. Because it's just a really real example of how even just knowing your strengths and weaknesses can give you the insights to just act a little differently to make a different kind of decision.

Laura Banks 10:21
Yeah, like to play off those.

Jonathan Miller 10:22
Some other suggestions we have in terms of developing yourself and how to do that a key one would be to understand any beliefs and assumptions that might actually be holding you back. Oh, that's a big one.

Laura Banks 10:35
That's really that's really huge. Yeah,

Jonathan Miller 10:36
we're not gonna dive too much into that that's going to be a whole other episode. But that's going to be key to better understanding yourself.

Laura Banks 10:43
Yeah, just as a short kind of touch on that, you know, we all have beliefs that we're holding about ourselves about the world around us about even what's possible or what's not possible. And often times, those beliefs if gone unnoticed, can get in our way. Not every time sometimes they're serving us. But it really does help to uncover kind of our unconscious biases, if you will.

Jonathan Miller 11:09
That's the thing, right is because they're unconscious, we actually don't know if they're serving us or not. That's right. Yeah. So but just by uncovering it, we have a little bit more choice. And we can like choose whether it is serving us and and make that change if we need to.

Laura Banks 11:22
Yeah, and that personal choice that you're talking about is a key facet of leadership leading oneself.

Jonathan Miller 11:28
Absolutely. Absolutely. The next thing that we wrote down was this idea around setting boundaries, and knowing your limits. So this one was, we thought was really key as well, because it's really about when I when I wrote this down, I heard I was thinking about, like self care, like knowing your limits, knowing when you're going to burn out. And also knowing what fills up your cup as well.

Laura Banks 11:52
Yeah, absolutely. Boundaries is such a huge kind of topic right now, especially for people in the social impact space and even entrepreneurial space. Because, you know, we are we are working, we are working our butts off. Yeah, like everyone is across the world, right. And when we can set our boundaries, our ability to bounce back from difficult situations, is actually increased our, our abilities to do that are increased that resilience is able to be built because we're not completely emptied.

Jonathan Miller 12:27
Yeah, really well said, the next thing we have here is around knowing your thinking and emotional patterns, tendencies, and triggers. And this, I'm just saying this, like, it's some easy thing. This isn't easy, okay? Because we usually actually need the help of others to point out these patterns, right? patterns are typically kind of running in the background, it's very similar to beliefs and assumptions. But knowing how your tendency to react in situations is going to make a massive difference to developing yourself. And being a highly effective leader.

Laura Banks 12:58
I totally agree. Obviously, we wrote this list together. But something that has really helped me do that have started my journey in that Solo is meditation. Yeah, and and the next point kind of touches on that as well. But meditation has allowed me to take the time to look at what my emotional patterns are, as I kind of sit in silence, right, I get a better idea of what my my triggers might have been through the day. how I'm feeling, right.

Jonathan Miller 13:35
And so what, how does knowing those triggers, like help you in your day help you lead?

Laura Banks 13:41
What do you mean?

Jonathan Miller 13:42
Well, like, meditation has helped, you know, those triggers and patterns better. So what?

Laura Banks 13:50
Oh, so when, when, when I'm kind of off the cushion? What happens is, I am more sensitive to what those emotional triggers are, you know, as I'm operating day to day, so I am better in tune with my body, and how it's reacting with my mind to certain situations.

Jonathan Miller 14:13
Yeah, I think what ultimately it is, is just like you're reacting more, I would say consciously, you're able to react more skillfully, wisely, instead of having those blind reactions where we tend to say things we regret.

Laura Banks 14:25
Oh, yeah, still have those? Definitely. Yeah.

Jonathan Miller 14:29
And the last point we want to share here was something that Laura just touched on is this idea of working to integrate the body so I know your meditation practice has a lot to do with the body. It might sound really Woo, but we're gonna get into this in the episodes ahead. This is a critical piece to knowing yourself and to developing yourself is to actually get more and more in tune with your body. So let's summarize here. What we went over today. We we were really, in the inquiry really asking the question of like what it takes to be a Great Leader. So the first thing we actually we took a step back and we looked at like, well, what is leadership, which is again, just an interaction where there's influence and the most basic level. Yeah. And then we looked at, well, what is a leader and it's simply the person in that interaction with the most important the most influence, then we took a look at well, knowing that that's what a leader is what makes a really great leader. And that's when we started diving into this whole idea of what makes a great leader is actually developing oneself and developing your own personal qualities.

Laura Banks 15:38
Yep. And then we got into what it takes to do that.

Jonathan Miller 15:41
So that's it for the episode today.

Laura Banks 15:43
That's our first episode. It's

Jonathan Miller 15:44
done. I believe they say that's a wrap. Wonderful.

Laura Banks 15:50
I hope you all had an awesome time listening to us. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next time. This podcast is brought to you by level seven leadership, a leadership group who works with social impact entrepreneurs to develop their leadership skills so that they can take on the world's To Do List minus the burnout. If you enjoyed today's podcast, you can subscribe and leave us a review. Oh, or send us an email. That'd be really fun.

Jonathan Miller 16:15
And for more information on what we do, you can check us out at level

Laura Banks 16:20
apps. Music is by the very talented to know though. You can find him on Spotify or wherever you get your music

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