Randall Stutman: The Essence of Leadership [The Knowledge Project Ep. #96]

The founder and co-head of the Leadership Practice at CRA and the Admired Leadership Institute, Randall Stutman is an incredible executive coach with an impressive roster of clients. You’ll walk away from this episode with some tools to put into practice to make you a better leader, partner and parent as Randall discusses the behavioral versus psychological view of leadership, what really drives results, and the uncommon routines of the world’s best leaders.

Here are a few highlights from the conversation:

Excellence in almost everything has a set of foundational routines. Is it any surprise that leadership also has a set of behaviors and routines that are associated with it, that are very different than what we generally know?

What leaders do is they make situations and people better. That at the end of the day and at the essence of what they do is they strategically practically engage in some level of message, decision, action, routine, but also some level of symbolism sometimes, that actually moves people to be different.

I’m always surprised of how many leaders who don’t know each other, come from different places, different experiences, different generations. They all do some of the same things that you and I have never been taught to do.

Do you want to really prepare children for success? You have to give them a nice balance of feedback, positive and negative. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but too much positive makes it so that people get alarmist when they hear negative and too much negative means people defend themselves on good basis.

Everybody should have direct priorities going on today, tomorrow, next week. Most priorities don’t last for more than a couple of weeks, and we should be recalibrating them and calibrating them all the time. The best leaders do that.

Why are some people coachable and other people not coachable on any given behavior? And what my experience is some people like themselves too much. They aren’t open to making change because they like the outcomes they’re getting. They’ve been very successful. When they look in the mirror, they like what they see.

Here’s something that everybody on the planet wants. They want the people that they respect, that they admire, that they look up to, they want them rooting for them. They want them clapping, cheering for their ball to go in. What that really means is they want them to say and do, we’ll talk about that, and prove that they’re a fan.

What do the best leaders do in crisis? I could regale you for a long time in terms of just the behaviors that we’ve identified, but maybe the one that matters the most is this. It’s not the actual act that defines you. It’s always your response. It’s the response that defines your credibility in every case.

Listen and Learn


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