Intentional Leaders Podcast with Cyndi Wentland

The Future of Leadership: Lessons from a Charcuterie Board

November 12, 2023 Episode 125
Intentional Leaders Podcast with Cyndi Wentland
The Future of Leadership: Lessons from a Charcuterie Board
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Can leadership evolution be compared to assembling a charcuterie board? Surprisingly, yes! Join me as we slice into the future of leadership and the crucial shifts needed in a post-pandemic world. My current fascination with charcuterie boards serves as a unique metaphor in our discussion, and we'll unpack how the ingredients of effective leadership are as varied and complex as those on the board. With insights from the book "The Empathy Edge," we delve into the shifts in the workforce and what employees are now seeking.

We'll explore facilitating leadership with strategic empathy. This isn't about following a recipe, but rather, thoughtfully combining flavors that cater to the dynamics and tastes of your team. So, grab your cheese knife and join us for this  episode. Don't forget to check out our intentional leadership blog for even more robust flavors to enhance your leadership palate.

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Speaker 1:

Hello and welcome to the intentional leaders podcast. We are on episode 125, the future of leadership lessons for much our crew to reward. Welcome to intentional leaders. This podcast is not just for leaders, rather for anyone who wants to make an impact on the world, professionally or personally. My passion and purpose is to provide tips, tools and resources that I've learned throughout my career working with large and small organizations, profit and non, and also as an entrepreneur. I've had the joy to teach thousands of individuals who, like you, are trying to navigate this crazy and complex world. So here's to doing that successfully and intentionally. So lately I have been obsessed with charcuterie boards and grazing tables. I do not exactly know why. I think because I spend too much time looking at pictures of food and obsessing about when I can eat again, and of course, I love cheese, sausage, nuts, crackers, all the things. So I think it makes sense. But I decided that I'm going to be a charcuterie board magician and that was my aspiration. So I have a couple boards and I've tried it out and you know what I've decided is I am creative sometimes, but in this category I do not believe I have the gene for this or the chromosome. Whatever I need. I don't have it, and typically in life I think I have to see things before I can do them. I like a good blueprint to take something from concept to reality, and I think I've always kind of been like that. I like to see pictures of houses and decorating and I'm very visually oriented. That helps to anchor me to what I ultimately want to do in my life. Same with food, and having just spent hundreds of dollars at Costco buying all kinds of meat and cheese, I'm going to nail this thing for Thanksgiving. I really am. It's going to be beautiful. But what does this have to do with leadership? It has to do with leadership because in my life and in my career I have looked for some kind of blueprint around leadership, some kind of way to take the concept, to bring it to reality, make it easy for people to understand and to actualize. But for 30 plus years that has been difficult because there is no one way and we start as a human being and then try to aspire to leadership and I don't necessarily a role or position or title as a leader, but being aspirational, to lead towards a vision and to have influence and to move in a direction that's positive. What the heck is the blueprint? There isn't any, and there are dozens of leadership theories out there that I have studied, I've learned about and they're fascinating they really are but none of them hold the key to leadership success. What I do know is a couple things are incredibly important after working with leaders for so many years. One is a very nimble brain, and what I mean by that is being cognitively curious, being open, really being able to problem solve and being able to make decisions. Part of that to me is good critical thinking, being able to do all those things. I think the other aspect that is the most essential, combined with that nimble brain, is the emotionally intelligent individual someone who is aware of their emotions, understands them, can label their emotions, all of the good things that come with emotional adulthood that many of us do not learn about. Those two in combination is very powerful the ability to problem solve, decision make, critical think and the ability to really foster an amazing relationship, not only with yourself but with other people, I think, through emotional intelligence our key. So then I read this book. It's by Heather McGowan and Chris Shipley, and it's called the Empathy and Advantage. This book fascinated me and troubled me a little, because it came out in 2023, and it is about the post-pandemic workforce what is happening in the world of work and employees, and what do they need and what do they want. I thought this was a fascinating read and also a little bit alarming, because their research suggests that the pandemic didn't necessarily cause all the shifts in employees' wants and needs and even the resignation and all the things that have happened since COVID, but that it accelerated and it brought to the surface a lot of the unhappiness that had been around for years, and it rose to the surface. People made different decisions during the pandemic and beyond that have affected the workforce today. So they have explored what does this mean to leaders? What does this mean to lead an empowered workforce, one that is showing up differently, wanting more, wanting different and wanting to be valued at a different level? This book is daunting, I said, because of the shifts that they're suggesting that leaders need to make and take to be effective in this new world, and four leadership shifts that they talked about. As I think about these shows, I think how are leaders many leaders that I know how in the world are they going to make this shift? But one is about mindset that the mindset of leaders today has to be enabling success of individuals and their team, and they have to be focused on the success of the team, not the success of them as managers or leaders, but of those around them. And I think okay, I mean servant leadership has been around that concept for many, many years about focusing on your followers. I think this takes it to a different level in terms of the roles that are required to enable success For example, being not just a coach, but sometimes a counselor, sometimes a pseudo therapist, in a way, being a cheerleader, being a driver of human success and having the mindset to do that each and every day. Number two is about driving the culture and really bringing out the collective intelligence of people around us. And when they talk about culture, they talked about beliefs plus behaviors, plus the benefits of what we're doing equals the culture, and I think that's a little bit different definition that I've seen or heard before. But this whole idea of collective intelligence, that all of us are going to be stronger together and that leaders and managers no longer know more than their employees In fact, many employees know more than their leaders and want to leverage that knowledge and insight and that leaders have to be both humble enough and practical enough to get that kind of collective intelligence and bring it to the surface. I think that is going to be very threatening to many people who have been rewarded for many, many years because of their knowledge and success as an individual contributor. And then, of course, they're getting promoted into a leadership role and then, of course, that technical knowledge is what many people pride themselves on. But now if we're saying that might not be what is required and in fact, surrounding yourself with people who know more than you could be advantageous and strategic. So mindset is number one, culture is number two. Number three is the approach that we as leaders have to find the intrinsic motivators for the individuals we work with. I'm sure some of you know extrinsic motivators are anything that comes from outside us that rewards us for doing something good. Intrinsic motivators are the things that we care about at our core, the things that we don't have to be rewarded for, we just enjoy doing them. When you think about your strengths, when you think about things that you're super good at, that you get a lot of fulfillment in doing and no one has to give you kudos because of that. So the approach and helping people find their intrinsic motivators, find out what they value, what they're interested in and achieving their purpose at work, is the third leadership shift. The fourth one is about the behaviors and being that coach, being an inspiration, being that listener and showing up in that way that if you are not coaching and inspiring and listening, you will not know what someone is capable of bringing to the table. Then how can you lead them effectively? So this means we have to go deep in knowing what people care about, what they're capable of, to bring that to the surface on purpose, consistently. So when I think about mindset, culture, approach, behaviors and these leadership shifts which they discuss in this book, the Empathy Advantage, I think, well, holy crap, this is no longer about, at a high level, thinking of tasks getting done and priorities. All those things are still important, but the how has changed. The how is more about bringing human beings into the equation in a high value way, consistently and with authenticity, to allow them to bring their best selves to the table. And I think, okay, that is going to require some people to let go of their successes in the past, what they've been rewarded for, the technical expertise being able to jump in and do the job, and if those things are no longer and I don't mean they're not needed, but they aren't required to lead in this way, that's a big shift for many people. That I know. For those of us me amongst them that weren't born with the empathy gene, to really get into this kind of leadership style and experience, I think is going to be difficult and I wonder could I do this now? Could I manage and lead in this way? I would like to think I can, but again, going back to the charcuterie board and the grazing table, I would want a blueprint. And is there a blueprint for leading with empathy? I just don't know. So when I read this book and I thought, okay, how do I help leaders with all of these issues, all these changes in the workforce and what is required of us and how we lead, how the heck am I going to help facilitate that? How can I help facilitate that, and what does it look like? So I'm going to be doing a lot of work with people I know, people that I admire to try to answer some of those questions, to tool us up for the future, and I know that a lot of the things that I coach on now. The things that I train now will be part of the toolbox it always is going to be, but I think this overall mindset of leading with this kind of strategic empathy and really deliberately bringing out the best in people every single day is going to be a challenge. So do you want a blueprint? I do, and I'm going to be working towards discovering what are those key components, how can we make this shift and how can we do this together, because that's how we're all going to do it right Is exploring it, thinking about it, considering it, planning it, executing. We're going to make mistakes, but we're all going to learn, and we're going to learn together, and I think that's also the premise of the book. In the meantime, I am going to go practice with the 37 pounds of cheese and 47 pounds of meat that I got, including lots of nuts and other kinds of accoutrements, to put on my beautiful charcuterie board, because you know what, if you go to Pinterest, you can actually get a blueprint and a design, and, of course, that's what I did. So come on over for Thanksgiving and I'll have a board ready just for you. Hey, do you want to continue to be the best leader that you know, check out our resources tab and you'll find the intentional leadership blog, wwwintentionalleaderscom.

Leadership Shifts in a Post-Pandemic World
Facilitating Leadership With Strategic Empathy