Great Leadership Begins By Leading Yourself with Stephen Shedletzky
Lindsay Tjepkema: Welcome to Casting a Vision. I'm your host, Lindsay Tjepkema. I'm a B2B marketer turned first time CEO and founder at an incredibly fast- growing marketing technology SaaS company called Casted. I'm nearly three years into this role and you know what continues to be the most important part of my job and really to the entire company as a whole? People, humans. Our people here at Casted are the best, the best, truly, the best. You'll have to fight me if you disagree because I really, really love this team. They are awesome. They're talented. They're smart and fun and so caring. You won't find a better bunch of humans. You just, you won't. And that absolutely proved to be true, especially over the last couple of years as we have worked together through this pandemic. This team has shown up for each other. They have been authentic. They have been creative and collaborative as we have sailed through uncertainty after uncertainty, as I know you have too. There is nothing more important than our team and our culture. And honestly, it's been a challenge to intentionally scale that culture as we've grown. That's why I was so excited and so geeked out when Stephen Shedletzky agreed to join me and all of you for today's show. As you will hear, he is a wealth of wisdom and research about teams, cultures, human collaboration. He is incredible. And I really just loved talking to him and I think that you will enjoy our conversation too. I am so excited to have you here today. We met and had this amazing conversation about culture and leadership, and teams obviously, because that's your jam, and you are the person to talk to about all of those things.
Stephen Shedletzky: Very kind.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I love to crosstalk and I love to talk about those things. So I asked you to come on the show to kind of continue that conversation, selfishly because I would like to, but also to let anyone else who cares to watch or listen in on that conversation too. So one thing that I would love to do is go back, just jump right in to the question that I asked you that I'm so glad I did because your answer blew my mind and has since spurred how we at Casted are looking at how we work together as a leadership team to start with, ongoing as a team, and how we look at goals and communication. I mean, it's safe to say that it's at the start of kind of changing everything and it was all just with the way that you answered one question, which was-
Stephen Shedletzky: Uh- oh, the pressure's on. I'm getting faints of like," CEO takes cross- country flight, reads a book and changes everything."
Lindsay Tjepkema: Right? Yes. No, and it's funny because everyone that I've mentioned it to is like," Oh, that's good."
Stephen Shedletzky: Okay, good.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay, I'm just going to keep building this up. Before talking to you, I had some conversations about like, hey, autonomy is hugely important at Casted. It's important to a lot of people. It's really important to us here. We use the word a lot. We want people to feel free to do what they feel like they need to do and they want to do. We bring people in because we trust them. There's a lot of trust. There's a lot of autonomy along with collaboration. The two should go together. But how do you balance that? Because we've also had conversations around we've got to have accountability and people need to be accountable to what they say they're going to do. And we have goals, you know, who owns what and how we're going to do this stuff. So what I asked you is how do you balance accountability and autonomy? How do you have both? To which you said... Let me see if you remember.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah, yeah. Well, do you want to say what I said or do you want me to... Is that my cue?
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's your cue.
Stephen Shedletzky: So let's have some fun here. I would say that autonomy without accountability can breed chaos. Too much accountability without autonomy is more akin to command and control, which has zero empowerment, zero creativity, low motivation, yikes, not a fun place to work and good luck retaining your people, let alone getting great ideas and productivity from and with them. And so we know from Dan Pink's work with Drive, in which he built upon other work, autonomy is hugely important. Like we all want it. There's a huge link between autonomy and happiness and fulfillment. It's why Google, I'm not sure if they still do it, but I know Google, with their engineers, if not all employees, allowed everyone to choose, for 20% of their time, they could work on anything, which is-
Lindsay Tjepkema: crosstalk one day a week. Yeah.
Stephen Shedletzky: Which is like," Woo." Yeah, if you're working 40 hours inaudible, 20% is one day a week. Math. We can edit that out. Don't.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I didn't really think about it before I opened my mouth and said it.
Stephen Shedletzky: You didn't. Math. I'm allergic to a balance sheet. However, I think the thing that I said to you was when I talk about accountability, I talk about it as agreements.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Mm. Say that word again.
Stephen Shedletzky: Accountability as agreements.
Lindsay Tjepkema: I love it. And I also love it that the three words, there's alliteration, which makes it even better.
Stephen Shedletzky: Autonomy, yeah. Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: inaudible alliteration. Accountability, autonomy, agreements.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yes. And the reason I call it agreements, it was born from, personally, I'm not a very good or easy employee. I'm not particularly good with authority, and that's because my Gretchen Rubin Four Tendencies style is rebel, which is you can't make me do it and neither can I. I can be wonderfully productive, but I can't predict when it's going to happen, and it just grinds my gears personally when I get assigned work from a peer or a senior leader without the benefit of having a conversation. And is it cumbersome and does it take more time? Yeah. But does it lead to a better outcome and alignment and agreement and motivation and buy- in? Yes. And so I literally, I trained my leaders that they would never assign work to me without first having a conversation with me or at least saying," Hey, I sent this your way, but this is what it is. Let's have a conversation." Because I think there's nothing worse, well, there are things worse, but it's a bad experience, whether it's one- on- one and even worse when it's in a public group setting, saying," This needs to be done, Lindsay's going to do it." And it's like, do you have any idea of what's on my plate? Do you have any idea what's going on in my life? I have three kids and there's a pandemic. Like," Yeah, sure, I'm going to do that." And so-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Or maybe I don't want to or I have a better idea for something else I could do, or somebody else could do it better, or, yeah, so many.
Stephen Shedletzky: Wonderful. Yeah. So the little nugget that I said that I'm very interested to see what you've done with is I do not believe that accountability is assigned, accountability is agreed upon.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes. Yes. And the reason that blew my mind is because, thank you for sharing your thoughts about how that lands with you, but you're not unique in that way. I mean, everyone, whether you are the opposite and it's like," Oh yeah, tell me what to do and I'll do it," I want those people to be nudged just to think beyond what's assigned to them too so it fits with everyone. It gets everyone thinking more creatively, more strategically, more collaboratively. And so that's one great part of it.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah, Because we're not drones or robots, we're human beings. And even if you are someone who does like," Tell me what to do and I'll do it," you still have ideas and you still have... So, yes, I agree with that. Love that.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And they should be inaudible," You agree? You agree? We agree. We have an agreement." And another one is agreements automatically imply or suggest or assume two- way, right?
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. Consensus.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So if I agree on something, there's a two- way agreement. And so I love that too, it's collaborative. It's not an assignment, but it's like," Hey, if I'm going to agree to do this, here's what I need from you." And so what we you've done here, what we're doing, it's funny, I talked to one person on the team about it and they went and looked for a framework, and I was like," No, this was literally a conversation. It should be a framework, but let's figure it out."
Stephen Shedletzky: Let's make it one.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, let's make one. And so what we've done, it's funny, I'm looking at my whiteboard with notes about it, is I broke down areas of ownership in the company that I, just me as the CEO, want to make sure there's an owner, right? Like I need an owner. I need to be able to say," Hey, Shed, how is the pipeline?" because we agree that you own it. And so just starting there and being like," I don't know if that's the right place to start or not, but let's start there." And we've talked about making agreements about like," Okay, who's taking ownership of these areas?" And we already have goals. So it's like," Are you agreeing to take on this goal or do we need to talk about what that looks like? And then in return, what do you need? What do you need from me? What do you need from the rest of the team? What do you need from others?" Because just because you're agreeing to take ownership of something, that doesn't mean it's yours alone. It doesn't mean it's solely yours. It just means that at the end of the day, I'm taking ownership, but I need this person or this entire team, or I need these resources, or," Yes, I will take ownership, but I'm agreeing to basically provide reporting on this thing, but it's something that the whole team owns or this whole group owns." So that's where we're starting.
Stephen Shedletzky: Nice.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's very brand new, but there's something there. And everyone that we talk to, everyone that hears the word agreement is just like," Yes."
Stephen Shedletzky: I think that the term accountability has a negative connotation to it.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It does.
Stephen Shedletzky: And I love the word agreement because it denotes relationship. And I love the word ownership because it makes me think of like you can own a car, but there are passengers or other drivers. You can own a house, but there are other inhabitants of that house, which denotes team and distributed and multidisciplinary and we depend upon each other, which is human. So I think that's a great place to start. And agreement to me denotes consensus and motivation. I think you and I spoke about as well in our last conversation about I think management gets a bad rap, and I used to be a person who... Can I swear on this show?
Lindsay Tjepkema: Go for it.
Stephen Shedletzky: I used to be a person who would shit on management like," We want leaders, not managers." Well, how many people do you know who have the title manager? Many. And so we need managers. We depend on them. Managers are the only people in an organization who can influence up, influence side to side and influence down, the only. So they have multi- influence or multidirectional influence. And then who are the people in organizations that are driving autonomy and driving agreements in ownership? It's leaders and it's managers. And so I think the most important meeting a manager can have every week is their one- on- ones with their direct reports. And I don't think any one manager should have more than five to seven direct reports tops. If you have more than that, good luck to you getting your own work done, let alone supporting your people, which is your job. And the most important meeting you can have is your meetings with your direct reports because that's when you review your agreements." This is what we agreed upon last week. Where are we with it?" I don't like the statement," Don't come to me with problems, come to me with solutions." That breeds a lack of psychological safety and speak up culture. But I think it's fair for a manager or a leader to say," Bad news never gets better with time. So we're meeting on Tuesday. First of all, how are you? What's up? Tell me what's going on. I know you have three kids and there's a pandemic. How's their school going?" stuff that impacts them as a human being and how they show up as a human being to work." Here's what we agreed upon that you would do last week. We didn't touch base in between last week and this week, so I assume you're on track. And if you're not on track, I shouldn't find out about that in a week, I should find out about that on Friday so that I can work with you to help you remove obstacles, think about things differently." And so I think it's fair to say," As soon as you have bad news, try to solve it, see if you can, but ask for help. And if we get to our next one- on- one and there's disagreement in our agreement, we have an issue. And come to me sooner," or," How can we help you solve this with or without me?"
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes. I couldn't agree more. You said the magic words, speak up culture, which I know is something, I don't know, those are words that mean something to you a little bit.
Stephen Shedletzky: They do. Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So let's talk about those words and what you're working on and then I really want to dig into all of it. I'm so excited about it.
Stephen Shedletzky: Cool. So Speak Up Culture is the working title of the book I'm writing right now, I'm working on right now. It's scheduled to come out as of now in the fall of 2023 and the working subtitle, so the working title on the whole is Speak Up Culture: When Leaders Truly Listen, People Step Up. And it's about the responsibility and the opportunity for leaders to foster a culture, a human environment in which people are psychologically safe. I don't love term psychological safety. Though I love and respect the work and Amy Edmondson's work on it, I don't love the term only because I feel as though we put on a white lab coat as we talk about human emotions.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It feels very clinical.
Stephen Shedletzky: It's too clinical. And like she has a book called Fearless Organization. I don't love the word fearless because there's no such thing. There's no leader who is fearless. Leaders feel the fear and find something more important to embrace it, have the courage and do it anyway. And it's very funny because her book is like a very hospital white tone in the background. It's sterile. And psychological safety is so human and it's messy. And so psychological safety, however, is a prerequisite to having a speak up culture. Psychological safety is the input to get you the output of a speak up culture. And what a speak up culture is and looks like is one in which there's psychological safety, where people feel safe to raise their hand and share their ideas without fear of being ridiculed, without fear of being punished to share their concerns, like," I don't think this is going to work. I have concern about our strategy. I'm not trained for the job that I have," and not be punished or fired or reprimanded or ignored. Because as soon as you do those things, you breed a culture in which people are never going to bring you bad news again, because, well, look what happened to Joe, Sally and Nancy. And as well, a speak up culture as one in which people can even dissent, can disagree, and it's treated with," Thank you," respect. There's two components I've learned about a speak up culture, which is encourage and reward. And they're cyclical. So you join a culture and is it rewarded to speak up? When people do it, what happens? How do you do it? Do you do it in big public meetings? Which in some cultures, that's accepted, and in other cultures, it's like, no, you start and do that in a one- on- one or small group meeting and then we take it to the masses, or we just don't do it, which means leaders who do not listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say, which is a quote from Andy Stanley. And another quote which is indicative of not having psychological safety and not having a speak up culture comes from Tim McClure, which is the biggest concern for an organization should be when it's most passionate people become silent.
Lindsay Tjepkema: So true.
Stephen Shedletzky: And so I'm studying and unpacking examples that we all know of and examples from my own experiences and examples with clients where there is a speak up culture and where there isn't. And the fact is a speak up culture is good for business. And when you don't have it, you either miss opportunities, you can fail, bankruptcy, or there could be disaster. And in the case of the Challenger disaster with NASA or the Boeing 737 MAX 8 disaster, which are documented speak up culture issues, people die. And for any leader sitting here being like," Well, I don't work for NASA, Boeing, or I'm not a heart surgeon. If I don't do my job, people don't die," I regret to inform you, that as a leader, your relationship with your direct reports has more of an impact on their health than that of the relationship with their family doctor, which is a fact from Gallup. And so regardless of your industry, wherever you work, if you're in a role of leadership, you have an impact on the people's health of whom you lead, so is life or death inaudible business. Sorry, not sorry.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's so true. And it's so important that you're saying that and will be saying that louder over the next year, progressively I'm sure, because it's true. And all you need to do is take a hot second and think about the places you've worked, good and bad. And I have had very, very profound, very tangible negative physical consequences at the places that I've worked. I've also had some really, really, really great things. And something else that I think that you mentioned along the way was the further that you or a leader in general gets away from that, whether your own experiences and/ or the experiences of those in your organization, the larger your organization gets, the further you get away from kind of being a part of that small group, and the bigger the team gets, the more isolated you get and I think the easier it is to say," Well, that's not me. That's not us. That's not here. It's fine." But you really do have a huge influence over the lives that, of the people that work at your company. I mean, business is human. We're all people doing things for and with people and we're thinking, feeling beings moving around and doing things. And yeah, it's the most important thing.
Stephen Shedletzky: Well, yeah, if you're anyone, whether you're in a position of leadership or not, who says," It's not personal, it's business," you don't understand business.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That doesn't make sense.
Stephen Shedletzky: No. Business is personal and it involves human beings and it involves human emotion. And so for anyone who says," It's not personal, it's business," I regret to inform you, you're likely an asshole. And I call that crosstalk. The two things you're touching on are two leadership truths, which is a whisper is a shout, and the more senior you get, the further away you can get from the truth, which means having a speak up culture is also leaders who cultivate. I might call it listen down, but it sounds a little bit-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yep. I get it.
Stephen Shedletzky: Pejorative or sort of patriarchal. But one of the questions I often get is," Okay, great, I understand this speak up culture, but how do you get people to do it?" It's like, well, no leader can expect anyone to do something that they aren't willing to do themselves first. So you have to be transparent. You have to ask questions. You have to be curious. You have to listen, and you have to listen with compassion. I can teach you how to be a better listener, I can't teach you how to become more compassionate. That you have to want to go on and develop yourself. That's not a skill, that's an attribute.
Lindsay Tjepkema: And I think you really have to, you have to start there. And listen, I was actually talking to somebody yesterday. Somebody was asking me about like," Oh, in the CEO role and you're doing this now," I was like," Yeah, but listen, anyone in this seat, whether your company's very, very small or very large, when you're in the CEO role, you have the privilege and the responsibility to be like,'Okay. It starts with me.'" I've also been in roles where I was in middle management or I was leading a very small team or I was just leading my own little project, and the perception is it's a lot harder because it's like, okay, the people up here just don't get it, they're never going to do it, but the impact that it made when either I or a leader that I worked for or with said," Okay, but it starts with me and I'm going to make the impact that I can," it does make a difference. And when you say," It's going to start here. I'm going to listen. I'm going to be compassionate. I'm going to make that the first thing that I do. The how are you truly is a question that I want to know the answer to. And even if you're not okay, are you not okay with me," or," We have to talk about something tough," that's the most important thing. And I think quite often, leaders that have the ability to make that difference forget that it has to start with them. It can't be an initiative that somebody else leads and it also can't be something that you have to go fight your way up to make somebody at the top do it first. It just has to start with you. And it's one of those things you have to lead by example. People have to feel safe to have those conversations, have those tough conversations. And inaudible Casted, that's the three of us as co- founders, we had some very tough conversations. It made it very safe in the earliest days and then we'd talk about it all the time. Yeah, you have to live it.
Stephen Shedletzky: And leadership and culture and humanity, we're not good at scale. And so when you're a founding group, it's a lot easier to do it amongst each other and to get a pulse on how it feels, but something happens and all of a sudden you're 15 people, and then something happens and all of a sudden you're 30 and then 60. It morphs and it changes particularly when and especially once you hit that 150, which is Dunbar's number, right? Which is the number of on average we can maintain, 150 stable social relationships, which is no coincidence, because if you look at our wiring, the origin of our species, we lived in communities of a 100 to 150 people.
Lindsay Tjepkema: crosstalk
Stephen Shedletzky: So we haven't evolved. And so there's no scaling leadership, there's only growing and developing leaders and a chain of leaders. The number of executive leadership teams that I've worked with that are high trust and high performance, many. I'm also worked with many that are not high trust and not high performance, but the great ones know that we work very hard as an executive leadership team on high trust and high performance not for free. We develop each other and we do these programs and we do all this work and all these offsites and all this such that you do this with your teams and such that our teams do this with their teams. And only when we do that, do the most junior people in the organization feel as though they're well led and have top cover. There's no mistake that every single leadership development program that's ever existed always starts with a module on leading self. Leaders have to understand their own machinery, their own wiring before they can be decently good at helping others and leading others and to differentiate between the Golden Rule versus the Platinum Rule, right? Golden Rule, we're all taught do unto others as you would want done unto yourself. No. No, no, no, no, no. The Platinum Rule, which has empathy and could be passion, which is treat others the way they wish to be treated, which requires awareness and me taking the time to understand what are Lindsay's preferences. And I like it this way, but that doesn't mean that she's going to like feedback or agreements or accountability or working style-
Lindsay Tjepkema: Public recognition. Yeah. Yeah.
Stephen Shedletzky: Oh my God, yes, public recognition versus a meaningful handwritten note.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yep. Yeah.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. And there's a definition of leadership from a three- star retired Marine general, George Flynn, who says leadership is asking people how they're doing and genuinely caring to hear the answer. And the other thing of which I've learned much and many from the US Marines as well as many other military forces is the Marines have a standard that if you lead someone, the rule is you must have affection toward the person that you lead.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes. Yes.
Stephen Shedletzky: Which I love.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Sorry, go ahead. I was going to cut you off.
Stephen Shedletzky: Well, it just means affection in the sense of," I see strength, value and genius in you." If I cannot see that in someone I'm supposed to lead, I am not fit to lead them, which means they still may be wonderful or have value to bring and fit and add to the culture and the values of the organization, but just not under my watch because it doesn't work.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. You have to crosstalk
Stephen Shedletzky: Which is fine and normal. Yeah, you both have to care and you have to see merit and value in the people in your span of care. And I think the first line of defense, I've heard so many examples of organizations who let people go because of tension between a leader and someone on their team, but they're great, and if they just worked for somebody else, it would work.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. And you see that happening too, is that somebody is a top performer or a low performer and then they go somewhere else and it's vice versa because context and leadership is everything. It's so important.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. And we have the trust and performance matrix, which is high trust, high performance, low trust, low performance, and everything in between, but we aren't doomed and stuck in the box that we're in, doomed or the opposite of doomed. crosstalk
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, you can't assume you're going to stay there.
Stephen Shedletzky: No. And I've been all over the spectrum based on the role, the team, the leader, the nature of the work. There are times when I've been high trust and high performance. There are times when I've been low trust and low performance, not that I'd agree with it, or just context wasn't right.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And what I get so excited about is my best friend, Brené Brown, she just doesn't know that we're best friends, but we are.
Stephen Shedletzky: She will. She will.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah, she loves me. It's fine.
Stephen Shedletzky: You just got to work on your pickleball game and then you crosstalk
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. Yeah, I got to figure that out. I should probably even hold a pickleball racket at some point.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah, yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: A good first step.
Stephen Shedletzky: Smart crosstalk. Smart. Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Some of the research was about the word love. If you go back into, I think it was the Marines, and you went back to... She was researching some of the pamphlets and stuff from the 1920s and'30s and love was all over it. It was like," Lead with love." You have to actually love the people that you're leading. And then we've washed it away because love is this touchy, feely, romantic, just fantastical, fluffy word that doesn't belong, that certainly doesn't belong to business and absolutely doesn't belong in the military. But like you said, you have to have affection and you have to care about the people that you're with. If you're going to do big things, if you're going to overcome to challenges, if you're going to do something as tough as what the Marines do, there has to be courage and vulnerability and love.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. I mean, it's a shortcoming of the English language, which is we only have one word for it, but if you look in different languages like in Italian or I'm sure Latin and many others, there's tons of words that describe different forms of love. And so there's platonic love of colleagues or team members or friends. The number of colleagues and even clients that I said," Love you," and mean it and that we both know that it's safe and good and what it means, but yeah, I think we need to create some new words and language that make it safe and okay and clear, which is important, which is really important.
Lindsay Tjepkema: It is. Incredibly important. So with all of that, I could just hold you hostage all day and we can just talk about culture and accountability and agreements and autonomy and speak up cultures. Any parting thoughts? And I'll give you some guide rails because otherwise that's a very big question. We are still in this place two years later, in a rough spot. We were talking beforehand about even personally where we are with COVID things. And everybody right now, depending on when you're listening, right now, we're back, and everyone, everywhere, it's a thing. And it's also cold and flu season. Everyone's sick. And as leaders, we're trying so hard to keep our teams, even speaking for myself, keep the team engaged and feeling seen and valued and heard and that it's okay if you can't whatever because of whatever reason. There's so much going on personally and professionally. And for leaders who really do care and want to foster that speak up culture in the midst of, yes, everything that's happening in the world, but also we need to grow and we need to perform, what parting words would you have, and take all the words that you need, for leaders right now?
Stephen Shedletzky: Sure. It's a brilliant question and I have some thoughts because, yeah, listen, business is not as important as life and death, and yet we want the business to continue. We want the business to thrive. The business gives us meaning. The business affords us a lifestyle for our families. We want the business to exist. And so I don't think many of us can be like," Eh, let's just not work for a while and everything will be fine." That's not a thing. So a few things, One, as I've started of this new year, and like I said, I stopped saying," Happy New Year," I just say,"New year."
Lindsay Tjepkema: It's a new year.
Stephen Shedletzky: It's a new year.
Lindsay Tjepkema: That's a fact.
Stephen Shedletzky: Apparently we arbitrarily turned the calendar again. I've experienced people being a lot more patient. Oftentimes the people are parents, oftentimes the people have had COVID. And so they've had some sort of experience where they get it. Now, I had a conversation with my wife earlier today where I said that and she was like," Well, let's wait and see because this isn't going to disappear in a couple days. There are many places in the world that are going through another wave and another peak." And for where I am in Toronto, this is the worst it's been, meaning hospitals are saying," We're at capacity, go somewhere else." Ambulance service is saying," We have no more drivers and paramedics. Good luck."
Lindsay Tjepkema: Wow.
Stephen Shedletzky: These are issues. Infrastructures that support human beings are breaking. And so my question is how much longer will this sort of patience and passing an olive branch go? Now, we've also seen because we're 23 months into this thing, I think a lot of the bad actors and bad leaders, people have left them. That's why we've had the Great Resignation and the grain talent shuffle, because I don't want to go back to your office, I don't even want to go back into your Zoom room or your slack channel. You're a command and control awful leader. And I know it's not your fault because there's also a 12 year gap between when most managers get their first leadership role and when they get formal training, but it's just the mere fact of when you treat people with human decency, they remember. When you don't treat people that way, they also remember, and people will vote with their feet. So a quick little story. I worked on a team where I reported directly into the CEO and we were hiring someone new. And I was going to work a lot with this person, so they gave me the benefit of meeting them and being part of an interview to get my opinion and make sure that I would want to work with this person. Wonderful. I later found out in the interview process that this person was significantly pregnant with twins.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Been there.
Stephen Shedletzky: And I look back and I see... I'm not proud of what I said or the statement, but I said to my CEO," Are you sure we want to hire this person as they're right about to have twins and we're going to essentially train them for three months and then they're going to be off?" And I'm in Canada, so our maternity leaves are generous, 12 to 18 months, but not all the time. And I said this to our CEO and our CEO very clearly said to me," Can you imagine the loyalty this person will have when we take this chance on them when they need it most?" And I went," Okay, worth it." And that person was with the team for seven years and they were fantastic and loyal and hardworking and honest. And so when we take chances on people and we raise the ceiling, they meet it and surpass it. When we give people a ceiling that is low, they will meet that too. And so I think that's a big one. And it's really hard for leaders right now because there's no one who's immune to this thing. And sure, some people who are introverted are thriving in the extra time to read a book, particularly if they don't have young kids around or whatever it is, but everyone is struggling. And it is unsustainable for those who are struggling to support those who are struggling forever, and leaders themselves need to find some things that enable them to have some self- care. Even if it's five minutes a day, go for a walk, phone a friend, do a mind- numbing thing, play Mario Kart with friends, whatever it is, watch Adam Grant's TED Talk on languishing and do something about it. Leaders need to protect themselves such that they can better serve and protect those that are in their span of care.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Can't pour from an empty CIP.
Stephen Shedletzky: Totally. Totally. Yeah.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Okay. I'm going to force myself to stop it there, otherwise I'm just going to keep talking to you and this will be like a four hour podcast and everyone would probably love it because you're great.
Stephen Shedletzky: Oh, well, then that's very kind.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Well, thank you so much. There's so much to even just go back and unpack and really think through and dwell on because business is human. My coach, Rebecca, says that all the time and it's absolutely true that we're all people doing this thing together. And the more we remind ourselves of that, the better off we will be, not just as businesses, but as humans.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yes. And if you don't treat it that way, you will suck the humanity out of it, which means it will suck.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yeah. For everyone.
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. Yourself included.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Exactly. All right. So Shed, book's coming out in fall, where else can people find you? Yeah, in the fall of'23. Fall of'23.
Stephen Shedletzky: Fall of'23. Yes.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Even though it still feels like 2019. So do that math and watch for the book, but in the meantime, where can people find you and where do you want to direct everyone?
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. Today is December 732, 2020.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Yes.
Stephen Shedletzky: Something like that. I'm most active on LinkedIn, as I know you are as well. My new website is in construction. It'll probably be out in a month. It will be shedinspires. com. So go there every single day until it's live.
Lindsay Tjepkema: crosstalk
Stephen Shedletzky: Yeah. Cool. It's a broken link now, but soon it won't be. But yeah, most active on LinkedIn.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Cool. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Shed, and enjoy the rest of December 564.
Stephen Shedletzky: Whatever it is. Thanks, Lindsay. This was a treat.
Lindsay Tjepkema: Thanks. So, there you have it. Another episode of Casting a Vision. Check out Shed's work and watch for his book at his website, which is linked in the related resources section of this show on our episode page. And if you liked the show, consider sharing a takeaway with a friend, and I would love to know who else you would like to hear on our show as a guest. Thanks so much for watching.
In today's episode, host Lindsay Tjepkema sits down with Stephen Shedletzky to discuss leadership. Stephen is a speaker and advisor, helping leaders practice the human-first approach and to help them create what he calls a "Speak Up Culture." Speak up culture is made with the idea to have a psychologically safe space for employees. Listen now for a deep dive into this concept and insight into being a great leader considering all that is happening in our world.