Episode 15: Improving Outcomes Through Leadership

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Podcast | 0 comments

Welcome to our 15th podcast.

Today we’ll be talking about leadership and how it can really turbocharge your workplace culture and any of your change initiatives. What’s the one thing you can do now to optimize your leadership style? listening to find out. Hello again, Harmonious Workplace listeners. As always, we’re so glad to see you.

I’m Rich Cruz and I’m joined by my colleague here, Ben Kleinman. Hey, Ben.

Ben Kleinman: Hello

Rich Cruz: Sharyl’s taking a bit of a respite

Ben Kleinman: deserved vacation

Rich Cruz: Very good. Going to see horseshoe crabs. So, I can’t wait to hear about that experience. Those

Ben Kleinman: Tune in next time to find out how horseshoe crabs can impact your change journey.[00:03:00]

Rich Cruz: ha, ha, ha, ha. These, these unchanged things that have been around for, you

Ben Kleinman: Some of the oldest critters on the planet, I

think.

Rich Cruz: right. Yeah, yeah, yeah, you want us to talk about people who don’t want to change boy those guys Say they go to the same place every year and and they they’re like nah, we don’t evolution. Yeah, we don’t need

Ben Kleinman: Fah.

Rich Cruz: Yeah So, all right. Well, so prior In our prior episode, right, we were talking about how important leadership is to create and sustain a culture of psychological safety and really overall, just to make sure that you’re changing initiatives, you know, stay on track, right?

And kind of set up that virtuous cycle of continuous improvement, right? So today we’re going to be talking about some of the different leadership styles. And when we talk about that, it’s, it’s, it’s the there’s a, there’s a model which is the full range [00:04:00] leadership model that we’re just going to kind of touch on.

We’re not going to go like huge in depth on this, but it’s, I think it’s. It’s a, it’s a really good way for us to kind of figure, you know, what you know, what we can leverage and what people have leveraged, you know, throughout throughout history, really,

Ben Kleinman: Right. And, and prior listeners will recognize that we’ve done this before with change models and other types of models, using it as a way to enter into a conversation and think about how leadership can impact your people, your team, their progress, their journey, your change, your transformation, whatever that might be. As with all things, there are multiple models, multiple ways to approach something, multiple ways to describe things, and this is just one that we seem to have latched onto that seems to work pretty well, but it, it’s really just meant to be a vehicle to enter into a good, good dialogue here.

Rich Cruz: Yep. Yep. We, we tend to like our models, our models and [00:05:00] our acronyms. And I don’t know if we’re going to hit any acronyms in this one. I’m not going to promise we’re not,

Ben Kleinman: I was going to say if we don’t have a model with an acronym, I think we’re not doing our due diligence or our, or our job here. So let’s, let’s do this. Let’s dive in. Maybe what we could do rich is you could describe a model or the model that you, you’re referencing

and we could see how, how that model is set up.

So just very high level how it’s set up and then walk people through maybe a few of the different styles of Leadership within that model. And then we can talk about how some of those work better for different, certain situations. And we’ll get to that one thing that you as a leader should be doing to take advantage of being the leader and how you can optimize your leadership style.

I

Rich Cruz: Here we go. A little bit of a crash course. If you’re watching the video this will be in the video. So you’ll, you’ll [00:06:00] actually see what this model looks like in any of the other platforms. I’ll reference a link so you can take a look at that as well. But what we’re going to be looking at is the full range leadership model.

And imagine, imagine in your mind that they, you have an effectiveness axis. Right as your as your y axis where your most effective is at the top, least effective is at the bottom. And then on the x axis, you’ve got from to the left, you’ve got passive, to the right, you’ve got right?

So if we, if we look all the way at the, at the bottom left. We’re looking at a form of leadership called laissez faire, right? So laissez faire, if you remember laissez faire economics from, was that Thomas Jefferson? I don’t remember it, but I seem to recall he was the advocate of that, right? Yeah. Like leave it alone.

[00:07:00] He was like, leave us alone. Right. But

Ben Kleinman: Well, and, and it falls a little bit into that sort of the market will self correct, the market is

self healing, and the market will drive the right outcomes, that kind of thing, and it’s, it’s very much a hands off perspective. So

in your, in your two by two, Rich, of passive to active and ineffective to effective,

laissez faire sort of falls in that bottom left quadrant the most. Bottom is the most leftist quadrant of passive,

and ineffective.

And I, I struggle a little bit with the ineffective, but we’ll dig into that, I think, as,

as we start to tease up some of these other things, or tease out some of these other things from this model.

Certainly, we can all agree laissez faire is very much passive.

We let the market run. We let the organization run.

Well, you know, we just kind of make sure that within some boundaries or of legality or whatever our corporate [00:08:00] guardrails are, it’s, it’s doing its thing.

Rich Cruz: Doing its thing. Right.

Right. Or not. It’s just there,

Ben Kleinman: We’ll see.

Rich Cruz: yeah, we’ll see. Then we have the management by exception, which is really like, you step in to either guide passive or to guide. get in there and actually do something about, you know, do an intervention, right? And then you’re, and then you’re out again, right?

So again, it’s, it’s passive. Some can argue that it’s ineffective, but it, it’s still more on that, on that side of, okay, I’m going to come in. I’m going to be a fixer. don’t know. Right. That’s kind of, that’s kind of how I interpret that one. And then we have the contingent reward, which we’ve talked about, and that’s kind of it right in the middle there.

It’s like right at, right at the, the zero zero part of the axis. Right. And that is where, you know, it’s, it’s transactional. So these, these four [00:09:00] components here, right, are on this part of the continuum called transactional leadership. Okay. Where it really is just that it’s you, we’re doing something and something is happening and, and it’s, it’s almost, I can’t say it’s status quo, but it really kind of is right.

I mean so your, your contingent rewards component is kind of that bridge between the two of transactional and transformational, because you know, if you do this. You’re gonna get that, right? So you know, and it’s, and we’ve talked about that and, and, and change is, you know, celebrate those wins and reward that.

And, you know, so,

Ben Kleinman: And Rich, is this, is this part of the model where those transactions are very much more explicit? Like, for example, in laissez faire, you tend to understand that if I do something illegal, eventually that will come back to me. Or if I do something and I make an investment, chances are the market will reward that and [00:10:00] I will make a profit. In the contingent rewards sort of middle part of that. of that grid, is that where it’s much more explicit where if you show up to work every day and put in your 40 hours, you will get your pension or you will get your bonus at the end of the year kind of thing. Is it, is it much more clear cut in that sense than some of

the, the other

Rich Cruz: well, I, I mean, in, in my, in my opinion, and Joe, if you’re, if you’re in, in the literature, I would say it’s argued as, as that, you know yes. How about for you? Like in your, in your experience, does that. Does that ring true for you?

Ben Kleinman: Yeah, it does. And, and many, many of the situations I’ve been in many of clients I’ve worked with, I have not seen leaders say, walk into a room and say, I’m a laissez faire leader. I trust you guys to do what you’re going to do. I’m not going to get in your way. If you mess up, I’m going to fire you. I mean, I don’t, I don’t see that type of approach at [00:11:00] all, but I do see where some situations teams are set up where it’s much more explicit in terms of here’s the goal that we have. Here’s what we get. If we meet that goal in terms of, let’s say, if you achieve, if, if you build this house within two months, you get a bonus. If you build it in four months, you just get paid your regular salary,

that kind of thing. And so it’s, it’s very explicit in that sense. Or if you build it in six months, you lose pay, whatever it is. Those are, those are tend to be a little more explicit. Whereas the laissez faire managers tend to just sort of sit back a little bit more. They don’t get involved a little bit more. They sort of let people, you know, manage the project, manage their careers on their own, and they, they they will step in when asked, which I think is a little bit more closer

to that passive management by exception. The difference maybe is that as a employee, I would have to ask my laissez [00:12:00] faire leader, whereas someone who’s managing by exception, the leader might step in a little bit sooner.

Rich Cruz: Sure. Sure.

Ben Kleinman: Okay.

Good. So we’ve been going for, for a little while here. So let’s, let’s pause. Let’s step back for a minute. We’ve talked so far about how leadership can impact your teams and why leadership styles matter. What you can do as a leader will get to, to become the most optimized, most efficient leader. That’s where we’re headed with all this. So stay tuned for more of that.

Rich Cruz: Right. Cool. Now we’re coming back here with transformational leadership. So we’re going to look at The other side, the, you know, arguably the positive side, the effective and active side of this, of this model, right? Which is you know, again, it starts where we’ve got contingent [00:13:00] rewards where we left off, which is in that transactional group.

Right. But now we’re looking at individual consideration where we’re actually going in and considering each person As a person and not, not purely being like cogs in a wheel necessarily. Right.

Ben Kleinman: Mhm. Mhm.

Rich Cruz: we’re being human. Hey, you know, so then we have the. The next part of this a little bit higher intellectual stimulus stimulation, sorry, intellectual stimulation.

You know, this is, this is where we’re fostering kind of that learning culture where we’re, we’re keeping the flywheel going because we’re keeping people engaged and we’re allowing those feedback loops that we’ve talked about. We’ve got, you know, people learning and all of that. Right. So Yeah, I, I, so we’re starting to get more, this, this part is on the transformational side and we hear like in [00:14:00] all the literature and all the, you know, the, the periodicals, right.

That transformational leaders are the most effective and then they’re the, you know, they’re the, they’re most engaged in all of that. Right. And, and in a change. Situation, we especially see that we laed the transformational leader. Is is that,

Ben Kleinman: Yeah. I was just about to say, it seems like right now that is very much the Vogue, that is very much romanticized style of leadership in terms

of everyone wants their leaders to be people that inspire them. Everyone, as an employee or a staff member, you want your leaders to help you become the most self actualized person, teammate, and you want your leaders to help you become the most self actualized person. group member that you can possibly be and it seems like people think that having that transformational Scope of leadership skills is is very much in favor right now

Rich Cruz: sure, [00:15:00] sure. And arguably has been in favor. I mean, we’ve, we’ve seen this even like in. Stoicism, right? When it’s been around for a while, I forgot my cup. Thanks for the product placement, Ben. But yeah you know, when we get into people who are great thinkers, We associate them with great leaders.

When we think of people who are not in the next level. So we’ve done intellectual stimulation right now. We’re at inspirational motivation. Those who are, you know, who inspire others and, and really raise them up, right? Those are that, that, that’s that inspirational motivation that we hear a lot about, you know, kind of the, the, the hero boss, right.

Or, I shouldn’t say boss anymore because it’s, it’s, it’s leaders and they can come from anywhere in the organization. We’ve talked about that before too, right?

Ben Kleinman: Yeah, yeah oftentimes [00:16:00] that’s that’s One of the one of the hallmarks of a really well functioning organization is that you can have leaders that that lead from. Any part of an organizational hierarchy or any part of a team or a group or a function or what have you, and they, they see something that they want to do differently, or they see a group that can behave a little better and they just drive that forward.

And it doesn’t mean that they’re doing it out of turn or in a negative kind of way.

They’re just making it happen.

Rich Cruz: Sure, sure.

Ben Kleinman: Yeah.

So what’s that last one, that sort of top most, right. most? Pinnacle of transformational leadership. The almost polar opposite of that laissez faire,

let it all happen on its own

kind of approach.

Rich Cruz: Yeah. The last block here is idealized influence, right? This is the, if we look at the leadership challenge, this is the leader that models the way. [00:17:00] This is the one that if we look at Jim Collins, good to great, right? This is the level five leader. This is the person who is humble enough to again, model the way to be, to, to, to lead by example, and it’s the one also who has you know, they have that inspired vision and they’re really, you know, expressing that vision.

I saw, I mean, I think the vision part really comes out of the, the intellectual stimulation, stimulation, stimulation. Boy, I can’t get that word out

Ben Kleinman: You’re in lab rat mode. All you want to do is hit the pellet.

Rich Cruz: I know, right? Right. Yeah. But that, you know, we’ve, we’ve talked about, you have to have a clear crystal vision, a, and

Ben Kleinman: Yeah, you have to have that crisp. Why, the reason why, and

we’re not the only ones that have said that, but I think it’s a

really nice anchor for any, any change, any

time you have any, Any [00:18:00] organizational need, you always take it back to why.

Rich Cruz: But that, that pinnacle there is the person who has the crystal. Why is Humble enough to bring themselves into being, I mean, they could still be the CEO, they could still be the, you know, the top person, but, but they’re in it, right. And they’re in it to win it and they’re, and, and they’re, they’re part of the group and they make it known that they want to be part of the group and they’re not just like this detached force.

Right. So that’s like, so there’s transformational is individual consideration, intellectual stimulation inspirational motivation, and idealized influence. And I did not trip over stimulation at times. Hey, well,

Ben Kleinman: Okay, let me pause here.

Rich Cruz: Yeah,

Ben Kleinman: Let’s do a quick recap of where we are. We started this whole episode talking about how leadership is important. It sets the tone. It serves as a backstop for anything within your [00:19:00] organization. We’ve talked about how leadership really enables some of the best things that can happen within an organization, psychological safety, better performance, all of those things.

We’ve talked

about how leadership can really be a force. Different styles and we’ve laid out a model or I should say you’ve laid out a very nice model that traverses this, this spectrum from laissez faire, let it happen, we’re not going to get involved to a much more transactional type of thing where it’s very clear you do X, you get Y, you don’t do X, you don’t get Y. All the way up to this notion of idealized influence where as a leader I’m inspiring you, I’m motivating you, I’m helping you become a better person internally in terms of how you behave at this organization so that essentially you as a person want to, want to do the things that are right for this organization. Have I got that about correct?

Rich Cruz: That’s feels great. [00:20:00]

Ben Kleinman: Okay, so let’s pause for a minute and think about. When we, when we, when we step back within that framework, within all those things about why leadership is so wonderful and so critical, what is that one thing that people can do to optimize their leadership style

Rich Cruz: What is that one thing? I would brought that up in the, in that very,

Ben Kleinman: minute one,

Rich Cruz: episode minute one, right?

Ben Kleinman: right. So that one thing, what,

what is that one thing that people can do given all of that, given the diversity of, of, for, for me anyways, of. Types of change initiatives, given the diversity of transformations that I’ve seen, technology, organizational hierarchies, and, and process changes, all of those types of things.

Rich Cruz: Yeah. And if you had asked me that question [00:21:00] maybe two years ago. two or three years ago, I would have said without hesitation, you know, you need to become a transformational leader, right? And

Ben Kleinman: Mm hmm.

Rich Cruz: mostly on that higher end of the, of this, of this model, right? But, you know, here’s the thing, Is it really the case all the time?

You know, does, is being that that idealized influence and the inspirational person, is that, is that important? Yes. But are there times where those other parts actually might work for you?

Ben Kleinman: Mm hmm. I totally agree.

I think it, and at least in my experience, the clients I’ve worked with, the leaders that I’ve worked with, where I see, The best leadership is when leaders adapt and when leaders stay open to adapting their style within their own framework. So they’re [00:22:00] not going completely out of their comfort zone in terms of becoming a different, a whole different style of leadership.

But where

I’ve seen the best leaders Enable their teams and be the leader that they, that they need to be. They adapt their leadership style. They stay open and they stay adaptable and they stay flexible to the needs of the moment, the needs of the team, the needs

of that individual person. So sometimes there are moments where I’ve seen leaders be very direct and say, look, we just, this is, this is, a certain type of, of initiative.

This is a certain type of transformation. You do this by this date, everybody gets a big reward, big bonus, big pizza party, whatever it is. That’s just the way it is. There are other times where I’ve seen leaders take a very, the same types of leaders take a very hands off approach and just say, here, here’s what we need to do.

You all, I trust you all, you all figure it out. And it’s a little bit of that. [00:23:00] Upper end, top right quadrant of I trust you. I’m here if you have

questions, but it’s a little bit of that laissez faire. I’m not gonna get in the weeds. I’m not gonna bother you.

I trust you all to do it. And they almost intentionally let that team churn and spin and argue positively.

Argue different points and debate different points and let that team kind of stumble sometimes. And. They, they will only step in if someone asks them to from the team or if they see it going Really really off the rails and just taking up way too much energy and air time

So it really depends and then there are other times where I’ve seen leaders do amazing work stepping in being that coach that Inspiring personality, that motivational speaker where they help coach that team, where they help coach a small group or a few people to [00:24:00] really say, you can do this, you can, you can take on this, this mantra, you can become this, this person or this group can become this group. We need you to be here for us and I know you can do it and I’m going to help you every step of the way.

Rich Cruz: Right. And I’ve seen it, you know, when I’m working with, Business owners, right? Not necessarily bigger corporations, but when I’m working with with a business owner who has employees, one of their big goals in any organizational development or, or, or change situation is they’re trying to systematize business so that they don’t, the, the, the adages like the work on their business, not in their business.

necessarily, right? So they’re striving to get more in that, in that that, that left side of the quadrant, [00:25:00] right? Because they can’t do everything. They can’t be there all the time. They need to empower people, right? So, so that leader needs to, needs to be able to step back. So they’ll, they’ll have to start.

on the right side of the, of the continuum, right. And, and set the vision and get in there and be humble and, and, and have people you know, make mistakes and, and all that. But at the same time, they have to balance back and forth. They’ll, they’ll have to exercise mantra by exception because they’re going to need to go and correct and be disciplinarians and all that stuff at times.

Right. So, yeah, I, I

Ben Kleinman: That’s, yeah, that’s really interesting. So it’s almost like a intentional progression from where we thought leaders would want to end up, in that top right, inspiration, motivation, self activation corner, where they’re intentionally moving [00:26:00] down and to the left to become more of that laissez faire. And it makes me think a little bit about boards and governance models where you have essentially the same mantra of where you were saying people, managers were trying to, to what was that phrase you used?

Do, do work to the business, but not do the business. I forget

Rich Cruz: Oh, work on, work on the business, but not in the

Ben Kleinman: Right. Work on the business, not in the business. And

from a board governance type of perspective, it’s often phrased as, As, as sort of noses in hands out or

noses in hands off. So you’re not trying to do the work of the staff,

but you’re definitely in there making sure that the organization is living up to its values and meeting its mission and things like that.

And so it’s the

same kind of thing. And it’s a nice way to think about where you as a manager need to be, want to be, think you should be from a getting the organization to be [00:27:00] where it needs to be.

And it just.

Rich Cruz: Yeah.

Ben Kleinman: I love the idea that you’ve seen your, your, your clients and your, your people that you’ve worked with from a leadership perspective, kind of be able to traverse that

Rich Cruz: Well, ideally, not all the time. So, you know, but, but ideally, that’s where they want,

Ben Kleinman: that’s. where you come in.

Rich Cruz: Yeah, well, that’s right. That’s where we come in, right? That’s, you know, to help, to help make a culture where people are empowered to do what they need to do and where the, you know, the, the owner and, and other leaders, you know, they, they can do what they do right.

And, and do what they do best, which is, you know, oftentimes they’re growing the business and working on the business. Yeah. And we need, but we need leaders who are also, you know, on that transformational side too. So you know, I think that’s where the whole, like, and we look we looked at industrial organizational psychology, right.

A few [00:28:00] episodes back that organizational side, you

Ben Kleinman: hmm.

Rich Cruz: traditionally we’ve always looked at in the industrial side, can the task be done. What, what kind of rewards do we need to give and how do we, you know, manage the discipline to get it done? Right. It’s very nuts and bolts, but the organizational side on the motivation and, and how do we you know, how do we get leaders, how do we develop leaders within the organization to keep things going?

Yes, that, that, that sprung out of that, that orgasm, or the organizational side of psychology sprung out of that need for that leadership, if that makes sense.

Ben Kleinman: Cool.

Cool.

Rich Cruz: Cool.

Ben Kleinman: This has been a great conversation. overview of different leadership styles, why different leadership styles matter, how you can intentionally, thoughtfully traverse the spectrum of leadership styles from laissez faire all the way up to what did we call it? All the way up to idealized

influence. and Really [00:29:00] take advantage of the different approaches to meet the moment and you as a leader can absolutely adapt your style as You need to to get your team your organization to meet the moment to be what you need them to be what the organization needs Them to be to do that. And

if you need help, that’s why Rich, Sharyl, and I are here

Rich Cruz: That’s why we’re here. Right on. Absolutely. So what’s the, let’s, let’s wrap this up with what’s that one thing that people can do

Ben Kleinman: Be adaptable.

as a leader. you need to you need to be adaptable. You need

to understand that you have different levers you can pull or muscles you can flex, whatever you want

to say. And you need to

Rich Cruz: you want to use.

Ben Kleinman: understand what the moment needs. And as a leader, that’s your challenge.

Rich Cruz: Yeah, perfect. Yeah, that’s right. I mean, you, you have a wide selection of. tools that you can [00:30:00] use. Just, you know, choose the right one and, and, and, and run with that. And then if that doesn’t work, you have other ones to choose from. So great. Well, thanks, Ben. This has been

Ben Kleinman: you, sir. Always a pleasure.

Rich Cruz: right on. And to our listeners we, we really appreciate you tuning in to us again this week.

Sure that you connect with us on all of our connect with our podcast on Spotify and Apple and YouTube and all the other places that we’re at. Also find us on LinkedIn. We’re, we’ve got a website at harmonious workplaces. com where you’ll find the, the podcast itself and We will have a blog with these podcasts on them with some of those transcripts soon.

And then make sure that you visit HarborsideStrategy. com. That’s Ben’s Ben’s website.

And then Sharyl and I are over at WorkBalanceConsulting. com. And we’d love your your comments and any kind of suggestions that you have for our episodes going [00:31:00] forward.

Ben Kleinman: Yeah, we love the feedback. Let us know.

Rich Cruz: Absolutely. Feedback is, is key.

Ben Kleinman: Thanks,

Rich Cruz: Alright, thanks a million, Ben. See y’all later. Take care.

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