Episode #140 – Leading with Care: Beliefs and Practices of Great Leaders

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In today’s podcast episode we interview Phil Clampitt and Bob DeKoch, Co-Authors of the book, Leading with Care in a Tough World, as they share their surprising discoveries and valuable insights from the past three years of leading teams in hybrid and virtual work environments. Discover the untapped potential of virtual collaboration, the significance of face-to-face interactions, and the challenges leaders face in fostering engagement post-COVID.

Dive into the meaning of leading with care, beyond surface-level empathy, and explore the beliefs and practices that drive exceptional leadership. Gain practical strategies for building strong relationships, addressing challenges authentically, and enhancing employee engagement in this thought-provoking conversation as we build Teams Anywhere.

What Surprised Them Over the Past 3 Years

According to Phil Clampitt and Bob DeKoch, the surprising aspects of leadership and teams during the shift to hybrid and virtual work was the discovery of what can be achieved virtually and the value of face-to-face interaction for collaboration, cohesion, and team building. Despite initial concerns, productivity did not decline; in fact, certain activities thrived in the virtual environment. However, the aftermath of COVID-19 brought challenges such as engagement and varying opinions on returning to work. Leaders now face the task of navigating hybrid work environments and maintaining connection and engagement within their organizations.  

What Does it Mean to Lead with Care?

According to Phil Clampitt and Bob DeKoch, the meaning of leading with care was explored. They delved into the difference between surface-level empathy and a deeper sense of caring, akin to investing in people. They used the metaphor of a restaurant server versus a healthcare professional to illustrate the distinction. The connection between a leader and their team should go beyond basic service and encompass a personalized and sincere interest in the well-being and success of individuals and the organization’s mission. The conversation emphasized the importance of forging a deep connection that aligns individuals with the mission to achieve exceptional results beyond traditional servant leadership.

The Beliefs and Practices of Great Leadership

Phil Clampitt and Bob DeKoch discuss the key aspects of effective leadership. They highlight the importance of combining core beliefs with everyday practices. One example they share is the need to move beyond toxic positivity and address problems seriously. They emphasize the significance of building strong relationships with direct reports through coaching and effective communication. The practice of listening attentively and using pushback to foster understanding is also emphasized. The conversation underscores the need for leaders to have a comprehensive approach that encompasses both beliefs and practices for successful leadership.

The Cause of Low Employee Engagement Scores

Phil Clampitt and Bob DeKoch address the issue of low employee engagement, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. They argue that the underlying conditions causing disengagement existed before the pandemic and have been exacerbated by it. They emphasize the need for leaders to have a deeper sense of responsibility, caring for both employees and the organization’s mission. They highlight the importance of appreciation and connection to the mission in fostering engagement. They suggest that despite initial efforts during the pandemic, leaders still need to do more to genuinely care for and appreciate their employees.

Who are Phil Clampitt & Bob DeKoch?

Phillip G. Clampitt (PhD, University of Kansas) is the Blair Endowed Chair of Communication at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. He was previously the Hendrickson Named Professor of Business. Phil has won numerous awards for his teaching and scholarship. His students started calling him “Dr. So What” because he asked, “So what?” so often, as a prod to encourage them to think about the implications of their ideas (see http://www.DrSoWhat.com). The Wall Street Journal and MIT Sloan Management Review highlighted his work on decision downloading, which details how companies can effectively communicate decisions to those not involved in the decision-making process. Phil has consulted on leadership, communication, and strategic planning with organizations such as Nokia, PepsiCo, The US Army War College, Schneider National, and Dental City. 

Bob DeKoch has devoted his entire career to leadership roles, refining his own skills, and mentoring hundreds of aspiring leaders. His passion for people and for extraordinary outcomes is what drives him. Rising to senior executive roles in numerous organizations, Bob has developed and put into practice the many teachings in his books. He has over four decades of experience across major market sectors: the construction services industry and real estate development business, the pulp and paper industry, the beverage industry, and the chemical industry. He has served on boards of US organizations—for-profit and nonprofit—as well as a major international corporation. This diverse experience has helped him develop unique insight into inspired leadership. Bob is currently the founder of the leadership consulting firm, Limitless, whose services are described at http://www.lmtlss.biz

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Leading with Care Quotes

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