Gary Ryan Helps Us Start our Self-Leadership

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In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with best-selling author and speaker Gary Ryan on starting our leadership journey with self-leadership and why it’s important.

A few reasons why he is awesome  —  he is the mentor/leadership and professional development coach at the company he founded: Organizations That Matter, helping organizations become worthy of the people who serve in them. A speaker, a licensed 10x business coach in Australia, host of the Moving Beyond Being Good Podcast, and a best-selling author with a brand new book Yes For Success: How to Achieve Life Harmony and Fulfillment.

Connect with, and learn more about, Gary on his…



  • Embracing Continuous Learning.
  • Intentionality and Strategy in the Workplace.
  • Self-Leadership as a Foundation for Success.
  • Importance of Self-Awareness.
  • Redefining Success.
  • Integrating Work and Personal Life.
  • Responsibility for Personal Development.
  • The Gap in Leadership Training.

“I am responsible for my development for my entire life.”

Gary Ryan


Russel Lolacher: And on the show today, we have Gary Ryan and here is why he is awesome. He’s the mentor, leadership and professional development coach at the company he founded Organizations That matter, helping organizations become worthy of the people who serve in them.

He’s a speaker, a licensed 10 time business coach in Australia, host of the Moving Beyond Being Good podcast. And… and, and a bestselling author with a brand new book, Yes For Success, how to achieve life, harmony and fulfillment. Hello to you, Gary.

Gary Ryan: Hello to you, Russel. Thank you for your kind introduction.

Russel Lolacher: But Gary, before we get into any of this conversation, we have to start with the question I ask all of my guests, which is, and I’m going to get you to go back into your Rolodex, sir. Back into your history.

What’s your best. Or worst employee experience?

Gary Ryan: Best employee experience was when I was… discovered faking it till I was making it, using that phraseology by the, the general manager who was four layers above me in the organization and I just I was commercializing a fitness center for Monash University and, because I was 24 years of age, Russel, and I had the badge that said manager, and because I had the big bucks of $23,500 per year, my mindset was I had to have all the answers. And despite all of the staff, the eight staff who reported to me having much more experience and much more knowledge, he witnessed me, speaking with them and basically bullshitting because I didn’t know the answer. And he said, Hey, come here. And I, I witnessed that. And you know what this fake it till you make it stuff… what if, what if it was learn it till you make it Gary? And I got this book, and. I wonder if you’d be interested in reading it.

And I actually had gotten back into reading a couple of years earlier, which is one of the reasons why I got that job. And I said, sure. And that book had a significantly massive influence on my life. It’s called the Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge. And the section around mental models, which is what I was utilizing, but didn’t know that I had them, was what has had a massive change in my life.

So that’s a, that’s an example of me not doing the best work, but actually a leader actually having a massive impact and influence on me through giving me some feedback I needed to hear Russel.

Russel Lolacher: No kidding. What was your relationship with that leader afterwards?

Gary Ryan: Well, within 18 months of that point in time, I was a member of the leadership team.

Russel Lolacher: There you go.

Gary Ryan: And look, that was a lot to do with I’ve just brought a can-do attitude, I guess. And I kept from that perspective, I would look for opportunities where there were gaps that were service gaps. And it was like, I would say always, always, always, I would say, I can see this gap, I’m happy to have a go at it.

Everything else I’m doing already is not going to suffer. I’m going to do this in addition to it. I’m going to make that work. And if I make it work, then we can talk about whether you think it’s worth paying me anymore for it. And I just consistently did that. And actually to his credit, he always back paid me to when the sort of agreed date was, but I never, ever, ever said, pay me first and then I’ll do it.

Russel Lolacher: It’s interesting. You bring that up. It’s interesting. You bring up the can-do attitude piece and I just, only because you kind of mention it in two ways there is that the can do attitude can be a double edged sword because a lot of people want to fix problems. They want to get in there. They want to do a thing without being strategic, without learning first.

They’re just about getting in there and getting their hands dirty, regardless of the wreckage. But you did it after being told, you know what? Go read this book, go reassess how you approach things so you can be more intentional with how you can-do attitude. So can-do is great if part of the can-do is learning as well.

Gary Ryan: Yeah. And I think Russel, you said a really, really important word, which is intentional and understanding some strategy. And there were services that at the time at that campus of Monash University, Monash University in Australia is a multi campus institution. There’d been a restructuring of our, of our tertiary education system where the, the university had only been at that campus for a few years prior to me getting there.

So there was some significant service gaps compared to what most people would have considered or still consider to this day to be the main campus. That’s why strategically I knew that that those gaps had to get closed over time. And because I’d actually worked previously at that larger campus, I actually understood how it all worked and I’m just like, this needs to happen. I can do it. Let’s make it, let’s do this. So it was definitely intentional, but yeah, the mindset stuff also had a big role to play too.

Russel Lolacher: So we’re going to talk quite a bit about mindset today, Gary. We’re going to talk about self leadership, which has come up quite a bit on the show, but I don’t think we’ve dug into it enough to really define it. So I want to look at it from the Gary Ryan’s book of defining this. So what is self leadership in your mind?

Gary Ryan: It’s really about being clear about, well, what does success mean to me? What is my unique definition of what success is? And I guide people through first understanding their own mindset about that. Because for a lot of folks, so this has been this, I’ve had a phys, a physical and online program for this, for SI for 13 years, Russell.

And we’ve had at least seven and a half thousand people go through the program at the time from. All like I don’t know the exact number of nationalities of people, but it’s into the tens. Okay. And lots of people come into the program and I actually have two fish bowls and one’s a very plain little fish bowl and their mindset with for a lot of focus is that they won’t even allow themselves the possibility of imagining a future that they actually want.

That’s the first limiting fact. They won’t even let themselves do it because of there’s so much stuff blocking them from their culture, their education, their religion, or whatever it might be blocking them from even giving themselves permission to imagine a possible future that they actually want. And then secondly, Even if they do do that, they then have all these reasons why they couldn’t actually make that happen, even if they say they want it.

So I have this picture of a pretty awesome looking fish bowl on the left and this very plain looking fish bowl on the right. And the fish is jumping between the two. And so. I don’t know what people’s answer for success is. That would be really arrogant for me to say. I know everyone’s answer, but what I do know is that there are first your mindset and then secondly, there’s fundamentally six core elements that fundamentally are going to make up someone’s definition of what success means for them.

And I guide them through understanding what those six elements are, Russel, and they determined for themselves the level of priority, what that actually looks like. And then equally, it’s about recognizing success can’t be all about the future. What I teach people is to be more aware of the successes that might seem very small, but their success is nonetheless along the way and to enjoy them and celebrate them and be more happy in the present as a result of recognizing, Hey, that’s, that’s a success. I actually made that happen, and that’s part of my definition of success. It’s not all just about the future. And these two work together to increase people’s success rate, if you like, but equally increase their ability to be happy now, as well as increase the chances that they’re going to carry that happiness forward into the future.

And when I say happiness, it’s not about being blissfully happy every day of your life and all of that sort of stuff, because stuff happens to people, right? You know, your partner gets, diagnosed with something really terrible. That’s going to be tough in the moment, right? That’s, that’s not a happy moment.

But what I teach people is how they would deal with that is going to make that journey a far better journey than if they weren’t doing this self leadership work first.

Russel Lolacher: So how does that work in the workplace? So I’m looking at this as a, why is it so important to start your leadership journey with this self leadership approach?

Gary Ryan: Because so many people believe that they are trapped in their workplace and they have quote unquote no choice. I have no choice but to be here. They hate it. It’s no good for them. It’s damaging them beyond the workplace. Right now, that might be because of the leaders that they report to. It might be because of the culture, whatever the case may be, but it’s not true that they have no choice.

And this mindset that they have, that they have no choice actually stops them from doing any of the work required to actually increase the probability that they can move somewhere else at a point in time in the future that’s better for them. That makes sense. All right. And there’s just, when we’ve got levels of… globally, 76 percent of people in the workplace, this is just recent Gallup research this year, are disengaged in the workplace or at least saying they’re not engaged. That means we’ve got a lot of people, a lot of people around this globe who are not working in a workplace that’s right for them and vice versa.

And yet they sit on their hands thinking someone else is going to fix this. And I’m sorry, no one else is going to fix it. You got to do it yourself. You got to start there.

Russel Lolacher: But you hear so many terms like servant leadership and heart centered leadership. Does this align with that way of thinking? Or is it very much because I’m hearing it’s very self focused, which I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but when you hear so much servant leaderships about others, heart centered is about with the heart, like I’m just trying to understand how this aligns with these other ways of looking at leadership.

Gary Ryan: Yeah. Which I’m an advocate for. So how does it like what’s… it’s called enlightened self interest and the fundamental issue there is unless I can be working towards being the best version of myself, how can I really be truly helping others, to the best of my ability, right? That’s, that’s how that aligns.

And by bothering to do the work on myself, and it’s not like you have to do all this work on yourself and then you can go help other people. This happens concurrently. This is a concurrent journey. And that’s why it’s a, it’s a, it’s a terrific question, but absolutely. It’s about the more clear I am about myself, the more I’m going to be able to support other people because one of the concepts that I teach people in one of those six vital strategies, which is around self awareness is your personal success team. And so this is about actively recruiting people into your life who help you be the best version of yourself. Some of which are those people, Russel, that are going to tell you the truth and tell you stuff that at times you need to hear it. So for example one of my nephews, he’s got a, a, an audio recording business. He told me as I was writing Yes For Success. And I was also doing the audio version at the same time. And he, he came and told me the quality of your recordings, Gary, is not up to scratch. I can’t, they’re not going to work right. And, you know he was, he was a bit nervous telling me that, but I needed to hear it cause it was true. I had my mic settings wrong and I didn’t realize, and there was nothing he could do.

I’d done four chapters. I’ve done hours of work on this, but he had to tell me the truth. So as I’ve trained myself, it’s like, thank you for that honesty. Now he’s in my personal success team when he tells me that, right. Okay. Now, I also flip this around to people and say, when you are facilitating and nurturing your personal success team. And by the way, I’m calling it a team, but you would never get all these people together.

Hey, let’s go to a cafe and everyone focus and talk about me. Folks, you wouldn’t do that, right? Because that would be weird. But it’s so it’s a metaphor, but equally you’re on each of their teams too. Your job. Is to be aware of what are the opportunities to help them grow, to help them be their best version of themselves.

Equally, as we start to become more aware of more people and how we’re helping contribute to their success, Russel, we start to see more of what success actually is, particularly at the micro levels, at the small levels and how we can contribute to it.

Russel Lolacher: Speaking of ourselves with self leadership, how do we know we need this? Is it just assume we do and take an adventure along the way to learn about ourselves and what we need to focus on our success? Like, I’m just trying to understand the level of self awareness we may need to understand that we even need to go through a process like this.

Gary Ryan: We need a lot of self awareness, and I would argue that the entertainment focus of our world is actually detracting from people’s awareness that they need self awareness. And it’s a trap, right? And this is why we need to help people. I’m not sure that our education system, which is still based on a model that’s fundamentally 450 years old, is really helping with this.

We’ve got, we’ve got mental health problems globally through the roof statistically. There’s probably some pretty big indicator. You think of that indicator, you think of the engagement in the workplace indicator, you think of the number of the rates of marriages that break down. And I’m not saying everyone should stay married forever, but would seem at 50 percent in my country, which is the marriage breakdown, right?

That seems pretty high for people that when they hooked up and got married, never thought it was going to end. Right. Um, There seems to me to be a lot of data out there that suggests that, yeah, we need to, we need to work on ourselves. We need to take response, learn to take responsibility for themselves.

People will find this extreme, but anything that happens to me, I take responsibility for. I just go, okay, I don’t know how, but somehow I contributed to this, right? You know, if I got rear ended in my car, maybe the fact that I was 10 minutes late put me in the situation where that car. Maybe I shouldn’t have been 10 minutes late. And look, and I appreciate people go, look, that’s taking it too far, but what’s the alternative? To be a victim, to everything in the world? I just prefer to say, Hey, I’m going to, I’m going to take responsibility.

Russel Lolacher: So is, is self awareness where you start? So I’m looking at this from a leader’s perspective, who’s going, okay, I need to reassess, I need to understand me. And you sort of mentioned these six steps as well to go through this process is self awareness a beginning step?

Gary Ryan: Look again, they’re, they’re always concurrent, however, my view is you do need to start with your mindset first. And so the book is structured in that way that we do what I call some background research. So before we even get to the, the six vital strategies, as I call them, of which self awareness is one, we actually need to actually understand, well, what are my mental models about how the world works? What are my mental models about success? See, I’ve got to work with people over time as a coach who had a view that if I have lots of money, if I have a title that’s impressive, if I have, you know, a nice car, nice apartment, nice house, whatever it might be, then I’m successful.

But then they discovered, Russel, that actually they were missing big chunks of what success really was for them because they were going home to an empty house where they don’t actually have any decent close relationships, not even with best mates or anything like that, because they’ve ruined their relationships along the way because they didn’t realize that that was an important part of success.

They had too limited a view of success, right? And I’ve had the good fortune to help some of those people rebuild their, their definition of success for themselves. And to actually be able to, you know, still have the wealth. Sometimes the people have got the, the, the appearance of the wealth, but they’ve actually been burning it through gambling or, or habits like that and, and wasting it because they didn’t realize that they hadn’t worked on their self awareness to try to understand why am I doing that stuff.

Et cetera, et cetera. So we also help people, you know, connect to purpose. I mean, Simon Sinek talks about start with why, and there’s a lot of other great authors out there that talk about the same thing. It’s the same for us as human beings, like, okay, but, but how do you, how do you have any clue about what your purpose is?

And one of the parts of this background research that I take people through, Russel, is understanding their turning points. So, for even for yourself, you would have had moments in your life. Sometimes I get called sliding door moments where you go, you know what? If that did not happen, there is no chance you would be sitting behind that microphone right now, interviewing Gary Ryan from the other side of the world, because you would be doing something else completely different.

You know, now a simple, a simple example of this is that is this. And sometimes with these turning points, you don’t even realize how little you sort of had to do with it and how the big role that other people play. So when I was 10 years of age, I’m not number nine and my twin brother’s number 10 out of 11 children in our family, right?

We’re very strong blue collar family and no male out of my extended cousins of 64 first cousins. None of the males at that point in time had gone to university. You, you, you learn to be a tradesman in my family. That’s, that was how it worked, right? So my parents sit Dennis and I down, that’s my twin brother, at the age of 10 and say to us, Okay, where are you going to go to high school?

Where do you want to go? And I answered my parents and said, I want to go to university. And the old man shakes his head and says, Why do you want to go to university? And I said, because I get pretty good grades at school. I don’t really like playing in the garage with everyone else, swinging the hammers and stuff and the saws.

I want to go to university. He says, well, what are you going to do at university? And I said, I have no idea. I just know that’s where I want to go. So then he turns to my twin brother and says, well, where are you going to go? And he go, are you, do you think you’re going to go with him? Cause we’ll send him to the local boys private school down the road, which was expensive because the other education was state based education, which was free.

And we weren’t a wealthy family and my twin brother said, nah, they get too much homework at those schools. I’m going to go where my brothers go. So my dad then committed to getting a second part time job to pay for me to go to the local boys private school so I would have a chance of getting into university. He could have just told me to shut up and sit down, you’re going where your brothers go. He was a true servant leader as my mom was like, like he went and actually got another job to pay for me to go to that school. You know, I was very, very grateful that three weeks before he passed away, I’ve finished that first degree out of the three degrees that I’ve got.

So at least he got to say, Hey, you know, there was some benefit, you know, the outcome of that decision by him. So that’s a, that’s an example of a turning point. Now, in that turning point, I didn’t have a lot of control other than an uppity 10 year old who had some thought about what he thought he wanted to do in his future.

Russel Lolacher: So listening to in some of your examples you’re using a lot of examples of childhood outside the workplace. Is that where as a self leader, as someone who’s trying to understand what success looks like, should we be focusing as much on the outside of work as the inside of work? It’s the whole self, it sounds like much rather than just the work self.

Gary Ryan: You see, I don’t believe the work self is any, is separate from the whole self. We’re one human being, right? And clearly it’s plays a massive role in our lives. And I, and I just think that that, you know, you, you know, it’s very insightful there, Russel, because the mental model or the mindset that we actually have separate lives. I would argue has gotten people in a lot of strife and is one of the contributing factors to mental health problems where one person is do I speak the same with my Grandmother, if she was still alive, as I do with my best friends, as I might do with a CEO of an organization? Of course, I speak differently with those people, but can I still be the consistent person with my values and core purpose that’s driving my interactions and the differences in how I communicate?

I believe absolutely you can. So whether that’s, you know, like I help people recognize what are your life roles? So what is your role at work? Now, you’ve probably got more than one role at work. Because you, you, you, you might be more than one team, for example. One of the mental models that I teach people, Russel, is that anyone that receives the output of your work so they can do their work is like a customer of yours. So that could be someone in a whole different department, for example. So one of your life roles is, even if you’re not front serving in your organization, you actually have, you’ve got customers, you should treat them like that, just in the workplace. You might be involved with your community sporting teams. You might be involved with your children’s school council or whatever it might be. And you have different roles. It’s, it’s amazing how like some people, might consider they have a lowly job in the, in their paid world, but they’re the treasurer of the school council for their local elementary school, which is a major job.

Russel Lolacher: Absolutely.

Gary Ryan: And actually got quite transferable skills into a better job that they get paid for.

Russel Lolacher: So if somebody is being successful, for lack of a better term, in their defining of success as a self leader, what is the benefit to a workplace culture to have people that are showing up to work with that better understanding?

Gary Ryan: Well, I would say they’re going to keep showing up for starters. They’ll keep looking for opportunities to benefit both themselves and the organization because they’ve just got that openness and that mindset to that. They’re going to be better colleagues to work with. And they’re going to help bring that sense of success to the workplace.

So Lippert Industries, they’re a fascinating company owned by Jason Lippert, which is that they, they do all the specializations for RVs. They are now a multi billion dollar organization and have you know, kept kept acquiring smaller businesses over time that have been failing and then turning them around and bringing them into their thing.

But, what they do is they have a process quite similar to Yes For Success. It’s, it’s not Yes For Success. I want to be clear, I’m not claiming that, but they have a similar process where what they do is they teach people to be clear about their variety of life goals, which for some one person might be to complete a three mile walk, raising some money for some charity because they’ve never done that before, right through to it might be someone buying their first investment property.

Now, this has got arguably nothing to do with the workplace, but at Lippert Industries, what they do is they celebrate it because what they know is, is that when people have been successful in all of their life roles, that contributes to their mindset for being successful to the organization. And you can’t help but get caught in that culture because the thing is, you know yourself with organizational culture, you can’t not have one.

So you might as well have the one you choose to have. Now, why wouldn’t you deliberately choose to have a culture that’s got success as part of it? And if that’s the case, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate the successes of your employees that are happening in all of their life, not just in the workplace?

Because of the, the ripple effect that it brings.

Russel Lolacher: Now organizations leaving leaders to figure this out on their own, what’s the, what’s the ideal state here? Cause I’m very curious. Is it the organization’s responsibility to support leaders on this self leadership, self responsibility journey, or is it just our responsibility as leaders to, you know, what, know ourselves better, define our success better so that we show up, we benefit the organization? Where’s the line?

Gary Ryan: Ideally, it’s going to be both, but unfortunately we know it’s not both. And what do I mean by that? So, um, Jack, Jack Singer, that’s his name, Jack Singer and Folkman, who did some work with Harvard back in 2012, highlighted that the average age a leader was getting any training as a leader in a workplace was 42 years of age. Now last year, I reached out to Jack to find out had that changed in any way, partly because of the pandemic, and he wrote back and said, Oh, it’s amazing, you’ve contacted me. I’ve just, we’ve just done the update on this research that we’re just about to release and it has changed. It’s gotten worse because the average age of someone being in a formal leadership role, Russel is actually 30 and that hasn’t changed, but it’s now nearly 47 before someone gets this training.

So the reason why I said the answer is both is because the proof is in the pudding. Organizations aren’t developing their leaders first. They should be, but they’re not right. Now, equally, what this means is, which is fascinating from the individual’s perspective, people are accepting leadership roles in their early thirties, often not getting trained until they’re nearly 47, that’s nearly 17 years where they’re making it up. They’re making it up, which is bad for them, bad for the people they’re leading and bad for the organizations. Like it’s just the tripleness of badness. I made up a word – tripleness.

Russel Lolacher: It’s good math, too.

Gary Ryan: So, so this is why my answer is both because what I’m saying is folks out there. Look, this actually goes back to the mental model, the mindset that it’s an organization’s responsibility to develop you. And I’m saying, please, please, please. Change that mental model. Adopt a new one, which is I am responsible for my development for my entire life. Teach this to your children, please. It’s not the teacher’s responsibility for you to be getting developed. It’s yours. They are someone who ideally will be there helping as much as they can.

So let’s say I’m in an awesome organization that has the great development programs, then I still take what they give me as a massive, awesome bonus. Isn’t it so fantastic, but I’m still taking control of my development as a mindset, right? This is the self awareness that’s so important. So if I’m in an organization, I get appointed to a leadership role and they’re not developing me.

There’s so much information out there like this podcast, for example, right? For people to learn, this is a form of learning. Just listening to this or watching this interview is a form of learning, okay. You know, reading books. I had a scenario where I had adults tell me that my last book, Disruption Leadership Matters, was really interesting and I was giving it to them for free because they’re part of a local sporting club that I’ve been involved with for 15 years.

And with their young children, while my 12 year old son was holding the box of books to give to them, they were saying, this sounds really interesting, Gary. But while their children were standing beside them, Russel, they said, but I don’t read. I don’t read. And I’m like, man, in my head, I’m saying, man, I know you read cause I’ve seen you reading your bedding app. You read, what do you mean? You don’t read, but this reading might actually help you. I don’t read that stuff. And they’re teaching that to their children.

Russel Lolacher: But people do learn differently. I mean, some people learn, like you said, audio, video, photos, but that’s, that’s also on us to understand how best we learn, because I know I can’t tell you how many organizations or, or people I’ve talked to, I’m a visual learner. Okay. You want an infographic. I get it. Fine.

And that’s fine. I need to speak your language. We also need to understand ourselves so that when we’re doing this self leadership, we’re going down the path that resonates with us the most. People don’t want to read books, fine. Read 17 blogs, the same amount of text, but it just, people are breaking it, you know, into chapters that way.

So it leads to my next question that’s popping in my head, which is what’s getting in the way of us being successful in self leadership. Is it those mental models that may not align with what our idea of success is?

Gary Ryan: Look, there, there are a heap of people that are being successful. So I want to start with that. So the, you know, there are a heap of people that get this. That, that understand that, you know, being responsible, continually developing themselves and they are experiencing a life where, you know, other people are looking at them going, you’re just lucky.

They’re not lucky. They’re doing the hard work. I call it the smart, hard work. So that, that, that’s, you know, I want to be clear. It’s not like no one’s doing it. Cause I, you know, a good, a good 25 percent of the population are, and we need to acknowledge that. The other 75 percent odd also, unfortunately have been convinced that it’s not their responsibility. For whatever reason they’ve just been convinced…

I mentioned this. I touched this earlier. We live in a world where it’s so easy to be entertained. You know, you can, you can, you can get lost in Instagram or Tik Tok or Facebook or YouTube watching stuff that really doesn’t do anything for you for hours and like you can lose. And that same person, Russel says, it’s I don’t have time to learn. It’s about having the opportunity to, to actually start to just sit back and, and slow down and, and just assess, well, where am I spending my time?

When, when we all get 168 hours a week… This podcast and the video of it, and doesn’t happen by magic. There’s work in the background has to go on to pull it all together. It looks like magic. But you got to put some time and effort in, or you got to have in, you got to be paying people to do that.

Russel Lolacher: So let’s get on the other side of this, Gary. Say we are getting through our steps, we understand what success looks like the biggest challenge for a lot of us as leaders is the consistency part of it. Because, we do the work, we take the course, and then 17 other million things happen. Or we go into those meetings, we forget those lessons.

So what are some daily practices or anything you’d recommend that would help us continue and lead down that path where we can be consistent in those practices?

Gary Ryan: So you’ve got to make yourself accountable. And so therefore you need to have some accountability partners. So whether that be a colleague, a partner, you actually engage a coach to do that for you, but you need to structure in accountability. Because as you say, the 17 million things that get in the road after you’ve done this learning, and this is the other thing when, when corporates engage me to run programs, I never just do a workshop anymore.

It’s always backed up with a structured process over a 12 month period, at least. Touch points with the staff. No, the leaders know, Hey, we’re going to be back in the room and we’re going to be saying what you did with what you learned. You’re going to be accountable. And that structure is present from day one.

Because there’s a concept, there’s structure drives behavior. This is why I say for the daily habits or the weekly habits is set up an accountability partner or partners for certain commitments that you’re making to the way that you’re trying to improve your leadership. So, for example, the most, the most common one is listening. But we know through research that the listeners in the team, sorry, the leaders in the team do most of the talking.

But that means that the team learned that over time and I just sit down and say, okay, Gary’s a leader. He’s going to tell us everything and he’s going to talk and he’s going to talk and he’s going to talk because the leader thinks I’ve got to talk, but actually the talking they need to be doing is asking questions so then they can listen.

So it, you know, they might want to set up an accountability partner. I want you to give me the immediate feedback. If you see me talk over the top of someone, for example, like really make this very clear, the behaviors that you’re trying to work on and you can. No one else has to know. So no one else has to know Russel, that you’ve got this accountability partner.

You just set it up with them. It doesn’t have to be any fanfare. No one else has to know, but they’re giving you this feedback. And equally, you’re saying to them, when you notice me go to talk over someone and you notice me stop myself… give me that feedback too, because I need the encouragement, which is absolutely true.

We do need the encouragement. It might be that you’re trying to get better with your public speaking. So you are been doing some techniques and learning on your ums and your ahs. And again, you’ve got this accountability partner that’s giving you specific feedback about that. It might be the speed at which you’re responding to emails or messages on TEAMS or whatever it might be.

It’s whatever it is that you need to do to get better, right? That, that you set up these accountability partners, which are equally members of your personal success team, linking that back to that concept before.

Russel Lolacher: This makes me start thinking about diversity, because the success metrics… very personalization. There’s a lot where success to me is different for me, Gary, than it is for you or the next person or the next person completely makes sense. But if you define success for you and you go into your organization and it doesn’t align with how that organization works, its values, are you just quitting?

Is that it? Is it you’re writing on the wall? I’m out of here. Or are you going, how do I define success for me within this environment?

Gary Ryan: Well, I would definitely say you need to start with yourself and your, and it, let’s say if it was something like a value vs clash, we do know that if people do not align from a values perspective, now this doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or it doesn’t mean they’re a bad organization. So for like, I’ll choose it for the sake of it.

Let’s say it was a company that makes a tobacco company. And you’re right into health and, and, and you’re right into anti, you know, you’re supporting, you know, cancer research here and cancer research there. And, you know, you’ve got people that died from lung cancer and you’ve got this values misalignment with working in that tobacco company, like.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be a tobacco company because there’s billions of people around the world that still smoke, so it’s not for me to judge that. But, on an individual level, it might not be right for you, it’s probably going to be mentally unhealthy for you to be there because you’ve got this disconnect.

In that scenario, I’m not saying quit today, what I’m saying is do the work so within three to six months you’re not there. You’re in a place where you should belong. Now, without that level of self awareness, you’re just going to stay there and stay there being unhappy and potentially making yourself sick.

You know, I think people need to definitely get that level of clarity for themselves, but there are too many people working in organizations where there is a misalignment on values. And now part of that misalignment, this is where it gets tricky, is the misalignment is not with the company’s stated values, that they’ve got on their annual report or on the walls and the foyers, it’s with their practiced values. Now in that scenario, unless you can get enough influence to actually get the behaviors to align with the stated ones, then you’ve probably got to not be there as well, over time.

Russel Lolacher: So before I get to the last, last question, Gary, I got to ask you something about your own self leadership. How have you been able to check in with yourself in your self leadership journey all the way back to that 24 year old kid who had to read a book?

Gary Ryan: Well, it’s by having a network of people who understand this material, I guess, and having them as accountability partners along the way, Russel. It’s as simple as that. It’s about regularly tapping in with people, having that, that community of people that will have, as Kim Scott talks about, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Kim Scott’s work on Radical Candor? You know, brilliant, brilliant work, you know love, love, Kim’s vitality and energy and, you know, the way that she communicates what radical candor is. In my view is you need people in your life with radical candor. Now, in my case, that, that includes not, not only my wife, but I’ve got five children and, you know, even my 13 year old son will, will give me radical candor if he thinks I need to hear it.

Russel Lolacher: If you’re going to get, if you want radical candor, look to a teenager for that. Your delivery might need some work, but they’re definitely being radical candor.

Well, thank you so much for this, Gary. I’m going to have to wrap it up with the question I ask all of my guests, which is what’s one simple action, Gary, that people can do right now to improve their relationships at work?

Gary Ryan: The simplest thing they can do is get better at listening. And so the tactic, cause they will heard that a thousand times, right? So the tactic is what are the words that people are saying that you can duplicate in your questions and, or in your conversation that they’ve said? So, the easiest ones to recognize, to duplicate, are nouns, naming words, verbs, action words, or an action phrase of some sort that seems to get repeated.

If you listen for them, and then work them into your language in your conversation, you’re actually telling that other person subconsciously that I listened to you, and the evidence is I used some of your words, but back to you. Now, this isn’t parroting, I need to be clear. We’re not parroting what someone said, meaning we’re saying every single word they say.

We’re just picking out these keywords and making sure that we utilize them in the conversation. Right? So earlier you said something around 17 million on something. So I heard that and I made sure I worked that back in as an example. If people go back and listen to this, right? So that’s, that’s the thing that if you do that, because most people in the world, do they feel like they’re being listened to or not? I think it’s all or not. So at work, if you’re going to, if you can be known for people feeling like they listen to you, that’s going to enhance your relationships, big time.

Russel Lolacher: That is Gary Ryan, he’s a mentor, leadership and professional development coach, speaker. Oh yeah, he’s written a book. It’s called Yes for Success, How to Achieve Life, Harmony and Fulfillment. Thanks so much, Gary.

Gary Ryan: You’re welcome. Russel. Cheers.

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