Leading People

The Only Leaders Worth Following with Tim Spiker

July 02, 2024 Gerry Murray/Tim Spiker Season 3 Episode 55
The Only Leaders Worth Following with Tim Spiker
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Leading People
The Only Leaders Worth Following with Tim Spiker
Jul 02, 2024 Season 3 Episode 55
Gerry Murray/Tim Spiker

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  • What type of pivotal moment can lead someone to dedicate their career to leadership development? 
  • Why are qualities like inward soundness and other focus so critical in leadership? 
  • And how does the quality of leadership impact not just our work, but our overall well-being?

Join us as Tim Spiker, founder of The Aperio and author of "The Only Leaders Worth Following - Why some leaders succeed, others fail, and how the quality of our lives hangs in the balance" shares his riveting journey through the world of leadership development.

Tim delves into the importance of inward soundness and other-focused leadership, revealing how these qualities can significantly enhance the well-being of employees and reshape organisational culture.

Drawing from extensive research and personal experience, Tim discusses how certain qualities are crucial for effective leadership. Listen to real-life stories that illustrate how leaders can unlock greater strategic potential and foster a sense of unity within their teams.

We also explore the broader implications of great leadership, extending beyond the business world to areas like government, civic organizations, and family life.

And Tim shares a transformative tip to enhance your leadership skills.

Whether you're a seasoned leader or just starting out, Tim's wisdom is sure to inspire and guide you on your leadership journey.

Tune in to learn more...

Connect with Tim on LinkedIn
Visit Tim at The Aperio

Follow

Leading People on LinkedIn

Leading People on X (Twitter)

Leading People on FaceBook

Connect with Gerry

Website

LinkedIn

Wide Circle

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Please subscribe via the Podcast links above

  • What type of pivotal moment can lead someone to dedicate their career to leadership development? 
  • Why are qualities like inward soundness and other focus so critical in leadership? 
  • And how does the quality of leadership impact not just our work, but our overall well-being?

Join us as Tim Spiker, founder of The Aperio and author of "The Only Leaders Worth Following - Why some leaders succeed, others fail, and how the quality of our lives hangs in the balance" shares his riveting journey through the world of leadership development.

Tim delves into the importance of inward soundness and other-focused leadership, revealing how these qualities can significantly enhance the well-being of employees and reshape organisational culture.

Drawing from extensive research and personal experience, Tim discusses how certain qualities are crucial for effective leadership. Listen to real-life stories that illustrate how leaders can unlock greater strategic potential and foster a sense of unity within their teams.

We also explore the broader implications of great leadership, extending beyond the business world to areas like government, civic organizations, and family life.

And Tim shares a transformative tip to enhance your leadership skills.

Whether you're a seasoned leader or just starting out, Tim's wisdom is sure to inspire and guide you on your leadership journey.

Tune in to learn more...

Connect with Tim on LinkedIn
Visit Tim at The Aperio

Follow

Leading People on LinkedIn

Leading People on X (Twitter)

Leading People on FaceBook

Connect with Gerry

Website

LinkedIn

Wide Circle

Speaker 1:

Welcome to episode 55 of Leading People with me, gerry Murray. This episode is brought to you by Wide Circle, helping you make better talent decisions. To learn more, visit widecircleeu. That's W-I-D-E-C-I-R-C-L-E dot E-U. C-i-r-c-l-e dot E -U.

Speaker 1:

What type of pivotal moment can lead someone to dedicate their career to leadership development? Why are qualities like inward soundness and other focus so critical in leadership, and how does the quality of leadership impact not just our work but our overall well-being? These are just some of the questions we'll be answering in this episode. My guest today is Tim Spiker, founder of the Apperio and author of the book the Only Leaders Worth Following, why Some Leaders Succeed, others Fail, and how the Quality of Our our lives hangs in the balance. Tim has a fascinating background. We'll learn how he went from a personal epiphany to doing groundbreaking research in leadership. In this episode, he shares his research insights on what makes a leader worth following and offers practical advice that can transform your own leadership approach and even who you choose to work for. So let's hear what Tim has to say. Tim Spiker, welcome to Leading People.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, Gerry. It is really exciting to be here with you and to get a chance to talk with your audience.

Speaker 1:

So great to have you on the show, Tim, let's just, for the sake of the audience, give them a little bit of background to how we ended up about to have this conversation. So some representatives of yours just reached out to me a few weeks ago and I really found what you know, the stuff you were writing about in your book and that on leadership, very interesting and I thought definitely worth featuring this on the show. However, before we start, perhaps you could tell our listeners a little bit about yourself. So how did you get here? What person, place or event or stands out in your journey to where you are today? Or was there like a series of an epiphany moment or a series of epiphany moments? And then, why did you choose a career in leadership development? So let's hear from you for our listeners.

Speaker 2:

Sure, I think. In many ways I almost feel like this line of work chose me. I did have a bit of an epiphany moment, you could say. I was getting ready to start grad school. Jerry and I was waiting tables living in central United States, st Louis, missouri, for those who might know where that is.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I know what I've been there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I'm waiting tables getting ready to go to grad school and one of my fellow servers invites me to an open house for a marketing company. Now I want you to keep that terminology in mind, because it's going to become an important open house for a marketing company. I knew I was going to take a look at marketing during my graduate school days. I was also in a time of life when a free meal was really important and I figured there was going to be food there. So I'm in.

Speaker 2:

I went to the open house for the marketing company and when I got there, there were many people seated in the room already and there was just one seat in the center of the room, which became important because after about two to three minutes of the presentation, I learned what an open house for a multi-level marketing company and, all of a sudden, open house for a marketing company. Okay, I get it now. And so then I had a choice to make in that moment. Am I going to make a scene and get out of here now, because I had no interest in selling water purifiers to my family and friends, which is what they wanted me to do, or do I wait for the break? So I decided I didn't want to make a scene and shimmy my way out of the room, and so I waited for the break, and I'm so glad that I did, because that is the night that changed the course of my career. And no, I do not sell water purifiers.

Speaker 2:

Here's what happened. They started talking about what does it mean to be an employee, and the room like grew dark. It was like weeping and gnashing of teeth and it was doom and gloom and I just sat there and I didn't hear another word in the presentation. I just sat there and thought why is it this way? It doesn't have to be this way. And in a moment I thought the answer has to be connected to leadership. The reason why following somebody is either horrible or great is because of the quality of leadership, and so I did leave at the break. I grabbed a sandwich on the way out and I did leave at the break and I was as I walked in my car and I remember it it's 23 years ago, but I remember it today and I said I am going to dig into the issue of leadership, and that has set me forth on my career ever since that one night, being invited to that meeting.

Speaker 1:

All right. I thought when you said you were going to wait for the break, you were going to make a break for it, you know. But you actually did eventually. But it was something in your head right, that's right, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I had a sandwich in my hand and an idea in my heart, and so away I went, and then I just started learning everything I could interviewing people, talking with them, studying everything I could about leadership and it set me on the course of where I've ended up today.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and you hit upon something incredibly poignant for a lot of people in the workplace, but not just employees, but leaders and managers, and the early Gallup research showed this out. You know, when first break all the rules and that, and I have some friends who wrote a book called people leave managers, not organizations and if you ask most people think back to when you had a great boss. What was it like? Think back to when you didn't have a great boss, did you stay around? Uh, now, maybe in some cases people did, but they probably regretted it afterwards and you know that's, that's it, okay.

Speaker 2:

So let's get to the book.

Speaker 1:

So what is the book called? The book is called the only leaders worth following okay, and then there's a subtext to it, isn't there?

Speaker 2:

yeah, so the subtext gets into. You know why some leaders succeed, others fail, and how the quality of our lives hangs in the balance yeah, that that's the bit that I was kind of getting.

Speaker 1:

The quality of our lives hangs in the balance, so why did you write this book?

Speaker 2:

Honestly, I couldn't not write it. Once I was involved in some research that accidentally revealed some truths about leadership that after hearing them and when I share them with people, to a person what they say is oh yeah. I always knew that that was true. But before they're articulated they're just kind of vague and squishy and we don't really know they're there.

Speaker 2:

And so what happens time and time again is I haven't invented anything here, jerry but, through research, we are able to articulate something that aligns with real life, and because of that, now we're able to look at leadership and leadership development with a clearer eye, in terms of how we pursue it and even how we evaluate who I want to work for and so I really. Once I had seen this research, I couldn't not talk about it, and that's why the book got written.

Speaker 1:

Enjoying the insights and inspiration. Enjoying the insights and inspiration. Make sure to catch every episode by subscribing to Leading People on your favorite podcast platform and please take a moment to rate us. Your feedback makes all the difference. Remember to follow us on our social media channels and join our LinkedIn group for more content and connection with like-minded professionals. Stay connected, stay informed and let's grow together. Right, okay, it's interesting. You say who we want to work for, and I guess you're talking about employees, and how do you decide who you work for as an external coming in to help? How do you decide this is a company or these are a bunch of people I want to work with?

Speaker 2:

Well, the big question is are they bought in to A investing in leadership and leadership development and B, are they open? And the second one becomes very important because ultimately, what drives over three quarters of leadership is not what we usually talk about in the marketplace, about leadership in this way that we've always talked about it. Then I wouldn't, and our company wouldn't, be a good fit for them, because we want to come at it from a little more scientific background to say here's what the data says. Are you open to diving in to where the data points? So certainly the interest in leadership development has to be there, and not every organization has that. But secondly, the openness is important as well.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so how did you come up with the title? The Only Leaders Worth, actually with a little asterisk following yes, so how did you come up with that?

Speaker 2:

title yeah, the Only Leaders Worth Following was not the original title of the book working with a book consultant which at some point as your listeners don't let that make you cynical, because something very personal is going to happen here in a moment but we were sitting at lunch and he started I mean, I start to feel it right now in my chest when I started to tell this story. He asked me a question kind of very similar to the one that you did as we're talking about, why I'd written the book and I'd been working with this gentleman for quite a while. But whatever it was about, that day at lunch I started going off on this story about my own experiences as a follower and how, back to the quality of our lives hangs in the balance. And I just went on and on and I got a little teary as I was talking about the impact that leaders have on us. And then I stopped and he looked at me and he said where has that been?

Speaker 2:

And what I realized in that moment is that had always been inside of me. I just don't know that I had expressed it. And so a huge part of that, jerry, is that now I was expressing I had always focused on helping leaders be excellent. And now I was expressing I had always focused on helping leaders be excellent. But in the midst of sharing that story, what he heard from me is my passion for followers having a great experience of being led. And so, through that dialogue that day at lunch, he said I think you're missing something so far and we need a title of this book that better expresses what I just heard you say.

Speaker 1:

And that's when we landed on the only leaders worth following so I think a lot of would-be pope um authors are wanting to get that guy's number right. Hey, I can connect them, I can. What is it? What does he spike the food?

Speaker 2:

with. It was just, I don't, it was just something very, and we had met many times before that, right. But in that particular day it just happened to come out and then he was keen enough at that point to see hey, there's something that we should follow up on and his name is Rob Eager. In case you want to look him up, he works in the book world, so anybody can get out there and find Rob. But thank you, rob, for helping to ask just the right questions to get us to that title. That really represents the core of what this book is really about the Only Leaders Worth Following, right.

Speaker 1:

So if you're really eager to write a book.

Speaker 2:

There you go. Well played, Jerry.

Speaker 1:

I'm pretty sure that he's heard that one many times before I'm sure he has yeah, and my listeners are going oh I, I wish you hadn't gone there, but then you did, and that's what you. It was too easy, you couldn't let that one go by.

Speaker 1:

I couldn't let that one go by. And actually you were, as you were talking about the, the whole follower thing. I I think behind me there's a book by a lady called barbara kellerman, I think, and she's a professor and she she kind of goes. You can't really be a leader unless you've got followers. I mean, that's the truth. One of the true tests of a leader is do you have followers that actually want to be there following you and do they follow you in a way that shows that you're taking them somewhere, that they want to go? But we're not here to talk about her book, but that's all right. So now in the book itself, you tell the story of a research project you were involved in and you accidentally discovered something you call the who, not what principle. So how was this principle accidentally discovered and what is it? Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

So I was working for a leadership development firm and we were taking people up to the west side of pike's peak in colorado here in the us, and we would. We would put them through a series of leadership development activities while we were there and our clients started to ask us questions regarding the assessments that we were giving them, and so they're essentially saying what's the magic mix of personality and natural ability that might make me, or somebody I'm evaluating, a more effective leader? And so we had enough data through those assessments to run a statistical analysis. My colleague, vanessa Kiley, actually had her keys on the keyboard, and I remember the night she came into, she was in her office. She asked me to come in. She said I've got the results and I'm like leaning forward, and she's like it's nothing, there's no connection between any aspect of personality, natural ability and leadership performance, and so maybe I should have been disappointed in the moment, but actually my first thought was well, at least when they ask us what's the magic mix, we can just say there isn't one, there's not, you know, there's not this ideal profile. And I started to leave her office and she said but I did find something else. I turn around, I'm like, yeah, what did you find? She said, well, I turn around. I'm like, yeah, what did you find? She said, well, not finding any correlations. She basically, in an act of desperation, told the SPSS software go find anything. Can you find any statistical correlation anywhere? And what the software told her, which is you know, this is a great thing about statistical analysis. It says you're looking in the wrong place. You're looking at personality and natural ability and how that affects leadership performance. Just look only within your leadership 360.

Speaker 2:

And there were eight aspects of leadership that we were measuring within that 360. And what that software kicked back to us. You know that analysis was run once with 2,000 data points and then again with 20,000 data points a few years later, and what it said was there's eight aspects of leadership you're measuring. Imagine a round pizza that's cut up as a pizza might normally be cut up. So any two pieces of that pizza should be worth 25% of the pizza. But what this statistical analysis said is that of our eight aspects of leadership, two of them were worth 77% of the pizza. 77% of the variability on our leadership 360 was coming from just two areas of leadership, way more than the other six combined.

Speaker 2:

And that's how we accidentally found the who, not what, principle. What were those two factors? Well, those two factors were inwardly sound and others focused. All right, inwardly sound and others focused.

Speaker 2:

The way that transpired and I'll save everybody three years, and it may be embarrass myself a little bit that it took me three years to realize this but when we looked at the various things that were being measured, such as set direction, think strategically, motivate and inspire, ensure execution, those type of, I would say, the typical things that we talk about in leadership I would have thought that it was an even distribution.

Speaker 2:

But what this analysis showed is that who you are as a person and that's the light bulb, that those two things inwardly sound and others focused are about who you are. All the other aspects of the 360 are about what you do, and I had a moment like three years literally, it took me three years to get to that epiphany is that oh wait, a second the two aspects that are driving 70% excuse me, 77% of the variability in orderly sound and others focused, those are about who you are, not what you do, and thus the who, not what principle being born that if we would have just shorthand it, we could say. Three-quarters of my effectiveness as a leader comes from who I am, not what I do, and it's true for every person on the planet.

Speaker 1:

Hmm, that's fascinating. I used to yell at SPSS when I was doing my MBA. I just wish to say, please start, because I was clueless with it. I was very impressed by the software, but I have to say I had no clue how to use it. I opened admission here. It was kind of outside of my, definitely outside of my comfort zone, but so so, but. But having said that, I'm joking a bit. I mean, it's a, it is, it is a one of the top, isn't it? Packages in the world for doing this. So if it, if it figures this out, then you got to take it seriously. So you get 77 of the variability, yes, or the driver is coming from these two factors inwardly sound and others focused. So let's translate that into to layman's terms and maybe you've got an example of sure, sure, have you got an example of some person or people that you say there's a great example of inwardly sound, others focused.

Speaker 2:

And here's, here are some of the things that substantiate that, this example yeah, I'll use a couple of things here, and of course we've got really interesting stories over the years from our clients, but we could take one from both places. And then let's connect it to the idea of being a strategic thinker, because I've never met anybody on the planet that says we want non-strategic leaders. Everybody's so focused on strategy and, to be sure, strategy is important. But if I'm listening to this for the first time, I might be saying what on earth does inwardly sound and others focus to have to do with being strategically capable? Those seem like totally disconnected ideas. So here's an example of how that works. Let's take a look on the inwardly sound side of things. One of the things that we talk with our clients about on inwardly sound is the idea of being secure and settled, which is the antithesis of being insecure. Now what I would ask rhetorically to our audience here have any of you had the joy of following an insecure leader? The joy of following an insecure leader and of course we're being very sarcastic with the word joy there, because usually if I'm in a room of people and I ask that question, what follows is a collective moan, because almost everybody has had some point in their career where they followed somebody who was insecure and there were repercussions for that. And so when I think about strategy, for example, I have seen with my own eyes leaders who had acknowledged they were, in fact, insecure about their senior executive position remove strategically capable people from the strategy conversation because they were insecure. They were insecure. They said no, this person can't be in the meeting. Now, that's an extreme example, but what happens when we're insecure about who we are is that we become uncomfortable. When more talented and smarter people are around us, we get concerned about how we're going to be perceived, and one of the activities that people who are in positions of authority do is they will remove those people from the conversation Immediately. Now you've impacted your ability to be the very best strategic thinker because you just took ideas out of the room. Why? Not because they were bad ideas, but because you were insecure On the others-focused side of things.

Speaker 2:

One of the things that we talk about being others-focused is humility. What does it mean to show up as a leader who is humble? And it comes in here to affect strategy in another way as well, because if I am not humble enough to listen to and run with somebody else's idea and I would imagine there are many of us involved here today that would say we've known and seen leaders like that, where that leader it had to be her idea, it had to be his idea and when to be his idea, yeah. And when we have a humility to say, look, it's not about me, it's not about my ideas, it's about how do we find the best idea, that humility of it doesn't have to be about me. That keeps us open to more strategic possibilities.

Speaker 2:

But when I show up with pride, when I show up with arrogance, when I show up with, it's got to be about me. Now I again I'm reducing my strategic possibilities so very quickly, even though inwardly sound and others focused wouldn't, at their surface look like they have anything to do with strategy. We can see insecure and arrogant leaders have fewer strategic possibilities available to them because of that insecurity and arrogance, and so they become less strategic thinkers because of who they are, and so that's just an example of how this insecurity and arrogance and so they become less strategic thinkers because of who they are, and so that's just an example of how this can play out. And it doesn't matter whether you're talking about a department head, the boardroom or even in a family, those two things can show up and make us less strategic and what would you say to the I'm going to be a little bit provocative here.

Speaker 1:

What would you say to the vulnerability movement out there, the people who've bought into the idea that leaders have to be vulnerable? And how do they get the balance between being vulnerable and not insecure?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, it's a wonderful question. You know the stuff I'm talking about.

Speaker 1:

I do People like Brené Brown and people like that are promoting this idea for quite some years, because I know a lot of my listeners are probably well-read on all of these things now, so this might be creating some dissonance for them. So how do you help people reconcile those two factors, vulnerability and insecurity?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I don't think you can talk about that question without talking about emotional health, because there are people who have leaned in, potentially, to the idea of the value of vulnerability and there is a wonderful value to that I'm going to come back to in just a second.

Speaker 2:

But the question is, to what extent and how am I sharing vulnerably? I need places to process my challenges and I need to do that. But who is the partner? If I, I am in an equity-backed venture capital type of opportunity, is the primary place for me to process my vulnerability with a VC, right? Maybe not. I need to find a place, and certainly peers can be a healthy place to do that.

Speaker 2:

But we have to be thoughtful, like why am I sharing this right now? But we have to be thoughtful Like why am I sharing this right now? Is it because I'm leaning into healthy vulnerability? Or am I unhealthy in an emotional way where now I just have no wisdom and discernment and I'm just blah everywhere? That is not an issue of vulnerability, that's an issue of emotional health and wisdom. And so I do think, look, here's the thing with vulnerability and I've worked for leaders that were not and the thing that happens when we're not vulnerable as leaders is that we almost feel like cyborgs to other people. And I had a guy I think he thought that he was helping us. I think that he thought that he was providing stability, but what happened is he lost the whole team because he was so wooden and lacking so much vulnerability. We thought he's not even here, like he has some bad stuff's going on and he doesn't even know. He's so disconnected. So, yes, I think there's healthy vulnerability, but we have to look at why we're doing it and if I'm just kind of vomiting my emotions on others, I wouldn't call that vulnerability. I would call that kind of unhealthy emotions. We need leaders who show up human and say I don't have this all figured out, but here's what we're going to do.

Speaker 2:

Andy Stanley comes to mind for those that might have heard of him. He's got some great leadership thinking and he talks about the difference between clarity and certainty. And I think that shows up here around the issue of vulnerability, because what you can say to somebody is I can't tell you with certainty what's going to happen in the marketplace. I don't have that predictive ability to know exactly, so I can't provide you certainty, but you know what I can give you as a leader. I can give you clarity here is what we are going to do.

Speaker 2:

Here's our plan for the next 12 months. Here's our plan to deal with the crisis that we are going to do. Here's our plan for the next 12 months. Here's our plan to deal with the crisis that we have going on right now. And so, in that way, I think leaders can show up both vulnerable in a healthy way, to say, yeah, this is challenging and I don't have it perfectly figured out, but here's what we're going to do, and here's what we're going to do together. And now you're galvanizing as a leader, even as you're vulnerable. So I think there's some wisdom that comes in to mix all those things together.

Speaker 1:

Coming up next. Tim delves into real life examples of inwardly sound and others focused leaders and how you could start applying these principles right away, plus learn how curiosity can transform your leadership style. So back to our conversation I'm hearing a bit about like context is very important here, and judgment in that context and, in a way, when you're saying I don't maybe know the right way forward, but somehow I think you know if somebody else has some ideas, you're actually diluting that arrogance, aren't you? So the vulnerability isn't like, oh my God, I'm in a terrible state. You know, pity me, I'm like a human, because often that doesn't work for the leader. I mean a leader who can admit they're wrong that's vulnerability. A leader who can admit that they don't know the answer they're wrong that's vulnerability. A leader who can admit that they don't know the answer, yep, that's vulnerability.

Speaker 2:

Right, but a leader that just has has a kind of an emotional breakdown or cascade in front of their people is probably not going to create, um, a lot of inspiration for those people well, no, and and you know, when we talk about inwardly sound and others focus, there's one category that has a foot, that we talk about, that has a foot in both worlds, and we call that emotional maturity. And you know it's none of these things like vulnerability by itself is not going to make you a great leader. Security by itself is not going to make you a great leader. Humility by itself. We need a collection of these things, and emotional maturity needs to be a part of the equation in a major way as well. So yes to vulnerability, but we can't just drop emotional maturity off at the door, like that also has got to be. How do I, how do I manage and understand my emotions and the emotions of others is a really important part of the equation as well the emotions of others is a really important part of the equation as well.

Speaker 1:

Right, so that's a pretty strong I think that's a pretty strong concept which can resonate with a lot of people. This idea of emotional maturity, I think it captures. You capture a lot in that one phrase. You know, and and I was um just looking here at some of the questions I have prepared so how does somebody who's emotionally mature produce better leadership results?

Speaker 2:

Well, there's four things. When we are more emotionally mature, we think about connection, energy, influence and information, and these four things. If we think about how do I handle this moment or this situation from an emotional standpoint, one of the great guiding signposts is to say how can I react and respond to myself and to others that increase one or more of those four things Right Connection, energy, influence and information and so that gives us a signpost in terms of how to move through leadership in an emotionally mature way. The reality is things regarding emotions, which, by the way I've just mentioned, like any day that ends in Y, there's some emotion involved. Some people are more emotive than others, but there's always emotions involved. If we will let those four things guide us, we have a much better chance of making emotionally mature decisions moment by moment. So we point to those four things as guideposts along the way, and oftentimes, just keeping those four things in mind give us a lot of clarity about how to step forward.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so checking in with connection, energy influence and information. Yeah, the flow of information, looking at situations through those four lenses helps a leader stay more emotionally mature.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, because the connection part is really important. I'll go back to the leader I was talking about earlier, who was very wooden and you know, I think he probably thought that his stoicism was providing stability, but he was so stoic he doesn't need to be emotive in a way that he's not but he was so unacknowledging of the challenges and difficulties that we had that you know that he lost us and so for him people have different challenges emotionally. Some people do need to like, okay, I need to manage it, I need to rein it in, I'm a little bit on the crazy side. He was literally the opposite. We needed him not to become somebody he wasn't, but to at least acknowledge the emotions of the moment as we were struggling through with that business.

Speaker 2:

So for him, the question would have been in the midst of these difficulties, how can I interact in such a way that would create more connection? You know, is the answer to be so stoic that they don't even think that I'm a real life human? No, actually, you need to lean in with us a little bit. You need to acknowledge that. Hey, this is tough. We've just lost a couple of really key team members and we've got big things coming up. We need to solve it, yes, but let's acknowledge that this is hard. There was none of that, and so we thought that he was off on a different planet. So sometimes being emotionally mature means I need to lean into emotion. It's not always just tamping down those crazy moments that we that we've. You know, we see viral videos about when somebody loses their mind.

Speaker 1:

It's not always about that, and connection is one of the great words that guides us towards more, uh, to be more emotionally mature as leaders and when I listen to you describe it like that, I also have this sense of the four elements being part of a system, rather than just four random or four things. I must remember because actually there's a relationship between connectedness and energy and energy and influence and information and influenced information. Connectedness when you think of it, it's actually not sitting in some sort of linear, it's actually sitting in some sort of systemic, interactive almost 3d spherical.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it's like moving around. It's like the way the planets move around earth or whatever way the solar system works, and that's the the so I, to me, that's the vision, that's the image I get of this. Where it's, it's, it's not about going. Have I got all these four things in place? It's. Am I aware of how these four things are actually making five? You know the classic thing how do those four things are actually making five? You know the classic thing how do those four things create five? Which is my impact as a leader, I guess at the end of the day, well stated, well stated.

Speaker 2:

I'm with you on that whole thing.

Speaker 1:

Okay, you can borrow it. Okay. Thank you, I appreciate that Excellent.

Speaker 2:

I will, I will.

Speaker 1:

So you can also modify it and adapt it to what you really think. Who is this book, the Only Leaders Worth Following? Who did you write it for? Who's the audience you want to reach with this?

Speaker 2:

It kind of reaches back to that origin story that we talked about a little bit earlier in terms of naming the book. Ultimately, there's two groups that I have been focused on. One is people who want to be excellent leaders, and the reality is, while I come from a business background and most of the stories many of the stories, not all of them, most of the stories in the book and examples in the book and research in the book is related to business, but the reality is the principles of effective leadership. They apply to any, it applies to a civic organization, it applies to government and it applies to a family. And so when I think about people who want to lead well, yeah, it could be somebody who's a manager in a business that wants to continue to progress in their career and be successful and lead well. Or it could be a mother or a father that just says I want to be a better leader within my family.

Speaker 2:

So the first group of people are the people who want to lead well, but the second group of people that this book is written for to say like, okay, the only leader's worth following, who's this for?

Speaker 2:

It's also for those of us that want to be led well, to be able to read through the research and see the principles and then say I want to look for that in the leaders that I follow. I don't want to just look at a resume that sounds great, great education, even had some great positions and produced some great results, but really, really, is this the kind of person that I want to follow in a day-to-day business? Is this a mature person who, when things get tough, they show up as a mature, stable, grounded leader? And so to be able to read through this book to help clarify who do I want to follow? So those are the two groups of people people who want to lead really well and people who want to be led well. And if both of those things apply to you, you don't need two books. One will get it done for both of those, so you don't need to double up.

Speaker 1:

In that case, which I would imagine there's a lot of us, me included, that fall into both of those categories yeah, and I, you got me thinking, I mean, as the father myself of four wonderful kids, in fact, four young ladies now um, uh, I, I think the most leadership lessons come from an effort to become the best parent you can become, and you're constantly it's, it's, it's, it's never, it's work that's never done and it's no matter when you think you're doing a good job, you often find that maybe, maybe you're not. And, um, my kids are probably laughing if they're listening to this now and thinking, yeah, that's, that's dad going. Yeah, that's true, but that brought to mind something that was in my mind a little bit earlier. You know, when you did your statistical analysis and you came up with 77% inwardly sound, others focused. Were there any gender variations in that?

Speaker 2:

There were not. There were no gender variations, there were no hierarchy in terms of where you are in the organization, there was no ethnicity. There was no ethnicity, there was no race, there was no distinction from a demographic standpoint. It was only about those two things across. And then you know, one of the things that we unpack in the book in the third chapter is about other organizations who have also done research that points in the same direction, done research that points in the same direction. And so when we see that in other places as well, then it's also kind of reinvigorating to say, while they may have done their research project with a little different words than we do, when we get down to it and we dig into it, we both have found the same things. And so we have some confirmation with other organizations who have done their work globally, who also would say no change, it doesn't matter the gender, it doesn't matter where your location in the organization, none of those things matter. These truly are leadership principles that apply regardless of any other demographics.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So getting into the, the, let's say, the last part of our conversation I'm really intrigued by again I come back to something we mentioned at the early part this subtitle that says the quality of our lives hangs in the balance. And what do you mean by that? And what can organizations learn from that statement about? You know, the whole leadership thing in terms of how they select leaders, how they develop them, et cetera. So the quality of our lives hangs in the balance.

Speaker 2:

Well, I would just ask everybody to think about the best and worst leaders you've ever worked for, and when I say that, almost everybody has names and faces pop into their mind, including me. I'm right now thinking of a few people that I've had the chance to lead, and I think about my life while following those folks. And I will tell you, like man, it's a simple question and I've answered these questions before. But even now, like I begin to get emotional, thinking about what it was like to follow the great leader and what it was like to follow the great leader and what it was like to follow the horrid leader. And I'll tell you, the worst leader in my personal experience wasn't somebody who was trying to set out to be evil. This was just a really underdeveloped human being who you know. The reality of who that person was was just bleeding out onto everybody all the time and there was no intention. But my life was hell, and I don't mean my work life. This is really. This is why the quality of our lives hangs in the balance. I don't mean life at work was hard, I mean my life was hard, the endurance that my wife had to go through in the evening while I processed, trying to figure out how I'm going to survive this leader. What if we could get all those hours back? What if we could get all that emotion back? And so, when I think about what would you you know, to your question what do organizations need to understand? I know that we have investors and we have owners, and we're trying to come through on market share and we're trying to come through on stock price. I get all that. Here's the reality, though. When we're working for really, really great leaders, two things come along at the same time both the results and the quality of our life. It's like a train on parallel tracks, and you want both of those at the same time, so we don't have to pick one or the other.

Speaker 2:

The very best leaders that we've all worked for, we did our very best work and we had a satisfaction welling within us that was the healthiest and the best as well, and so, as organizations think about this, by the way, you know, getting more and more obvious in the marketplace is quality of life. You know there's a lot of drive in that. It was maybe behind the scenes with previous generations, but it's very front and center now. Like, don't just tell me about the pay, tell me how this is going to work, tell me what this is going to look like showing up here day to day. So the quality of life and how do we have great leaders?

Speaker 2:

And I'm not talking about bennies here, I'm not talking about benefits. I'm talking about what is it like to interact with somebody and to have them lead you. Is that satisfying and exciting and challenging? By the way, when I ask people about the best leaders they've ever followed, never once has somebody said I walked all over them, I got away with anything. Nobody's ever said that. They always say this person not only cared about me, but they also challenged me. So this isn't about being a pushover, so I say all that and I get all fired up about it to say organizations, I think, are starting to understand because of the unique time that we're in, the quality of life matters, but it has always mattered. We have always given our best to the people who were the very best leaders, and what happens is both a great result and better of quality of life, for how enjoyable and hits the kitchen table of the people that they're leading, and that has always mattered. And now it even matters more because we're talking about it more. So that's what I would say.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, it's kind of funny because that's a great explanation and I'm thinking of the concept of well-being and it's something to get slotted in under leaders, whereas actually leaders, in a way, should be slotted in under the well-being, because actually what you just said is the well-being of your people is at stake if you don't have leaders that help. Those people feel good going to work and want to give their best rather than well-being being a little kind of department down the hall.

Speaker 1:

Please make sure we have a well-being policy and make sure people, you can have all the well-being policies. I mean the amount of organizations you can go into today and then be introduced to the psychology department. I mean the department of psychologists, yep and and you start going. Well, there's 300 people in this building and there's um five psychologists. Hmm, I wonder what's going on here.

Speaker 2:

Wouldn't it be a lot?

Speaker 1:

cheaper to just have really great leaders. I was in one organization that was actually in health, the health sector, I won't say who it is and they had a screen up in the reception. I was waiting to be taken up to do a training program and on the screen in the reception, in public view for anybody who came into the building, was how to book an and if an appointment, if you know, with the psychologist. Uh, you know. So I was kind of going to myself hmm, I wonder what it's like to work here. Then I did.

Speaker 1:

I went in to do some training and I found out at the end of it the leaders had mandated this training on how they said their people were not communicating properly with them. And when I did the training, there were two things emerged, and that was that the leaders were terribly aggressive, etc. And one lady at the end said she said you know what? This was great I, this was a great training, but I shouldn't have been on this training. The leader should have been on this training, not us. Leader should have been on this training, not us. We should have started it with them, because there's no point in teaching us this stuff. It was great, but until they change their behavior, this is not going to get any better. But it's kind of interesting. Well-being is kind of one of these things that's put in another department or whatever. It's put in another department or whatever. But actually what you just talked about a few minutes ago is the leaders themselves are a fundamental leverage point or element of how well-being functions in an organization 100%.

Speaker 2:

You know, for listeners who might really want to go down this road, zach Mercurio is a great author in this space, a great researcher, and he talks a lot about the fact that if you want to get results that are excellent, you need to first be concerned with people who are well. And he's speaking in a more fundamental way. He's not talking about checking a box and he's talking about genuinely, and, of course, we don't have to make a big jump to get to all of the conversation around psychological safety. I think the reality is to go there, and this gets really, really simple now. I think inwardly sound and others focused leaders create more psychological safety. When I am stable in my own self and I am for you, this is a more psychologically safe place to work and therefore everybody wins. And maybe I'm not saying we should never have any psychologists on staff, but maybe we need three instead of five if our leaders are better.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm not saying there shouldn't be, it's just when you look at the ratio sometimes you think, my God, is it really that bad here? Anyway, come to the very end now, that bad here, anyway, come to the very end now. Um, what is something leaders can do to apply the who, not what principle right away? A couple of pieces of advice or some tips or things they can really start, let's say, they can test it out to see does it work, or find out does it work.

Speaker 2:

so what a couple of things so one of the simplest things that we oftentimes talk about with our clients is around the issue of curiosity. Being a more curious leader is at its heart. That is, being a more others-focused leader. So that's where that particular idea lives and sharing with you something that was taught to me by Dr Mary Shippey so I can't take credit for it, but it's a little idea that has genuinely changed my life, that can be applied this afternoon or this morning or whatever time of day you might be listening to this. You can do this right away. She just taught me the most basic little phrase tell me more about that. What happens if, jerry, let's say, you and I are near one another in the building and we just said, hey, we're both committing to the use of the phrase? Tell me more about that. A hundred times in the next 50 days, just twice a day, we're going to do that, and every other week we're going to check in for 15, 30 minutes to see what's happening.

Speaker 2:

It is astounding what happens to relationships and information when we simply show up with a phrase tell me more about that, or something like that. We don't have to be robots about the language. It's the sentiment you know it could be. Let's double click on that, or can you explain that a little further? Or I'm interested to hear more. Any of those variations work, but what happens when we suspend the idea that we know what? If we say, okay, I know they use, I'm familiar with that language, that's the language we all speak, but how do you mean that word? How do you we're crushing it? Maybe somebody says You're like, go into that a little, I want to hear a little bit more about what.

Speaker 2:

Usually, when I ask those follow-up questions, jerry, I find out that the other person uses the term crushing it differently than I do and that there's more. Now, maybe it's, maybe I think it's better or worse, whatever, but I know more. And have we ever had a relationship that got worse because somebody took an interest in us? That's never happened in human history. I don't think.

Speaker 2:

And so, when you look at both information and relationship, the simple idea of I'm going to be a more curious leader, I'm going to be more others focused about them, about their perspectives, about their ideas, about their opinions, and I'm going to lean into a simple idea of, hey, let's do tell me more about that 100 times in the next 50 days. It's amazing what happens in others and here's the other hidden secret that we don't want to miss. It's also really interesting what happens inside of us, what happens inside of me as a leader. I'm going to very quickly see that I probably didn't know as much as I thought that I did, and that there's a whole world of real live humans around me that I want to be more connected to and that inspires me to be more curious, moving forward. So it's a win for all of us.

Speaker 2:

I know it takes time. That's the objection, by the way. Oh, that takes more time. You're right, and I don't have a magic button for that. But if you would commit to just saying tell me more about that a couple of times a day over a period of time, it will be amazing how it impacts information and relationships.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So I'm going to resist the urge to actually ask say, tell me more about that in the interest of time, because I'm going to take your point about being connected and I'm going to ask you just to finish up how can people connect with you or get in touch with you so they can ask you the question? Tell me more about that, what's?

Speaker 2:

the best way. I appreciate that. Well, of course, from a book standpoint, you know we're on Amazon and all those places, so if you're looking there, it's just the only leaders worth following. From an organizational standpoint, Um, I'll say, since this is probably simpler, our, our company name is the Imperio, which is, which means, in order to lay bare, but if you just go timspikercom, you'll end up in the same place, so that's probably a little bit easier. Or BeWorthFollowingcom will get you to us as well.

Speaker 2:

And LinkedIn, yeah, linkedin, just LinkedIn slash Tim Spiker, that's me, so you'll find me very easily there, yeah so they can find you.

Speaker 1:

So I'll put those links in the show notes. So, Tim Spiker, on behalf of our listeners, thanks for sharing your insights, tips and wisdom with us all today.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much. So glad to be here with you Coming up on Leading People.

Speaker 3:

So there's a concept in cyber psychology which looks at whether or not technology is a master of us. So we basically are enslaved to it and we just react to every single notification and email that comes in. And the other side is that we have agency over technology, so we are the masters of it and those those two sides of the argument is a fiercely debated thing within cyber psychology, but from a adult perspective.

Speaker 1:

We use our gadgets because we are driven by In the next episode of Leading People, we chat with Carolyn Freeman, a cyber psychologist. Now you're probably wondering what a cyber psychologist does. Well, carolyn will explain and she will share her journey from corporate marketing to cyber psychology. We discuss a wide range of topics, such as whether technology controls us or whether we control technology in the workplace, practical advice on managing technology use to enhance productivity and well-being, and how leaders can ensure optimal use of technology amongst their teams. So make a note to tune in for this enlightening discussion on technology and well-being at work Until next time.

Leadership Development and Pivotal Moments
Discovering the Who, Not What Principle
Leadership and Emotional Maturity
The Impact of Great Leadership
Curiosity as a Leadership Tool