Being more human as a leader with Gregg Lederman

Good Human Leadership at Work with Gregg Ledermen

In this episode of Relationships at Work, Russel chats with author and keynote speaker Gregg Ledermen on how being a good human through knowing your values and embracing your vulnerability can make you a better human leader at work.

A few reasons he is awesome – he’s a leadership, employee engagement and customer experience expert and keynote speaker through his consultancy Brand at Work. He was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Rochester, teaching MBA students organizational change and leadership and he’s a New York Times bestselling author of Engaged! – a resource to create customers for life, Achieve Brand Integrity – helping companies match their brand with their business results, CRAVE – enhancing employee motivation and engagement and A Great Life Now Journey – on life design.

Connect with Gregg on his platforms:

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The balance between results and humanity
  • The importance of living your defined values
  • Where followers fit in good leadership
  • Why you need to know who you are to be a good leader
  • How trust is an outcome, not a value of leadership
  • Finding value-driven leaders

“There’s no such thing as great cultures without great leaders.”

Gregg Ledermen

FULL TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW

Russel Lolacher
From his car from my office, I have the absolute pleasure of talking with Greg Lederman. And here is why he’s awesome. He is a leadership employee engagement and customer service experience expert and keynote speaker through his consultancy brand at work. He was I love saying this word adjunct professor at the University of Rochester teaching MBA students organizational change and leadership. And he is a 1-2-3-4 time author, five in the hopper… Engaged with the book on basically creating customers for life, Achieve Brand Integrity, which helps companies match their brand with their business results, Crave – enhancing employee motivation, engagement (have a weird feeling that’s going to have something to do with our conversation), and The Great Life Now Journey, which basically gives leaders a smack upside the head to tell them, they can’t be great leaders unless they get their life figured the hell out. So thank you so much for being on the podcast, Gregg.

Gregg Ledermen
Glad to be here, Russel, thanks for having me. Thank you.

Russel Lolacher
It has been a while since you’ve been quote unquote, an employee. But I do want to ask the first question we ask every guest on the podcast, which is what’s your best or worst employee experience? Great.

Gregg Ledermen
So as I mentioned to you, it’s been when we say a long time, since I was an employee, it was high school. So we’ll go back 40, back 35 years, 40 years, but um, I guess I actually the, when I sold my company brand integrity after nearly 20 years, to a company called reward gateway, I stayed on as an employee for a year. And I would say that was my was my last my only reason. And it was an amazing employee experience, actually, and I’ll give you one one specific reason for that. I sold the business to an organization that knew their core values really well, and live them better than any organization that I’d worked with. And that’s what we did for companies was help them define their core values and integrate it into their people systems. That’s what the number one reason we sold to them. And they did it. You know, it wasn’t easy selling a company and dealing with that transition, but wanted to make sure all our teammates landed in a good spot. And our clients landed in a good spot and to sell to a values driven organization where they didn’t just post their values, but they talked about them regularly. And they shared examples on a day to day basis of how their values were being lived and called it out when they weren’t. So that would be my my employee experience, if you will, I spent a year as the president of employee engagement for their, for their entire global business.

Russel Lolacher
How does that feel to look at an organization and work with an organization that does live their values. I mean, we, as you say, evaluate is not a poster on a wall. But that seems to be just what HR or executive tend to do is oh, we live our values. Look there on the poster everywhere you walk. But at the same time operationally, it’s not a thing. So how was it just from a feeling standpoint to see that actually, in real life, because we’re so we talked about it, but it’s so rare

Gregg Ledermen
So you know what, I do a little exercise from the stage. It’s some of my engage my speaking engagements where I have people close their eyes and think about an organization that they just love to do business with. And why. And that that induces those feelings like this is what organizations do. They consistently do what they say they’re going to do, their employees know who they are, they know how to act it out. They know how to perform the experience. And the companies that come to mind are the same ones over and over. On a national level. They’re the Chick-fil-A, and I was joking. I was in Clearwater doing an engagement on Tuesday morning and Chick-fil-A was the first one that came out Southwest Airlines comes out up here in the in the in the north, and the North and the northwest. I’m here in the northeast, Wegmans food markets is comes out and longtime client that I started working with over 20 years ago. These are companies that make us feel special, they make us feel good Delta Airlines, you know, that’s why I flew home from Clearwater, I’m amazed at the experience that they deliver, not all the time, but way more consistently, than their competition, and it just feels good. So if any of your audience members that want to know what that feeling looks like, just close your eyes, and just take a deep breath and think, who do I love to do business with? Who do I refer to others? Those are the companies you love, and they make you feel a certain way. Those are almost always values driven organizations. Because I don’t know any other way after being in this arena for 20 plus years. I don’t know any other way to get employees to think speak and act in a unified way that customers love. And that employees want to be a part of, if it’s not a values driven approach.

Russel Lolacher
And it’s not like there’s not an opportunity to learn as an organization how to do it right when, as you said the same companies over and over are the ones that people point to so it’s not like there’s not a blueprint out there. It’s not like there’s not an ability to go oh, that’s how and it’s not their successful organizations?

Gregg Ledermen
No, no, it’s the contents out there. I mean, you mentioned my books, achieve brand integrity, engaged crave. All three of those were business books that gave away all our secrets for what we’re doing with our clients. I mean, after 20 years, 18 years with brand integrity before I sold it, that was the name of the company, 70% of our clients were on our best places to work list, our clients had nearly three times the employee engagement of their competition, I always tell our I would always tell our clients and our prospects when when this conversation would come up. That’s not by chance. It’s by design, there is a recipe, you just have to follow it. And you have to have leaders that want to follow it. As we were talking about before, everybody, you know, I get calls, weekly, you know, the companies, they want to overhaul their culture, it starts with the leaders, tell me a little bit about your leadership team. Tell me a little bit about you if it’s the CEO, or one of the top leaders, because there are no great cultures with value with a values driven experience for customers. There’s no such thing as great cultures without great leaders.

Russel Lolacher
But Gregg, I want to change my culture in a year, can’t I do that and just shift the entire, like, it’s just, it’s a checkbox exercise, which which it seems to be more than the actual work needed, which is, funnily enough, a big part of our topic today, which is leadership. 567 years ago, this was not it was all about follow the ladder, get to that high paying position, hey, you’re successful, nothing about the impacts? Right? Nothing about the Republic, how you get there. So why is this suddenly becoming such a big part of the conversation in the business work culture?

Gregg Ledermen
Because, and I love the term you use. I’ve used that for decades, “check the box”. And I it’s one of my first questions as I start to get into the culture discussion with a group of leaders. So what do we got going on around here? Is this just check the box? We got our values, you posted them on your website, you put them up? You know, you? Or did you get to that next level where we’ve integrated into how we hire people, how we onboard people? How do we do performance conversations around our values? How do we recognize and share successes that are linked to our values in a strategic, genuine and thoughtful way? Right, so check the box just doesn’t work. In the short answer. Your question is check the box really expensive. It’s expensive. You know, Southwest has been example, Southwest Airlines, they’re profitable, every year. Since inception, they’ve been profitable every year. It’s like 40 plus years now, why the other airlines can’t claim that. I mean, there’s a number of reasons but at the end of the day, the companies that that do get it and they take it beyond check the box, they make a lot more money. But you can’t do it in a year as you suggested you can’t. I mean, if you’re 30 employees with five leaders, you can change your culture significantly in a year, but you probably need to fire a leader or two because you have the culture you deserve. The reason you have the culture is because of the way the leaders have been thinking speaking and acting that has to change if that’s they change the way they think speak and do nothing changes.

Russel Lolacher
Can you be a good leader in this day and age without being vulnerable?

Gregg Ledermen
It’s you know, what, it’s all relative, you know, in some spaces you could probably look at and go look, demand and control really works here. And this is what we need, we need our leader and we’re going to follow them and they would never show any weakness. You know, is that the best way to blanket-ly to say that? Is that is the best style of leadership? No, I think we’ve proven you know, over the last few decades that servant leadership is considerably more effective in much in almost all cases, but I’m sure there are some areas where you know, you don’t want to be vulnerable you need to show confidence you know that you know what you’re doing and but most organizations that I’m going that I’m that I’m interacting with and engaging with that’s not the case. However, it’s very difficult to get people to be vulnerable because they’re trying to climb the career ladder and vulnerability might be seen as a weakness, right and so they don’t want to show the weakness so it’s it’s it’s might be a pipe dream for some organizations to truly get a lot of their leaders to demonstrate vulnerability.

Russel Lolacher
Well, one of the biggest catches to is that leadership success tends to seem to be around results, not around the process taken. Like I’ve had conversations with people and they’re like, that’s a great leader. I’m like no, it’s not you only saw the thing they did you don’t see below the water, which is all the wreckage they you know, did to get to that result, which is going to which basically destroyed the culture is just continuing to do so.

Gregg Ledermen
Yeah, another little exercise I do in my in my great leader now speech is I, I asked the audience if they’re a trusted leader, if it’s a private event with a company, I’ll say, a show of hands, how many are you in the top 50% of the most trusted leaders in this company? And how many hands do you think almost all of them right in I tell them it’s statistically impossible. But psychologically, it’s real. They think they’re trusted leaders. But then I asked them to think, who’s the trusted leader that you’ve worked for over the years? And what is it about them that made you trust them. And inevitably, when I have a roomful, whether it’s 1000 people, 100 people, 10 people, it doesn’t matter, the responses come in the same way. There’s both performance. On one side, you got the performance, which is what you’re alluding to, like, they get results, they drive accountability, they get stuff done, you know, they achieved the goal, you know, you can count on them. And then on the other side is humanity. There are good listeners, their doors always open, they celebrate small wins, they’ve got my back. So I always tell people, that from my experience, a balance of both performance and humanity is what works best, the best, most trusted leaders, they can they get results, but they also are humanistic in the process. If they’re blazing the trail to get those results, they’re not trusted, they’re certainly not vulnerable, I would suggest the vulnerable leader can balance performance and humanity. Now here’s the kicker, Russell, when I asked the audience Next, raise your hand if you’re more comfortable with performance, or focusing on the human humanistic side of being a leader. And it’s rare, it’s rare that someone doesn’t have a preference for one side or the other. Because we do one side is almost always more natural than the other. It takes work to develop the habits, the thinking, and doing habits to become proficient in both sides of performance and humanity.

Russel Lolacher
Now I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard about tipping too far one way. Generally, it’s the results driven at all cost side of things. So to find that balance, like you said, it’s very rare. Have you ever seen it tip too far? The other way being too vulnerable to human?

Gregg Ledermen
Yeah, absolutely. You see some leaders where it’s yeah, my doors always open. And then they’re like a psychiatrist all day long, you know, and they’re not, but they’re not getting results. And I say, Look, if you want to be a trusted leader, you got to get results. You can’t just be Mr. Humanistic leader all the time, and everybody loves you, and you’re throwing the pizza parties every Friday, no, that’s not gonna work, you got to get results, you have to have a balance. So the best leaders, the best leaders, they are able to balance performance in humanity.

Russel Lolacher
We brought up one of your books and your most recent one, which is great life, the great life now journey. And being a vulnerable leader I have found is ones that can bring a bit of their personal life into their work life, like it’s, they’re not just a I am only the person, you know, nine to five, and I do not exist outside of this. This is, that’s just a fallacy that just can’t really be true. So they try to bring in that personal side of things. What have you found with your great life now journey, that bitter steps people can take to sort of meld those worlds to be a better leader.

Gregg Ledermen
So the Great Life Now Journey is, is based on four truths, that drive that drove the entire book. And those truths are start with. The first one is you make the rules, right assume and the whole great life now journey is based on the idea of a game. And there’s the pregame, the game plan, and then you activate your game plan. It’s it’s a, it’s a, it’s a game plan for life. And the first truth is you make the rules, your rules are your values. So if you define who you are really, really well. And you play by those rules at work and at home, right, if you play by those rules, then you’re gonna you’re on your way to living a great life right now. However, you also have to do what I call a values match. Do your rules match the values of the organization? And if they don’t, you’re trying to be a leader, or an employee in the wrong company. Because your beliefs don’t align in our beliefs drive our attitude, which drives our actions. So if our beliefs don’t align, align with from a values perspective, then how in the world can you act the part in the way the company wants you to do it based on their rules? You can’t so you make the rules. And I learned that really early on as, as a pre teenager, I learned this concept of if you know what your rules are, and you live them, you drive the self worth that makes it makes for a great life that makes a strong human.

Russel Lolacher
Is there a litmus test to this? So if there is a leader and they’re you know, moderate success, but they know they need to change, they’re bringing in someone like yourself into in the culture change and to help with their leadership? Is there a litmus going, Oh, no, I need to change this is this is not going the way it should I need help. How would they know?

Gregg Ledermen
So some get to the point where they get curious and show vulnerability as you were mentioning, and they might start to look into it. Others need to do a little work upfront and get feedback. And that’s, you know, one of the steps in the journey is, is reaching out to colleagues reaching out in an organized way that I give them real simple way with an email to get feedback to understand, what are my strengths? What are my weaknesses? You know, what makes me a solid leader basically,

Russel Lolacher
It’s a matter of them wanting to change more than anything to because there are a lot of leaders that just live in their bubble are surrounded by Yes, people that just keep perpetuating their style. Have you seen something that sort of is that? Okay, here’s the red flag. Here’s the canary in the coal mine.

Gregg Ledermen
Usually, it’s something that happens, that gets them to be a little curious and go, What the heck is really going on here? Why am I not getting these results? Why am I why are people treating me this way? It’s usually, you know, they get fired from their job or something happens, the company just takes a huge hit, they just keep in today’s day and age, they’re losing a ton of people, with the great migration of employees, unable to keep people they’re experiencing economically the cost of that, that gets people to reflect that. Maybe I need to do a little homework. It’s not that common, though. Not common enough. I mean, most leaders, most leaders don’t do enough of it. I again, I keep bringing up because this is my little petri dish where I can examine the world around me. And engagement with 500 people the other day, and it’s in there all leaders, every one of them is a leader in an organization and I do a show of hands. This was my great leader. Now speech. How many of you have core values? you’ve defined the rules for the game of life for you? You could you could if I asked every one of you to break out your phone, you could text me within 30 seconds, your core values? What percentage of people do you think could do that?

Russel Lolacher
I would say it’s quite low. I think there’s such a confusion when it comes to values even I’ve done values exercises with people and they’re like, “Well, my values at work are different than my values at home.” And then I’m like, then you did it wrong? Because it’s not like they suddenly change when you go through the door.

Gregg Ledermen
Yeah, so yeah, it’s my percentage. It’s 20 to 30%, at the most of leaders, and most of the time that even if I got 30% of the hands up, when I take them through the next exercise of how do you live those values, then the light bulbs go off, I call them front row, Matt is a guy who is in the front row. And engagement recently that was so sure he had his values, until he had to list off three ways that he should continue living them, stop living them and start living them in the future even more so. And he couldn’t do it. And he said, I guess I thought I had values. But I really don’t. Do you want to be a really stellar human being and a great leader? You’ve got to really know who am I, you got to be able to answer that question and define the attributes and characteristics of who you are. And most importantly, how do you live it? How do you actually live it? What do you do? That proves it? And what do you do? That’s counterproductive to your values? Like we’re no one’s perfect? We screw up all the time. I do at least daily.

Russel Lolacher
Do you feel like we need to change the definition of leadership? I say that because I a lot of people will just say leader as it means a good, great leader, when I’m like, no, there are leaders that are horrible. But they’re still leaders, because they’re defining the culture they’re defining. They have values that are not great for a corporate culture, but we just use leader as this interchangeable and different from the word boss. And that by saying leader, we assume it’s a positive thing. Do we need to redefine it with ideas around values and vulnerability?

Gregg Ledermen
I think that’s where the concept of “servant leadership” came from. Maybe it was a Ken Blanchard book or someone wrote a book 20 years ago on servant leadership, and everybody grabbed on to that idea. And I think that was an attempt to do that. It’s interesting, you compare it to boss, you know, a boss is much more like you, you I tell you what to do, and you do it. leader to me is you and you inspire if I had to put one word together that would be attached to leadership, it would be they inspire, they inspire others. Why? Because the others are followers. Right? And you could be you, you and me are both leaders in an enterprise. And you know what, hey, we’ve got something going on that you’re leading the way now I’m the follower. I’m following you. I’m still a leader, but I’m following you. To be a leader. You have to have followers otherwise, what are you leading? Right, like the mother duck is not a leader unless she’s leading or ducklings around somewhere, right? I mean, you have to be a leader. You have to have followers. Otherwise, you’re not leading anything, whether it’s a project team, a company, a country, it doesn’t matter. You’re… you have to have followers.

Russel Lolacher
And I think the followers define the leader too, because a lot of people will say, Oh, he’s a great leader. She’s a great leader. from on high looking down going I see the results they’re doing their Leaders only No, no look below the leader at the followers to define what that leader is. They’re the ones to being led, as you’ve said, they know what they’re following who they’re following how they’re following.

Gregg Ledermen
Good point. Yeah, I completely agree. I don’t know that there’s one definition for a leader, but I get I get where you’re going with that. I just think, I think it’s, I really think we just need to keep pushing on this idea of, why are we all here? It’s a big question. I know you plan on going this deep today. But why are we here in this universe? We are all on a planet that is spinning around in the galaxy. Why? Right? Like, what what is going on here? Right, like the purpose of life? Right? It’s the pursuit of happiness, and how do we get it? Do we get it from constantly growing and achieving and obtaining more and, you know, more of a fear driven, power driven approach? No, we get true joy and happiness from giving to others. Right? It’s about giving. It’s not all about getting Yes, you want to get things in life, but it’s about giving to others. That’s the most humanistic way that you can live a happy journey on this life. Right? Like, it’s about being thoughtful of others. So why would leadership be any different? Let’s think about it in that context. I mean, it’s about this idea of being a servant leader doesn’t mean you, you don’t take heart, make hard decisions, and it’d be a little bit command and control every now and then you might have to, but at the end of the day, you got to come from a genuine spirit of giving to others.

Russel Lolacher
And I love that you touch on that a lot with that book, great life new journey about how it’s a great life equals great leader, because people seem to think that as soon as, like I said, you go through those doors, you can do things differently. You can approach life differently, that are different from being a good human in the rest of the world, like trust is a big one, where it’s like, oh, we need to build trust for organization. And I’m like, do you have best friends, because you know how to build trust, you have to do it with your best friend every day. And yet, suddenly, as soon as you put on the tie, you don’t do those things. You’re not transparent, you’re not showing up making an effort. Why is there that divide, because the qualities of leadership of trust don’t change, we’re still humans in both rooms.

Gregg Ledermen
It’s a great point. And that’s a really powerful word and you bring up their trust, right? You’ve talked about building trust, trust is earned. Your best friend trusts you because you’ve earned it, because of the way you think, speak and act. So this all ties back to who are you as a human being? Right? Trust is earned. You can’t beg for you can’t bribe for trust, like you have to earn trust. And that in any any realm of life, it’s earned. It’s not something that’s awarded to people. That’s why when companies put trust is one of their core values. I usually tell them right up front, I think your core values are bullshit. Oh, what do you mean, bullshit? How could you say that? And how do you know? But you have trust is a value? Well, I Value Trust, yes, you Value Trust, but you have to earn trust. So what do you do to earn trust, deliver amazing customer service, now you’re earning trust, you know, be, you know, make one of your core values about empowering employees, creating a great culture. Now, when you live that you’re earning trust, trust, the trust is the outcome. Trust is the outcome.

Russel Lolacher
Well, it’s like, it’s like an organization saying “innovation” is one of their core values. And then they’re wanting everybody to return back to work. Like it’s always been, I’m like, wait a second,…

Gregg Ledermen
You picked out another, that’s the number two most BS value out there is… “innovation”. I’m not saying you don’t care about innovation, but you want employees to come to work every day in innovate new things. Or don’t I mean, once you innovate something, don’t they have to go implement. So it’s innovation can still be important to you. If you’re operationalizing core values and an enterprise, then they’re not your core values are not just the poster board material about what we care about. Know, they’re the heart and soul of who we are and how we live. Right. So entrepreneurial spirit can certainly be a core value, right? Or innovation could be a core value. But you have to, you have to delicately define what that is because you don’t want people innovating all day long. You want innovation in some areas, way more so than others. So don’t just blanketly say, our core value is innovation. It’s a risky proposition if you’re trying to truly if you’re trying to truly operationalize your values.

Russel Lolacher
And I can’t think of anything more vulnerable then being open and honest about what your values are. Because we’re talking about boundaries. We’re talking about what works and what doesn’t work. And by being open and honest about that, because most values exercises we ever do. We’re like thanks. And then we hold them to ourselves. And then we go home and go those are our values. They never communicate them. They never share them with others so that I understand who I’m working with or seeing how they connect to the organization. So in a realm of the great resignation migration, right now, where a lot of people are leaving organizations, because they’re not seeing that connection to values, how there seems to be as much of conversations about retention, as there is around recruitment. And I’m really curious from a recruitment side of things, when you’re talking to organizations, how can, how can they find those leaders to help that culture that they’re trying to change?

Gregg Ledermen
From my experience, the best way to do that is if you’ve defined your core values, and let’s say you got five core values, and you’ve got your behaviors behind it, here’s the non negotiable ways we think and act in our organization, then you take those behaviors, and when you’re, when you’re interviewing someone for a leadership position, you put that list of behaviors in front of them, and you ask them to do one thing, rate them on which ones are most natural, and least natural. It’s an exercise I’ve been doing for a decade plus now with organizations, and I have a tool that I provide my clients on how to do this and do it, do it, you can do it electronically, you can do it just with a sheet of paper, write the interview, slide it over and go, Hey, it was great meeting great meeting you great love the interview that we just had, but take this home with you, and now in the results or bring it back later or do it now before you leave, but go through. And I want you to look at our values and how we live it, I want you to pick the three that use the three behaviors and actions that you think are most natural to who you are, in which three are least natural. And see if they’re honest, about which ones are least natural, and you want to know, so that you can say to them, Hey, we this, this is important to us, we’re gonna need you to do this, if it’s not natural for you, that’s okay, it doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means you’re going to need to focus your energy on putting the habits in place to be able to live our values in this area.

Russel Lolacher
Any big surprises you’ve seen from going through that exercise for people?

Gregg Ledermen
Usually, what you’ve gotten to the point of interviewing this individual, you have a pretty good idea of who they are. But the self awareness that it creates for those individuals would be the biggest surprise. Now many of them are like, no, they’re all natural to me. No, they’re not. No, they’re not. I asked you the least. So they’re not all equal. So will they engage in a vulnerable conversation about who they really are and how they live and how they act? Because there’s no way you’re defining your core values and in someone’s walking in, and they’re all equal and how they are able to demonstrate them, it just goes against the human condition.

Russel Lolacher
So we’ve talked about vulnerable leadership, we’ve talked about values, what’s wrong with a culture? What’s wrong with a culture? If they’re not embracing those things? What are the traits of a culture that you know needs to be fixed?

Gregg Ledermen
So at a 50,000 foot view, it starts with… do leaders really understand how to operationalize their core values, and they might call the core value something else? So we’ve talked about that. We’ve checked that one off, right? So it starts there, but then let’s take it down another level. And I spent, I spent a decade plus, doing research and studying the research on this concept of crave that I wrote about in my, in my book back in 2018, how to give people what they crave in 10 minutes by Friday. That’s the name of the book, that concept is a really powerful one, I think it answers your question. We humans crave three things. We want to feel respected. We want a sense of purpose. And we want strong relationships. So if you want to change your culture, you have to give people those three cravings in their 80 plus years of research. They’ve been studying motivation in the workplace, like what causes motivation, what causes some people to be motivated when some are not. And going all the way back to the mid 30s is when the first studies came out in 1935. That shows that this is what we want. We want to feel respected and have a sense of purpose and meaning in relationship plays a huge role in there. When humans get what they crave. They’re more motivated, which is intrinsic. So you got to cause that motivation for people. And, and they’re more productive. And when they are more motivated and committed, they’re more engaged in the culture is better. But it’s not a chicken or the egg scenario. You have to fuel the craving. And that’s what I’ve made. My mission of my life work on the corporate side is to help organizations teach their leaders how to fuel that craving for themselves, and others. Show them you respect them. Show them that their work is purposeful and meaningful. And when you do that you strengthen relationships. When people don’t feel respected, when they don’t see the difference that their impact or work is making. Then you’re gonna get what you’re gonna get. Right? You know, United United Airlines is hurting people on and off planes. Delta is trying to create an experience. It’s obvious to all of us who travel a lot of your life as sinners that travel a lot in fly Delta and united or delta versus American, it’s a huge difference. And this is that this didn’t just happen overnight, this has been going on this overhaul at Delta, pretty much since the Northwest merger, whatever that was 15 years ago. takes time, takes time to MIT to make it happen. But they’ve been doing it well, for about five, seven years. Now. It’s pretty impressive.

Russel Lolacher
We’ve talked, a lot of those companies have been doing this a very long time, it is the long game that they’re playing. They know how that this is not something done in a year. How have you seen because you’ve worked with organizations that need that change that need that help, that need and wants to be the Chick fil A, but are really trying to figure out like you said, the game plan to get there? How have you seen something like vulnerable leadership, make cracks in a, I don’t wanna say bad culture, but just a meeting to be improved culture to a better culture.

Gregg Ledermen
From my perspective, it starts in one pathway, the top down the top leaders, you know, someone says to me, we want, we want to go through the great leader now process, but we want to start with our managers, our directors, or VPs, or our our C-suite isn’t gonna go through this, that isn’t gonna happen. No, thanks, I don’t need your money, I need your success. And you’ll never be successful doing it that way, you start at the top, you start that vulnerable leadership, as you lead off with has to happen at the top down, they gotta believe in it. Right, and then they got to follow it, they got to put their plan in place, and they got to follow it, then they earn that credibility and trust, because they showed vulnerability first. Now you go down to the next level and go, that’s all we’re all doing this. We’re all in this together. It doesn’t usually work that way, though. Russel, sorry to interrupt you. But what usually, let’s talk about what happens in organizations. Oh, we’ve tasked our od department to in our HR leadership to go and put learning and development together organizational development programs together, and where do they start? middle level managers who are sitting there going, Why am I working so hard to climb the corporate ladder, in, in what so I can get up there and then behave like these guys are behaving. That’s not most organizations. But when that scenario plays out, it’s not going to work has to start at the top.

Russel Lolacher
But I do like that you bring that up, because your lack of vulnerable leadership at the top is sending a clear message to a lot of people that are trying to live closer to the values because again, the great resignation is based a lot on toxic workplaces. So you have a lot of people, especially in the middle, that are looking at what their traditional career paths should be. And they’re like, I don’t, I don’t want to live that life. I don’t want no work about life balance. I don’t want to be an asshole to have to do my job. So they want to go to an organization that does hence why they’re leaving. So going through the way it’s always been for success. You’re communicating a succession plan, that’s not going to work anymore, because people don’t want to replace you anymore.

Gregg Ledermen
Yeah, absolutely. And it becomes a money grab. I mean, look, let’s face it, there’s a lot of short term thinking for leaders, especially with the pressure of being a public company in that arena. My gosh, the leaders are just trying to, you know, they’re just trying to achieve what they can to maximize their earning potential and their career. And that’s, that leads to misaligned incentives that right very, very much misaligned incentives in the organization that is rampant, you know, and it throughout corporate America.

Russel Lolacher
If you want to be a better vulnerable leader, look at how you’re living your life at home, and how it translates as well into work. I really liked that from your book is just very much that they they have to be intertwined for you to understand your impact at work. So I appreciate… I appreciate that.

Gregg Ledermen
You know, in the in the book I write about what I call the seven that seven mountains for growth for a human being right? Physical fitness and health, right, your emotional fitness, your relationship mountain, your time and productivity mountain, your career, your finances, and then contribution to society. Those are the seven mountains. If your life is a mess, in the physical fitness arena, or the emotional mountain or your relationship mountain, can you really maximize your ability to be a great leader? No, of course not. And if you’re one of those that it’s all about finances and your career and well, then you’re How are your relationships. Right now you’re sacrificing your relationships and probably your emotional health and your physical health and, you know, it all plays together. But you can’t be in almost all cases. You can’t optimize your ability to lead. If your emotional, your emotional mountain or your physical Mountain is is a mess at home. If your life at home is a mess. How are you going to be a great leader on a consistent basis. It’s just not going to happen. Which is interesting because I just read an article on the plane the other day. That said it was amazing to me the how CEOs spend their time and the percentage of them that are spending on personal development and networking with others and doing the things to become a better human is amazing.

Russel Lolacher
The wrap up question I ask everybody and I want to hear how your brain thinks. So here we go, Greg, what’s one simple action people can do right now to improve their relationships at work.

Gregg Ledermen
Give people what they crave. And the action is to spot successes. Because we’re really good at catching the negative all around us every day, but work really hard to catch one success. Try to see a success, at least one success every day. And by the end of the week, 10 minutes by Friday, spend 10 minutes every week, capturing that success writing a personal note, do a recognition in your online portal, just call someone and let them know, hey, what you did was impactful. It made a difference. And that that would be the that would be that fuelling of the craving that I was just mentioning. That’s the one thing I call it. 10 minutes by Friday. I put it on my calendar every week, spent spend 10 minutes every week, sharing the success of someone doing it right living living those values at work, or just doing the right thing.

Russel Lolacher
Greg Lederman, thank you so much for your time. It’s been a lot of fun and I appreciate it.

Gregg Ledermen
This was great. I chat with you anytime and just keep reach out whenever you want to talk

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