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Leadership Secrets with Maria and Marina on 95.5 FM HD2 New York

Speaker 1: Good evening Todd.

Todd: Hi.

Speaker 1: Todd is an organizational psychologist, a leadership developer, and sales consultant globally. Thank you Todd, for being here. It’s such an honor to have you here with us.

Todd: I’m delighted to be here. Thank you.

Speaker 1: Todd has an experience of over 30 years in the area and he developed already over 20,000 people, taught leadership at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Columbia University, and he has degrees from Cornell University, as well as Columbia University and Harvard.

Speaker 3: That’s very impressive.

Speaker 1: We are ready to start and we have multiple questions and let’s get started.

Todd: Let’s do it.

Speaker 1: The first question. How do you see and what is leadership in your own terms?

Todd: Well, if you’re talking about political and community leadership, like the people I taught the Kennedy School of Government, they’re all about making people’s lives better. And business, it’s all about the three Cs competition, customers and coin, meaning money.

Speaker 1: And a question to Todd is what is the difference between like good and bad leader?

Todd: The difference between a good leader and a great leader can make or break a business. So for example, one of the vice presidents of sales that I was coaching, his sales were improving 20% year over year. All those people were inspired, but then he left for a better job and got replaced by a guy who was kind of, so, so sales went down and people were leaving the company in droves. Another… Yes.

Speaker 1: No, no, no. Go ahead.

Todd: Thank you. Another example, great leaders aren’t everything. So you need often hundreds of thousands of people of exercising leadership inside of your business. This one great guy, he decided to start a whole revolution inside of his company because he had to get the bankers to stop making mistakes, which would cause a violation of banking regulations that were put in after the financial catastrophe.

Speaker 4: Yes. The leader of his own department.

Todd: Yeah. Basically his organization inside this huge kind of well-known really well-known bank. And so what he needed from hundreds of people inside of his department was to exert a lot more influence over the bankers across the company. So I trained hundreds of them and they stopped the bankers from making mistakes, save the company hundreds of millions of dollars in regulatory fines, prevented a big damage to their stock price and probably prevented some of those executives from going to jail. So great leaders are super important, but great leaders need people exercising leadership.

Speaker 1: So then we have the next question which is, is it leadership something… Is a born skill or kind of talent, or it’s actually you can develop and-

Speaker 3: If anyone can develop leadership.

Todd: It’s a great question. And a deeper psychological level. You’re really asking are leaders born or are they made?

Speaker 1: Yeah.

Todd: And it’s the same question that the deputy finance minister from China asked me. And my answer is always both. You’re probably going to meet in your lifetime, a handful of natural born leaders, Bill Clinton in my country, I think was a great example of that. Just kind of incredible natural charisma. G7 conference, all the world leaders in one corner, he walks in the room and immediately everybody turns around to look at him. It’s biochemical. Unfortunately, Hillary didn’t have that skill. But probably a lot smarter

Speaker 1: [foreign language 00:03:56].

Todd: So my experience training 20,000 people all over the world shows that leadership is a totally learnable skill and that most people are capable of exercising a lot more leadership than they think they can.

Speaker 1: So in general, in terms of leadership, when it comes to our skill is it usually you can just start from, for example, owner level of household, or you could be like, for example, leader in the business, but be a total different position at home. Is it usually leaders are leaders in every single kind of area in life or not necessarily.

Todd: That is a great question. I think leadership is something that… It’s a way of being, and it’s a mindset and it’s a behavior and it’s not something you can turn on and off like a light switch. I mean, are you a good person or in some situations, are you a good person? And you’re that way in all situations, I think leadership is like that. And if you want to be great at it, you have to do it all the time with your friends, with your family, with your colleagues, with your managers and with the people who work for you. No, go ahead.

Speaker 1: No, you can go ahead.

Todd: It doesn’t mean you have to. It just means you have the ability to. And leaders have to pick and choose their battles.

Speaker 1: And next question to Todd is about types of leaders. If there are any types exist.

Todd: First of all, leaders come in all shapes and sizes. The big problem is that most people find tricky ways to avoid leading. So every day the world is calling for you to exercise more leadership at home, at work, in your church. And the question is how are you going to respond? Because you see problems, you see opportunities to make things better, but you’re going to have to speak up about them and that’s going to make you and other people uncomfortable. So most people have four ways of avoiding leading. Number one, they run away like little rabbits. Number two, they stick their heads in the sand like.

Speaker 1: Ostrich?

Todd: … the ostrich. Yeah. Three, they attack like a tiger.

Speaker 1: [crosstalk 00:06:20].

Attack other people or they defend themselves like the porcupine. So I guess the question for you guys is which animal are you?

Speaker 3: I would say I’m the ostrich. That’s why I remember this word.

Todd: If I just stick my head in the sand the problems will go away.

Speaker 3: Not exactly like that, but yes. The question I asked myself, can I influence that? Most likely not, then I just leave it to somebody else. And that’s a big lie probably that I tell to myself.

Todd: Well, it’s a lie that we tell ourselves, so we don’t have to act.

Speaker 3: Exactly.

Todd: But as a psychologist, it can also be a confidence problem. Okay. So do you guys want to talk about Donald Trump?

Speaker 1: Yes.

Speaker 3: Exactly.

Speaker 1: So, yeah, we do have a question about what a successful leadership is, and what is the success secret off Trump, for example, in his leadership style?

Todd: Well, I don’t think there’s any big secret and it’s totally questionable whether he’s a leader. But like most great entertainers, he’s great at getting other people to pay attention to him. And that is a critical leadership skill. The real secret ability of leadership is to tell the truth and to live to talk about it, or to tell the truth in ways that other people will open up to versus getting defensive about.

And there’s another secret of the best leaders is they’ve learned to control their minds. And they’ve recognized that they like everybody on the planet has had an unconscious program or like a chip installed in their brains that gets activated anytime people feel uncomfortable and makes them run away from leading versus leaning in to leading.

So for example, this amazing woman, one of my clients and comrades at a huge global company, her mission was to ensure that cancer patients got the best treatment and probably everybody in the studio and everybody listening to this has had somebody who’s died from cancer or they know somebody who’s had cancer.

So she started a leadership and selling of revolution inside of her company to ensure that the doctors were making the best decisions for their cancer patients and that cancer patients were getting access to the best drugs. And the result is that countless lives were improved and saved and will be improved and saved as a result of her amazing leadership. And what’s really impressive to me about this is that she wasn’t a CEO. She was just a middle manager and nobody asked her to do this. But she saw a problem that everybody was ignoring and preferred to avoid. And she stepped up and she spoke up and she made a difference in thousands, probably tens of thousands of people’s lives.

Speaker 1: The following question to Todd is about how actually to become an outstanding leader, any habits people should develop or practice to actually become a leader?

Todd: Okay. The truth is you can’t turn yourself into a leader. I mean, there are a few things you can do. I mean, one, you have to deep down, make a commitment to serving the truth. And two, you’ve got to get the training you need. But you have to be trained either by a great leader who’s going to mentor you or a real leadership development expert who steeped in psychology. And the reason psychological training is so important to leadership is because 80% of the time, the reason people aren’t leading it’s because of psychology and skills. So you can’t learn leadership in a book, anymore you can’t make your body more fit by reading about fitness. I know you’d like that, right?

So the two habits of effective leaders are one, the ability to get people to face the truth. This is whether you have authority over them, or you’re just a colleague. And the second one is the quiet skill of leadership, listening. It’s almost a democratic view of leadership.

Speaker 4: [foreign language 00:10:33].

Todd: And the reason that listening is so important is because the only way to know the truth is to listen to whether other people are thinking and feeling because the truth does not come as a divine revelation from heaven. And the psychological transformation also in leadership skill that people go through usually follows a three phase process. Step one, they have to recognize and resist their unconscious programming. They have to realize that when they feel alone, uncomfortable and leadership is never a comfortable task, they will tend to run away, attack, all these things that we talked about before. So you have to… And then once you recognize it you have to stop yourself from behaving that way.

That’s only step one because to quote Star Trek, “Resistance is futile.” Because unless you’re trained in what to do instead, and you practice it you’re just going to revert back to your old ways. So that second step I call it replace. But that even that is enough. The third step is results in the real world. You have to experiment and take risks in the real world with your friends, with your family, with your colleagues, with the people who report into you, right? Because if you don’t get a better result with the new you, your mind and body will not allow you to change. So I don’t know, maybe you have some questions from your lives. Maybe I can help you while we have a little bit of time here. So free coaching.

Speaker 1: So a question from a corporate world. A trained professional, who is part of the company made a mistake, something quite drastic that it kind of made company loose some financial kind of damage basically. So what a effective leader would do, even though the person’s quite valuable, how basically to get out either you will fire or you have any other ideas how to work it out in this case? If it’s really was real damage.

Todd: The question is should I stay or should I go

Speaker 1: Overall, how to basically teach the person so not to just let it pass.

Todd: Well, the first question you have to ask yourself… I mean the answer whether you keep them or you have to let them go depends upon one, will they learn from the experience? And two is the reputation so damaged that even if they learn a lot, they’ve lost all their credibility with their colleagues. Unless you can answer yes to both of those questions, unfortunately, the person probably has to go. But usually our failures are our best teachers. And the question is, did the mistake only happened because of this person or was it because of how they were led. And good leadership can usually prevent these problems from happening in the first place.

Speaker 1: The question in terms of one of their tips you gave to become actual effective leader is to learn how to look and find the truth and be able to talk about the truth. Can you give an example on basic household level or basic example in the business, but what exactly you’re talking about?

Todd: Typical example in the business world is managers always have to give performance feedback to the people on their teams. And it’s really easy when they only have positive things to say. But the most valuable feedback is often the most critical feedback. People are a lot stronger than their leaders tend to give them credit for it. So tell the truth and listen to what they have to say.

Speaker 3: This is what you say. You failed.

Speaker 1: You failed.

Speaker 3: You have to say this word.

Todd: You failed. I think you failed because, but what do you think? So you’re not trying to force them to think what you think, but it’s an open conversation. You have to tell people the truth. But be open to changing your mind as a result of the conversation and this way your people will see that you’re more committed to what’s really true than what you think is true. And that’s what makes people open to honest feedback.

Speaker 1: In general, how much time the effective leader would spend on talking to the company team in general on the liaison, what’s going on, like how frequently this kind of feedbacks should be happening.

Todd: I think feedback should be an everyday occurrence, not a once a year conversation.

Speaker 1: One of their other examples questions. For example, there’s a small company, small startup, which doesn’t have much of profit but it’s kind of have potential for bright, bright future. Well, members are basically a leader who’s considered the leader and two more team members. And at that point, for example, the company is not doing perfectly fine. So the question is either the leader cuts the salary for the team members or kind of works not really profits, but has to lend the money from other place, but keep the people or have a open conversation about this situation. Because the situation most likely it’s temporary, to keep the company going, but team members are very valuable.

Todd: And can these team members do a better job than they’re doing today? And would that make a difference to the company’s performance?

Speaker 1: Yes.

Todd: So the first thing I think you have to do is have that conversation with them. And if you don’t feel that they’re going to be able to perform better, then you’ve probably have to do things to reduce your costs.

Speaker 3: This is what means to find the truth. Right?

Todd: Exactly.

Speaker 1: Speak out the truth.

Speaker 3: Thank you so much Todd.

Speaker 1: [inaudible 00:16:10] Pleasure.

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