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Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #169: Your Year End Leadership Checkup

January 6, 2022
Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast #169: Your Year End Leadership Checkup

How is your leadership going? Today, Chris and Perry talk about how you can assess your leadership journey through a year end leadership checkup and what steps to take to ensure you are growing and developing as a leader.

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.

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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 at John on Maxwell, facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     And I’m Chris Goede, vice president with The John Maxwell Company. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Listen, as we begin this new year and you’re listening to this podcast, Perry, and I just want to take a minute and say thank you.

Perry Holley:    Yes.

Chris Goede:     Thank you for going on a personal growth journey with us. We love the interaction. The comments that we’re getting,

Perry Holley:    Oh man. Thank you.

Chris Goede:     The questions.

Perry Holley:    The questions. Yes.

Chris Goede:     Some of you I’m grateful for, because usually I rely on Perry to create the content and also the title, which gets me in trouble. And some of you are giving us the topic and title, which is keeping Perry out from doing that for me. But just as a reminder, as we get started, if you are interested in learning more about having Perry, myself, one of our other executive facilitators and coaches come into your organization, help with training, coaching, whatever it might be around some of the leadership topics that we’re talking about. Don’t hesitate to go to You can also there, find a link for the blog that Perry also writes for us that goes along with each one of these podcasts.

Well, I started off by saying, Hey, thanks for joining us in this new year. And as you begin this new year of leadership, and sometimes as leaders, we look at, I just had this thought. It’s like maybe every day I wake up and go, man, today’s a new day to be a leader, not necessarily a new year. One of the things that Perry and I wanted to do was to really talk about kind of your year end leadership checkup. Let’s look back towards last year. And I know it’s early January. We got done with all the holidays and all the things going on there, the distractions, and now we really want you to just kind of look back and just look, evaluate what you did last year in regards to leadership.

Perry Holley:    That’s what I was thinking. That if you’re wise, you get an annual physical checkup from your doctor. Why not just also consider a leadership checkup from time to time, evaluate yourself. I thought I could present you a checklist that I might use for that checkup and get you and my audience today,

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Yeah.

Perry Holley:    To comment on what you think leaders can do to maintain, or even improve their leadership health. I will just comment. I went ahead and produce a little checkup booklet, and Jake is going to post that where the learner guides are. So if you go to that,, you can download the learner guide. This week is a little booklet for your checkup to do that.

Chris Goede:     Awesome. Well, John, we’ve said this on this podcast before John often says, Hey, it’s really not about the experiences. It’s really about evaluating those experiences.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     And this is what Perry’s doing. He’s really just kind of helping us take a look back. And I know that kind of the year end is a big thing for Perry, myself, and a lot of leaders around our organization. So we’re just encouraging you to do that. We all had a lot of experiences leading in 2020, and now we want you to evaluate those experiences.

Perry Holley:    Yeah, was going to jump in. I said, for me the number one thing I think, we should all evaluated is, and it’s not easy, you have to make some assumptions, but what is your level of influence with the people in your circle of influence? And we talk about influence. Leadership is influence and influence is 360 degrees. It’s around you up, down, and across. But I love the idea of doing an assessment almost to say, if I looked at The 5 Levels of Leadership, what number, what level would I give myself with the people that report to me, the people that are beside me, my peers, and the people that are above me, my boss, or other superiors in the organization.

Chris Goede:     Love this idea in our Five Levels of Leadership training that we do, we do a similar exercise. And as we introduce the model, we then have you make some assumptions and I love the word, you said assumptions, because there may be a gap between what you believe and or you fill out on this checklist or this checkup compared to what your team is. I got an idea for you a little bit later in the podcast to help with that. But I love that idea of saying, Hey, here’s some things, here’s some areas, some influence building skills where we’re going after that you can kind of maybe rate yourself. So here’s a couple of them. We just love for you to jot down in the notes. Self-awareness, that may be a hard one to do, right, if you’re not very self-aware, but somebody else…

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Let me ask you though, we used been doing a lot, get more requests right now on, can you do self-awareness? Help us with self-awareness. And most people think they’re very self-aware and they do surveys asking people, are you self-aware? They all say yes. For some reason,

Chris Goede:     Of course, they do. Right.

Perry Holley:    I have no idea.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    But one thing that I’ve learned this year is seeking feedback. This is one area. You can seek feedback from the people closest to you is, what is the effect of my leadership on other people? How do people react to me? What is the feeling when I enter the room and how do people respond to me? You can get from someone close to you. You need to be prepared to give them feedback as well. But before people jump around and say, oh, I’m very self-aware, ask someone, get some feedback about what’s the effect of your leadership on other people.

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

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Chris Goede:     Yeah. And we’ve talked about this before. There’s great questions that you can ask to get those answers without just saying, Hey, how self-aware am I as a leader? Hey, what are some things you want me to stop doing as your leader?

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     Just ask that question. And to your point, make sure that you just set the foundation for getting really, really good feedback from them. A couple others here, humility, listening. This is always, what’d you say? This is always an issue, right, for me professionally and personally. How teachable are you, right? And how approachable are you? Last three we have here is how are you doing on empathy, not sympathy, empathy, when it comes to leading your people. Courage, how are you doing with courage?

Perry Holley:    Yep.

Chris Goede:     And then are you being curious? That’s one of our favorite topics around here is, how curious are you as a leader?

Perry Holley:    And I threw an extra one on there. I just, it’s come up lately about generosity as a influence building skill. Is that, are you generous with your time? Are you generous with your praise of others? Do you give in areas where you can serve? Adding value to people is generally a generous thing. And so I’ve recently added that one to my list, a short list of influence building skills that I need to embrace.

Chris Goede:     So I love that. Let me jump in real quick, because a lot of times when you hear the word generosity, people think of the financial side of it, right? As leaders, what’s one of our most precious commodities?

Perry Holley:    No time.

Chris Goede:     It’s our time. And yet, do we have that mindset of being generous with our time? So I love that you added that.

Perry Holley:    Number two, after evaluating your influence, I thought, how you doing leading yourself, self leadership? And so I wanted to throw a few at you to see when I think about, I always ask this when I’m consulting or in a workshop to say, what does it mean to lead yourself? And people kind scratch their head and look around. So I have a few, John has written on many of these, but maybe you could just comment on how you see that helping with your own influence level with people, your own leadership. But the first one was, how do you manage your emotions? What do emotions have to do with your leadership?

Chris Goede:     Well, I believe one word we don’t talk a lot about around leadership is consistency. And if you are, now there’s a difference I think, between being passionate and then being very emotional and if your team has to second guess whether or not it’s the right time to come talk to you, not because of timing, but because of the ebbs and flows of your emotion, then you may not be managing your emotions very well. And I think as a leader, it’s our responsibility. People look to us in the good times and the bad. And for me, I prefer to see a leader that just is steady plotting and consistent emotionally at all times.

Perry Holley:    We’ve always said here that people are watching you all the time. Then we say, what are they watching you for? A lot of it is yourself leadership. And a lot of it comes to how do you present yourself? And when I see somebody that can’t manage, what John says, are you displaying your emotion or delaying your emotion?

Chris Goede:     That’s good.

Perry Holley:    The consistency piece is around delay. I don’t have to erupt or react poorly to things. I can actually choose how I respond and I can manage those emotions. People are watching that and great word you brought up, consistency. If I see that, I’m more likely to buy in to you. The next two I had were your time and your priorities. How do you see those relating to self leadership and how people see you influentially?

Chris Goede:     Well, for me, leadership is visual. And so how as a leader, how you manage your time and your priorities oftentimes will be replicated throughout your team or your influence level. And so you are an example and leadership is visual. And so if this is not right for you as a leader, I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t look across the room or in the office and see a similar pattern to yours when it comes to how you’re managing your time and your priorities, because it’s contagious, right? It’s contagious. And so as a leader, you need to be very aware of that and make sure that you from a self standpoint, are doing it the right way.

Perry Holley:    And you’re not influenced by people who are hair on fire, late and out of control, or they’re majoring on minor things. They’re not majoring on majors. The next two will be how do you manage your energy and manage your thinking? Those are things that you think, can people really see how I manage my energy and my thinking? How does that come across to you?

Chris Goede:     Yes, absolutely they can. Right. Like energy is it is what it is. You see it. But from a thinking standpoint what comes to my mind just immediately when you ask that question is, how much am I thinking in the daily parts of my business, how much am I reacting versus how much am I thinking on? And I would encourage leaders to spend, we’ve talked about this, spend time thinking, put it in your calendar in white space, as we often call it, to be thinking on the business. And I would encourage you to model that behavior by giving examples of what that looks like. So let’s say you’re having a team meeting and you can say, Hey, you know what I was thinking on our business and here’s two ideas that I came up… When you begin modeling that again, you got to check yourself, we’re talking about checking yourself first. So we make sure you’re doing it first and then modeling that would be a great example for your team.

Perry Holley:    The final one I had was managing your personal life. And I wanted to ask you about, I get this when I’m speaking about it, that what does my personal life have to do with my ability to lead myself or develop influence? How do you see that one?

Chris Goede:     Well, I believe that you can’t separate the two. You cannot separate who you are personally with who you are professionally. And I’ve seen it and I also have lived it to where things are chaotic in my personal life. I’ve seen team members go through some chaos and it just shows up, it shows up at work, right? And either whether I’m short fuse, there’s no consistency. Think about all the things we talked about. They would be negatives if I don’t feel like I have that going right in my personal life. And so I also want to take just a second, and I know we’re talking about self, but if you see this or you feel this and it’s outside the norm for one of your teammates, I would asked you to dig in a little bit there, because there may be something going on.Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     That you don’t have to press for them to share, but even just start asking some questions. It will increase your influence with that individual so.

Perry Holley:    Well, I’ve heard John say that if the people that are closest to you don’t follow your lead, if the people that are closest to you that love you and are nearest to you don’t respect you, if you have problems with that, how are you expecting that to come at work? It really was something that at a time he said it, really affected me deeply that I was really, I thought I got quite well at work, but I wasn’t doing that great at home. And I decided to flip those around and maybe focus more at home on getting those relationships and that influencing positively at home than it carried over. Just like you said, it really, it shows up in both places.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s go to the third one here. How are you doing with your personal development?

Perry Holley:    Your personal development.

Chris Goede:     Your personal development. I was on a conversation just recently, I was on a phone call with an executive team. And the CEO is very supportive of a development plan for the organization. And I just stopped the meeting. I said, hey, and I have a relationship with them so I was able to do this. I just said, hey, what’s your development plan? Like what are you going to participate in and or what is your plan going forward? And so he kind of got stopped in his tracks and he’s like, you know what? I have some thoughts and I have some ideas, but I don’t have a well thought out plan for the year.

So as you look back in this checkup, thinking about your personal development in 2020, did you just react or did you have a very intentional plan and something that you’re spending time in every day? Something that you are not only pouring into yourselves, but then you can pour it into others. And I’ll let you just comment on this as we transition to number four, because you are an avid learner and consumer of content. Just talk a little bit about when you look back and evaluate for you personally in 2020, like, is that a check? Is that a yes? When I look at that and check up for your personal development plan.

Perry Holley:    I’ll just link it to number four is, how are you doing with people development? So your question was number three, how are you doing with your own personal development? And then number four would be, how are you doing with developing other people?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    What my biggest learning is, is that I was a zero at developing other people if I wasn’t developing me. The minute I started pouring into me, even just something small every day. We have a whole lesson on irreducible minimums, something that’s so small you would be embarrassed not to do it every day. Read one page. You can always read more, but never less than that. Could I start? Hey, it’s the beginning of the year, why not start a daily routine 15 minutes of pouring something into you. And why is said it goes to number four, how do you develop other people? Once I noticed, after I started pouring into me, I then became anxious to pour it into others. And before I wasn’t sure how do I develop others?

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    Oh, wait a minute. I’m developing me. Now I can share that with others. It just, it’s a natural flow of once you develop you. And I think a lot of leaders struggle with developing other people and they tell me two reasons. Well, they tell me one reason, I don’t have time, but the second big reason they don’t mention a lot is I don’t know what to do. How do I do that? And so when you start developing you, you will just second nature start developing others because you will have so much rich material going into your head. It will naturally flow. And John says, you can’t give what you don’t have.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    Well, you got to have it. So how do I get it? Something very small every day to do that.

Chris Goede:     And it would be your greatest return on your time and investment. We promise you that. Number five, how are you doing with designing the culture,

Perry Holley:    Oh.

Chris Goede:     That you want to have?

Perry Holley:    Like defaulting? Or do you say defaulting or designing?

Chris Goede:     No, designing. Yeah, designing. Again, this is something that we just want to challenge you. We want you to look back. And as Perry just mentioned, your culture’s going to happen.

Perry Holley:    You have a culture.

Chris Goede:     You have a culture and it is going to happen. And is it default or are you designing? So when you look back and you’re doing this kind of leadership checkup, and you’re assessing the culture of your organization and where it’s at, was that by design or was that by default? And really try to evaluate what you’re seeing and what has happened from a culture standpoint.

Perry Holley:    And we have a couple of really great podcasts. I think the last few weeks they just ran that about having a courageous culture and what does it mean to design a culture? And Greg Cagle took us through a number of great thoughts on how do people in your organization think, act, and interact? And some really great questions you can put into work here in the new year to say, what if I wanted to design a culture this year that really fit our core values and our core purpose that everybody was on the same page. Now it’s a great time to do that.

And I’ve just noticed that, I’ll turn it back over to you to wrap it up, but that great leaders really take intentional steps to grow and improve over time. And just taking that few minutes here to evaluate, take the booklet and think about it. You’ve got some time over the holidays or over the first part of the year to think about those things we put out there that evaluate yourself and just identify one or two small areas that you could grow in over the first quarter, second quarter. I think it’ll make all the difference in the world.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. So as we wrap up, here’s the call to action for you. You have to do this personal, you have to do it for yourself first. So Perry gave us five kind of great question.

Perry Holley:    Notice I did . I gave you five.

Chris Goede:     I was actually surprised you didn’t bring it to my attention.

Perry Holley:    I was waiting to see.

Chris Goede:     But I love the number five in there. The first one, evaluate your level of influence. Where do you think that is? And again, this is your assumption, right, up, down, and across in regards to your leadership. Number two, how are you doing with your self leadership? We had some great questions for you there, some thoughts. Number three, how are you doing with your personal development? Number four, how are you doing with people development? And then the final thing we just talked about was really in regards to how are you doing, designing the culture that you really want to have inside your team, inside your family, inside your community, your organization, whatever it might be. I want you to do that first by yourself. And I want you to just kind of write those down, make some notes. And then here’s the call to action. Somebody that’s very close to you that you can get honest feedback from, candid feedback, open the door, let them know you want candid feedback. I would love for you to go and have them answer those questions on behalf of your leadership.

Perry Holley:    Wow.

Chris Goede:     And then where there’s a gap between your answer and their answer, because there probably will be, that’s where you got to go to work. That’s where you got to go to work.

Perry Holley:    Super. Well, thank you, Chris. And again, welcome to 2022. We’re off to a great start. We again, thank you very much for joining us along this journey. If you’d like to get that learner guide or learn more about the products that Chris mentioned, that we’re glad to come and work with you. If you want to leave us a comment or a question, you can do all that at We always love hearing from you. And we’re always grateful that you would spend this time with us each week. That’s all today from the John Maxwell Executive Leadership podcast.

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