170: How to be a Better Leader at Work and Beyond | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
April 14, 2020   |   Episode #:

170: How to be a Better Leader at Work and Beyond

In This Episode:

During these uncertain times, leaders must step up and help counterbalance all of the fear-mongering occurring in our world. For those with a calling, the critical moment to learn how to embrace their leadership abilities and lead effectively has arrived. In this episode, I’m explaining exactly how you can start getting more comfortable with embracing your inner leader. It’s a lesson that my dad began instilling in me from a young age, but I believe that anyone can be a leader. All it takes is the courage to believe in yourself and the confidence to start guiding those around you.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Use your purpose as your North Star.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I be a better leader?
  • How can I inspire my team and others?
  • What are the traits of a strong leader?
  • What can I do to be a more effective leader?

Actions to Take

  • If you haven’t already, pick up a copy of my book, The Joy of Missing Out, to learn more about determining your values (and sticking to them!)
  • Begin to believe in yourself as an effective leader already. Take a few minutes to think about your leadership qualities – those you already have, that you can strengthen. Start building in more intentional leadership and holding yourself accountable to take the steps you need to lead successfully.

Key Topics in the Show

  • Getting more comfortable with embracing your inner leader

  • Leveraging the success you want and empowering those around you to do the same

  • Learning to believe in yourself and becoming confident in your leadership abilities

  • Three things to keep in mind when embracing yourself as a leader

  • Three tips for becoming a more effective leader

Resources and Links

  • Resources
Show Transcript

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton and this is episode 170. As we kick off season 14 today, the world is in a crazy place. We are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. Just about everyone is working from home, schools are canceled indefinitely, I guess at this point, and we’re in the midst of a lot of uncertainty. 

I recently did an IGTV video where I talked about the fact that we think COVID 19 is the problem, but it’s not, it’s the secondary infection. It’s the fear coursing through our communities, that’s really the problem. You know, we’re using that term, social distancing a lot. Let‘s choose instead, to call it what it really is, physical distancing. The last thing we need to do right now is pull ourselves away socially. Now is the time our communities need us and we can do that even when we’re six feet apart. 

It’s times like these where we need leaders to step up and help counterbalance all that fear mongering. You know, my dad is, he’s constantly sending me inspiring quotes and tidbits about leadership. I think honestly, it’s because he was an instrumental leader in his own company and he chaired countless philanthropic organizations, so many, that he was once named Philanthropists of the Year for the city. 

He has instilled leadership qualities in me since probably the moment I was born. So he helped me see myself as a leader in school and even in my volunteer efforts when I was a kid. And then, when I stepped into my workplace and then stepped into the role of parent, and definitely, as I stepped into the role of entrepreneur, he’s continued to push these ideas of leadership with me. All of these are places where we can make a difference. We can throw our shoulders back and we can step into leadership, confidently. 

Now just yesterday actually, my dad sent me an Albert Einstein quote that I had never heard before, but I loved it, and here it is. Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity. Opportunity, that’s a word that you might feel is out of place right now in the time that we’re in, but this is a time of opportunity. It’s a time to look at the problems and step in to help lead to find solutions. 

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I know this myself, having started my very first business in a recession and growing it to what I have now. I did that because there was opportunity there, right smack in the middle of that time, that’s when I saw a need, a problem and I solved it. You could kind of say, I channeled my inner Vanilla Ice. There was a problem, yo, l solved it. Okay. That was kind of cringe worthy, I know, but that’s what I did. My first business is, solved that problem we were seeing in the economy. 

solled by heading up the charge to fix things and to make them right. And I wasn’t the only one to step into leadership through entrepreneurism to really help change the trajectory of the economy. Women owned businesses skyrocketed because of the great recession, seeing up to 26% growth, which meant that more women were stepping into leadership in business. It also meant, women were stepping into leadership in their workplaces, as well. So it really is a great time for us to be women and step into solving some of these problems, seeing these niches, and really helping change and make an impact in the world around us. 

You know, whether we’re talking about leading others from the top down as CEO of a business or working to confidently become a leader within your workspace, it’s important. It’s true regardless of what career field or business branch that we’re talking about. So that is what I want to bring our focus in on this season of the podcast, stepping into leadership with competence. 

So for the next 13 episodes, we’re going to dive into all kinds of leadership and the tools that we can use to help become more effective leaders. Whether that’s helping to prioritize or managing your teams or running meetings. Listen, the world is desperate for more and more people to step up as leaders and to become beacons, to guide us all forward towards a brighter future. That’s the truth. 

So that’s really what I want us to think about all season long as we discuss this idea of leading with confidence. And it starts today because we’re going to start by talking about how we can become more comfortable with embracing our inner leader, so to speak, so that we can leverage the success that we want and empower everyone else around us to do the same for themselves. 

You know oftentimes, a lot of emphasis is put on impacting the lives of others to be seen as a credible leader. But what’s not talked about is, how crucial it is for a leader to feel and believe that they are a leader from the inside. You know, we’ve all heard that phrase, fake it until you make it. And I like to use that myself from time to 

time because it works when we’re building up confidence. 

But what if we instead, shifted that phrase just a little bit to believe it until you become it? Let’s do that instead. Let’s try to believe it until we become confident in our leadership. Because here’s the thing, anyone can step into leadership and make an impact, even if you don’t think you can, trust me, it is possible. All it takes is a little bit of dedication and a willingness to grow each and every day. You just need to believe in yourself. I mean, if you don’t, no one else will. It all begins and ends with you

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So I want to talk today about how we can help ourselves get into that mindset of becoming a great leader. There are a few things I want to encourage you to keep in mind as your journey begins. Okay? So first things first, it’s crucial that you know your values and that you stick to them. We go over this quite a bit in my book, The Joy of Missing Out. So if you often find yourself struggling in this area or in any of the other 

areas we talk about today, it might be a good time to dive into the book because it really will help you. You see, the most genuine leaders are those with clear values and they’re willing to stick to those ethics even when times are tough. 

So it makes sense that in order to become an effective leader ourselves, we need to make sure we’re marrying ourselves to our values, things that really resonate with our ideology, our personality, and our beliefs. You know, people tend to get drawn to other people who have vision, who lead their life with purpose and display integrity. And this is especially true when all of that, the vision, the integrity, is complimented by treating people with respect and showing some empathy. 

So let’s dive into that next, because the second thing you’re going to want to keep in mind, is your purpose and the direction, the path is going towards it. You know, heading towards your North star. We talk about that an awful lot. No matter what, the best leaders are those that are constantly taking steps, big steps, little steps, in between steps, towards that North star, 

Your purpose is like a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s that glimmer of hope that keeps us going, that makes one foot step in front of the next. So when it comes to leading others, having a clear purpose in mind can act as this unifying factor that keeps the entire team moving in the same direction. 

Okay, quick pep talk here. Let’s not get caught up on that word purpose. Don’t let that make you nervous or shy away. Let’s choose instead to use the word, intentional leadership. Okay? Really what it boils down to, is knowing your why. That’s at the heart of what we’re talking about here. You’ve heard me say this before, it is not what you do, it is why you do it, that’s important. Okay? 

So the third thing that I want you to keep in mind as we talk about this idea of embracing ourselves as successful leaders, believing it so we can become it is, we need to lead by example. I know for me, this has been a very big part of my journey and I think it’s really, really important. And really, when I think about that journey, it helps me break down really some of the best tips and tactics that I can share with you 

on how to truly become not just a better leader, but to become an effective leader. 

So I want to dive into that in just a minute. But before we do, I want to take a quick little mini episode break because I want to share a free training that I’m offering up this month. Because here’s the thing, did you know that only 2% of all women owned businesses ever grow to seven figures? That’s a crazy number and it is significantly, sadly, sadly, significantly, much lower than it is for men. I am proud to be one of that 2%. I am proud to be a seven figure, certified, woman-owned business and I want you to join me. I really do. 

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Here’s the thing, I didn’t buy a franchise. I didn’t buy into somebody’s business. I didn’t inherit the CEO title. I am a founder and I stepped into entrepreneurship, like ! said earlier, during a recession and I created a thriving company that allows my family to live the lifestyle that we really want and like I said earlier, I did it during a recession. 

It was created during that boom of women in business and I truly believe, this time that we’re living through right now, it is going to be the start of a movement of more women in business and I love it. I recently wrote this in an article for 

Entrepreneur, that there’s this framework that I used to help me grow to that seven figure mark without sacrificing my personal life. This was the framework that I used that allowed me to scale my business

Now I got a lot of emails, a lot of DMs, a lot of messages on LinkedIn, all about this article because people wanted to know more. Sol decided I want to dive a little bit deeper into how that framework works. So I want to share that secret formula, if you will, for how I did it, how I grew to seven figures and how you can too. And I’m going to share it with you during a free, live webinar. I really want to offer up some free resources during this time because i want to be one of those people who is helping push women into business leadership, business ownership, during this time. 

So just go to Tanyadalton.com/webinar to sign up. I’ll be giving lots of actionable strategies and tactics to build and scale a successful business and we’ll do it without the hustle because you know how I feel about that word hustle, it’s not going to be about doing more, I’m going to be teaching you how to do less, but do it better. Sol’d love to see you on that webinar if this is something you’re considering. If you own a business and you’re ready to move to that next level, but you don’t want to sacrifice your home life, I feel, yeah. Sign up and join me on that webinar. I’d love to have you on live. 

All right. I want to get back to that idea of becoming a more effective leader by leading by example. And let’s be honest here, this is not some kind of like radical, crazy new concept. I mean, right now you may not even think of yourself as a leader. So let’s back up just a second and I want to begin with a place that you’re probably already leading without even realizing it, and that’s parenting, 

Yep. As parents, we’re told that in order to get our children to follow through on their personal goals or when it comes to contributing to the home by completing like daily chores, we first teach them how it’s done. In other words, we lead by example, right? So we do things with our kids, like sitting down with them to map out a plan to work on a project or to get their chores done or the things that we expect them to do during the week. Or maybe we show them how to sort and wash and fold their laundry so then they can take it over themselves. You heard about how I did that in the book, right? 

You get where I’m going here? We lead our kids towards becoming these capable, independent adults by giving them examples of how it all works. See, leading right there, you have the ability to lead, it’s just a matter of intentionality, it’s a matter of confidently doing it, stepping into this role of leadership. I have learned an awful lot 

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through my years of leadership, so I thought I would share a few of my favorite takeaways and tips of how to be a really good effective leader. 

Number one is, accountability is critical. It’s critical for any leader. Accountability helps those around us, those that we’re leading and we’re empowering, it helps them feel a little more stable, feel a little more confident themselves, it allows them to take risks. You know when your team knows that you’re doing your part to have their back, when they really need it, they’ll take more risks and they’ll produce better work by default. And to be honest with you, right now, this is a perfect example. 

Right now, I’m doing exactly that. I’m showing my team that I’m taking care of them. You know, the unemployment rate has had its biggest uptick ever, a few weeks ago, increasing to over, I think it was like 6 million unemployed people, thanks to the COVID crisis. So I called my team together and we had a very open and very frank financial conversation together. I didn’t hide with my head in the sand. I told them what I was doing to make sure that they felt secure in their jobs. I opened up my books for them. I showed them that we keep a healthy reserve of cashflow on hand for emergencies. 

Ideally, you want to have about a few months worth of expenses set aside. Sol showed them, I’ve been planning ahead for the rainy day, which feels really good right now that we’re all pulling out our umbrellas. I told them I was making plans to do my very best to avoid any pay cuts or layoffs, but I was also very realistic with them and I told them, here’s the truth, nothing is off the table. We don’t know what the future will look like or how long the crisis is going to last but I will do my very best. I will do my damnedest to take care of you. 

That‘s my top priority now and always. My team relies on me, you see? They rely on me to make sure their jobs are secure so that they can put food on the table and they can pay their rent. And while I could ask myself, how do we possibly move forward on something like the academic year launch during the craziness of this time? Towe it to my team, to my partners, to my contractors, to keep moving forward and to have these open conversations about it. 

Sol pulled my team together. We also discussed as a team, what to do about the academic year planner launch and we agreed, we’re moving forward with it. That launch is actually happening tomorrow. Yeah, there it is. There is a lot of uncertainty, but the one thing that is certain is this, if I choose to hide and not offer our products or if I shy away in fear, none of us will have jobs. All of us will be joining the lines at unemployment. 

And anyways, don’t we all need a little more joy? Don’t we all need to plan ahead for a brighter future? Not offering our gifts, what we’re good at, doesn’t help anyone. So we decided as a team, the launch is on and in the meantime, I’m keeping my team in the loop with my applications for the government initiatives. I’m keeping them in the know about what I’m doing behind the scenes, so they feel like I’m on top of it. 

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I’m showing them with my actions and with my words, I’m accountable for them, that I will do everything I can to help them feel secure. You want to know how my team has reacted? They’ve been excited about what we’re doing. They‘re showing 

up for our virtual meetings with big ideas for how we can keep moving forward together, and that is what a strong leader does. They show us that we are better together. So keep that in mind. That accountability is so important. 

But another lesson that I’ve learned over the years, is the importance of not only providing my team with that accountability, but also some feedback and not just feedback, but actionable feedback, feedback they can really use to push them forward. It’s not enough to say when someone’s doing good work, I’m using air quotes. I know you can’t see me, but that’s what I’m doing here. Good work means nothing. Or room for improvement. More air quotes here. That’s so ambiguous. What does that even mean? 

You know, as leaders with the intention of building up our team into something great and leading them towards success, we need to go a bit above and beyond. It’s not enough to tell someone to do better. On, worst advice ever. Actionable feedback is critical when it comes to getting our teams to be more independent, more productive, and more successful. Now for me, one of the places where I’ve really seen this play out beautifully is with my customer happiness team for ink WELL Press. 

When I first launched my business, I was hands on with helping all the inquiries and emails that we would receive, which made sense at the time because you know, as any business owner knows, at the start, you’re usually on the frontlines helping streamline the processes to get to a point where delegating tasks and other things to your team, feels really solid. You have to first know how that works before you can teach others how to do it. Right? 

so at the beginning, this meant stepping in, helping put out fires when it was necessary, getting that customer happiness team to navigate those processes and giving them actionable feedback, not taking things away if I felt like it had to be done in a certain way, but really giving them the tools so they could do it on their own. So with the feedback that I gave, they started to grow more comfortable in that role and they became more familiar with my expectations and I was able to give away a lot of that control and I was able to empower them to be confident to take on those roles. 

Thave to be honest, those moments of putting out little fires like I used to have to do, that has significantly decreased over the years. They don’t even have to do it as much because they know and they understand, that they have to do what it takes to handle even the tough stuff because I have their back when they need me. See, accountability, goes back to that accountability part, right? It plays a part in here too. So making sure that I’ve empowered my team with that really actionable feedback. 

And then my third tip I want to share with you, is actually one you may have heard me mention on a video a few weeks ago that I sent out. It was about how to get your kids to be independent so you can actually get work done, which is definitely been a challenge with kids at home while you’re trying to work. I have it saved to my 

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IGTV, if you missed it. Thad Kate on the video with me and we talked about how we’ve both been managing our days at home with the school being out and her having to do virtual school and what it really boils down to is this, autonomous schedules. 

She has ownership over her time and over her day, which then makes her feel more confident and more able to move forward without me. As a leader, I think it is so key to infuse as much independence as you can and this means providing my team with just enough structure to know where it is we want to go as a team, but also giving them the independence to create a plan in the way that works best for them. 

Handholding doesn’t work, especially when it comes to being an effective leader at the office. And I’m going to be honest with you here, it’s certainly doesn’t work with parenting kids at home. So creating some structure so they can be autonomous with their schedules really does help. And one of the ways I do this is, 1 meet with the individuals on my team, on the final Friday of the month. That’s when 

we sit down and we review what they’ve been working on for the month past and we talk about what we need to focus on as a collective whole, in the month to come. 

So I’m looking at the bird’s eye view and they’re looking at their individual jobs and together we create projects and goals that keep the team all moving in that same forward direction, with each person focusing on their own role within that structure, So from there, they are free to creatively run with whatever task they’re working on. And what I find is, they thrive more by having that control, by having that independence. 

And on Monday mornings, we do a big group meeting where we share our priorities for the week. So that keeps me in the loop to make sure tasks are being worked on and it keeps them accountable. That right there is a serious win-win. The Monday meeting too, it’s a lot of fun. We laugh a lot and we start our week feeling connected, but each person is in charge of themselves. Me as the boss, as the leader, I’m just navigating the overall roadmap, because again, handholding, micromanaging, these things simply won’t work if we want to become the best, most effective leaders that we possibly can be. 

To become this effective leader, we need to do what we can to give our team members the room to grow and to grow right alongside us. That‘s the key. We don’t want to step on them on our way up to the top. We want to take them with us. We want to see them thriving. We want to see them flourishing and growing. And here’s the thing, as I said at the beginning of our conversation today, it all starts with you. You have the ability to step into leadership. You have the ability to lead others and create that impact you really want. 

So here’s what I want you to do today. I want to encourage you to believe it, until you become it. To see your own leadership qualities, the ones you already have, and you can build upon and then start building in more intentional leadership. Hold yourself accountable to take the steps you need in order to succeed and to lead, by keeping things like your purpose and your why, front and center every day. 

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And remember, whether you’re running your own business or taking the reins on a project at work, you do have the capability to become the kind of effective leader that we need to see more of in the world today. You just simply need to believe it’s possible too. Now in speaking about this idea of leadership, I would be mistaken if I did not mention, I do think, if running a business is something that you’re 

already doing and you want it to grow or you’re wanting to step into entrepreneurship, do make sure to join me for that live free webinar. 

Just go to Tanyadalton.com/webinar to sign up. It’s free, it’s going to be a lot of fun and I can promise you, you’re going to walk away feeling like you’ve got some really good steps to get you started. Now, I cannot wait for this season on leading With confidence, to continue to play out. Next week, we’re going to be talking about some easy habits to help you be an effective leader. You know how I love habits and I love leadership, so it’s going to be a lot of fun. I hope to see you here next week and don’t forget to sign up for that webinar. All right, everybody have a fabulous, wonderful, beautiful, and protective week

**This transcript was made using AI – excuse any typos.

Tanya Dalton is a woman out to redefine productivity for women. She has been called one of the best motivational female keynote speakers because her talks are inspirational and actionable. She speaks about finding balance, time management, goal setting and purpose.