Skip to content

Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #154: Are You a FOR or a FROM Kind of Leader?

September 17, 2021
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #154: Are You a FOR or a FROM Kind of Leader?

Do you things FROM your team, or FOR your team? Today Perry and Chris talk about the new FOR content from the John Maxwell Company and how being a FOR leader increases loyalty and engagement.

Want to enhance your organization’s leadership culture? Learn more about our 5 Levels of Leadership private workshops HERE – Offered virtually and on-site to meet your organization’s health guidelines.

Download our Learning Guide for this podcast!

Read the Transcript:

Perry Holley:    Welcome to the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast for 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 of the John Maxwell Company. Welcome and thank you for joining. Perry and I were just talking as we were getting started and he had a comment from a previous individual that listened and said, “Man, those questions that you posed in Episode 54.” Perry and I looked at each other and we’re like, “54? Man, how long ago was that?” And that was back when Perry was asking good questions and so. Man, we’re just grateful. We’re grateful to be sitting here and just sharing leadership thoughts in what we get to experience day in and day out.

Perry Holley:    That’s over 100 episodes ago.

Chris Goede:     Ago. Yeah, that’s right. And we’re thankful for you. We’re really excited about the next couple of lessons because our team has been hard at work in developing and bringing new content to organizations and it’s, it’s coming from really what we’re hearing their needs are. And some of the things we’ve actually walked alongside some leaders in some organizations and help them develop some content, and it went over so well that we want to just kind of roll it out to other leaders in organizations around the world.

So listen, thanks again. So we’re going to hit a couple of them next the couple of weeks. This is the first one. And if you want more information about them, you want to learn a little bit more about the content. You want to talk about how do we get Perry or one of our executive facilitators on-site, don’t hesitate to go to and you can fill out a form there and our team will follow back up with you in regards to your question, your comment. Even like the individual saying, “Man, on Episode 54,” but we’ll be grateful to do that. Well, today’s topic is titled Are You a FOR or a FROM Kind of Leader?

Perry Holley:    I noticed you went kind of slow on that one.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, like he’s already right out of the shoot trying to get me a little tongue-tied. And this is such a great content piece. And this is one of the first ones we want to talk about. We have a new relationship with an individual named Jeff Henderson who is a fantastic leader and has got a great resume of leading not only people, but organizations and wrote a book around this. And so we came alongside and actually developed a corporate training around it and then our team experienced it and you experienced it, and I experienced it.

And here’s what we want to do today. We just want to share some of our takeaways as a leader and what that looked like and what it felt like for us. And then hopefully you guys will be able to learn something from that, take a few notes, apply it to your leadership, and be a little bit better for it. So I appreciate the tongue twister there at the beginning, but talk to me a little bit about where we’re going today on content.

Perry Holley:    Well, as you said, we got together with Jeff and I’ve known of Jeff. He’s got a great rich history in the Atlanta area with both profit, for-profit and nonprofit leadership. So anybody in my world that can lead a nonprofit, you’re really leading. I think that’s a great test for most of us, but he asked two questions and this content is called FOR and that’s why I said the title Are You a FOR kind of a Leader or a FROM Kind of a Leader?

And the two questions you asked that captured my attention was the first one was, “What do you want to be known for? And we could all think about that personally or corporately or for your team. What do you want to be known for? But then as you’re thinking about that, “Yeah, that’s great.” Then he pauses and he looks at you and he says, “So what are you known for?” And you kind of had that moment. “Wow, I can make this my personal point of view from a corporate point of view.” And then he started looking at that gap. Is there a gap between what you want to be known for and what you are known for as a business, as a team, as a person? So I loved it.

To be a Successful Leader, You Need Feedback on Your Leadership.

We’re excited to announce our new and improved Organizational Effectiveness Survey (OES). The OES gathers feedback from employees to give leaders and management the knowledge and action plans needed to develop a more effective and productive work environment. Our new version measures 4 areas of your business: Leadership, People, Strategy, and Performance. 

Chris Goede:     Yeah, yeah. I think it was simple, but yet simply profound. When you really think about it, it was simple. And for me it was I’ve seen this message as a culture of an organization and as a team lived out in just leadership. And in organizations that not only he led, but now he’s helping live this message out. And so a couple of things that came to mind were number one was, “Wow, that’s a great awareness question as a leader and as an organization.” Because to your point, there is a gap there. And I think I need more people to speak into answering that question for me to truly know the answer.

And then the other thing was, man, we talk about the fact of how you lead your team and the culture you create is in essence what your customers feel. And so I was like, “Man, if I can’t figure out what that looks like for my team, then man, I’m scared to know that answer from our organization.” So absolutely love the two questions, but there’s a lot of meat behind the simple questions.

Perry Holley:    And then so the title that I use today stem from another question he asked is he said, “You know, Perry, what do you want from your team?” And I got out a pen and a piece of paper started making me a list. And before I could get very far, fortunately Jeff leaned in and said, “Don’t you want something for your team not from?” What an interesting twist, a very small change in wording, but it really changes the entire direction of my mindset about how I look at my team or my family, my friends. What do you want from people? No, I want something for them.

And when you really think about wanting something for your team or for your spouse or for your child. What kinds of things come to mind about how does that change your approach? And that’s really my big question is if you think about wanting something from someone versus I want something for you, to me that’s a mindset change. But how do you see that? What changes?

Chris Goede:     Yeah, for me that question goes from a focus of myself to a focus on others. You know at the John Maxwell enterprise we talk a lot about the fact that we are here to add value to leaders that multiply value in other people. And that in essence right there sums up what we’re talking about, which is I want to make sure that I’m thinking about adding value to others and others-focused.

The other thing if I make it really personal for me, the answer I have to that question is I want them to feel included as a leader. I’m a very inclusive leader so that’s important to me. But I also think over some lessons that you created for us in the past we’ve talked about like that’s part of that inclusive leadership, which by the way, another great new content piece that Perry’s helped us with is the inclusive leadership. You can also jump on our website and fill out the form if you want to learn more about that for organizations. We’d love to talk about that as well.

The other thing is though I do want for them to be successful. And so what that means is my perception of how I lead them needs to change. And it’s not like what I need from them to your question. It’s like I do want for them to be successful, in order to do that I have to lead, coach, mentor them in a different way in order for that to be true. And when you begin thinking about it just those two words for and from like you’ve posted for us, there’s a big difference there.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. I’ve mentioned it a little bit earlier, but I’ve kind of been modeling this in the rest of my life not just at work, but thinking, “How do I operate in my home? Am I looking for something from my wife or children? Am I looking for something for them and does it change my approach?” I’m in a nonprofit group that I helped serve, some things that I started I’m thinking. Am I looking for something from these folks or do I want something for? And it really has captured my attention about what kind of mindset shift is that? And it can be a game-changing question in your mind when you start looking at your team.

I think you said some really great things there about what is it I want for them. I want them to feel inclusive. We use the word welcome, safe, valued. What is it I want for you? I want you to feel like you matter like you’re part of this team, you’re relevant, you’re needed. I want you to feel like I’m for you in helping you get your skills, get your abilities up, uncover opportunities for you. I’m for your career. I’m for you growing. And even if you move on from us, I’m for you.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, that’s right.

Perry Holley:    And I just think it sets the whole tone.

Chris Goede:     Listening to you, it just reminds me how people talk about the fact that, man, leadership’s such a soft skill. I’m sitting there going, “Yeah, those explanations are, but man, you know how hard all of that is to do?” You absolutely have to be intentional about putting a process in place to be able to truly as a leader live that out in your organization. What I love about where you went just a minute ago with even just your family and the community, that is so in line with John’s leadership principles as a whole. Because we talk about the fact that whether it’s personal or professional development, there’s an alignment there of the principles of influencing and leading and adding value to people period.

Same thing here with Jeff’s message that we’ve created is that absolutely. Well, Jeff created it. We created a corporate training for it, but there’s absolutely in alignment with the fact that you can take these principles not only as a leader inside your organization, but in your personal life. But you have to absolutely be intentional about it. One comment I want to make, a quote that Jeff said that I think I just want to share as we kind of move into the rest of the lesson. Jeff said this. He said, “Everyone is known for something. The question is is what are you known for?” And that’s just another self-reflection question. I think it’s another question you could ask your team too and hopefully they’d give you a good answer.

Perry Holley:    And he got me going on the business aspect of this. So we’ve talked about you wanting for your team or wanting for your family, or wanting for your community. So what do you want for your customer? Are you for your customer? And he asked a question. I know you were in the room at the time. We were all kind of amazed at the passion and the volume went up when he asked us about, “Is there a local business that you do business with around your home someplace, any kind of business; small, large, it doesn’t matter that you know there for you? And how did that affect you?”

And I remember our friend Dana, he went first and he said, “There’s like this Jiffy Lube.” That’s one detail like a Jiffy Lube, but he takes all of his cars there for all their maintenance. I said, “Like engine work?” He goes, “Everything.” This guy has serviced 13 cars for our family and he goes, “He’s for us?” He’s like, “He’s going to put his family in that car. He tells me the absolute truth. He won’t let anything harm that car. Nobody’s touching that car except that guy.” I thought, “Wow, do our customers know that we’re for them?” I wonder how you saw that.Chris Goede:     Yeah, I thought it was a great exercise. And what was awesome about it was that some of the examples that we shared around the room were organizations in areas that I live in that I had no idea about them, but they were so passionate about what they were talking about. Here’s what stuck out to me. And I thought, “Man, this is such a powerful exercise for us to be on the other side of it” was the purpose behind the organization when explained by our team seemed different than the product they were selling. Okay? So follow me for just a minute now. Think about this.

The purpose behind what you’re doing as a leader in your organization is different than what the product you’re actually selling. The product was a by-product of why they were doing business. And so as we went around and everybody had a different story. And there were some products that were even shared that I would take notes and I was fascinated by and then we would order some because of that whole word of mouth. Because the purpose behind it made that individual feel that they were for them, not necessarily for the product or the service that they were selling.

And so, man, it was just a powerful exercise. And I think that question is something that you could even just ask your leadership team. “Hey, tell me about a local business that, man, you are just absolutely passionate about. Like you’ll go to the bank or a service or a product and then have them go around the room. And then after that say, ‘What do you think our customers say about us? What do you think our team say about us?'” And begin to have that dialogue as a leader.

Perry Holley:    What are we known for?

Chris Goede:     Yeah, what are we known for? That’s right.

Perry Holley:    What do we want to be known for?

Chris Goede:     Yeah, that’s right.

Perry Holley:    Well, you got us going on that. If you’re for your customer, you generate this positive word of mouth advertising. Like you said in the room, people were taking notes. “Can I get my car in there? Is that pizza really that good?” And everybody had a story. I thought that was interesting too. Let’s make this personal and practical for a moment before we wrap up that what are some practical ways that we can demonstrate to people in our circle of influence? So think about your work, your home, your community, your customers. How can we demonstrate that we are for them instead of appearing like we want something from them?

Chris Goede:     A couple of things come to mind as I thought back to those stories that we heard that day when Jeff asked that question. And then even just hearing some feedback from other businesses that have implemented these principles of for into their business is that they were so observant of the individual needs and actually removed some barriers for them personally like you can go back to Dana’s story. Multiple cars, 13, I think over this span. And he removed obstacles of finding the right place, the best dealership, the place to take that and said, “This guy is like, ‘No, I’m going to take care of all of that for you and I’m going to treat it like it was my own family.'”

And so they observe the individual needs or move obstacles. And the other thing is is that they invest in people. They invest in, we would call it in our language developing, coaching, mentoring in different ways, adding value. Those are our words, but they just want to invest in the individuals that are a customer of theirs. Whether it’s conversations, whether it’s little gifts, whether it’s just information, it’s having a different outlook in why you’re doing business and what you want to be known for.

Perry Holley:    Yeah, before I let you wrap it up, it’s causing me to remember a story from a coaching call just last week where a situation came up where the manager, the leader of the organization was being accused of caring more about the customers than he was about the sales team who was serving the customer. And when I dug into that, the sales leader had made a decision to give a customer some benefits in the sale that would reduce the commission, the revenue that the salespeople would make. And I was reminded of what Jeff was teaching us that if you’re for your people, then the people will be for the customer.

And that in this case, the people felt like they needed to look out for themselves because no one else was and the customer in their minds was the problem. And so we’re now working on a way to demonstrate that we are for the employee and the employee is for the customer. And instead of employees feeling like they’re being manipulated to give a customer an advantage, the employees now feel motivated, another John teaching there that they feel motivated to help the customer get an advantage. And I thought it was running into all those stories we heard about.

Everybody felt like they were getting … It wasn’t necessarily a good financial deal, but they were being cared for that you were for me. No matter what it costs, I felt that you’re for me. And I want to be a part of your business because I know you’re looking out for me. And I thought it was interesting these guys felt like the customer was getting an advantage and they’re the problem. They said, “No, the customer is not the problem. That’s how we make everybody feel important.”

Chris Goede:     That’s a great illustration because the miss there is that the sales individual at the time didn’t feel like their sales leader was for them, they were just for the customer. And so how do you create as a leader, you still have to run a very effective, efficient, and healthy business and bottom line. But how do you get to a point to where that sales member feels like you’re for them and the customer feels like they’re for them? That’s your job as a leader.

Perry Holley:    Well, Jeff told us when you go into a business, you can tell how empowered and supported the team is by the way they treat the customer. It’s going to be a mirror, it’s going to be an effect that if they’re feeling cared for and you’re for them, they’re going to be for the customer. It shows its way forward that way and I thought that was interesting. I’m always watching when I walk into a store, do I feel like I’m putting somebody out that they have to come over and help me or this is the greatest moment of their day to do?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Well, you know Perry and I, our goal is to help you with your leadership culture. We are in the business of enhancing and improving not only your leadership journey, but the culture of your team and of your organization. And so this content is aligned with the foundation of what we built this off of, which is the 5 Levels model. And you can look at this at level two, you can look at level three, you can look at level four. And so it’s a tremendous alignment there in regards to building your leadership culture.

So as we close, I’m just going to go back to the two questions. As a leader, what do you want to be known for? And as a leader, what do you think you are known for? And really have that self-awareness and that gap, and then maybe take some notes and try to figure out how to close that gap. Maybe it’s for the organization. Maybe you ask those questions in regards to the organization.

Either way, if we can help, if we can add value, serve you or Jeff. You would like for Jeff to come speak to your team or Perry, myself whether it’s doing a retreat or content, man, don’t hesitate to visit and fill out a form. We’d love to serve you. It’s just we see it work with other organizations. That’s why we’re so passionate about it. And we’d love to help you guys as well.

Perry Holley:    And at that address, you can also get the learner guide for today’s lesson. You can leave us a comment and/or a question. We always love hearing from you. And we are always grateful that you would spend this time with us each week. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

Be the first to comment on "Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #154: Are You a FOR or a FROM Kind of Leader?"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *