125. Exceptional Leadership

In this week’s podcast episode, we discusses what makes up exceptional leadership. We start by talking about my personal experience of growing my business. I transitioned from working with individual clients to hiring coaches and mentors to expand the reach of helping missionaries. I had to go through multiple identity shifts to become a boss and leader to my new team.

I recently attended a life coach mastermind event. I was able to listen to a talk on leadership by Erica Royal, the CEO of The Life Coach School. This talk resonated with me because it challenged my preconceived notions of what a leader should look like. So in this episode, we discuss how some leadership could be harmful and seen as controlling. Sometimes it’s beneficial to redefine our own understanding of leadership in becoming a leader.

Several key points from Erica’s talk about exceptional leadership is, vulnerability, rather than strength, is a crucial aspect of leadership. The importance of being curious and willing to learn, instead of having all the answers. Being open-minded and transparent is more valuable than being decisive. Professionalism is not the only defining factor of leadership. Just to name a few.

Overall, in this episode we dive into the concept of exceptional leadership. Challenging traditional beliefs and highlighting the importance of qualities such as vulnerability, curiosity, open-mindedness, and transparency. I encourage listeners to reevaluate their own understanding of leadership and consider these alternative perspectives.

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0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie Dildine, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 125 exceptional leadership.

0:12 I’m Jennie the LDS mission coach. And whether you’re preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:51 Hey, what’s up, everyone? Welcome to the podcast. Thanks for hanging out with me today. Things are going pretty good in my world. How are you doing? Are you on your mission? Are you getting ready to leave? Are you home from your mission? Just newly married? What’s going on? Are you a mom? What’s going on in your world, anything fun? Anything exciting? Probably likely, as is always the case, a lot of challenges, highs and lows, as I always say. Things that feel good and things that don’t feel good.

1:23 I wanted to let you guys know that I recently created a new PDF for preparing missionaries. And it’s called the preparing missionary cheat sheet. And what I did is I went back and I was like, okay, if I was going to prepare my sons to go on their missions again. And actually, after talking to tons and tons and tons of clients in all stages of the mission and tons and tons of missionary moms. What would I want my kids to know? Before they left, like what actual tools? What actual thought process? What actual strategies? What I want them to know, how to use and to do before they leave on their mission. And so I compiled that into five sort of skills. And the thing that I love about the PDF is that it’s stuff we can start teaching our kids. Even at a young age, like even think primary age, we can start teaching our kids those skills. But we can also start sort of modeling those skills for our kids. And I think the more that we model those skills for our kids, the more they become sort of ingrained and like oh, this is a good way to show up. It’s okay to show up this way. This is how I sort of stand up for myself, or this is how I advocate for myself and things like that. And so I would highly recommend that if you haven’t grabbed it yet, that you should go grab that PDF. Now the link is a little bit complicated. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to just drop it in the show notes. So if you want to just right now go and pause this episode and grab that link from the show notes. I’ll just put in there as preparing missionary cheat sheet. If you want to, I don’t know have a family night about it or something like that. And just start kind of helping our younger kids especially as an as they go into high school and things like that. These are the five skills that I would highly recommend every missionary have and be able to use and be able to apply to themselves before they leave. So just click on the link in the show notes that says preparing missionary cheat sheet. A super fun.

3:38 Okay, I don’t think there’s anything else that I need to fill you in on. Besides, we’ll be in Utah for Thanksgiving. So that’s coming up crazily, very soon. And I won’t have my married kids. If you have kids that are getting married, I highly recommend if it’s possible for you to make sure that all of your in laws are kind of on the same rotation as you because I will have all of my kids for Christmas, which I’m super excited about. I need to get matching pajamas for everybody. Interestingly, though, we have more people this year than we’ve ever had before, just in my nuclear family with my kids and their spouses. I’ll have to buy more Christmas pajamas than ever before. But interestingly, it’s actually easier now because they’re mostly all of this, you know, more adult sizes. And I do have one daughter that sort of a preteen, but um, I remember back in the day, right? Like you had to have matching pajamas all the way up from like a six month old to a high schooler and everything in between. So yeah, it does feel a little easier now because we’re much the same to get matching. And I know many of you are like, Well, why do you actually just try to match you don’t have to actually match but I’m kind of particular about it. It’s like well, if we’re gonna match let’s actually match. So, anyway, and I actually my husband, and I don’t actually usually get matching pajamas with them. But maybe we will, this year just to celebrate all of us being together. The only thing that’s different now is I try to get one so that our dog can match too. He gets like a little handkerchief or something, you know, around his neck or some a little onesie or something. His name is Graham, have I talked about him much on this podcast? Graham, our little mini golden doodle. He’s asleep right now, behind me in his little bed. He loves hanging out with me here in my office while I’m coaching. And while I’m working and recording podcasts, okay, that was a huge tangent. But that’s kind of an update.

5:42 And, yeah, today, what I want to talk about is exceptional leadership. Now, so over the last year, I’ve made some massive changes in my business where we help missionaries, okay. And so really, for the first three years of my business, I just only did one on one clients. So I would meet up with one on one clients. And whatever stage of the mission they were in, we would talk and I teach them and we talk and we coach and all of that. And I take them through my program. Well, I eventually got to the point where I had like, 16 clients and for me, I also have children. I also have a life. I have in laws. I have a calling right now I’m a Relief Society teacher. And I also volunteer at Acquire Millennial Choirs and Orchestra, we actually have that coming up our concert, our December concert, I also seen with that choir, so I have a lot of stuff that I’m involved with. So 16 felt like a lot, a lot of clients, for me to just be like sitting in my chair all day, every day. And don’t get me wrong, I love being a witness to the transformation that people have, when they decide that they want to work with me and learn my program. And I actually have described the experience, oftentimes a sacred just to be in that place with them, and often witnessing their pain and helping them get to a place where they actually want to be. And so I did that for a long time. And then I just started filling this pull, I think I’ve talked about it on recent podcasts to get more help to more missionaries, because there’s just so many, there’s so many missionaries. And so I went and I hired some coaches, I hired six coaches to work with me and my programs. And I recently hired four returned missionaries to help me work in Mission Prep Plus, and so I’ve had to go over this last year, sort of the way I always think about it is like an identity shift.

7:53 So at first, when I started my business, I was just basically a stay at home mom, which is amazing and great. And it was awesome and fulfilling. And I loved it, you know, it was 5050, like everything in life. But I also really treasure that time. But what I also had to do was go through like an identity shift and go from being a stay at home mom with the other things I was involved in, to a business owner, also an identity shift to a coach. And now over this last year, I’ve gone through a lot of identity shifts to become a boss to people, a leader to people. And it takes some getting used to. One thing that comes to mind is often I’ll have missionaries who are out in the field, and they email me and they’re like, oh my gosh, I was just asked to be a trainer, or an all of us and I’m a district leader, I’m a zone leader, or I’m an AP, and all of a sudden they’re like, oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I want this responsibility. I don’t know if I know enough, things like that. Much like maybe if you’ve got a calling that felt a little overwhelming or something like that. And so I think you do, you have to kind of go through these identity shifts. And it’s been an interesting process to observe myself over the last year, because I had a lot of ideas of what I thought leadership should look like. And many of those things weren’t really me. And so I have had to sort of kind of come up with or discover or uncover what leadership looks like for me. Because for me, it’s going to look differently than it looks like maybe for someone else that is in a leadership position.

9:34 So all of that to say is that I recently in September, I went to a mastermind that The Life Coach School puts on. So the Life Coach School was founded by Brooke Castillo and it’s where I went to school to become a certified life coach. And I learned all my stuff through her I went through her program and then that was four years ago and then since then, have added my own take on things and my own ideas about things and kind of created my own voice around all of it. But I still love going back to those masterminds, connecting with coaches that I love, and they have inspirational talks and speakers there to get you pumped up and give you ideas about things. And when I went there, there was a woman named Erica Royal, who spoke, and she is now the CEO of The Life Coach School as of this moment, and I think she’s been doing it about two years. And she gave this talk on leadership. And I’m like, Oh, my gosh, this is for me, because I, myself was going through, like, how do I be a boss? How do I be over these coaches? And these teachers? These RM Mentors? How do I do that? I also have an assistant like, how do I do this effectively? And what I discovered and listening to that talk is that I actually had the wrong idea about what a leader should look like. And I think this is important to share. Because I have heard, unfortunately, I know there’s we’re going to find good and bad wherever we look. On the mission I’ve heard examples of leadership that could and sometimes can be harmful. Okay, maybe I mean, this sounds super dramatic, but like, could borderline be controlling, not helpful, not useful, like maybe motivating with fear tactics, and things like that. And so maybe if you’re in a leadership position, I would like you to maybe consider some of these like, “Ahas” that I’ve had at mastermind, because to me, I was just like, oh, maybe I was wrong about the way I thought I had to lead. Maybe I don’t have to look or be this certain way. And in fact, it could be maybe 10 times more valuable and effective, and exceptional if I lead this other way. And so she basically goes through several ideas about what she thought leadership was, and then what she has come to find out leadership is instead and it just so resonated with me. And I hope that you can kind of take some away from that as well. And it’s basically just a list of what she thought it was, and what leadership actually is exceptional leadership.

12:25 So the first thing is, is she said, I thought leadership was strength. And I can so relate to this one, because if you guys have listened to other podcast episodes, one of the things I talk about is like one of my core beliefs, I think, that I’ve had since I was a kid is that I’m weak. And so I sort of had felt like I had to fake it and be strong, if I was going to be a good leader. But what she said is, what I actually found out is that vulnerability, is what leadership is. And that just feels so much better to me. Because I know how to do that I know how to be vulnerable. I know how to show my true colors with my team. I know how to be like, I hope this works out. I don’t know if it’s going to, okay. And so that is one thing to consider.

13:13 I thought leadership was, and Erica thought leadership was, having all the answers. And instead, what it actually is, is being curious and willing to learn. Oh, my gosh, this is one of my very favorite things. I remember after one of my second meetings with all of my coaches, I got off that call. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I totally sounded like I didn’t know what I was talking about. I totally feel embarrassed that I didn’t know the answers to all of their questions. And I was talking to my coach about it. And she’s like, perhaps, you being curious and willing to learn is exceptional leadership. Perhaps just being curious and asking questions and saying things like, Well, what do you guys think about this? Does anyone here have ideas? Rather than like, this is the way it’s gonna be, and no one’s allowed to ask questions. I am curious about the experience that my coaches are having. I’m curious about how they feel like they can contribute more. I’m curious about how these RM mentors, picture, the program working, and I’m willing to be curious to try some stuff to fail and then learn.

14:33 Maybe something we think leadership is, is decisive. And again, I’m gonna say it 100 times probably as I talk about this, but this resonated with me so much as I just thought I just have to know and I have to be able to decide right this second, but maybe exceptional leadership is open minded and transparent. It’s like, oh, well, I thought it was supposed to go this way, but maybe it needs to go a different way. She said that I thought leadership was professionalism, which is kind of what I thought too. Like I had to be professional, especially because my husband has a very successful business, a few of them. And so I was like, Oh, I have to be professional. And even when my team, when they were like, do you want us to dress up for our calls? These one on one calls that we’re gonna be doing? Do you want us to look professional? I think what I’ve decided that’s more important than being professional is being compassionate, and having empathy. Oh, my gosh, this is like one of my core values in our business. One of my core beliefs as a human is that we just have compassion, and empathy. And I do believe we could have both, but let’s not sacrifice, our compassion and empathy, in order to just be professional. As I was thinking about this podcast, actually, is that a lot of these actual leadership traits, not just the ones we thought we were supposed to have, were attributes of the Savior, and how that compassion and empathy is so true. He wasn’t just Yep, I’m so professional. And I’m gonna stand here. He like actually, if you think about the woman taken in adultery, he actually like got on the ground with her got down on her level, and talk to her. And anyway, he just was so full of this compassion and empathy.

16:27 So one of the things that maybe you thought, I think I thought this too, is that people should respect me, right? That they should really admire me. And you know, think that I’m doing a good job, or whatever. I’ve learned, actually, over the course of a few years, that not everybody’s gonna respect me. I actually have people on my Facebook ads pretty regularly say, Who do you think you are? Like, what do you think you’re doing, and they don’t respect me. And so leadership is maybe not demanding respect. But helping people understand that they can trust you, instead, maybe trust, maybe we don’t need as much respect as we just allow people to know that they can trust us that like the type of person that we are, is trustworthy.

17:18 Maybe we used to think that we had to have a specific business focus. Like we had to be very focused on a program launch, or we had to be very focused on a specific, I don’t know, number goal, or money goal, or whatever it is. Maybe on the mission, it’s a baptism goal. Maybe it’s a number of people, you’re teaching a week, or new people that you’re teaching each week or new contacts that you make, maybe you have to have be very focused. But what Erica was saying is, what she’s discovered is that that focus that hyper focus is less important than having perspective. I love this so much. Because if you think about how this applies to the mission, let’s say you are a district leader, let’s say your missionaries in your district are reporting to you. And what we’re saying is we want you to be focused, we want you to reach this goal of having this many contacts a week. And then they come to say, oh, we only got half that. You can be mad that maybe quote unquote, they weren’t focused, or you can have the perspective and be like, see the big picture, see where they were trying see where they they did do good things, see where the people that they did contact our people too, right? And also the even bigger picture than that this is God’s work, and people will come if we give them an opportunity when they’re ready.

18:45 This has been a big one for me is education. Like I used to think if I was a business owner, and I was going to be a good leader, that I would have to have a ton of education. I see this a lot right with missionaries who are getting ready to leave. They’re like, I just don’t know the Scriptures well enough. I don’t have these scriptures memorized. I don’t understand like all of the doctrines, necessarily. But instead of being focused on education, exceptional leadership maybe focuses more on values. What do you have? What are your values that you bring to the table? When you’re in a zone conference? Do people just want to know what you know, from the scriptures? Or do they want to see your heart? Do they want to see who you actually are? Do they want to see how you care about them? And so values running sort of your district or your zone? Right? Or the mission from a values based perspective is exceptional leadership.

19:49 Erica, she said that she feels like she used to think leadership was confidence and charisma. And I used to think this too. I was like, Well, I can’t do this if I don’t feel confident, I’ve gotta feel confident first. But in actuality, exceptional leadership is being humble and self aware. Just being like, you know what, I’m not doing it right half the time. And I understand that maybe I didn’t do that correctly either. And I’m willing to look at that. And I’m, I think about like, instead of putting yourself on a pedestal, like, really, you’re down with the people, with the people, you’re over, being humble, and having a whole bunch of self awareness.

20:30 I have two more that I want to share with you of these contrasting kinds of things. Maybe you’ve thought that leadership meant you had to be quick, either quick, to make decisions, or quick to meet your goals, or quick to respond to questions. But exceptional leadership is thoughtful. And it takes actually a lot of humility and authenticity, to just say, hey, I don’t know the answer that why don’t you let me think about it a little bit. And to be really thoughtful about who you want to be, what would be the best course of action for the person that you’re leading? What is from your heart and your mind, what feels like the right move, and being really thoughtful, and perhaps even slow about that?

21:21 Okay, this is the last one, which, you know, again, has been a huge thing for me over the last year in sort of shifting my identity into more of this, having coaches under me and these mentors underneath me working, is that I used to think that good leadership was fearless. That I had to be fearless. And when I say fearless, because I’m a huge Taylor Swift Fan. Of course, she comes to mind about her album, but I used to think I had to be fearless. But actually exceptional leadership I’m finding out and what Erica Royal had found out, is being courageous, which is not the same as being fearless. Being courageous means that you have to feel the fear and move forward, anyway. So if you think about courage, it’s not necessarily like a favorite emotion to feel because it’s something that you have to kind of butt up against. There has to be some sort of contrasting emotion, where you feel fear, and then you butt up next to it, courage. Like, you wouldn’t need courage if there wasn’t another emotion associated with it. And so courage actually doesn’t feel super good. You have to feel the fear, take it with you, and do what you feel like is right anyway. So I just think it’s really important for us all to sort of consider how can we be more connecting as leaders? How can we be more vulnerable? How can we even tell someone sometimes like, hey, I’m, I don’t know, I’m kind of worried that I’m not going to meet my goal, or I don’t, I don’t know if I’m going to get this figured out? And how do you feel about it? And be open to all of it, and being willing to feel all of those uncomfortable feelings.

23:20 You know, I used to look at, quote, unquote, successful people. And I used to think, oh, this is how you’re a leader. You’re a professional, you are educated, you have confidence, you are strong, and you have all the answers, and you’re decisive. But honestly, guys, as I’ve gone through this process, I found that maybe none of that is true. And it’s possible that you want some of that. But what’s even more powerful is being vulnerable, and curious and willing to learn and open minded and transparent and compassionate and allowing people to trust you and having perspective and operating from your values. Being humble, full of humility, self aware, thoughtful and courageous. That sounds fun, right? And again, I think there was one person on the earth that really did this miraculously well, and that was Jesus. He did all those things. And he was courageous. He wasn’t without fear. He felt it. And then he did it anyway. Right? I even think about like, to the last, you know, what we learned in the Garden of Gethsemane is, he was like, hey, Heavenly Father, like, if it’s possible, could we not do this? My guess is because he was afraid. But he said nevertheless. And then he butted up that fear with courage. And he felt the fear and he kept going. Right? And that’s what we can all do, too.

24:52 So I hope that these sorts of concepts help you loosen maybe your idea of what you thought an effective leader was. And hopefully gives you something to think about because it sure gave me a lot to think about. About how I can be not only an effective leader, but an exceptional leader, someone who’s vulnerable, open, humble, thoughtful, and full of compassion and empathy. All right, you guys, I hope you have the most amazing week and we will talk to you next time.

25:29 Serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints can present a unique set of challenges, and many of those challenges you might not even see coming. So you’re gonna want a unique set of solutions. It’s easier than you think to overcome worry and anxiety, serve the successful mission you’ve always dreamed up and navigate your post mission experience with confidence. That is why I created some amazing free goodies that I’m sharing in my show notes. Maybe you want to grab the free training for preparing missionaries might video course for RMS or maybe you and I should hop on a free strategy call. If you’re ready to take your preparedness to serve or your preparedness to come home to the next level. Then go grab one of those freebies. And in the meantime, no matter which part of the mission experience you were involved in, just know that Jenny, the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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