Triple Bottom Line

Leadership Is a Responsibility

October 26, 2022 Taylor Martin / Marisol Capellan
Triple Bottom Line
Leadership Is a Responsibility
Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Marisol Capellan, Certified Executive Coach, TEDx Speaker, and Author of Leadership is a Responsibility. What is the current state of leadership these days? Who should or should not be a leader? What should you be looking for in a good leader to promote? How to course correct toxic leaders? How do you know if you're a good leader? Dr. Capellan explains all. Enjoy.  https://www.linkedin.com/in/marisolcapellan
 

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Triple Bottom Line | Episode 39 | Marisol Capellan

[Upbeat theme music plays] 
Female Voice Over 
[00:03] Welcome to the Triple Bottom Line, where we reveal how today’s business leaders are reaching a new level of success with a people-planet-profit approach. And here is your host, Taylor Martin!

Taylor Martin 
[00:17] Welcome, everyone. I have Marisol Capellan on today. She is a certified executive coach, a TEDx speaker, and author of a book coming out called Leadership is a Responsibility. Today we’re going to be talking about a lot of aspects about leadership. One of the things that I really want to talk about is who should and shouldn’t be a leader. Before we dive into that big question that I’m dying to ask, Marisol, can you tell our listeners a little bit about your background and your experience?

Marisol Capellan
[00:45] Yes, thank you so much for having me here. I’m very excited to have this conversation with you. I think leadership as a topic is a fascinating topic. How did I end up talking or being interested in leadership? That’s why talking about my background is important. My master’s is in leadership. My doctoral degree is in higher education leadership. I did an investigation about how women move to leadership positions. I used to work at the University of Miami and there I used to manage a program for diversity, equity, and inclusion that used to help faculty and faculty of color basically make sure that they are doing their research and they’re having the support necessary to move up the ladder. When I finished that program or after managing that program, I became a faculty member. I used to teach in the areas of management. After graduating top of my class from my master’s program, I was offered a position. I taught there topics related to management, organizational behavior, which is very tied into leadership, people’s emotions at work and how people interact with their leaders, their personalities, team building, social responsibility, which of course, when I saw the name of your podcast, people-planet-profit, I used to teach the three Ps of corporate social responsibility. That’s why I was like, okay, this podcast, we need to talk, because I used to teach multiculturalism and the triple bottom line of having a business. I think today we’re going to talk about the triple bottom line of being a great leader.

Taylor Martin
[02:28] I love it. The triple bottom line of being a leader, that’s awesome. I’m going to go back to that question I asked earlier. Who should become a leader and who shouldn’t?

Marisol Capellan
[02:37] This is a very interesting question, because before we talk about who should or who shouldn’t become a leader, we have to take a look at our society and who do we value as leaders. I think that’s part of the big problem that we have with leadership. I do believe that there is a leadership crisis right now that people that are appointed into leadership roles sometimes are not trained. They don’t have the emotional intelligence to deal with people. They don’t know how to engage with their employees. The way that we’re promoting people to leadership roles needs to be looked at.

I want to start talking about society because when I did my research about women in leadership, one of the things that kept coming up is the values that we as society or the things that we value as society that makes us think that one person is better suited for a leadership role or not. Most of these behaviors or skills have to do with personal characteristics. If we look at leadership and we look at the beginning of history, we used to follow a traits approach. The traits approach basically says, if you do certain things or if you behave in certain ways, then you’re meant to be a leader. What were those traits? You were extroverted. You were somebody who was competitive. You were somebody who just had a look and behaved as what we call somebody that we admire, right? We have carried that on, even though times have changed and all the leadership approaches have been discovered by scientists. Some other people will say, well, we shouldn’t look at people based on how they behave because you can be somebody who’s very extroverted and very loud but that doesn’t mean that you’re able to motivate and inspire people. You can be a very loud person in a meeting but be a very ineffective leader. Let’s talk about the behaviors. Then the next – another approach was what are the behaviors that makes you a leader? Maybe one of the behaviors is that you bring people together. Maybe one of the behaviors is that you are a person who knows how to set goals and then, because you know how to break goals into pieces, you’re able to motivate people and they are able to see the picture. Then we came into transformational leadership where you’re able to motivate people from having an idea to bringing that idea to life and people feel like they are growing with you.

There are many approaches to leadership but I think that we still focus on the first one, which is you look a certain way or you have certain skills and that makes you a leader. We have been stuck with that, right? I think that needs to change because the demographics have changed and more studies have come out with servant leadership, people that are ethical leaders, you see Mother Teresa, maybe she wasn’t extroverted but she was able to gain a lot of respect and following. Being a leader, you can be somebody who inspires change and good things or you can be somebody who inspires bad things. Leader is your ability to have people basically follow you, whether that’s for good or bad, because sometimes people think of people that are bad leaders, or bad people, and they’re like, oh, they’re not a leader. I’m like, how are they able to convince all these people that this was the right thing to do? Because people were following them. That same way, we have people that made a lot of damages in society from many years ago or even very recently and they were able to have people follow them, that makes them a leader, whether that’s a bad leader that’s another thing, right? I think that we have changed as a society. We have more people. We have a diverse workforce. We have people – new generations that are looking for companies that value certain things. They want their company’s value to align with their personal values. If we don’t have the right leaders that are able to translate what the values of the company are and also act like it, you’re not going to be able to attract and retain the best talent for your company.

Taylor Martin
[06:51] Yeah, I mean, I’ve seen – history has shown us, oh, you look the part and they just gave you the part because you were like the good old boy network. You knew somebody, they knew somebody, or you were in the group or you were at the golf club member, or whatever. We’re going from that to now it still is a part of that, you may not be at the country club but you’re still looking the part, playing the part, but deep down you don’t have maybe enough empathy to be a leader. You don’t have enough compassion to be a leader. Then the vision and then the management style of encouraging your employees and energizing them and being there supporting them and then also protecting them. I mean, these are all things that I think great leaders have. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen throughout my career how someone got into a leadership position that should definitely not be in that leadership role but it is what it is. I mean, you can’t just go in there and say, hey, I don’t think Tom should be a leader. I think Mark should be the leader.

Marisol Capellan
[08:00] Yes, and you even look – when I was teaching, there was a class that I used to teach that was about success. How do you make sure that you’re successful in your work environment? A lot of the things that we teach kids or we teach college students is build your personal brand, right? Make sure that you look a certain way, like you said. We’re propagating the same thing that if you look a certain way and you act a certain way, if you build your personal brand, if you stand up straight and you make eye contact, you’re going to be the one getting the job, instead of teaching the kids compassion, like how do you show compassion? How do you make sure that when you’re having an interview, your answers – you can touch the times in your life when you were compassionate, the times in your life where you had empathy, the times in your life when you showed that you care about a team member that was falling behind. We’re still in the interview process, and in society, we don’t ask tough questions because we’re looking at these external things. That’s a problem.

Because thinking that building a personal brand or looking a certain way or looking confident is going to be accepted the same way regardless of you who’s acting confident is a myth. Because studies have shown when women are confident and they act on this list that we give them of act confident, make sure that you speak up, make sure that you this, the response is not the same as when a man does it. We’re teaching people do this and you’ll be able to get ahead, but the response from society is different because we have what is called gender norms. We have societal expectations. You have a certain behavior that society assigns to you based on your gender or your color. Then if you don’t act that way, then you’re violating those norms and there’s something wrong with you, right?

There is a theory that opened my eyes that I used on my dissertation that it was the role incongruity theory towards female leaders. Basically, what that explains is when a woman acts in the same way that leaders are respected, assertive, competitive, and they act – they’re extroverted and they do these behaviors, they are penalized by their followers because their followers look at them in a way that they’re like, what is wrong with you? You’re supposed to be nurturing and compassionate and this is not related. I cannot – you have a gender and you’re supposed to act that way. That’s why we have to stop telling people that they have to act a certain way in order for them to move up the ladder because the same people keep moving up and then they’re not able to engage their followers because we never tested for those skills. We tested for the skills that we could see, right?

Taylor Martin
[10:49] That reminded me of something that I can’t remember how many years ago and I can’t remember which symphony it was, but they did blind interviews with their new musicians. The reason why I bring it up is because it’s basically what you’re doing is they’ve realized that they weren’t as diverse as they thought they would be because of the city in which they were living in. Maybe it’s San Francisco. They would bring the candidates in to fill new positions and they would have a black curtain between the other side and the interviewee side and so they couldn’t see each other. They wouldn’t talk. They would just come in with socks so you couldn’t tell if it was high heels or – they would come in, they would play their music, their musical instrument, whatever it was, and everyone had to play, of course, like the same set of songs or whatever so everything was consistent, apples to apples. Then they would grade them and they hired people that way. Sure enough, they realized, after they did that for a certain amount of time, they realized, okay, we had some biases in us when we were making our choices before that we didn’t realize, and now we don’t, and of course, the quality of the music is better.

Marisol Capellan
[12:01] I love it. I will be someone that will implement something like this. Because people don’t realize how much biases they have. You may tell them, look, you’re doing something wrong. You’re hiring the same people, same thought process, same personalities. They will not believe you. You will show them and it’s like, no, you have to do something like that because you’re going to go and hire the person you feel comfortable with. Why do we feel comfortable with that person? Because that person reminds us of something that we did in the past. There are studies that show if you show up to an interview wearing a pin of the person’s alma mater, that’s going to make the other person feel more comfortable with you because the person is going to notice the pin, right? Then [inaudible] with them. How do you [inaudible] history, schools that you went to, maybe that person reminds you of somebody that you hang out with. What happens when you hang out with the same people that look like you? Are you going to end up hiring the same type of people all the time? We have biases and we have to address them if we want to be more inclusive and make sure that the right people are hired and promoted to leadership roles.

Taylor Martin
[13:18] I’m liking this idea of, if we could do an interview for a programming position, engineering position or whatever and there was a curtain between them. They couldn’t talk, but they were like texting back and forth. The interviewer could just ask the question and then the respondent has to respond via text message. How they explain what they are talking about is going to be very foretelling, especially on how good are they at communicating themselves, but also the questions, you could set up questions on different categories like empathy, leadership, management, goal setting, and planning. You could have different questions for different categories of information and then you have all the interviewees, you compare them all apples to apples, that would be an interesting test. That would be interesting.

Marisol Capellan
[14:13] I know. I really like it. Because you even hear stories about people that submit their resumes with another name and they get more calls than with their real name. There was a study where people had Hispanic names or what are considered more black African American names, and in the middle, they changed – same person changed their name, biases were removed or biases were there more present, I guess. All of a sudden, those same people were getting jobs. It shouldn’t be that way because then we are not considering one part of society that also needs to work and also needs those opportunities because we don’t want to get out of our comfort zone. It’s very hard for people to get out of the comfort zone and hire people that they seem to look at them and they are like, oh, that person is so different than me. Of course, you have situations where people are actively discriminating and doing things like that, but at the root of the mindset, the human being is like you’re different than me, how can I communicate with you? How can we work collaboratively? It can happen because research has shown that when you have people that are different working together, you can gain a competitive edge in your company and you may increase innovation in your company more than companies that are filled by the same group of people, meaning gender and race.

Taylor Martin
[15:40] Yeah, we’ve been talking about HR a lot here but I’ve got to tell you how many times I’ve ever read a story about a company that was doing great and they were skyrocketing to fame. Then they kind of lost sight of who was hiring, who was doing the hiring. Then they start making bad choices and bad choices and then they start hiring people that aren’t better than them, then they start hiring people that might be friends of friends that might not be qualified. Then the decay of the company just slowly kind of gets infected with this and then it’s a serious cancer you’ve got to deal with. That’s just HR. We’re just talking about the hiring process, right?

Marisol Capellan
[16:18] Yeah, but HR has a lot to do with this because the leaders are there because of how – if HR was there for the people not for the company, they will make sure that the promotion process is fair, they go and they promote the position that is open, but they’re also involved in the promotion afterwards and in the performance appraisals and in what – where are they going to place you in the company. I do think that HR needs to change. HR needs to be more involved in people’s job in the company. When we look at leaders and leaders that are toxic, one of the reasons that leaders are toxic is because they know they can get away with it. HR is not going to step in and save the person who’s being abused because that person, that leader feels like they have power over their department. They have power over their team. What is HR going to do to me? Nothing because I’m this powerful person. HR should take more responsibility in what type of leaders are promoted to leadership roles and not leave it just to the manager.

Taylor Martin
[17:29] Yeah, and we’re generalizing here, of course, but I think leaders who have power, however they get to that level, and HR, I think people need to understand that HR is not there for them. HR is really there for management and for the company because that is who’s hiring them, who’s telling them what to do, who’s signing their check. You know what I mean.

Marisol Capellan
[17:54] Yeah, and it’s unfortunate because it happened to me at one point and I had interviewed a woman for my book that dealt with HR and they discovered too late that HR wasn’t there for them.

Taylor Martin
[18:07] Let’s talk about untrained managers, people like we’ve been talking about that got to a position they shouldn’t be in. How do we train them? How do we get them to be good managers or do you just – I mean, do you have to go through a process where you say, okay, let’s figure this out. Should you stay as a manager or should we side-mote you, not demote you but move you to the side somewhere else, put you in another group or another part of the company.

Marisol Capellan
[18:33] I love this question because as a leadership trainer myself, one of things that I’ve seen in the leadership world or arena is that the people that are usually promoted to leadership roles, they’re promoted to leadership roles because they were great as individual contributors. If you as an individual contributor, let’s say that you were a program specialist. You always did a great job, always exceeded expectation, management usually think, if you were so good at your job, you must be good with people. Being a leader requires another set of skills than being an individual contributor. You could be a great individual contributor who knows how to meet goals, who knows how to manage programs, who knows how to meet your quota or whatever you’re doing, but when you go into leadership roles, it’s not about you. It’s about the people that you’re leading, how are you engaging them, how are you motivating them, how do you make sure that you have a great work culture, that people are – you build trust with your team, people can tell you what’s going on. There is a different set of soft skills.

When we look at untrained managers, we have a lot of untrained managers because they are promoted based on their individual capabilities as an individual contributor, not as a manager or as a leader, as a people person. I think that’s the first reason why we have untrained managers. Then how do we train them? We have to send them to management classes or leadership training where they learn how to build teams, where they learn how to create empathy, where they learn how to be inclusive, where they learn what inclusivity means, what is – they need to learn what do I need to become in order for me to become a leader. You just don’t – you’re not just a leader because you were good at your job. You have to become one.

Taylor Martin
[20:37] That’s right. I mean, you have to give some serious introspection to yourself and say I am really good at this, this, and this, but as a leader, I’m not too good in these two areas. You have to take ownership of that and know that also you have to understand that if you do get good at it, then you’re that much more well-rounded and that changes the, I think, the mental dynamic or the impression or your character within the company. Because everybody else is going to notice, hey, did you notice that Mary is changed? She really listens to me now and she’s taking advice and feedback. She’s not yelling as much or things like that. I think that leaders need to always be honing that skill, always trying to improve, instead of just sitting back on their director or manager or principal status. They should always be trying to make themselves better as leaders.

Marisol Capellan
[21:35] I love that you said that it’s mental. I do think leadership is a mental game. It’s all psychology. Because you’re dealing with people and you’re talking to people. When it comes to leadership, there is a lot of introspection because how your mindset is and the limited beliefs that you have and how you think of yourself is going to impact the relationship that you have with other people. If you’re a person who thinks that the only way that people are motivated is with money because you’re motivated with money, people have to show you money in order for you to be motivated, and you only use that motivational technique of rewards, you’re going to lose a lot of people because a lot of people are not motivated by money. There’s people that are motivated by affiliation, by power, by achievement. There’s people that like to achieve things. There’s people that value community.

If you are a leader, you understand that the people that are interacting with you are different and you may have to shift management style and leadership style depending on who you’re interacting with and also what type of goal are you trying to achieve. If you’re somebody who, for example, is very laid back but now you’re dealing with a crisis, you know that you cannot act laid back because that’s your comfort zone, right? You have to get out of your comfort zone and say, well, this time I have to be maybe more authoritative or I have to be a little bit tougher today or tomorrow because we really have to meet this goal, but then I’m going to go back to my usual management style. You have to understand what’s your management style, what’s the management style that is your comfort zone, your leadership style, and then what am I dealing with right now and what is going to be more effective for the team and for the goal that I have to reach? You can only do that if you have that introspection, that awareness, and you’re willing to look at yourself but with honesty.

Taylor Martin
[23:21] You know what? You just reminded me of something. You can always – like if you were really – you have a big deficit in one area, you could always hire an assistant or another director or somebody to take over that role and allow them to have ownership of the space but you approve what they’re doing but you know they’re much more better suited for that. Because it might take you 500% the effort it takes this person because they can just do it effortlessly whereas it takes you – it’d be that much harder. Let’s break down because there’s listeners out there, and if you’re a leader, I want you to think about this. When you’re looking at yourself in the mirror every morning, are you the leader you want to be? If not, what are the ways that you could improve yourself? I mean, there’s books and there’s audiobooks so you can listen to books while you’re in the car or jogging. You mentioned classes like management and business classes. What about hiring a coach like yourself?

Marisol Capellan
[24:23] I think coaching is great for leaders, not because I’m a coach but I will tell you, even if you don’t have a coach, you can do self-coaching at home. You don’t have to hire a coach. You can learn how to do coaching on yourself because sometimes we may not have the resources to hire somebody but you can always ask yourself questions, like what did I do wrong in this situation or how can I engage my team more? There’s exercises that you can do because I do think that coaching yourself, whether that’s self-coaching or somebody is coaching you, and learning about yourself makes you a better listener and a better leader 100%, sometimes more than classes. Because you can sit in a class for an hour and a half, and I’ve seen it, I’ve seen students that go to class, pass a test, and then the next day you ask them like, do you remember what the test was about? They don’t remember because they’re just like – sometimes they’re not involved in the whole learning and self-growth.

Taylor Martin
[25:22] Yeah, they’re not invested in it. Sometimes it’s great because when you can learn on your own time, I like doing that. It allows me to really focus on the matter at hand. I’m a voracious reader but do it through audiobooks. I do chores around the house or gardening or walking the dog and I’ll listen to books at two times the speed because the speed keeps me focused. If they’re talking too slow, my mind would wander too much, but when I hear it at two times the speed, it keeps me on it and I’m always listening every word because it’s like you’ve got to keep up, got to keep up, but then you take a two-hour book into one or a five into two and a half.

Marisol Capellan
[26:01] I also read in two times speed.

Taylor Martin
[26:03] Yeah, you do? There you go. I’m sure people are listening to this at two times speed so if I talk like this really fast, they probably can’t understand anything I say because I’m talking like… so what are some other things that people could do, leaders could do to help improve themselves, maybe even getting feedback?

Marisol Capellan
[26:19] Yes, so I was going to mention that when you said that if you cannot get coaching or classes or anything like that, one of the things that you can do that would really help you improve your leadership capabilities is being open to feedback because when we look at leadership and we look at somebody who has a position of power and they’re so disconnected sometimes with their teams, that has to do because they’re living in an alternate reality of what their team is living in. That is happening because there is not enough trust and communication enough for the team to give that leader feedback. That is one of the traits of toxic leaders when people don’t feel like they can talk to their managers and tell them what’s going on or what’s their concern.

One of the things you can do as a leader is be open to feedback and make sure that you build trust with the people that are following you. Trust is the basis to any relationship. If you’re listening to this podcast right now and you think about a relationship that you don’t have in your life anymore because something happened that the person maybe you were angry with that person, that person is not in your life anymore, whatever happens, it happened because that person broke your trust. There is a problem with trust. You don’t trust that person. That is the basis of every relationship. When you don’t trust somebody, sometimes you don’t want them around, sometimes you have them around but you don’t disclose too much because you don’t trust that person. Sometimes you just know that that person is not dependable so you cannot trust that that person will get things done. Whatever that is, it damages the relationship. The people that are in your life that you have a great relationship with is because you can trust them. Trust is what’s going to determine whether your relationship with that person is good or bad. Then when it comes to leadership, when you have people that are disengaged in your team, there is a problem with trust. You have to be able to build that trust so that person is open to give you feedback without fear that they’re going to lose their job or something like that. Then when that feedback is given to you, you have to do something with that feedback. You have to take action. It’s not only like let me listen to feedback, let me listen to feedback and then you don’t do any behavior change.

Taylor Martin
[28:42] You mentioned two things there that I want to highlight. The first one, of course, is trust. I cannot agree with you more. That is 1,000% I agree with everything you said about trust. If you break the trust bond, it’s like burning a bridge. You have to build that bridge back. It’s not easy just to swing across that valley. You have to build a bridge to get back there. The other thing you talked about is toxic leaders that might be above you, like if you’re already a leader and a leader above you is toxic, you can always go laterally with other people that are on the same level as you, or if you have other people that might be above you but not your immediate boss that know you enough to give feedback that you do trust, you can always go that way. I think what it is, a good leader if somebody came up and said, hey, good leader, I want to be a great leader too. I want some constructive feedback. What do you have for me? That is just a complete open blank slate for you to just say I think you’re really good at these things, I always like to criticize people you start with the good first, then you say, but I think there’s areas you can improve and here, here, and here and these are the reasons why. You can’t just tell them to do it and not know why. I think that would be fantastic and then they can, of course, do it with their colleagues that are laterally the same way they can always reach out to them, people that know them.

Marisol Capellan
[30:04] What about people that work under them?

Taylor Martin
[30:05] Yeah, of course, yeah, I mean, that’s what I figured you were talking about. What I was thinking is I’m just so tired of hearing bad stories about toxic leaders. It just gets to the point where it’s like are you not trying to be a better employee, a better worker, a better leader, even whatever skillset you are, a better engineer, a better programmer, or whatever? Aren’t you always trying to be better? That’s me. I am someone who does obviously, but I just think if you’re in a leadership role, I think it’s just demanded of the role.

Marisol Capellan
[30:45] Yeah, that’s why when I wrote my book and I wanted to choose a title and I say it’s a responsibility because leadership is a responsibility because there is responsibility that comes with the role. There’s certain things that are not optional anymore. It’s not optional for you to have rage or to do certain things or to damage people or to treat them badly. Of course, it wasn’t an option before, but now as a leader, you have the responsibility to look after the people that are following you. People sometimes – leader sometimes forget how influential they are in the lives of other people. People are looking up to you. If you’re a person, if you’re a leader that don’t take any lunch break and you’re working 12 hours a day and are not taking care of your health or anything, you cannot preach to the people that are working to you about work/life balance and how important wellness is because they’re going to do what you’re doing.

It’s called social modeling. I’m going, yes, you’re saying that this is important but I don’t see you doing it. If I want to get a promotion or I want to stand out, I want you to look at me with the eyes like I’m a potential worker who can be a leader one day, I need to act like you. I need to model you. You need to lead by example. That is something sometimes that we forget. I remember there was a story of a girl that I interviewed where she was telling me that her leader showed up one day to work with her curly hair for the first time, black woman who usually had straightened hair, she came with her curls out one day and all the workers looked at her and they were very amazed and they thought she looked beautiful. The next day, many women showed up with their curly hair. They felt like they didn’t have to iron their hair in order for them to succeed in that culture. Leaders are always, always influencing the culture of their organization with what they’re saying and what they’re doing.

Taylor Martin
[32:49] When is the book coming out, Leadership is a Responsibility?

Marisol Capellan
[32:53] It’s coming out in January.

Taylor Martin
[32:55] January 2023.

Marisol Capellan
[32:56] Now we’re doing the presale.

Taylor Martin
[32:58] Excellent, so tell me some more tidbits in this wonderful book here.

Marisol Capellan
[33:02] When I was writing the book, I started writing the book because of my own personal story of I went through a very challenging experience at the institution where I was teaching. When I was going through that, I started noticing that a lot of the things that I read in my research about women’s experiences in the workplace were happening to me. Just for me, it was – I was amazed by the whole thing of having an institution witness what was going on and then not doing anything. Then I said, okay, I need to interview more women that are in corporate America or in institutions. I need to find out if I’m the only one or this is going on out there.

Of course, I interviewed Afro-Latinas. I interviewed black women. I interviewed leaders, people that are into the field of management and leadership. I said, okay, what’s the status with leadership and what’s the status of minorities in the workplace. I’ve heard many things and I wrote about it, which I related to the bad leadership, the case for responsible leadership, the effects of bad leadership in their followers. That’s something else that we don’t talk about, how bad leadership affects mental health because it damages your confidence. Sometimes you’re just going through a lot of stressful situation at work and you take that stress home and then you’re in a loop. Leaders can have – bad leaders, if we keep choosing leaders that are not equipped to leadership positions, we are essentially contributing to a lot of mental health issues, stress, chronic stress, burnout in the lives of people in society.

Taylor Martin
[34:46] Agreed, we’ve been talking a lot about bad leaders so let’s talk about – let’s shift the scales and let’s talk about good leaders. How can good leaders develop and promote the right people to management roles? What should they be looking out for?

Marisol Capellan
[35:00] Yeah, so I would say the first thing is to understand what the role entails because every role is different. You may have a leader in the marketing department, a leadership position in the marketing department and one in a sales department. Those different positions, even though they’re both leadership and they deal with people, there is a different pace. There may be a different pace of work, different type of activities that the leaders need to do, different types of motivations, like what are the teams? Look at the team where you go and you’re looking for a leader to take over. Who are those people? What are their strengths? How do they communicate? What is their culture within your company culture? Then see who will be a great fit to lead that team. Always thinking about how is this leader going to empower this team? How is this leader going to influence this team?

Then as you’re promoting this person or thinking about promoting a person to a leadership role, you have to look at their soft skills. Have they been compassionate? Do they work well with people? Are they able to bring people together? Do they come up with new ideas and follow that new idea onto completion? Those are things that you have to look at in terms of what are the behaviors that you’re going to value from that leader. Because you may say, well, for that position, we just need somebody who takes care of the people that they lead, they’re compassionate, they work in a high pace environment, they show up, they’re able to inspire other people to do the right job. Then does that person have those skills? The answer may be no, the person that you are trying to promote, maybe that person is very good as an individual contributor but you haven’t seen any of those skills in order for that person to be considered to our leadership role.

You have to look at the position, the team, and also look at the behaviors that are valued in your organization and that are required for a leadership role, and then hire based on that, not based on the past. You have to hire based on what the position needs instead of what the person has done in the past in terms of – I know, we talked about it before, in terms of their individual role in the company. You can look at their individual role but then how has that person showed leadership skills or leadership behaviors within that role, not the role itself, if that makes sense.

Taylor Martin
[37:27] It does. I also think when I hear you say that, I also think about how I’m seeing the landscape of all the contenders for this managerial position I’m going to hire somebody into, right? You could also see it, everything you just said, but also if you just look at it through that lens, you’re going to know the top two or three people that are going to be able to fill that role and none of them may fill it fully but you can also realize that they can grow into it. If what that person needs to grow into it is something you’re strong in, then they can model you and can you can take them under your wing and help them in that regard or all the list of things we talked about before, the books, the classes, the coaches. There’s so many different things that people could do to fill their gap that they may have.

Marisol Capellan
[38:12] What I like about what you said is one of the things that managers need to understand is that, when you promote somebody to a leadership role, they’re also going to be learning. One thing is for you to be compassionate and to have empathy and to have good communication skills but how do you use all that and know which one to use or which behavior to act depending on the situation that you’re in. It’s going to take time. Okay, I know communication and I know the skills of communication but what form of communication works today with this team for this specific project. The person needs to learn. It’s a learning process. For companies to promote someone to a leadership role and then say, okay, you have it, call me if you need me, it’s not like that. The person also needs to adapt. It’s like when you get married. You know the person you are dating for a time but then it’s a learning process once you get married and live together. You have to learn about the other person and their behaviors and what they do and their habits. It’s the same thing. That person is getting to know all these new people – all these people for the first time.

Taylor Martin
[39:29] I think people could have, once you hire somebody, what you made me think of is just check-in times. Once a week, we check in with each other, how are things going this week, have it happen on a Friday afternoon. Every Friday afternoon, we meet, we talk about that. Then it could be every two weeks, then every month or something until it’s not needed anymore, but that is exactly what you talked about is just checking in on them. There’s one thing we haven’t talked about that I think is incredibly inherent in good leaders and really bad at bad leaders. That is giving feedback.

If you have an employee who you know they’re working their tail off and you’re not giving them encouragement by saying, hey, I see how long you’re working or I know you helped us land that big job or you’re doing all these different things and managing all these people or whatever it is that that person is doing, you need to give them feedback and let them know that they’re doing a good job because otherwise they don’t know if they are or if they’re not. If you’re the manager and you come in saying you’re doing great at this, I’m so happy with everything you’re doing, and then it’s your job to say, what can I do to help you be more successful? That’s how you give support. You don’t just come in and only yell at them when you want to, when something explodes or something happens somewhere, you don’t just come in and yell at them. I feel like that’s something that is also lacking in our leadership these days.

Marisol Capellan
[40:54] Yes, I completely agree 100%. This made me remember about a post that’s on LinkedIn that said, how can managers prepare for a performance appraisal or a difficult conversation with their employees? The performance appraisal shouldn’t be difficult if you’re checking in with your employees throughout the year. It shouldn’t be difficult. We should be on the same page. If I’m doing a good job, you should tell me that I’m doing a good job. If I need to modify anything, you should tell me that I need to modify anything. I should have a clear set of a criteria that you’re going to use for my performance appraisal and I should have understanding of where I am in meeting those criteria, not, okay, you’re going to work and in six months from now I’m going to get in a room and I’m going to yell at you because you didn’t do your job correctly. It’s not the person’s – it’s not your employee’s fault. It’s your fault that you were not able to have a clear communication and ongoing feedback to make sure that both of you are on the same page.

One of the things – and I always say you can be a leader in any job, whether you have the position of leadership or you don’t have the actual position. You have position power and personal power. I remember when I started teaching that the first semester some students were surprised because of their end score in their semester. Then in my mind, I was thinking, but they saw that they were getting Cs or Bs the whole semester. How did they think that they were going to get an A? I saw the whole progress, right? I saw it. It’s posted. How did you think you were going to jump from a C to an A? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Then the more I started teaching leadership, I said, you know what? Even if it’s there and they can see it, I should talk to them about it. That sometimes makes all the difference. Any time I had a student who scored a B or scored an A – I mean, a B or a C, I will say, I have to meet with you in office hours. I need to talk to you about how this B is going to impact your grade in the long-term. All of a sudden, there wasn’t any anxiety. There wasn’t any surprises at the end of the semester because I checked in with the student every time, even though it’s evident.

Leaders sometimes see that the person is doing a great job and they probably think, well, they know they’re doing a great job, so why even tell them that they’re doing a great job? Sometimes you have to go and tell them because it can be very evident but it feels different when it comes from the leader. It feels different and we’re all on the same page and then I feel like I can just keep doing what I’m doing right now because it’s working. Sometimes you have employees that are doing the right thing and they’re stressed because they don’t know if they’re doing the right thing. They think they are but they’re not sure and one of the things that makes people feel good at their job is having the security, that job security.

The research has shown that job security is one of the greatest predictors to employee engagement. If you feel secure at you job, you feel like you’re doing the right thing, the leader is communicating with you, and you know that your job is not at risk, you’re going to show up with more energy at work. Employee engagement is highly important. Employees that are not engaged – I think the United States last year lost more than $100 billion in training, rehiring, and doing all of these processes that you have to do after somebody leaves because people are not engaged and they’re leaving their jobs. We have the great resignation, but why are people leaving their jobs? Because leaders are not active and leaders and not able to retain talent. One of your goals as a leader to be able to develop and retain talent, not to get rid of people when they’re not doing their jobs. You need to develop people. That’s one of the roles you have as a leader.

Taylor Martin
[44:47] Okay, we’ve got to find some way to email this podcast to every business leader’s inbox tomorrow. I love this conversation. We covered a lot today. I just want to say thank you for being on the show and sharing all this wonderful knowledge with us. Marisol, how can people follow you or connect with you on LinkedIn or online?

Marisol Capellan
[45:10] They can follow me on LinkedIn. I’m there as Dr. Marisol Capellan. I also have the Capellan Institute where we provide business skills, training, and coaching to employees and leaders in organizations.

Taylor Martin
[45:24] Awesome, and just to remind everybody, the book is Leadership is a Responsibility coming out January 2023. Thank you again, Marisol. Over and out, everybody.

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[45:36] Thanks for tuning into the Triple Bottom Line. Your host, Taylor Martin, is founder and Chief Creative of Design Positive, a strategic branding and accessibility agency. Interested in being interviewed on our podcast? Then visit designpositive.co and fill out our contact form. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, we would appreciate a review on Apple podcasts or whatever provider you are logging in from. This podcast is prepared by Design Positive and is not associated with any other entity. We look forward to having you back for another installment of the Triple Bottom Line.

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