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LEADERSHIP Defined: Deconstructing the Buzzword

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The 10 Minute MBA, is a no-fluff weekly podcast that teaches you practical business lessons you can use to grow your business immediately.

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Welcome to the ten minute MBA. I'm your host, Scott D clary. On the ten minute Mba I give you tools, tactics, strategies, insights and tips that you can use to start, scale, grow and ten x Your Business. Let's get into it. Hey, my name is Scott declary. In today I'm going to talk about leadership and before you change the video, trust I'm not going to be going into the usual buzzword definition of leadership. I'm gonna actually break down why leadership is an overused buzz word, what it is, what it isn't and how you can be an effective leader by tackling some of the biases that you have in your life. Now, this video is for anybody who is in an actual leadership position or just part of their community or their group and they want to sort of upgrade how they can communicate and how they can work with the people around them, which, candidly, is all of us. So let's talk about leadership. Now, if you are involved in the corporate or the entrepreneurial or the general business space, I'm guessing you've heard this word before. Probably you've heard it way too much and it's been thrown around a lot that's because leadership has undoubtedly become a Buzzword, a business budd Buzzword, in recent years, and in fact a simple Amazon search can demonstrate this. Type the word into Amazon's book search bar and over sixty thousand titles will be pulled up in a matter of nanoseconds. Now, today, I want to get past the idea of leadership is simply a vague concept or idealistic platitude. Helping me in this process is Mr David Siegel. He's a CEO of meet up and he was a guest on my podcast and when he was speaking about leadership, it really got me excited about redefining what the word is and how we can actually become better leaders, because he's done it at every stage of a business across his entire career. So he's a perfect person to learn from. So first let's unpack who David is to give you some context as to why his opinion is relevant. So, David Siegel, he's the CEO of meet up. It's a company that helps people connect with others in their local community who share their interests. He is also...

...the author of decide and conquer, which outlines a killer decision making framework the one he used when taking over as CEO of meet up. It was fascinating to hear his views on community, technology and, of course, leadership. Here are a few more interesting facts about David. He's been in the technology and digital media space for over twenty years. Before meet up, David was CEO of Investopedia, highly successful business information website. He was also the CEO of seeking Alpha, a crowdsource service in the financial market space. He has a B A and philosophy, politics and economics and an M B a from the University of Pennsylvania and he is an adjunct Professor at Columbia University. He's a busy man, but he was kind enough to come on the show and I'm glad he did, because he walked me through his extensive thoughts and frameworks on leadership. This is what he had to say. So first we defined leadership. So when we think of a leader, especially in present day, it's hard not to picture a person who is quite self absorbed, somebody who is held on a pedestal and worshiped by others. But this is definitely not the definition of leader. I want to challenge you to separate the word leader from politics and religions and CEO in a business room, because I think this view of leadership is very limiting, and not just limiting but detrimental to our individual and our collective success. Instead, I challenge you to view leaders as the people who serve others. Look up any leadership quote and you'll have this interpretation confirmed many times over. To Command is to serve, nothing more and nothing less. That's Andre Malreaux. Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self esteem of the personnel. That's Sam Walton. We live in a society obsessed with public opinion, but leadership has never been about popularity. Marco Rubio, a leader is best when people barely know he exists and when his work is done, his aim is fulfilled, they will say we did it ourselves. That's aloud, sue. As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others. That's Bill Gates. So this isn't to say that the word of famous people is the only word,...

...but I think upon reflection, if you think about the attitude that these people take towards leadership and you think about all these different statements and quotes, think back to times in your life when you've been mentored or you've been inspired by somebody. What made that person a leader in your eyes? Most likely it was their ability to see what they couldn't say, well, you couldn't see in yourself, and to help you find it to serve you, not their own agenda or their own self image. Now let's dive into an expert opinion on leadership. So in the interview I asked David directly this question. What is the definition of a leader in a business context? And David said my role is not to succeed myself. I need to enable the different people on my team to succeed. And guess what, then I succeed. But that's my job to enable everyone else succeed around me and to do whatever is necessary to facilitate that. What a simple yet beautiful definition of leadership. Leaders are not the people who succeed themselves, they are the people who enable others to do so. David gave a really great explanation of his viewpoint on leadership that I think you'll find valuable. He explained it like this. Let's go backwards. The most important trade for a leader from my perspective, is understanding that your role is to enable the success of everyone around you. Think of a reverse organizational chart, where the leader is on the bottom of the chart, not at the top. Your role is to support and to enable the success of all executives, peers, people in the organization, and the executive's role is support enable success for managers, and the manager's role is to enable the success of individuals. Where our traditional view of leadership puts leader at the top of the food chain, David's view flips it upside down. This is a very different view than while we're typically exposed to in the media or in politics. It's also quite different from how most of us think about leaders but it's a view that is in line with the Times. We are living in an era where more and more people are recognizing the importance of community, the need...

...for collaboration and servant leadership. Leaders today have to be servant minded. They need to be aware of the needs of their followers and be willing to meet them. In a world that is consistently changing, this type of leadership is more important than ever. Now let's talk about leadership and decision making. To quote, a true leader has a confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. That's Douglas MacArthur. Have you ever been in a situation where a decision needs to be made but no one wants to make it? Maybe you're deciding where to go on a road trip, or maybe where to eat dinner or take it whatever. You can brain some ideas for hours. You can write a pros and cons list until your hands cramped. At the end of the day, no one is going anywhere until you make a decision. Oftentimes, this is what leadership is, making decisions when no one else wants to or knows how. It's not about having all the answers, it's about taking the first step and inspiring others to follow. This was certainly true in the early days of human civilization. Right and our ancestors were tasked with deciding where to hunt, what to build, how to survive. Now fast forward a few thousand years and the challenges of leadership haven't changed all that much. Business is still need to make decisions about where to expand, what new products or services to offer, how to respond to competitors. In Times of crisis, leadership is even more important. The decisions made in the wake of a natural disaster or financial collapse can mean the difference between life and death, success and failure. Now, when we understand the definition of leadership, it's very important to get that definition down, but I think it's fair to say that we've narrowed it down. So a leader is somebody who serves and empowers others, using their decision making abilities to help their team reach success. But I don't just want to define leadership. It's important to learn the practicality behind meaningful leadership as well. So David is someone who, knowing that leadership involves making tough calls, is transformed decision making into an art form. This is a mind blowing framework. So I spent a fair portion of our interview discussing principles from David's book decide...

...and conquer, in which he discusses forty four decisions that will make or break all leaders. He explains that oftentimes leaders fail because they neglect to notice their decision making biases, and biases run decision making. So he was very generous with his leadership advice. He gave a few valuable tips on the Best Practices for leadership. So first, focus on being kind, not just being nice. Create options for yourself rather than limiting your scope to make decisions. Identify your decision making biases. I want you to focus on that last one. Have you ever let your personal biases affect your ability to make a sound decision? Because, out of all the advice that he gave, biases could be some of the most detrimental to your decision making and, in turn, detrimental to your ability to lead. And I know that I have before in the past, like we all have. We all have cognitive biases to creep up from time to time and can distort our judgment. Recognizing and understanding these biases is one step in minimizing their impact on our decision making processes and one step we move one step closer to actually being good leaders. And there are dozens of different cognitive biases, but my point being, I gonna go I'm gonna go into some of the biases that David highlighting, that he speaks about and he teaches over and that he's recognized in his in himself. But I want to highlight that. Of course there's a variety of things that we have to do as good leaders, but being self aware and recognizing our own biases, and biases are are some of the most important things. Is Arguably the most important thing that you have to do as a leader, because if you do not recognize your own faults and your own biases, then you can never properly lead, because every decision you make is going to be impaired and not not decided upon. That decision is not going to be executed against coming from the right lens or the right perspective. So let's walk through the biases that David High Lighted and hopes that you can understand some of these biases for yourself and...

...how they impact your decision making. So first is recency bias. This bias is driven by the fact that we tend to remember recent events more vividly than those in the past. As a result, we can be unduly swayed by recent information or making decisions. Yoga can be exhausting, this is the quote, David, but at the end you do a Chavisanna, your chill, you're relaxed and that's what you remember the most. So you want to go back to yoga because you did that Chavisanna at the end. You have that recency bias. That's one example. There's confirmation bias, another type. You've likely heard of this bias before. It's when we favor information that confirms our pre existing beliefs or hypotheses. This bias can lead us to make poor decisions, as it can prevent us from considering all the available evidence objectively. Remember, when things aren't going so well, you don't really look at that information. You're looking for things to confirm what you want to see, as opposed to seeking out different opinions of others that can actually help you make a smarter decision. Another bias status quo. So it's tempting to be a sheep, to blend in with the crowd, especially in the business world. But this bias, the tendency to prefer things to stay the same, can prevent us from making necessary changes and adapting to new situations. Oftentimes, people prefer to have the status quo, even if it sucks and it's terrible and they're miserable and they're unhappy. The fear of the unknown could potentially be worse. So, even though it's likely going to be better, even if a thing that we're going to try could be better, it's unknown. We're scared of it, so we stick with what we know. Another bias, sunk cost fallacy, the sun cost fallacy, is the belief that we should continue investing in something, time, money, et CETERA, because we've already put so much into it. This fallacy can lead us to make bad decisions, as it can prevent us from cutting our losses and moving on, and we see this a lot in the entrepreneurial space. People want to hold onto their business, even if they're not doing well, because they've invested so much time and so much money in the business. But at a certain point it's smarter to cut...

...your losses and move on. You have to figure out when that point is. This also applies to careers. What if you've invested so much into a company but you hate the company, you hate your job, you're miserable, they're taking advantage of you at work, you're working extra hours, you're not being compensated for so you invested so much. You know that the promotion is right around the corner. At the sun cost fallacy there's there's grasses sometimes greener somewhere else. So you have to be aware of this. Not to say you cut ties too quick. You still have to persevere to an extent, but you have to know when it's time to move on. Can you identify any of these biases in your own life and your own leadership? Because I certainly can and I see great value in being aware of them. Awareness is the first step, and mitigating their impact on our judgment and our decision making process. So you have to understand when we're aware of our biases, we can start to question our assumptions and make decisions more thoughtfully. We can also look for ways to offset their influence, by seeking out to sending opinions, for example, or by taking more time to consider all the evidence before making a decision. Now let's talk about transparency, which is the golden rule of leadership. We've moved on from biases. Let's talk about transparency and we've also defined leadership. We've explored decision making, we've identified, as hard as it was, our personal biases. But I want to finish on a slightly different note by highlighting one of the most valuable parts, in my opinion, of the interview with David. As a leader in any capacity, whether you're the CEO of a Fortune Company or the manager of a team of two, there will be times when your vision does not align with that of your team. Maybe your stakeholders want you to make a decision that you don't agree with, or your team is pushing for a change in a direction that would be maybe counterproductive. So in these types of situations, David advocates for transparency, and not just in times of conflict but always. He shared a piece of wisdom from a highly successful manager, Jack Welch, Manager Co which he's well known...

...in the business world. To Quote Jack Welch, just focus on transparency, focus on trust. If you build transparency, you'll have trust, and if you have trust you can have anything. Transparency in business is exceptionally important. And what does it actually look like? Well, I think it means that, first of all, you're treating everyone as equals, I say followers or employees as equals, making your process is completely accessible and understandable and sharing your reasoning, even when it's uncomfortable, so that everybody is on the same page. It also means being authentic and vulnerable. Leaders who are successful in this way aren't afraid to let their team or their employees or their followers see them sweat. They know that by opening up and being real, they're building trust and that's essential for any successful relationship, personal or professional. David made an excellent point that with transparent comes a level of risk, which is why many companies opt to enforce hierarchy and secrecy. It's easy to make decisions when you're the only one who has all the information, and it's comforting to know that your team will blindly follow your orders without questioning them. But in an age where information is democratized and technology has made communication more instantaneous than ever before, this type of leadership is no longer viable. It was never a good idea, but now more than ever, you definitely cannot get away with it. Even if you could, you probably shouldn't have before, but don't try and lead like this. To me, transparency, this is the quote David. To me, transparency is pretty much the be all and end all, and personally, I agree wholeheartedly. So let's wrap this conversation up. If you are currently in a position of leadership, or if you're just somebody who has a place in your community and people look up to you, you'll know better than anybody that it's not an easy role to fill. You aren't sitting up in your ivory tower giving orders and expecting them to be followed. You're working with people, you're building relationships and you're trying to get the best out of...

...them. That is, if you're the type of leader that I actually defined at the beginning of this article, which you should try and beat. It's also an incredibly rewarding role, especially when you find a spot of wisdom that brings clarity to an incredibly complex situation or when you see someone else grow and develop under your guidance. Hopefully, today's video podcast, however you're consuming this, has served as a spot of inspiration for your time as a leader. Please, if you've enjoyed some of these small insights from David, I cannot recommend this episode enough. He's a highly experienced tons of insights and intelligent leader. Go check it out. Success Story PODCASTS commentary. You'll get a lot out of it. anyways, if you enjoyed this, even if you didn't whatever, smash a like button it, subscribe and leave a comment below with any other business topics. Startup topics, mindset topics. You want me to get into? Um, I'll definitely go into them. Have a great day. I'll see you again soon.

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