Some learnings from a leadership training

I just spent 4 days at a leadership training with a small group of CEOs. Was deeply impacted by the experience and also truly grateful that I have been given the opportunity to invest in myself. Here are some reflections:

Some reasons I felt compelled to go:

  • I’ve been running Shippo for 4.5 years and my role has changed from being a doer to a manager. I want to learn how to not only be a manager but also be a leader.
  • I have mental models that served me well in the last 4 years and they might be outdated now. It’s time to refresh my mental models and see what applies now.
  • What got me here won’t get me there. Wherever “there” might be.
  • I want to understand why people should follow me as their leader.
  • Leadership is not the same as management.

A snapshot from my notebook with learnings/insights. In no particular order:

  • Our default mode (in and outside of work) is to not express emotions.
  • Being vulnerable =! being weak.
  • I can learn as much about the person giving me feedback as about yourself when I receive feedback.
  • What got me here won’t get me there: what got me here was to be hard charging, determined, hard working and lucky (to overly simplify this), what gets me there is to inspire a group of people working for my vision.
  • Everyone at my company could go work somewhere else, instead they choose to come to work for me. It’s their choice.
  • There’s a lot more going in people’s minds than they articulate at any given moment.
  • Saying “I feel (an emotion)” is not the same as “I feel like/that”. Example: I feel sad when you say this vs. I feel like you are mean.
  • Instead of “you are” I can say “I experience you as”.
  • I can give feedback on behavior, not character.
  • It is okay for me to say when it is not the right time for feedback.
  • Other people feel more connected to me when I am being vulnerable & when I share my feelings.
  • There are appropriate and inappropriate emotions to express, depending on setting.
  • It is okay to clearly state what I need. In fact, people feel more connected to me when they know there is something they can help me with.
  • Instead of “I disagree” I can say “I have different feelings”.
  • No feelings are invalid.
  • In a room of people there are many different perceptions about the exact same thing that has been said.
  • Influence is to impact other people’s thoughts and actions.
  • To have influence people need to feel connected to me. Without connection I will not be effective.
  • You cannot selectively numb yourself.
  • A “why” question makes people defensive. A “what” question is a better choice.

Brené Brown’s Ted Talk:

The power of vulnerability

There was consensus in the room that the Silicon Valley archetype of an emotionless/robotic founder is running out of time and the next generation of founders and leaders care about human connection.

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