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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #123: Twelve Things Leaders Model to Develop a Leadership Culture

February 11, 2021
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #123: Twelve Things Leaders Model to Develop a Leadership Culture

John Maxwell teaches that leadership is more caught than taught. People do what people see. If you hope to develop a leadership culture among your leaders, you need to model what leadership looks like. Today, Chris and Perry discuss twelve ways leaders can model leadership that can lead to developing a leadership culture in your organization.

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Read the Transcript:

Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a John Maxwell facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, Vice President with a John Maxwell Company, welcome, and thank you for joining. Just as a reminder before we get started, if you want to download the Learner’s Guide, if you have a question or comment for Perry or I, even if you’re looking for the link to our weekly blog, definitely visit and you can find that information there.

Well today’s topic and I’m proud of Perry because we moved away from his favorite number five. I have a feeling we’re going back to it, but today’s topic is 12 Things Leaders Model to Develop a Leadership Culture. Again, we’re focusing on this leadership culture this month and that’s what we’re passionate about doing. That’s what we help organizations do around the world is really to help them maybe find, enhance, develop their leadership culture. And so, when you think about culture, it’s really in its simplest form what people see and feel on a day-to-day basis with their leaders, with their peers, with people that work for them. So Perry, I’m excited to walk through these 12 things.

Now we might’ve lost everybody when we said 12. We promise we’re going to work through them quickly, stay high level, but we are going to go through these. Talk to us a little about these 12 and what drove you to bring this to us today?

Perry Holley:    Well, I heard John Maxwell say that, “Leadership is more caught than taught.” And I thought, “Wow, that was a cute saying.” I didn’t really consider it something I should think about any further, but what I’ve learned in my a quarter century, that’s 25 years and probably more than that, but of leading teams is that John was right again. And that I can talk all I want about leadership development to my team and all I want and they walk away, and they just do what they see me do. And so, what I’d love to talk about these 12 things. If you want to have a leadership culture, I think you need to be modeling leadership.

We talked in an earlier podcast about are you learning leadership and now are you modeling it? What do people see? And are you demonstrating it for them? If you ever hope to have a leadership culture, you need to be demonstrating what that looks like.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I’ve also heard him say that people do what people see. And again, that goes back to some parenting examples, which we can all think about. But let me remind you, I gave you kind of a high level just a minute ago and said this culture is kind of like what people see and feel. But let me dig in a little bit here for you as we get started and what we mean by leadership culture. And it’s really about how we do things around and about how we influence and how we lead people.

And so, a leadership culture is an organizational culture where everyone, not just the title people, not entitled, but also titled, by the way, where they have the ability to influence everyone. And by doing this and letting everybody know that man, everybody has influence whether it’s above, below, besides, that really drives team engagement. And then in turn drives performance, which is what we’re all looking for at the end of the day.

Leaders will ask, “Hey, what we’re doing right here, how does this affect my bottom line, my EBITDA?” And so, we’re not going to have time today to dive into all 12 of these. Hopefully, you’re still listening to us.

Perry Holley:    We’ll move quick.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, we’ll move quick. But we do want to give you the list and talk a little bit about them. You can also again go to the Learner Guide where Perry’s provided them for us at So let’s get started.

Perry Holley:    Number one, you better be demonstrating and modeling integrity. Because it’s easy to think sometimes I see people talk about, “Well, I’m not lying, cheating, stealing. Those are the big three. So I must have integrity.” I think it’s more complex than that. And it’s are you honest and above board with everything you do? Are your motives clear and the decisions you make? Are you manipulating situations to your advantage? I mean, there’s a long list you can probably think of about what it means to have integrity, but it’s going to be one thing that people see early and they’re going to check for it often.

Chris Goede:     Yeah and I think you said the word manipulate and I just want to bring to the attention of our listeners. Man, we give a disclaimer right away in rooms. We say, “There is a fine line between manipulation and influence.” And that fine line comes with your motive and that is what as leaders we’ve got to check and make sure that our motives are pure.

The other thing I think about integrity, it’s so important is that integrity leads to trust. And we say trust is a currency to all leadership, to all influence. And so, we’ve got to make sure that we have that from an integrity standpoint. Well, number two of our 12 Things Every Leader Should Be Modeling is self-awareness. And we probably talked a lot about this. You’ve probably heard us talk about this, but this is something that is so easily overlooked. And here’s what I want to encourage you.

We all know leaders that have no self-awareness. You’re thinking of individuals right now. I also want you to know that there are other leaders in your organization that are thinking about leaders and people that have lack of self-awareness and you may be on their list. And I find that the longer that we lead, this includes you and I, and we get comfortable and we get into zones. We become very tainted to our leadership. We don’t see the other side of our leadership. And so, we get complacent and we have lack of awareness when it comes to our leadership.

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Perry Holley:    Right. And you know more accurately is can you tell when someone’s unaware of how their behaviors and their actions impact others? And that they think more of themselves or something going on, but they’re not aware that they impact every word you say, every action you take, everybody’s watching you. So they’re trying to decide that. All right, number three, authenticity. This stems from that genuine self-awareness that allows you to really to be a real person. No mask needed that. This is who I am. I can just be me. I don’t have to put on an act for anyone. I have that authenticity. I’ve noticed people really notice that when you’re real.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I think Greg Cagle, one of our facilitators always says that, “Authenticity is a trust accelerator.” Let’s be who we are. And a lot of people will also say to us this, “Well, I’m one person at home and I’m another person at work.” I’m like, “That must be exhausting.” Now listen, I’m quieter at home that I probably am at work because I’m out of words by the time I get home, but I still want to try to be the same person.

The other thing I think about this as we talk about this model of leadership and we’re talking about leadership cultures and it starts with a common language. We want to have a model of leadership, but we want everybody to lead authentically. So we like to say that that model is kind of a guard rail. And so, we want you to be authentic. We want you to be yourself. And we joke around quite a bit and we say, “Listen, you might as well do it because your team already recognizes the real you.”

All right, number four. Now I’m going to tell you, I looked through these obviously before we started. There’s a couple of words in here I’m not sure they’re words. And I think you’re setting me up and we’re going to go with it.

Perry Holley:    I might have made it up, but go ahead.

Chris Goede:     You might have made it up. These are Perry’s words, not Chris. Teachableness. Okay.

Perry Holley:

I think that’s a word.

Chris Goede:     It’s probably a word. There’s one coming that I don’t think. Leaders are learners. What are you learning? How teachable are you? And not only in your own development plan, which is so important and to have that and to model that in your team. But how teachable are you from those that are on your team? Maybe from those that are a couple levels down, what is it that you want to learn? Be curious. I love that. You introduced me to how important that word is a couple of years ago about be curious as leaders and by doing that it’s a terrific characteristic.

Perry Holley:    Well, you think about a culture that is a hallmarked by teachableness says that you don’t ever think you have all the answers. You don’t ever think you’re the smartest person in the room. You invite the insights and points of view of other people. You engage the team and say, “We can all learn and get better.” I should put that up to number one. let me give you the next three real quick so we can move this along.

Chris Goede:     .

Perry Holley:    They’re a little related, but they’re not the same. So number five, I said relationship building is that if you’re modeling relationship building really engaging with people, that’s a great culture accelerator. Now valuing others. Of course, if you’re relationship building and you value others, that others orientation says that when you value me, I feel valued and I lean in more.

And then number seven, inclusiveness. We’re going to do more on this, about that inclusive leadership. And it gets tied up with diversity, diversity and inclusion sometimes, but diversity is kind of a given today. Our teams are quite diverse, more diverse than they ever were, but inclusion is a choice that a leader makes. And if you’re exhibiting that, all three are about an others orientation. It’s where you initiate relationships, show value to others, exhibit inclusive behaviors that makes everyone feel like they are valued. And here’s a big word that I belong right here. And I love that. You have a culture that feeds on that. It’s on its way to be in a leadership culture.

Chris Goede:     I think when you promote kind of others-focused, other orientation, it makes people feel valued, needed. We do a values card exercise at level two in The 5 Levels of Leadership when we do this in regards to being able to connect with your team at a different level. And I say this statement. When I ask them to leave and then go do it with their circle of influence, they’re their leader, those on their team, their peers, here’s what I say. “Get ready to take notes because they are going to give you pure gold on how to motivate and lead them.” And I think by going through something like that, it’s others-focused. And I love that.

All right, number eight. Here we go.

Perry Holley:    Is this the one?

Chris Goede:     This might be the one I was a little worried about. Accountableness.

Perry Holley:    I think that’s a word.

Chris Goede:     That could be a word. By the way, Jason Brooks, who oversees all of our content and writing, he’s probably cringing right now and saying, “I’m going to have to make sure I shut these two down. But this is where you are not only holding other people accountable. That is something that we actually do a lot of work there too. There’s leaders who are like, “Man, we need stronger accountability. I need to be able to hold my team accountable.” But it also is for yourself. What are you doing to hold yourself accountable?

Perry Holley:    Right. So many people think of accountable is me finding out why you didn’t do what you said you would do. When really what I want it to mean is that we take ownership around here regardless of the circumstances, I own it to get to where we said we would go.Chris Goede:     Period, period.

Perry Holley:    Period. Number nine, consistency. That’s a word.

Chris Goede:     That’s funny how your words seem to just be in the dictionary.

Perry Holley:    Sorry about that. By far to me, this is one of the most understated words of leadership it is. But when you model consistency, the way act, react, your behaviors, how you communicate, that you can be trusted with the good, the bad and the uncertain. People come to you, they just know your level and you’re consistent and they know what they’re going to get when they interface with you.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. This is something that is, I believe highly overlooked in the leader is this consistency. When you were talking, Perry, the thing that made me think about was this past year in 2020. I think it was one of my greatest aha moments was those that I had influence with needed me to be consistent more than ever. And they responded to that consistency. And so, as leaders, and if you want to increase your influence, that is such a huge word.

Another one that’s often overlooked is number 10 that you have for us and that is courage. And I think when you model courage, you’re saying, “Hey, it’s okay to do the difficult thing, the unpopular thing. Hey, we’re going to go this way or we’ve got to do this because it’s the right thing to do.” And I think when you do that, you’re modeling courage and courage reveals without a doubt your values and communicate your priorities to those around you.

Perry Holley:    It doesn’t get talked about a lot, but it really shows up when you see people standing up for what they believe. They have a not only just a positional authority, but a moral authority that we’re going to do the right things no matter what it costs us.

Number 11 and 12, I’ll lump those together as well. Respect is number 11 and humility is number 12, that if you fail to model respect, whether they are above you below you, beside you, you really open your door to a very different culture than what I’m guessing you really want in your organization. Respect, again, communicates value for another person. It’s a high regard for others. It’s part of that foundation I think of a leadership culture.

And then number 12, humility. It’s just a fantastic quality to end on I think because humanity in a leader is very attractive. By that, I mean, it really attracts followers to people who welcome you to influence them. And you think about if you exhibit arrogance as a leader, you communicate that your position is all about your influence. That’s all the influence you have is your position. Humility really communicates confidence and people love to follow a confident leader.

Chris Goede:     Well, let me wrap up for us and I appreciate those 12. And remember, the 12 are what areas do we want you to be modeling as a leader in order to develop a leadership culture? And I’m going to give you the 12 as we wrap up and I end with my comment, but here’s my challenge to you. I want you to take these 12 and I want you to rate yourself well. This is the application. When I think about these 12 on a scale of one to five, one to 10, whatever it is, give yourself that score. Then want you to take that same exercise that you went through and give it to a couple people throughout your organization, throughout your sphere of influence and have them do the same thing.

And then where there’s a deviation or a gap that’s pretty considerable, I want you to sit down and have a conversation about it because these 12 things that Perry brought to us right here, you begin modeling this and living this out it will drastically change the culture of your team. So as I close and Perry I’ll throw it back to you, but here’s the 12 quickly.

Number one, integrity. Number two, self-awareness, number three, authenticity. Number four, teachableness, number five, relationship building, number six, valuing others, number seven, inclusiveness, number eight, Perry’s word, accountableness. Number nine, consistency. Number 10, courage, number 11, respect, and finally, number 12, humility.

Perry Holley:    What a fantastic culture to have if you can demonstrate those 12 things. And there’s probably more, but those resonate with me. Thank you, Chris and thank you listeners for joining us again. Of course, Chris has given you that website, but if you want to know more about the five levels, you want to download the Learner Guide, you want to leave us a question or a comment, you may do that at And we always love hearing from you there. And we’re always grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

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