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Stop managing, start leading [Perspectives recap]

At a time when CEOs are more concerned than ever about leadership gaps in their organizations, managers don’t seem to have gotten the memo. Many have trouble letting go of their individual contributor tendencies. Others place undue emphasis on the work to be done while neglecting the people doing the work.

Leadership is complex. Rather than complain about what’s not working, we wanted to turn our attention to how we can help leaders at every level get it right.

That’s why we assembled an all-star lineup of experts for this month’s show:

I’ll share my recap of the webinar below, and you can find the full replay at the end.

Audience poll

After I tidied up with a bit of webinar housekeeping, my Executive Producer, Rachel Rosenthal, fired up our Menti poll.

I wanted to start by getting a feel for the relative leadership effectiveness by organizational layer.

I was somewhat surprised to see how close the average ratings were across the three tiers. When looking at the end-to-end distributions, I also found the appearance of bi-modal “humps” in all three tiers. This may speak to a tendency toward “have” and “have not” in terms of leadership reputation.

My second poll asked what highly effective leaders do that others don’t.

Popular answers included:

  • Listen
  • Communicate
  • Follow-through
  • Seek input

As well as one of my personal favorites:

  • Ask me about my life

These are not superhuman asks of our managers, but they are far too uncommon.

Panel discussion

I opened the panel discussion by asking a series of high-level questions.

What’s the difference between management and leadership?

Amber got things started by sharing, “Managers, they manage tasks. They manage things, and leaders are there to really lead. So instead of just managing and making sure that tasks are done, they’re thinking about how are they done and how is my team doing them?

Jeb weighed in next. “Managers, to Amber’s point, are more tactical. They’re more focused on the thing side of things or the stuff and leaders are meant more to be inspiring. ‘How do I get you down this path?’”

“I would just boil it down to execution versus inspiration,” Adam concluded.

What makes for effective leadership today?

Jeb shared his views first. “I think it’s authenticity—understand and be present. I read some things [in the poll results] like be empathetic and know your people and know their job and know more about them and be transparent.”

Adam took the opportunity to emphasize the essentially human aspects of modern leadership. “I’m reminded of the Maya Angelou quote that ‘people will remember you not for what you do, but how you make them feel.’“

Amber stressed the contributions of a scientific approach when she shared the importance of “taking the time to be exposed to and understand the psychology behind communication and how that impacts your employees.”

As our panelists shared their insights, the audience added their questions to the Q&A box.

(If you want to experience our next webinar live, I’m including a link to register below.)

More to the story

As we continued our panel discussion, we hit on additional topics such as:

  • Four key dimensions of effective leadership (deliver results, engage employees, encourage wellbeing, develop future leaders)
  • Why it’s so important to run productive and inspiring 1:1 and team meetings
  • The role goals and progress tracking play in overall success
  • And much more!

Closing the show and next steps

After our panel discussion ended, I guided our panelists through a round of Q&A. We love answering insightful questions from our audience!

I announced the winner of our book giveaway (congratulations again, Nate! 🎉) and I mentioned our panelists’ takeaways:

  • Amber: Understanding what motivates employees is key to keeping them engaged & growing! To help guide leaders through this invaluable process, Amber developed an Employee Motivation Worksheet & Action Plan. You’ll be amazed at the trust & engagement this helps you build with your team!
  • Jeb: Check out this case study by The Predictive Group showcasing how they worked to help their client foster a culture of self-awareness
  • Matt: People are loving a worksheet I wrote after I received a notice about an expiring RMV inspection sticker. I used that to create a Leadership Inspection Checklist. I hope you’ll share it with a leader you know and love!

As a special benefit for live attendees, I gave early access to a quiz I created to help leaders gauge their current level of effectiveness and pinpoint areas of improvement.

You can catch the full replay of this amazing webinar episode here.

If you’d like to join us LIVE for next month’s webinar, now’s your chance!

Join us on Wednesday, April 10th at 2pm ET for our next session of Perspectives powered by The Predictive Index. 

Smile, You’re On Camera: HR in an age of hyper-transparency.

Registration is now open!


Matt Poepsel, PhD is the author of Expand the Circle: Enlightened Leadership for Our New World of Work and host of the Lead the People podcast. He serves as Vice President & Godfather of Talent Optimization at The Predictive Index. He holds a PhD in Psychology, an MBA, and a Harvard Business School Certificate of Management Excellence. Matt has more than 25 years of leadership experience as a software executive and consultant. He’s also a US Marine, an Ironman triathlon finisher, and a student of Buddhist philosophy.

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