As we celebrate 100 episodes of Leadership without Losing Your Soul, it’s a good time to reflect on why we lead.
Your leadership extends far beyond your team and the work you do. Every day, you build the world we all will live in. As you commit to human-centered leadership, achieving results, and building relationships – who can you invite on the journey with you to build a better world?
Why We Lead – Transcript
Wow. 100 episodes. Hey, it’s David and you’re listening to Leadership Without Losing Your Soul, your source for practical leadership, inspiration tools, and strategies you can use to achieve transformational results without sacrificing your humanity or your mind in the process. Thank you so much for being here. It is our 100th episode! And it’s been quite a journey. It’s hard to imagine, but I am glad that you were here for episode 100, whether you’ve been there since episode one or possibly, this is the first episode you’ve ever heard. Regardless.
I wanted to take a few minutes today in this episode to celebrate what we’re doing here, the purpose of this show, and the purpose of the work that we do. It is ultimately about changing the world. And as I look back to many on-stage keynotes. I have shared this how early in my leadership career, I encountered the Scott Adams Dilbert cartoons.
You can find those online if you’ve never seen them, but they feature a cast of characters. There are engineers and the pointy-haired boss, and the pointy-haired boss is pretty much a management idiot, a real jerk and self-serving, and just a horrible example of leadership in general. Early in my career, my first aspiration was simply, I didn’t want to be a pointy-haired boss. Like, all right, if I can just avoid being that bad, that’ll be something. And that was really where my, my management aspiration started. Well, let’s just see if I can avoid that. I just don’t want to suck. All right, let’s start there. But over time, obviously, that grew and it wasn’t enough just to not fail, wanted to do well. And that began a journey for me, where I searched high and low and talk to anybody I could. I read every book I could get my hands on.
I literally went shelf by shelf, both at the library and at my local Barnes and Noble reading anything that I could get my hands on. When I was in my twenties, I read about leadership management, business systems, human resources, organizational development, you name it. If I could get ahold of it, I read it, trying to learn all that I could about how people come together and what great leaders do to be effective. And so many of those lessons and so many of my own experiences over time went into learning how to teach those skills. So much of my leadership career has been packaging that and helping unpack it and give it to other people in digestible, practical ways. And so I’m very passionate about that. That’s what we do here on Leadership Without Losing Your Soul, whether I’m sharing a leadership tool or I’m interviewing a guest and helping deliver their wisdom and insights to you.
Well, why do I do that? Coming back to the WHY and why am I so glad that you’re here? Well, I want to go back to Dilbert and me, as I started at the beginning of the show here, I said, (I share this sometimes when I’m on stage) but I want to share it with you is that one of my life goals is to create a future in which Dilbert isn’t funny for our grandchildren. And what do I mean by that? Well, right now, Dilbert is funny because, you know, we read it and we recognize those people. We go, “Oh my gosh, yes, I’ve, I’ve had that boss. I’ve known that person. I worked alongside that, that one.” Ooh, but what if someday bad management, horrible work culture, wasn’t such a universal norm that you could write a cartoon about it, that everyone recognized? What if someday it was the exception, not the rule?
Well, I believe that if enough people will commit themselves to lead in a way that’s focused on both results and relationships showing up with confidence and humility, using the tools that we have here, that we share here on Leadership without Losing Your Soul, that it is possible that transformation can exist. And we can flip the script to being where human-centered, positive leadership cultures are.
This shift can also become a competitive advantage for businesses who choose to invest in their leaders and who lead that way. I believe that’s the case. And my hope is that you’re joining us on that journey as you use these tools because as frequently as we can encounter some of these cultures with poor leadership and managers who are losing their soul in the process, I don’t know a single leader, not one, who set out to be a jerk. I’ve met many managers and leaders who are jerks, but I’ve never met one who set out to be that way, which is an interesting paradox and points to some underlying conditions that need to be addressed.
So why does that happen? Well, I believe there’s a couple of reasons. One is that people don’t have the tools they need to lead effectively.
So they get stuck, they get trapped and they fall into negative behavior patterns, things that they learned from leaders who might not have been leading as effectively as possible, but who were getting some sort of results. So they default to those behaviors or they default to their own nature.
Here’s what comes naturally to me here. And you’ve heard me talk about how, what came naturally to me was, well, I locked all my brothers and sisters in the basement. It was a leadership memory for me, or we try to be nice and make everybody like us, in the hopes that they’ll get things done. Of course, neither of those are effective long-term, but those are things that we can fall into very naturally if we don’t have the tools to be effective.
So we’ve got the poor role models, we’ve got the tools that come kind of biologically or naturally to us, but then there are also the systems and cultures that we’re a part of. I have had this happen when I’ve been in a high-pressure intense system with a leader who is yelling at me, it’s easy to pass on that tension, negativity, and lack of human-centeredness to your team.
So for all of these reasons, I do this show, I share these tools, in the hopes that you can use them, in the hopes that you’ll share them, not just in your own leadership and in the way that you lead, but that you will teach them to others. That you’ll share this podcast with other people that you’ll pick up our books Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results without Losing Your Soul and Courageous Cultures, How to Build Teams of Micro Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates – that you’ll read them and that you’ll share them.
So it starts there, but it’s bigger than that.
The reason that I am so passionate about leadership and why I invest my time sharing these things with you and why Karin and I do it more broadly with leaders in organizations around the world is because it’s not just about your team. It’s not just about your business.
It’s not just about your company or the product or service provided. Those are good, but ultimately, yeah, our leadership has a much broader, bigger impact as you choose to lead and focus on the people. Along with the results, you are changing your corner of the world, you are influencing people. You’re changing the experience they have. And that ripples out that changes how they go home and treat their family, their friends, the barista at the coffee counter—it ripples out. And I am not exaggerating when I say that the work that you do and the way that you lead ultimately builds a better world for all of us.
And as we celebrate our hundredth episode today, I want to celebrate and acknowledge the work that you’re doing, the difference that you’re making for your team and for all of the people in their lives and for the world as a whole, because no matter what service we provide, no matter what business we’re in, whether it’s for-profit or non-profit civic, public service, whatever work you’re doing, your leadership is about much more than just that work. Thank you for being a part of the Leadership without Losing your Soul community. Thank you for your own commitment to human-centered leadership.
My ask, as we wrap up our hundredth episode here in celebration is that you would invite somebody with you on that journey, who is one leader, one other manager, maybe an aspiring leader, maybe somebody who’s getting ready to take that next step to listen. It might be somebody who’s been in the role for quite a while. Who’s one person you can invite on that journey with you share the podcast with them, give them a book, share an article, share one tool that you’ve been exploring and invite them on that journey with you?
Just make sure you’re on the journey as you’re inviting them with you. And you’re on the way to being the leader you’d want your boss to be. I’ll see you soon for episode 101.