Choosing Leadership

with Sumit Gupta

A podcast for people who know deep inside that there is more.

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Why Choosing Leadership?

This podcast is called “choosing leadership” – because that is what leadership is – a choice.

The choice to step into the unknown. The choice to see fear as a friend. The choice to take courageous action rather than waiting for readiness. The choice to see how powerful you are.

I choose leadership every time I record this podcast, as I have procrastinated on it for more than a year.

My invitation to you is the same – to “choose” leadership and to step up a leader in an area of life that matters to you – be it work, passion, health, impact in society, or something else.

I will be starting (and stopping) multiple series from time to time. All of them will focus on leadership – but they will look at it from multiple angles and perspectives.

This is what I do most naturally – to lovingly and gently provoke you to help you see your own light – to help you see what you are already capable of.

Show Format – Multiple Series

Leadership Journeys

In this series, I am celebrating leaders for the choices they have made, which are not always easy and comfortable, to get to where they are today. So that all of us can learn from their journey.

Can't Stay Silent

This series is about the courage to speak our truth and live authentically. For most of my life, I have kept my voice hidden beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In this series, I will express myself fully from the heart.

Humble Inquiries

In each episode of Humble Inquiries, we deliberately put ourselves in the uncomfortable space of not knowing the answer and humbly inquiring about these challenges – with the aim to provoke new thoughts, actions, and practices.

Recent Episodes

Leadership Journeys [57] – Marc Munier – “If people aren’t willing to accept you for the way that you are, then that’s their problem”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Marc shares his background and how he got some early wins which build confidence very early in his career. He also shared how he now pays it forward by helping those on his team get some early and easy wins. We also talk about the importance of celebrating small wins, measuring the process, the role of honesty and transparency in leadership, and why change is often hard but not impossible.

You can find Marc at the below links

In the interview, Marc shares

  • If you trust people with the information, nobody judges you.
  • Celebrate the small wins. Celebrate the stages towards the end objective
  • I’m a fundamental believer in the goodness of people. So I believe that people given the right information will make the right choice
  • I always say that you can change behaviours, but you can’t change nature.
  • As a citizen, we’ve got a responsibility to do more and so to help combat the effects.
  • The way that I cope with that stuff is I kind of think worst-case scenario. So I go, Well look, if I in option A, if I carry on doing this and it completely implodes. You know, probably not gonna starve. I’ll have to go get another job, which will hurt my ego. But I’ll probably be. Um, but I would’ve done my best, I suppose.
  • I love a soppy movie or a soppy series.
  • If people aren’t willing to accept you for the way that you are, then that’s just kind of okay. That’s their problem
  • I’m a massive believer in getting outside and just kind of breathing the air, getting away from the city
  • Your brain needs that time to relax.

Can’t Stay Silent [04] – There Is No Forcing In Nature

This is the Can’t Stay Silent series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

For most of my life, I have kept my voice buried beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In each episode of this series, I will find the strength to express myself from the bottom of my heart.

These short episodes will be filled with honest reflections, simple stories and metaphors, and some gentle provocations – all to help you Deploy Yourself in your own life.

Together, we’ll discover how we can create a world where all of us can show up as leaders. So, if you are ready to allow the leader in you to bravely listen to my call of leadership, join me on Can’t Stay Silent.

You can find more about me & the Deploy Yourself School of Leadership

Show Notes

  •  life Is the balance. between making things happen. And letting them happen.
  • The moment we try to force or the moment anybody, or anything tries to force something. It creates friction.
  • Nobody likes resistance. When we push people, they push back. 
  • We can create anything which we are creating as leaders with or without force. And that is something I think, which is the balance between making things happen and letting them happen. 
  • You cannot force music. You have to let it flow.
  • If a musician is trying to force. The music. Or if a singer is trying to force the singing, it loses its beauty.
  • Trying to control something or somebody’s always create friction because it is not natural. 
  • You must learn to use the right leverage at the right time. You must learn to use the right action. At the right time. Or do the right thing. At the right time. Which is not forcing against anything, which is natural.
  • You cannot force yourself to fall asleep. Now sleeping is as natural. As it can be. Everybody sleeps. But you have to let yourself fall asleep. Everything else works the same way.
  • It doesn’t mean that you do not do anything or it is wrong or bad to do something. But you identify actions, would you use leverage or which flow with the natural flow of things and then you take them.
  • And it is only when you stop trying to go to sleep, that you can fall asleep. And it is only when you stop trying to play. Beautiful music that the beautiful music. Can actually flow or happen through you. The best musicians are not who can play the fastest or the most number of hours in a day. The best are those who let the music flow through them. And let their action and their bodies be guided by that flow.
  • Just because letting anything be or letting something happen is so uncomfortable for us to be there with our own self in silence and solitude. That we try to fill that gap with forcing something and that creates a  whole lot of problems on the outside.
  • It is only in silence and in solitude with yourself that you can understand. What is yours to make happen? What is it that calls you? And what is it that deeply matters to you? 
  • we can let go of wanting to be somewhere else. Where we are right now. Right. The whole point of music. Is what you are listening to right now, not what you are going to listen to five seconds or five hours in the future. The whole point of dancing is the dance itself. Not to get somewhere else.. So wanting to be anywhere else is forcing an idea. 
  • this is a paradox, right? By trying to make things happen. We actually make it difficult for them to happen. 
  • Stop taking things too seriously all the time. And it is only by stopping to take something too seriously that we can be serious. About doing the best that we can in any given moment. 
  • For your commitment to be strong. You have to hold it firmly, but not too tightly. 
  • There is no forcing or pushing when you’re fully committed to something. Your commitment has its own flow. Once you commit to something, it has its own flow. Just like everything else in nature. 
  • We forget that work can be musical too, because work is nature and nature is musical just by its own nature. We forget that politics can be musical too. We forget that the biggest debates or social issues of our time. Can also be like music and nature. 
  • Let it happen. Learn to use the right action at the right time. Learn to use the right leverage. At the right time. 

Leadership Journeys [56] – Ian Fishwick – “Everybody wants the best people, but what I say is, get the best out of people.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Ian shares multiple stories about the lessons he has learnt as a leader. We talk about getting fired from multiple roles and how that shaped him as a leader. We speak about the difference between hiring the best people and getting the best out of people, and how he found out that everybody expects respect first of all from their leaders and organisations.

You can find Ian at the below links

In the interview, Ian shares

  •  I believe that you don’t train people by sticking them in a classroom
  • And I think people make the mistake of saying, let’s hire the best people. I get that everybody wants the best people, but what I say is, get the best out of people.
  • We all have bad days. Let’s not pretend that I’m fantastic and I’m fantastic every day. It’s a bit like being a footballer. It doesn’t look like that. You need constant motivation and help, so the same people can be good, better an average. 
  • I feel good about what I do, I’ll probably do a great job
  • keep it really simple. Treat other people the way you want to be treated yourself, and you’re not gonna go very far wrong.
  • those who get into management positions who then start to love the authority of it. You’ve lost it, you’ve lost it completely. 
  • the higher you get in an organization, the more likely there are to be restructures

     

Leadership Journeys [55] – Philip Johnston – “Blitzscaling a startup is stressful, but also pretty exhilarating and fun.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Philip shares his background in statistics and finance, and how that allows him to be a better entrepreneur.  He also shares how being the youngest of five boys while growing up in his family has helped him have a high-risk tolerance and a spirit of competitiveness. We also spoke about the challenges that come with a startup growing very fast, and how he likes to run to calm and clear his system of stress to be able to make sound decisions.

You can find Philip at the below links

In the interview, Philip shares

  • The essence of finance is predicting the future.
  • I would say that I have an extremely high-risk tolerance. 
  • Growing fast is stressful, but it’s also very exciting.
  • What I do is I try and run on the day that I’m having the mania so that it kind of clears my system of these like endorphins
  • I’m quite into standup comedy and podcasts
  • Standup comedy makes you about 500 times better at public speaking.
  • You can hack this whole entrepreneurship game. It doesn’t need to be as hard as it looks

     

Can’t Stay Silent [03] – Can We Face What We Do Not Want To Face?

This is the Can’t Stay Silent series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

For most of my life, I have kept my voice buried beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In each episode of this series, I will find the strength to express myself from the bottom of my heart.

These short episodes will be filled with honest reflections, simple stories and metaphors, and some gentle provocations – all to help you Deploy Yourself in your own life.

Together, we’ll discover how we can create a world where all of us can show up as leaders. So, if you are ready to allow the leader in you to bravely listen to my call of leadership, join me on Can’t Stay Silent.

You can find more about me & the Deploy Yourself School of Leadership

Show Notes

  • Can we get on the same side and talk about the challenge together, rather than sitting on opposite sides of their table and holding, holding onto our positions? 
  • And I think what leads us to hold onto our positions is our fear of failure – that we do not want to face that we can fail, and that fear of failure leads and keeps us stuck in these endless conversations.
  • Simply because of the fact that we are unable to deal with that we might fail, it leads to a mess on the surface. 
  • There is nothing wrong with being scared of losing a position or disappointing those who support you but it keeps you away from playing fully on the outside. It keeps you away from having the real conversation on challenging yourself and others as well and talking about real stuff rather than getting lost in intellectual conversations.
  • If you practice any martial art you will know that, uh, hesitation will get you killed. if you practice any sports. Hesitation will make you lose. , but this is what we are doing. our fear of failure and inability to deal with the mess inside is suffocating us from the inside, but also keeping us stuck on the outside.
  • There’s nothing wrong with being scared and terrified, but to hide it, to not be okay with it is taking us nowhere.
  • I must say I was terrified and I still am, but I’m not afraid of acknowledging it. I’m not going to let it stop me. I’m not going to let it hold me in a position and not see things from the other side as well. And I’m, I might fail as an entrepreneur. I might fail as a professional, I might fail in my career as a CEO, I might fail as a coach, as a father, as a husband, as a parent, as a friend, I might fail. But so what? I mean there is, there’s a world beyond I, right?
  • I might fail, but what is better is playing a half-life is that acceptable? Certainly to me, it is not
  • We would all be crawling if children would behave as adults behave. These days. If children would be afraid of falling, we would all be crawling
  • This is how you get to any success, not by trying to be safe and hesitating, but by being fully willing to fail. The way you get to success is not by trying to be safe and hesitating but by being fully willing to fail, fully willing to fail is a precondition for your full commitment to whatever that you’re trying to achieve.
  • Otherwise, you are always keeping one foot behind.  and you cannot take a leap of faith. You cannot take a jump if your one foot is still on the ground.

     

Leadership Journeys [54] – Steve Midgley – “You have to be prepared to stand up for what you believe in”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Steve shares how travelling around the world as a child has shaped him into a curious and open person. He also spoke about the challenges of working with people of different cultures and how he learned to compromise and look for win-win solutions, and yet doing that without compromising on his foundational set of values.

You can find Steve at the below links

In the interview, Steve shares

  • I was blessed to work on every, literally every continent of the world.
  • Fortune had favoured me and I didn’t have any debt in my life.
  • I’m a straight shooter. I’m very, you know, I believe authentic and transparent
  • You have to be prepared. To stand up for what you believe in
  • Sometimes you have to stick to your principles and it might mean that you have to step out, and that’s not pleasant, right? But that comes with the territory.
  • You have to be extremely resolute and resourceful and make sure that you’re managing your own energies
  • I have a personal dream, uh, to build a charity that will fundamentally change underprivileged children’s lives.
  • I think navigating, uh, the ambiguity at the moment is extremely challenging.
  • You’ve gotta let your team see the human side of you, uh, as much as possible.

     

Leadership Journeys [53] – Marius Ciavola – “Trust and inspire instead of command and control.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Marius shares about his childhood and how growing up in a family of 6 siblings set him up for learning continuously and leadership. We also spoke about the very critical role of purpose to keep everyone together in an unpredictable environment.

You can find Marius at the below links

In the interview, Marius shares

  • Coming from a considerably large family, you can imagine that I had to fight for what I wanted or what was ours
  • I’ve learned that the best way to learn is actually to teach
  • When you create that environment people will not shy away from speaking their mind
  • you’re entering an area of unknowns and you’ve gotta be comfortable with the uncomfortable
  • you’ve gotta have trust in yourself and trust in the people that you are surrounded by
  • What keeps us together is that common purpose
  • The fear comes when you have an environment that’s commanding and controlling
  • We don’t fail twice on the same thing. We don’t make the same mistake twice
  • Some of the challenges we face are also self-inflicted
  • You need to say no to so many things more often than you say yes to. But those things that you say yes to, you know you wanna do them really well, and that will help you stand out 
  • I prefer to be the serving CEO than the commanding CEO.

Leadership Journeys [52] – Bharanidharan – “Whatever you have, make the best out of it.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In a very candid and honest conversation, Bharani shares his life and how we wanted to shape his own destiny – even as a child. We spoke about growing up seeing your parents struggle, and how that teaches you to make the best out of what you have. He also shares how entrepreneurs must learn to change and shape their role as the company grows.

You can find Bharani at the below links

In the interview, Bharani shares

  • Somehow in my childhood days, I got this inspiration and deep motivation to shape my own destiny.
  • my only philosophy to make the best out of what you can
  • whatever you have, make the best out of it. when you don’t have much privilege and opportunities, you have to learn to make the best out of it and accept what you have.
  • when you come from a lesser privileged background and when you suddenly get into a world full of opportunities and life, you will be overwhelmed. Um, and it’ll not be easy to adapt.
  • You don’t have to do everything in one stretch
  • you have to let go of a few things so that other people can take it forward and run while you can focus back and, uh, look at the big picture and take your time. So, it is very counterintuitive. It is not easy for people to let go
  • it’s a very difficult journey to go through, you know because you will have an innate fear that, uh, nobody in the company will be able to operate at your level, right? As a human being. Most of us fall in that trap. Uh, but it’s important to realize that, et cetera. Otherwise, you are on a treadmill constantly. 
  • It’ll be uncomfortable, but please go through it.
  • I have invested in myself to understand more about myself. 
  • I completely agree with this because money and title are hygiene, but people want purpose and culture and values beyond that.
  • it’s important that you have some breathing space to reflect upon what is happening, otherwise, you are constantly Reacting to the world.
  • Don’t worry about the outcome because you are given everything. The best will happen. Trust the process.

Leadership Journeys [51] – Thomas Van Eeckhout – “The CEO is not the most important person in the company”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Thomas very humbly shares his experience as an employee and how his journey to CEO has been. He talks about his family, balance, and a very different look at leadership. I am sure everybody who listens to this will be left deeply touched and moved.

You can find Thomas at the below links

In the interview, Thomas shares

  • I joined the company back in 2006 as an internal sales officer and made my way throughout the organization and took on the role of CEO three years ago. 
  • I noticed that the more ambitious I was, the better my results became so, so quite fast. I started to work quite hard. Um, and I still believe that if you want to achieve something, you have to put in, you have to put in the work so that there is no secret 
  • We really have a default YES Culture, whereas I think most of the companies have a default NO culture.
  • we allow people to take ownership over their career and they can basically chase their dreams. And that’s something what I had the opportunity to do as well. 
  • We need to create a context where people can be successful, a context, where people can actually be happy at work. 
  • They have to have a vision. Um, we have to. Indicate where we want to be next year in three years, in five years and in 10 or 15 years
  • It’s 50% or even more 60 or maybe 70% is about communication. You need to repeat and repeat time after time again. What we want to achieve, who we want to be as a company, why we want to do what we are doing where we want to end up with that strategy becomes more and more important.
  • We need to have, as a company, we need to have a personality. People, both potential customers and candidates, people that, that might come to work with us. They really have to feel in what way we are different from other companies.
  • We have 115 shareholders, 115 colleagues who are working at Easi that have decided to invest in the company, to basically become a co-owner of the company, which is something we want to continue. 
  • The main challenge is to stay true to who we are
  • I want every colleague. Who joins us needs to strengthen the culture we have. I want to be I want to have a company with the strongest culture possible. I want that or my dream is that  That’s the reason our customers have to work with us because they feel the difference 
  • It’s about consistently putting our words into practice. We really need to practice what we preach
  • I’m a father of two daughters. And it’s my responsibility to raise them as the people that I want them to be, um, in this world. And in order to do that, I need to balance Easi with the time I spend with my family and doing the things that allow me to do those first things in the best way possible. So I need to make sure that I sleep enough, that I do enough sports, that I remain, uh, healthy and fit as well.
  • I believe culture can be managed. It can it, it should be managed.
  • I might be a CEO at Easi. Whenever I’m at home  I forget the CEO part and I’m just doing whatever my girls want me to do. . Um, so I’m not very I don’t have much authority at home. I basically just try to raise. I try to raise girls that I’m proud of.
  • The way I see it, the CEO is not the most important person in the company. That is, uh, that, that’s something that I’m very much convinced of.
  • Whenever I experienced pressure, it was always pressure that I invented myself

Leadership Journeys [50] – Karl Feilder- “Just because I have a big title doesn’t mean that I’m any better than others”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, we talk about entrepreneurship as a mindset and whether entrepreneurs are born or made. We talk about the transition from a functional or technical role to working with people, which every entrepreneur has to learn at one point. He shares the importance of appreciating people, self-awareness, and to have a healthy relationship with standing out from the crowd.

You can find Karl at the below links

In the interview, Karl shares

  • Entrepreneurs are born and not made
  • You could probably make a natural entrepreneur a little bit better, but I’m not sure you can train them from scratch. 
  • My PhD thesis is that, um, entrepreneurism is an undiagnosed spectrum disorder. Uh, a little bit like autism or one of the other, um, psychological trades.
  • My parents, uh, my mom and my stepfather, uh, in the end, took three jobs each in order to pay for me to get through school. Um, this led me to really, really want to succeed, but I think I had that natural drive.
  • Rubbing shoulders with people that had got lots and lots of money when we didn’t, made me aspire to have more than I would’ve normally aspired for.
  • It’s more about appreciating the people that are around you. And it’s definitely about enjoying the. Um, the destination, growing a company and then selling it.
  • The growing is where all the fun is and, uh, that’s almost always about the people that you either work with as customers, as suppliers, or as your colleagues in the business. 
  • The thing about building a business is always about the people, and you’re gonna need to employ some people that maybe have different skill sets from you and therefore different ways of communicating. But that still means you need them in the business, and you’ve gotta be able to identify your own weaknesses and recruit people that complement those.
  • The thing about being an entrepreneur is you really got to believe in yourself. Um, in many ways being a CEO and being an entrepreneur are similar in that they’re both very, very lonely jobs. 

Leadership Journeys [49] – Gernot Schwendtner – ”Fear is natural & makes you aware of risks but is one of the worst counsellor”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, we discuss how growth and growing hurts, and why is it important to be aware of that. He also shares the importance of staying balanced and having the support of a coach, and taking small breaks, and taking the right steps at the right moment when it comes to fast growth.

You can find Gernot at the below links

In the interview, Gernot shares

  • Growing hurts. So this is something I think it’s important to accept it and be aware of it. 
  • It is important to stay balanced.
  • We did one very useful exercise for ourself. We killed the company mentally, right? So we went through that process and said, What if, you know, like what would still be left? And we discovered a lot of network know how, personal assets, experience et, et cetera. So we could easily scale. Again, that set us mentally free and gave me a lot of freedom in saying like, Okay, now let’s buckle down all hands on deck.
  • Yoga and meditation help me in a way where I can recognize my own stress level. So I become aware of it and I can try to let it go, or sometimes I need to live through it. And sometimes I had meetings where I need to get up and say, Excuse me, I really have to take a break now. And then I take, uh, five minutes, walk around the block, do the breathing, and then I come back and I say what I did, and we laugh about it.
  • I can be like spiralling out of into the future and I’m, or around the other street corner and. I became aware in that moment of a pattern. So this is a strength but also a weakness. So what helps me is I need to have people around me who can help me keep the connection with the team and sometimes shake me and say like, Hey, Gernot um, the team needs that, has those issues, whereas I’m mentally maybe already a year or two years ahead.
  • Fear is natural reaction, right? There are also some good things in it, um, in a way. That might make you aware of risks that you were not aware, but fear is one of the worst, uh, counselors if you make decisions based out of fear. They will never, never never be good decisions. You run away from things or you avoid things or whatsoever. 
  • What helps me is, um, is a technique that I also learned in the last couple of years is it’s called shadow light on your fears or look at the monster under your bed, right when we were afraid, uh, maybe as kids that there was a monster, your bed, and then maybe our parents put the nightstand lamp and looked with you together.

Can’t Stay Silent [02] – Our Pain Unites Us

This is the Can’t Stay Silent series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

For most of my life, I have kept my voice buried beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In each episode of this series, I will find the strength to express myself from the bottom of my heart.

These short episodes will be filled with honest reflections, simple stories and metaphors, and some gentle provocations – all to help you Deploy Yourself in your own life.

Together, we’ll discover how we can create a world where all of us can show up as leaders. So, if you are ready to allow the leader in you to bravely listen to my call of leadership, join me on Can’t Stay Silent.

You can find more about me & the Deploy Yourself School of Leadership

Show Notes

  • how often we numb ourselves down. Not to see the pain or the joy. in the person who is right next to us or in front of us. like, how often we numb ourselves to the pain and joy. of our closest friends of our Spouses. Of our. Children or parents. of our team-mates, of the people who report to us, or our own managers and bosses. And to take it a step beyond our customers. Our investors. Any other person, who is a stakeholder in what we are doing on a day-to-day basis.
  • We busy ourselves about work about being smart about. Competing. With each other about beating each other, coming one up. About proving ourselves, right. Or proving somebody else wrong. And that we lose touch with what connects us are our hearts. and emotions 
  • Because no matter, what you’re doing, the starting place is that connection. Right. The starting place of a family, the starting place of a team of an organization. Or a community. Is that connection? It is through that connection that we build a team. Not through a goal, which we set for the team. The team is created by that. Connection among people. Who can laugh and cry together. And then they can go after whatever goal they want to go. But it is our hearts and our emotions, which connect us as human beings as leaders. 
  • And we talk, we plan, we discuss, we analyze, we do all of that. We talk about diversity. We talk about inclusion, emotions, emotional. Uh, intelligence trust relationships. Mental health these days. And yet we forget that trust relationship, inclusion. Empathy. Are all matters of the heart. 
  • You cannot plan. Strategize. And analyze and create a trusting relationship. You can not build inclusion and empathy just by planning, strategizing. It is about being human. It is not about being smart. It is not about being intelligent. It is also not about being right. It is about being human. And realizing that we are already connected through our joys, our pains, our deepest desires, what we care about about most deeply. 
  • Any result, If that takes you away from being connected as individuals. Then It is going to Impact the result that you are trying to produce. I, because it is so paradoxical that we get lost in the achieving, in the doing of the work that we ignore the foundation of that work. In the first place, which is that connection that we all have, which creates teams relationships. And then even organizations. 
  • Whenever we feel whenever you feel, the pain and suffering, or even joy or celebration of somebody else. either sitting next to you or. sitting on another continent, It is a call and a reminder to your humanity. And by extension to your leadership. 
  • It is important to move forward. That is what leadership is producing results. But. Not while forgetting that. The foundation of that, of any team, any business, any relationship, any result? Is that connection that we all have; is that emotion, that empathy that we have. And in moments like these, when we are talking about a tragedy
  • And this is a wonderful In this case also painful reminder. That we are all connected. Our pain and suffering. And at the same time our joys and celebrations, unites us. That is what makes us human. That is what makes a team, a relationship and organization. And by extension all results. which you have committed to producing as a leader. 

Can’t Stay Silent [01] – Fall or Flight?

This is the Can’t Stay Silent series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

For most of my life, I have kept my voice buried beneath layers of fear and insecurity. In each episode of this series, I will find the strength to express myself from the bottom of my heart.

These short episodes will be filled with honest reflections, simple stories and metaphors, and some gentle provocations – all to help you Deploy Yourself in your own life.

Together, we’ll discover how we can create a world where all of us can show up as leaders. So, if you are ready to allow the leader in you to bravely listen to my call of leadership, join me on Can’t Stay Silent.

You can find more about me & the Deploy Yourself School of Leadership

Show Notes

  • We have the same two choices we can. Uh, we can look down and we can be afraid of falling. Or we can look up. To where we want to go. And. Take a flight.
  • Looking at the sky, but not taking the flight. Serves no one. It doesn’t serve me. Doesn’t serve those around me.  Doesn’t serve the companies that I’m working with.
  • There’s nothing wrong with it. There’s nothing wrong about it. Uh, feeling fear. There is nothing wrong with wanting security. Uh, but at the same time, it doesn’t help you get where you say that you want to go.
  • obviously, in the physical world, we do not have wings like birds. Do. But I am talking from the context of leadership and in the leadership world. We do have wings. And perhaps we have never opened them. Perhaps we have never believed that we can fly. 
  • Another way to ask this question. If you had wings, where would you fly to? Or if I stop using metaphorical language and use more direct language I can ask you – If you could not fail. What would you do? Or if you had complete freedom, what would you do?
  • it’s not like the bird who flies doesn’t have fear. And it is not like, like the entrepreneur leader who goes after the impossible, and doesn’t have fear. But I don’t think I have been. More fearful. Uh, I have experienced fear more this year than any other year. 
  • But at the same time, I have not stopped myself because of the fear. And that’s the difference between fear and courage or the fall or flight like the flight is acknowledging that. You can fall and still. Flying still opening up your wings and flying. 
  • And it’s a choice. It’s a choice, what do you trust more? Do you trust gravity more or do you trust your commitment, your skill. That even if gravity wins it’s okay. Like, even if you fall down, you will get back up.

Leadership Journeys [48] – Simon Godfrey – ”It is important to respect other people’s opinions, even if they are opposing our own”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Simon spoke about the importance of respecting other people’s opinions, even if they are opposing ours. We spoke about continuously learning, the art form of working with people and building relationships, and how people are always wanting to do good, look good or feel good.

You can find Simon at the below links

In the interview, Simon shares

  • I’m a serial learner. I love to learn things and read.
  • My thirst for knowledge Is really what drives me.
  • No two people are the same. People might dress similarly and look similar, but actually their motivations, their backgrounds, shape who they are really.
  • People generally have three sorts of main motivators. They either want to do good, look good, or feel good about what they’re doing. 
  • I take every interaction very seriously. One should always do one’s homework and make sure that one understand the people you are dealing with, whether that’s governmental, whether that’s political, whether that’s industrial or otherwise.
  • You’ve gotta be likeable. I mean, you’ve got to, you know, genuinely show interest. You’ve gotta be inquisitive in your nature and you’ve gotta ask lots of questions that aren’t deeply personal necessarily, but are informative.
  • The evidence really matters and being authentic and then saying to people, Here’s my evidence trail or my vapour trail of evidence and things I’ve done. So judge me on that. Don’t just judge me on what we’re doing here right now.
  • I write a lot of poetry. Um, and I find it very therapeutic. I dunno, I must, I’m 200 poems some of them are brilliant in my own mind. Some of the just are slightly average, but nevertheless, they’re all heartfelt and they were all written with a purpose in mind.
  • I enjoy language immensely. Um, and I enjoy playing with the words. That makes me happy.

Leadership Journeys [47] – Andrea Fernandez – “When there is no focus and it is hard, It’s actually not a bad idea to slow down and take a break”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Andrea spoke about constantly moving across continents and how that has shaped her attitude to flexibility and adaptability. She spoke about a key moment while leading a team at Fresh Direct in which she showed up a leader in an emergency situation. We also discuss confidence, finance, creativity, and storytelling from a leadership perspective.

You can find Andrea at the below links

In the interview, Andrea shares

  • I always had like a very big interest In the world in general.
  • I think there are many different things you pick up, uh, when you live in different countries. I think you become very flexible. Um, because, and adaptable, because you have to do it every so often. Um, I think you also, um, learn appreciation actually because you learn to appreciate like the different things in different places.
  • because you are faced with making new friendships from start, so, You actually kind of get skills in how to understand people, in how to deal with different kinds of people, obviously languages and the ability, to communicate with people at different levels.
  • at the end of the day, leadership is about dealing with people 
  • I’m not doing it because I think it’s a fancy thing to do. or a, let’s say timely thing only. It’s like a trendy thing to do, rather, That’s the right word to use. It is a real problem in society. 
  • there will always be doubters like, there will always be doubters on anything you do, so you might as well just find the ones that believe in it and go for those and, partner with those people.
  • I’m a strong believer that there are new ways of managing and leading than I think the ones that I have seen used many times in my career.
  • I’d like to refer you to a professor that I had at Harvard. Her name is Frances Frei, she uses this methodology. It’s a triangle that she says that it is really critical factors in leadership if I remember them correctly. It’s one authenticity two empathy and three logic and basic ability to do what you to do, to execute, to think, to put your mind, uh, and develop interesting solutions.
  • I have seen many times when people leave companies and are very destroyed because of management styles, and leadership styles, and I think that’s a pretty bad outcome for an organization. if we would measure things a little bit differently, um, then we would lead differently
  •  if you have a person come to work and being fearful, uh, scared about the reaction of the manager or the boss, uh, insecure about what he or she’s bringing to the table, you may not get to listen to really great ideas that can change the outcome of a project, you may not get to experience a great team, an environment that can actually create different outcomes. So I think there’s much more to be done on that side still in the world of business 
  • I think children are a great source of creativity and like really, like it almost feels, um, weird, but when you spend time with kids, I think you really. Kind of disconnect from the day-to-day and therefore kind of a new window opens up in your head.

Leadership Journeys [46] – Paulina Tenner – “I have my own agenda but I’m also surrendered to the wisdom of the process of life”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Paulina opens up about her mental health challenges and how life has prepared her for what she does rather than any formal education. We spoke about her unusual background, and how she continues to draw lessons and inspiration from that – for herself and others. We spoke about the role meditation plays in her life, and the value of nourishing important relationships.

You can find Paulina at the below links

In the interview, Paulina shares

  • the biggest challenges for me will always be related to things I care the most about, and that would be my relationships with people that love me and support me.
  • when we talk about choosing leadership, I would kind of bring it to choosing inner or self-leadership first. How you want to show up?  Is what you’re doing aligned with your values? 
  • And if it is, it almost doesn’t matter whether your message is heard. Two people or 200,000 because that authenticity means everything.
  • I totally believe that if you choose to show your authenticity and in your self-readership over and over again, sooner or later the world will pay attention.
  • I would say come back to what feels really good in your body. So when you are doing it, it feels meaningful. And after you’ve done it, you get this internal feeling of satisfaction and prioritize these things like taking courage enough to prioritize yourself, your desires, and your passions. 
  • Just be prepared for the fact that some people love you, some people will be neutral and some people will hate you. And that is the journey of any person that chooses to be real In the world. 

Leadership Journeys [45] – Faisal Hoque – “Life is somewhere in between letting it happen and making it happen.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Faisal shares how he himself financed coming to America at the age of 17 from Bangladesh, and the wisdom he learned from his supervisor when he was working as a janitor. He shared the health challenges of his mother and son, and how he derives meaning from what he does. He shared about travelling to Japan and being influenced by Zen meditation – and the role and relevance of meditation for today’s leaders.

You can find Faisal at the below links

In the interview, Faisal shares

  • The definition of entrepreneurship is at the end of the day. It’s taking care of Your, financial well-being with your own venture.
  • Life is a journey and you have ups and down, you have failures after failures, and then you have few successes, and then you have failures. So it’s never like a straight line.
  • I’ve always been a dreamer, but I’m pragmatic and now I prepare for the worst-case scenario with a pragmatic mindset.
  • You connect with what’s your true calling and try to make an impact. So it’s evolution, and it’s a journey and I, despite the ups and downs, I totally enjoy it. 
  • Experience is the best teacher.
  • If you want to lift others first you have to lift yourself. 
  • Because of technology, today’s also an opportunity to make an impact, to be able to connect with people wherever and able to really take advantage of whatever gift that you may have.
  • You can’t follow somebody else’s path. It’s your own unique journey. 
  • Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere.
  • Life is somewhere in between letting it happen and making it happen. There’s a fine balance.
  • A lot of people think mindfulness is about – you meditate and completely emptying your mind and you get lost and as a result you connect with yourself. That is a method, that’s a formal method of practising meditation, and then as a result you achieve mindfulness. But, since you mentioned Zen Buddhism, the monks two activities they treasure and practice repeatedly is sweeping and cleaning and cooking. The definition of mindfulness is really just focusing on the present moment.
  • Let’s not get confused that you can make things happen without systemic execution. This combination of mindfulness and being empathetic to other people’s needs and where they are, combining those two things, that’s the hallmark of new leadership.
  • We have absolutely entered into a creative innovative phase of evolution where mundane work is being taken over by automation and the real value comes from creativity and innovation.
  • The best leaders are very mindful and they’re also very empathetic.

Leadership Journeys [44] – Colleen Nagle – “Holding yourself accountable is half the battle in success”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, Colleen opens up and shares about her early fascination with tech and data, and how she has continued to be an innovator. She also spoke about her health challenges and what has that taught her as a leader. We speak about the importance of having hope, facing our own fears,  and the importance of holding ourselves accountable.

You can find Colleen at the below links

In the interview, Colleen shares

  • Whether it’s the smallest thing in the world or the biggest objective, I think, Learning to have hope and being in that mindset of, I can do this, I see that this can be overcome is a really big part of it.
  • I’m so grateful, certainly not for going through difficulties with health, but I’m certainly super grateful for that silver lining of what it taught me.
  • Holding yourself accountable is so much half the battle. , Because if you continually hold yourself accountable and end up experiencing success, you’re gonna associate success with holding yourself accountable.
  • Having my ups and downs of coping and yet, still being able to go out there. And focus on achieving the overall goal. It was coming not necessarily from this place of confidence, but I  was doing confidence-building things along the way that I think, with that momentum eventually added up to something.
  • If you keep your agreement, that’s one thing. But if everybody keeps their agreements now, that’s the story. 
  • I think leadership isn’t something with a small l it’s something with a capital L and we each need to figure out what that capital L looks like for each of us. Stepping forward because leadership is not, also not something that comes with the title.

Leadership Journeys [43] – Radmila Blazheska – “Leadership is the combination of determination and openness to listen to others.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In our conversation, we spoke about how moving from Macedonia to the UK has shaped her as a leader. We talked about resilience, persistence, and the difficult choice she had to make once she moved to the UK. We speak about how people are often surprised by her determination, and how she has learned to show vulnerability as well as be open to criticism.

You can find Radmila at the below links

In the interview, Radmila shares

  • Even if you are a successful person at what you did, There’s always something that you can train and do a little bit better.
  • If you have a passion, if you have ambition, don’t give up on it. It doesn’t matter when it’s gonna pan out, it will pan out in the end.
  • I also show that I’m vulnerable as well. I do mistakes and I honor them, and I also am open to criticism whether it’s negative, positive criticism. I’m open to it.
  • I am looking at everyone’s on a level that we are all people, whether we are leaders, whether we are all working together for someone’s objective.
  • If there is a friction. You need to work on that section. Never let it go. Never let it just under the carpet because at some point in your life or your working career will come back and bite you.
  • I guess the combination of my determination and openness to listen to other people in their opinion, I think that’s the combination that makes me a good leader.
  • And I think one of the key things is that also, even if you are in a boardroom and you’re talking to your board and you know that you want to say something, but you are fearing to say that, say it’s better to be said and done rather than keep it to yourself.

     

Leadership Journeys [42] – David Jayatillake – “As a Leader, If you’re not involved with your team, you will be isolated.”

This is the Leadership Journey series on the Choosing Leadership Podcast.

I believe we all have a lot to learn from each other’s stories – of where we started, where we are now, and our successes and struggles on the way. With this series of interviews, my attempt is to give leaders an opportunity to share their stories and for all of us to learn from their generous sharing. If you know a leader whom you would like to see celebrated on the show, please send me a message on LinkedIn with their name.

In the interview, David shares how he grew up with a love for Math and Physics, and how that changed once he started managing people. We spoke about mentoring and coaching, and the important role of emotions and empathy in building strong relationships. He shared an example of how playing football led to a breakthrough in conversation which was not happening otherwise, and that led to an interesting conversation.

You can find David at the below links

In the interview, David shares

  • A lot of people who go into leadership for the first time still think they need to be firing on all cylinders as an individual contributor as well. And really, once you’ve got a team of three or four, that’s actually the minority of your time, the majority of your time is looking after your team.
  • And then, suddenly I’m looking after a team of three or four, and I’ve learned to that I’m supposed to be delegating a fair amount. I think that was helpful for me.
  • You need to be doing organizational impact work. And if that’s not there, you begin to feel a bit lost.
  • if you’re not involved, you just get isolated. There’s, it’s very difficult.