Change Proof | Steven Howard | Humony Leadership

 

Leaders today must focus on coaching and improving the performance of their team members. This requires adopting a people-centric approach at every level of the organization. In this episode, Steven Howard, the Author of Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills, and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader, delves into his book to explain the importance of micro mentoring. He also shares what he learned from Brain Health. So, let’s jump into this episode and see the value of Humony Leadership in your organization today.

 

Show Notes:

  • 02:00 – Humony Leadership
  • 03:39 – The Third Word
  • 08:09 – How to Use AI to Write Your Book
  • 12:33 – Transforming Micro Management Into Micro Mentoring
  • 19:45 – Opportunities for Mentorship
  • 27:01 – Brain Health
  • 39:22 – Mindset Change

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Humony Leadership: Being A Successful People-Centric Leader With Steven Howard

I love the guy I got set up for you to learn from in this episode. His name is Steven Howard. He is an award-winning author of 22 leadership business and personal development books. He is in competition with his late father who wrote 21 books but in a different genre, in the fiction space. We’re going to talk about that for sure. His book is Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader, which was awarded a Gold Medal by the Nonfiction Authors Association called Humony Leadership, a Significant Work With An Important Mission. That’s how it was termed.

When Steven talks about this book, you’ll understand why that was the way the book was described and why it won this Gold Medal for Nonfiction Authors. Steven was named one of 2023’s Top 200 Global Biggest Voices in Leadership in recognition of his thought-provoking and leading-edge thinking on the topic of leadership. Sit back. We’re going to talk about more than leadership but that is going to be a theme for this episode. I know you’re going to enjoy this conversation that I have with Steven Howard.

 

Steven, you have a long track record of creating, developing, and sharing insight with the world in the area of business leadership and more. All that is quite impressive. I’m sure readers go, “I can’t find the time to write 1 chapter, let alone 22 books.” That’s remarkable, which we will get in the backstory regarding your dad in a moment but my question at the outset is what is one thing that is not part of your introduction, standard bio, and all that thing that you would love for people to know about you at the outset of our conversation?

When I lived in Asia, I was a passionate scuba diver. I’ve done 370 dives and have been down to depths of 200 feet. I used to go diving 2 out of every 3 weekends with a diving club out of Singapore. It’s something I don’t do anymore. I would love to get back into it. That’s a lot of people don’t know about me.

I didn’t know about that either. I love Singapore. You lived in Singapore. You’ve lived outside the US for a number of years and in different places. Singapore is one of them. How long were you in Singapore?

I was in Singapore for 21 years. I got there even before Changi Airport. It’s when Changi Airport is being built. That’s how long ago it was. After that, I moved down to Australia for twelve years and then I lived in Mexico City. I’ve spent a good portion of my other life living outside the US. I’m still an American citizen, still carrying my blue passport and paying my taxes but I enjoy living a different parts of the world.

Let’s go to the backstory as I teased it. You’ve written 22 books. Your latest book is called Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader. I want to get in and talk about that. For the moment, 22 is a significant number of books but it’s also significant in your family history because you have a father who’s a fiction writer. You’re not exactly in competition but somehow or another there’s a little competition there. What’s that all about?

There’s always competition between fathers and sons. He wrote 21 books before he passed on and a couple hundred short stories, which I will never do. It’s not my forte. When I got up to 18 or 19, I said, “I have to pass the old man.” I got 22. Believe it or not, I’m working on another one. I’ll probably write 3 or 4 before I pass on, or maybe more. Who knows?

We won’t get into the details of your method but to produce almost a book a year or thereabouts, maybe approximately, is there something of a hack that you would share with other people? My dad is also a fiction writer. He’s still writing and that’s good. He would say to me, “You got to sit in the seat.” That’s all he would ever say. “If you want to write a book, sit in the seat.” Do you have anything better than that?

My dad and your dad will get well. When people say, “What’s the hardest thing about writing a book,” he would say say, “The third word.” People went, “What do you mean?” He says people sit down. They go to their typewriter in his days and computer in our days and they would write Chapter 1. In my case for nonfiction, I help people publish their books as well, nonfiction writers, in professional or personal development.

I do have a method that I use when I coach people on and it’s a four-by-four matrix. You think about, “What are your four main messages?” Let’s say you want to write a book about feedback. One has to be about the positive feedback and that would be negative feedback or coaching. For those four main messages, what are your four core supporting messages?

For instance, when you’re having a feedback conversation, your supporting messages might be, “It has to be interactive or a dialogue.” You have to explain the impact of the situation and the potential impact of making change and on and on. If you do that, you have sixteen chapters. None of my books ever finished from sixteen chapters. They go 19, 13, or 15 but at least for me, it’s a way of getting a process or an outline knowing where you want the book to go.

You have to explain the situation's impact and the potential impact of making change. Click To Tweet

That’s tangible, tactical, simple, and not easy. I love the distinction, “It’s simple but not easy.” People can follow that. I believe that people are always reading at the perfect time and that’s the way I’m wired to look for the synergistic aspects of things. I don’t believe in randomness. If somebody is in the middle of that, maybe they go, “That helped me to get going.” You create that matrix and a structure, and then you start to build around it. That’s the way you wire-frame anything, whether you wireframe on a website or you’re trimming a Christmas tree. You start with something and then hang things on it.

I’ve written my stuff to second draft. I went down on an airplane editing. I was going to post it in three weeks. I kept there playing and going, “This is rubbish. This is terrible. It was chapter fourteen. This fits better in chapter six.” It’s partly because I sell and publish. I made this decision, “I’m going to take three extra weeks to redo this, take this section out and put it here,” Some of it is in chapter nine or something. When you read it, it has to flow but for me, the outline has to flow to get my brain going.

I prop my dad to say this, “You’re not going to finish a book unless you sit in the seat.” I didn’t plan our conversation going this way but I’m going to follow the threads here for a second. What’s the AI connection to you? What’s your thought on any of the potential impact that AI will have on literature, for example, whether it’s nonfiction or fiction?

Like a lot of technology tools, it’s going to be misused and advantageous. I was helping somebody write a book. I did an AI chat box. I said, “What are the ten most common questions asked about ABC?” I couldn’t always say it because the person is still writing the book. I then asked something, “What are the twenty things that people outside the United States ask about this?” He was writing a book having to do with cross cultures and he wanted to know what people outside the US thought about the way Americans thought about certain topics.

That helped him as an outline. He’s not going to copy and paste from that. I got invited to a webinar. It was like, “How to use AI to write your book in one day?” I’m going, “If you want to be credible as an author and you want to publish a book, you can do that but then what happened?” For speakers, you get on stage. You don’t have the authority. You don’t know the topic.

You copied and pasted a topic from a computer, put your name on the label, and then you want to go and be a subject matter expert on it. You can probably do it for 30 or 40 minutes on stage. As soon as someone asks you a question, you’re going to freeze to something very specific that you or AI hadn’t thought about. That’s the part that worries me quite frankly.

Do you do a bunch of public speaking or have you in the past?

I do quite a bit of public speaking. I’ve done a lot more in the past. I’m not starting to do it that COVID is gone or supposedly gone. The meetings industry is picking back up again. I spoke at a conference in Ohio. I’ve done quite a few virtual talks. I’ve got a couple of schedules in the first quarter of 2024 for some live presentations. I do quite a few keynote speeches and workshops.

What’s your favorite thing to deliver a keynote about?

It’s about the new topic, the new book, how leadership is changing and needs to pivot in certain ways and think about their mindsets. People talk about leadership skills and communication. I talk about leadership mindsets and how you changed your mindset and become more people-centric in your thinking about what it means to be a leader in the world. You can reduce employee attrition and the costs associated with that.

Change Proof | Steven Howard | Humony Leadership

Humony Leadership: The new leadership is changing.

 

You can increase employee engagement and the productivity and creativity benefits of that. That’s the key thing I talk about. I also do some keynotes on brain health because a few years ago, one of my books was about how stress and anxiety impact decision-making. My father had early Alzheimer’s before he passed away. I did a lot of research into that, understanding how more about how the brain operates. It impacts our decisions particularly when we’re under stress. I do some talks about making better decisions by understanding how your brain operates.

There are a lot of managers. I don’t think there are a lot of leaders. Do you lean or agree with that? If so, why?

Absolutely, but I would add to that that you can be a leader at any level of an organization. You can be a supervisor and be a leader instead of a manager. I don’t say that almost all leaders have to be managers at times. They have three different hats. You have the hat where you still do individual contributor work as a leader, whether that’s something simple as filling out the annual performance review for one of your employees that you have to do individually. You have to be a manager at times where you have to give direction and directives but you have to be a leader when it comes to people.

Change Proof | Steven Howard | Humony Leadership

Humony Leadership: You can be a leader at any level of an organization. You can be a supervisor and be a leader instead of a manager.

 

The phrase I use and the way I distinguish it is you manage things, policies, processes, procedures, and projects but you lead people. That’s one of the mindset changes I’m talking about. Take away the concept that you manage people. Managing people is a 1980s construct. It’s not relevant anymore. No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I can’t wait to be managed or micromanaged by my boss today.” No one wants to be managed. In the 1960s and 1970s, we hired people for their hands. They needed to be managed. Nowadays, we hire people for the brains. Don’t manage them. Lead, motivate, and power them.

I love the concept of transforming micromanagement into micro mentoring, as an example. Do you think we have an issue in mentorship, a lack of mentorship caused by the pandemic, and the changes to the workplace?

We had it before the pandemic. It goes that mindset that I have to manage people. One of the reasons managers want people back in the workplace is, “I can manage them. I can’t trust them if they’re working at home.” If you can’t trust them, why do you hire them in the first place quite honestly? You want to overlook and oversee them. That’s managing. The problem is that managers spend so much time in meetings with their peers instead of in meetings where they’re mentoring their team members.

Much time is wasted in meetings talking with your peers about stuff and going back and forth back and talking about, “What our next meeting is going to be about,” instead of spending time in mentoring and coaching. I use the phrase micro coaching. Go away from micromanaging to micro-coaching. I like your phrase micro mentoring. That is not wasted time. That’s invested time in the future of your business and the success of your team and employees.

It feels like it’s the difference between looking at someone and looking after them. I’m a word guy like you. To me, it’s not semantics. The language is vitally important. To look after them is the heart of our work because mostly when we’re working in organizations, we are working at the level of the health of that organization and the individuals, how resilient are they, and how you increase well-being all around. That is wanting to, at some level, have their backs. I’m wearing that shirt. I put on my shirt, “Got your back,” for that reason.

What are you seeing in organizations that you’re working with? You produce this latest book as a way to bring about more humanity and that people-centric philosophy or cultures have become the norm than they have been. I would love to get a sense of the philosophical trajectory you’ve been around for a minute. I have two but you’ve been around a little longer than me in the space. I was a lawyer for a couple of dozen years before I moved into this world. I’d like to get a sense of where are we tracking in terms of how culture has evolved or devolved. It has evolved but there’s an argument that could be made that gone the other direction in some respects.

It’s moving slowly. What I am finding in the organizations that I work with is people grasp it, particularly, first and second-line leaders. The CEO and C-level people are still up in the clouds. They have one eye on the stock exchange ticker, another one on the board, or asking to do and stuff like that. People at the front line understand this because they’re the ones who are getting hit by this. I often say that middle managers are the glue between strategy and execution.

That glue is falling apart because they’re losing people. They have high employee turnover and they realized that focusing on results only is burning people out. People are saying, “I don’t need this.” That’s one thing that came out of the pandemic. People reevaluated, “How important work is in my life? Do I identify with work? I have other responsibilities.” You talked about humanity. One of the things that I talk about in the book and my keynote speeches, which seems to resonate with people, is I say, “One of the silver linings of the pandemic is that leaders and managers understand that people have responsibilities outside work.”

We used to say before, “Work-life balance is fine. We know people have lives outside work. As long as they get the work done first, then they can go have that life, particularly on Sundays.” Now, people realize, “Adam has responsibilities. He may have elderly parents to look after. He may have children who have school needs. Maybe he coaches a girl soccer team. For him, that’s a responsibility. That’s not a lifestyle thing. That’s not just something he does for fun. He’s taking on the responsibility to do it.”

The organizations and the department heads understand that and say, “We understand Adam on Tuesdays and Thursdays has to leave at 4:00 because he’s coaching soccer from 4:00 to 6:00 but he’ll pick it up back at 6:00. If he wants to work at 8:00 at night, that’s his choice. We’ll let Adam go do a soccer coaching and fulfill his responsibility.” If we let people fulfill their non-work responsibilities, they come to work less stressed and more appreciative because they have harmony in their lives. There’s more synchronicity in their life. They know they have the support of their organization that they can fulfill those other responsibilities. They become more loyal, productive, and innovative.

If we let people fulfill their non-work responsibilities, they come to work less stressed. Click To Tweet

I agree but I don’t want to just agree. I want to ask a question that I would expect I’d be asked to. Do you think the opportunities for mentorship are decreasing because we are more of a flexible and hybridized work environment? With the pandemic, it has stayed the case in many instances. I’m of the belief personally that how a person gets their work done and how they are productive is unique. It’s like, “The way I work is different than the way you work. The way I would create a book would be different than the way that you would do it,” as an example.

Yet one thing we know for sure is that our careers have benefited through mentorship but I’m guessing that yours has. I can think back to 3 or 4 mentors in my life where I’m the product of that mentorship in many respects. Warren Buffett or anybody else you would speak to would say the same thing. Are the opportunities for mentorship decreasing? What would the long-term effect be if we somehow forget that they thrive in an at-work environment versus people behind screens from their homes with a nice shirt on top and their pajama pants on the bottom?

In frontline areas, it has decreased and people only go into a manufacturing site two times a week as a manager, supervisor, and shift leader who can do some of that work remotely. They don’t catch people in the moment. They don’t catch those opportunities for mentorship. I also would advocate that people are using hybrid work as an excuse for not entering.

Mentorship is not easy. When you say excuse, we’re saying, “That is not an easy thing to do, I don’t think, to mentor somebody.”

It’s not as easy but before the pandemic, all my coaching of people was face-to-face, and then all my coaching people were on Zoom calls like this. I figured out how to make it effective and regular. In my situation, I had one of the people I coach regularly. He called me in the day and said, “I need half an hour to talk about something.” I said, “Let’s do it. I had half an hour clear.” He caught me. We talked about him at the moment. He’s in Los Angeles. I was in Mexico City. I can do it on Zoom calls.

It’s like in the field. Let’s take somebody who’s a mechanical engineer in a factory or unprocessing like, ”They make a mistake. I can’t catch it from the remote. I’ve got to be in the factory.” There are some elements of the job that have to be face-to-face. There are also elements of many people’s jobs that can be done remotely. People use this as an excuse, “It’s too hard to do it.” Figure it out. When the pandemic hit, the CEO of Google said something along the lines of, “People going to have to come back to the workplace. I can’t imagine how we’re going to develop leaders remotely.” My comment to that article was, “They’re going to have to figure it out. They’re going to have to learn.”

I’m like you. The organizations that we work with sometimes are spread out across the globe and places that you could be in person but we would for financial reasons and otherwise choose to do it differently. I have not found it to be an impediment to be on screen with people when there’s a structure and an intent to create that mentorship moment or those opportunities. You’re going to miss a few things by not having full body cues.

To be on screen with people is not an impediment when there's a structure and an intent to create that mentorship moment or those opportunities. Click To Tweet

They’ve been written about the psychology of it. The moments when you run into somebody in the hallway, outside in the office, or in the break room are situations that you can’t plan except you can predict that in the ordinary course of a day, you’re going to have those weak tie connections, the people that will have collisions. In those moments, some amazing things do happen. It’s not a one-size-fits-all. The wisdom in this is that every organization and function is different. To figure out how to make sure you’re not leaving mentorship by the roadside is going to require thinking differently.

In 2023, I did sales training for a major 14,500 IT company, both in the United States and Latin America. Here’s where this can be beneficial. After the training, I did monthly group coaching sessions separately for both groups. Think about Latin America. You can’t bring people in from Peru, Colombia, Venezuelan, Argentina, and Brazil to Mexico City once a month for coaching sessions but you can get everyone to put 90 minutes aside on the 3rd Thursday of every month to do a group coaching session. You can leverage it.

The work you use is probably the most important word here, structure. You have to have a structure for it and be dedicated to the process. It’s not easy. I had 12 or 14 sales leaders on a coaching call. I have to talk to them and get them to ask questions but like in a conference room, some people won’t talk. You have to do the same thing. You got to go around the room and say, “I need to hear from you. What is your biggest issue this month? What are you struggling with? Put it on the table. Let’s talk about it.” Structure and commitment are critical.

I want to switch gears to ask about brain health because I know you wrote a book about brain health. That was probably in some respect inspired by what you saw your dad going through. I feel like there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that if you’re lucky enough to have won the ovarian lottery, and this is a term that is more associated with Warren Buffett than anybody else, it’s the idea that if you are born in the United States as you were and I was, you hit the lottery comparatively speaking.

For that, there are benefits including the opportunity to live longer. We’re all given access to information that will help us to live longer regardless of where we are born. The import of that statement is decreasing over time. The worst possible scenario I can imagine is one where your body is strong and healthy somehow but your mind is not at a certain point. Let’s talk about what maybe you have learned about brain health that perhaps we haven’t and some things that we can all be thinking about differently there.

The reason I did the research is my father had early Alzheimer’s before he passed away. I’m single living a couple of doors down from Dad. I start thinking, “Who’s going to look after me? Is this my fate 20, 25 years from now, or X number of ears?” I started doing the research quite honestly selfishly. One is to learn to be a better caregiver for him and then secondly, “Is there anything I can do?” The good news is only about 5% to 6% of dementia is DNA-related. Another 3% to 4%, depending on which part of the world you’re talking about, is from brain injuries.

Well over 90% of dementia is a lifestyle disease. It’s what we do to our bodies in our 30s, 40s, or 50s that increases our risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s in our 60s, 70s, and 80s. The thing is the brain is the biggest user of oxygen and blood in our body. Anything good for the heart, which we’ve been told about since the 1970s with the DASH diet and stuff like that, is good for the brain. It’s the same lifestyle issues and a little bit of exercise.

Change Proof | Steven Howard | Humony Leadership

Humony Leadership: The brain is the biggest user of oxygen and blood in our body.

 

We’re not talking about running marathons or having marathons. We are talking about 20 or 30 minutes of walking a few times a week, some strength exercise if you’re capable of doing it, sufficient sleep so the brain synapses and reset themselves, reducing stress, keeping your emotions and stress under control, reducing cholesterol, reducing your blood pressure, and eating more healthily. Here’s the thing. Both you and I are past this but it’ll scare some of your audience. Men who put on the most abdominal fat in their 40s have the highest risk for dementia in their 70s if there’s a direct correlation.

We only learn this because of MRI technology. They can see inside our brains. They can see what’s happening to our brains. The last point I’ll make is UCLA Medical School did some research. People who sit the most throughout the day and then go home and sit at night in front of a TV or sit and talk, their brains shrink. It gets smaller. Get up. For instance, every time I run a workshop for a group, every 50 to 70 minutes, I make people get up and move around the room.

No longer you’re going to sit there for 90 minutes or 2 hours in a workshop and then have a coffee break and eat donuts, 2 more hours sitting down, going having a high-calorie lunch, and then sitting down for 4 hours again in the afternoon. Every 57 minutes, I make people get up, walk around, and go to flip charge. We do things. Sometimes, I get people outside to get some fresh air. We will sit or stand around and talk outside for twenty minutes, and then we go back to the classroom. All these lifestyle changes which are not hard are very important to protect our brains into our 70s and 80s.

You’ve inspired me. I’m going to hit the button and elevate my desk. I’m about to stand up for myself. I need this reminder of my son and I. He has a standing desk as well. He’s working remotely for the data analyst position that he has. We will text each other periodically through the week going, “Are you sitting or standing? What are you doing?” We give each other a little bit of appropriate things to get off our butts. I’m a big massive believer in walking. These small changes are impactful. They produce an exponential benefit over time.

People think sometimes to make a significant change we’ve got to do something commensurately significant. The truth is you just don’t. Thank you for that reminder. I got to stand up and that’s a good thing. I appreciate that. I want to go back to these 22 books and ask you a very difficult question. This is like a Sophie’s Choice or a question that’s almost impossible. What’s your favorite book? I want an honest answer from you.

I’ve been asked that 2 or 3 times before, and it is my latest book.

Change Proof | Steven Howard | Humony Leadership

Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills, and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric

That’s too safe. Come on.

No, but I do believe my writing does get better with improvement and practice. I put a lot more into this book. Before, I wouldn’t have said that because you go back three books, that’s the brain health book. The one in between was about how stress and anxiety impact your decision-making. That’s smaller. It was quick. It’s a nice book. It’s very reachable for people but would not be in my top five. It’s the latest one and it will remain. I’m writing a couple of smaller books but neither one of those is my favorite.

I’m going to accept that answer.

Thank you.

I know you are on a mission here as am I to create a healthier workplace in a variety of different ways. One of the things is that the pandemic revealed the fact that we, employees, have choices. By that, I mean that when you realize that you could work differently than the way you had been working previous to that, you have to make a comparison and decide, “Which is the healthier choice for me?” A lot of people have decided that the healthier choice is to be able to walk the dog, kiss your kids off to school, sit down at your desk, and log in for that 9:00 AM meeting or whatever it might be.

There’s a lot that has not yet been fully revealed about the downside of having almost no boundary between work and non-work, meaning that your work invades your home space. It’s with you because you have your phone with you. It’s with you all the time 24/7 and on Sundays, Saturdays, at baseball games, dance recitals, in the movies, at dinner, and everywhere else. There’s that issue that we haven’t yet fully grappled with but overall, what we’re seeing are people making healthier choices for themselves at least based on the information they have available at the moment. Do you agree with that?

I agree with that. I would add to that. It’s not just working from home. We have to understand that before the pandemic, the typical morning for parents rushing around getting kids dressed, getting off to the school bus, or driving to school, and then having to commute to work, people were arriving at work stressed. One of the reasons the research shows that people are more productive when they’re working from home is when they put the structure in place. Secondly, when they start that 9:00 AM meeting, they haven’t had to spend 45 minutes in Los Angeles traffic, San Francisco traffic, or anything like that. They haven’t had to spend it on the subway.

They haven’t had to stop and put gas in their car because it’s low and all these stresses that they have. I want your audience to think, “When you do drive to work, what do you think about? Are you thinking happy thoughts?” No, you’re thinking about the stress of what you have to do after work. Your brain is spending so much time on stress. When you arrive at your workplace, you’re frazzled. The same thing with not having to do the reverse on the way home in the evening means you don’t come home frazzled and you don’t take it out on the kids, the dog, and the spouse.

You end up with better relationships or you have time to walk the dog and get some fresh air. You get that a little bit of brain exercise and get some fresh air at the same time distressing yourself. Those are the elements. It’s not so much focusing only on the work from home but the getting to and from and the mindset that people ride when they sit at that desk and start logging in at whatever time, having that first conference call, or whatever they happen to be doing.

I don’t miss my hour and a half each-way commute back in the day. One of my last couple of questions here is going to be about resiliency. I’d love to get your sense of what you do to maintain your resilience, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Is there something that’s not a negotiable go-to for you in terms of producing greater resiliency?

The two most important words ever written in history were on the Temple of Apollo in Greece. It said, “Know thyself.” I’m a morning person. If I don’t get a 20 to 25-minute nap between 4:00 and 5:00, I make less than optimal decisions. I’ve learned over the years that if I don’t get that nap, if I’m teaching a workshop for instance at a client’s office, I don’t get that but when I go back to the hotel, I turn on my computer and someone wants to make a decision, no. If I can postpone it to the next morning, boom.

I will be getting that little rest and some exercise. One thing I forced myself to do was pay for a personal trainer. It comes three times a week. I had to cancel because of our interview. That’s not a problem. I’ll make it up but the thing is I don’t cancel it more than once a month because I’m paying him. I’m sure as heck going to show up at the gym downstairs when he shows up. That’s the Scottish blood. That’s reality. My grandmother is Scottish. I’m not going to pay somebody and then not take advantage.

Know yourself. Know what energizes you, what people pump you up, and what people de-energize you. Avoid those people as much as possible. If you’re a morning person like me, the last thing you want to do is a status meeting on Tuesday morning and 9:00. I’m brainstorming. I don’t want to start doing status meetings at 1:00 in the afternoon. In the morning, let’s brainstorm. Let’s kick some ideas around and create something. Let’s be innovative. My brain is going, “You’re the person who needs four cups of coffee and your brain doesn’t start work until 11:00. Have the status meeting. Don’t do creative stuff before 11:00.”

The last question I want to ask you is having written this book, having a mission, and being on a mission here, is there a piece of advice you’re going to give a senior-level leader or even a CEO, somebody in that suite that you said is a little out of touch? Let’s direct it at those folks because, in many respects, you and I have conversations with a number of the people who are tasked with making things better in an organization, whether it’s increased engagement, productivity, or whatever is coming down from on high. What can you say to somebody who’s a little up in that tower and may not know about the current state of leadership in our world? Give the advice to help them get more grounded. What is the real as far as you see it?

For those people, I would say have a mindset change. When we look at leaders in the 1990s or early 2000s, we admire the leaders who get the most out of people. Change your mindset. It’s no longer about getting the most out of your people. It’s about putting the most into your people and reaping the benefits. Putting it means taking time to coach, mentor, and develop them. Understand that you are leading human beings. You’re not leading assets, resources, staff, and certainly headcounts.

It's no longer about getting the most out of your people. It's about putting the most into your people. Click To Tweet

Take a more human approach to how you lead people. Manage things, policies, procedures, and all those other things but lead people. If I can have the liberty of a second answer, my number one piece of advice is very simple. Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. Have that growth mindset. Always be learning. That’s good for your brain if nothing else but it’s going to be good for you.

The time has gone but I have so enjoyed the conversation that we had. I would love for us to have a second crack at it maybe sometime in 2024 as you’re working on those new books. Maybe we’ll revisit the question of which is your favorite child as a father. You never answer that question. You’re like, “They’re all my favorites.” Thank you. This is been a blast.

It’s a great conversation. Thank you very much.

I enjoyed that conversation tremendously. If I’m enjoying it, somehow others will enjoy it. I hope that’s not a bridge too far. I felt like it was a conversation. That’s what I strive for in this show every time. Maybe there are some questions that we have in advance or questions that we ask on a regular basis but for the most part, it’s following the breadcrumbs. Whenever I get with one of my guests, whether I know them well or not, maybe I’m meeting them for the first time which is the case in this instance, I will say to them that we’re going to follow the threads where they lead us and that will make for both an interesting and hopefully insightful conversation for us. That will translate into the same for folks who are reading.

I hope you found that to be the case. We talked about a lot of things. We covered this whole idea of how it is that you create content in the form of books. This is the twenty-second book that Steven has produced. I have not nearly that many. My father interestingly enough is also a fiction writer and Steven’s father was a fiction writer. His father passed and he had 21 fiction books to his credit at that time. Steven admitted that he was a bit of an honoring of his father as well as a competitive spirit between the father and son kind of thing.

He needed to exceed that number and did with his latest and according to Steven his favorite book. It’s perfect timing for this book, Humony Leadership. Meaning, how do we take a more human approach? How do people leaders take a more human approach? We get into the depth of that. We talked about mentorship, micromanagement, and the difference between managing people and leading them, not just at 30,000 feet either.

We get into that granular space to talk about what it is that will best serve the workplace and how it is that we can create a culture where people have their needs fully met and as a result of that, they are producing everything that they are capable of producing. Not because they have a whip to their back but because there’s an inspiration to thrive and express that love in return for the love that they feel that’s coming from those that are around them and those who lead them.

In our work with organizations, we refer to that as a got-your-back culture. When there is that sense that people have your back, whether it’s the person on the right or left or the person in the front or behind you, you could feel the presence of that other human there for you. That’s a defining aspect or maybe the most important defining trait of a got-your-back culture. We talk about that and the difference in distinction between looking over people and looking after them.

We talk about brain health because Steven’s father passed away from a brain-related condition. He had early Alzheimer’s. We talked about the book that Steven wrote on brain health and some tangible things that we can all do from where we are to increase the chance that we will avert that. That’s something that goes without saying none of us would want to have our bodies be strong, healthy, and vigorous, and our minds not be as well off.

There are simple things that we can do to do that. From what I understand from the statistics he shared, only 3% of dementia is congenital or related to our DNA. The rest of it in many ways has to do with our environment and what we’re doing in our 30s, 40s, and 50s that lead to how our brains are when we’re in our 60s, 70s, and 80s. The correlation there is strong and more. The causation that’s been proven between our physical health, what we eat and drink, how we exercise or sleep, these things are directly related to how our brains will perform, and how healthy or unhealthy they will be later on in life. It’s not something that we can look away from or deny anymore. I don’t think.

We talk about a lot here that I think is worth taking to heart personally. To that end, I would also say if there’s somebody that you know that might benefit from reading some of what was shared, please feel free to share this blog with that person, those colleagues, friends, or family members. That has always been helpful to us. Without a doubt, our goal is to have this show reach more people and the way the algorithm works is that when you do share it, people will get access to it.

If inclined to rate the show and give it a five-star rating on the platform that you’re consuming it, what that does for us is it helps the algorithm to direct this show to be more readily available and accessible. People will see it and all that good stuff. Thank you if you do that. No requirement. You’re helping us and hopefully, helping other people in the process.

At this moment, if you’d like to leave a comment, you can do that at AdamMarkel.com/Podcast. Your comment or question is there for me and Steven to answer. It will be us. It will not be AI, bot, or anything like that. Feel free to do that at any point in time. Lastly, check in with yourself. How resilient are you feeling? We typically share this particular link. It is a free resource. It takes three minutes. When a resource is there to utilize, that’s up to us to do it. The most we can ever do is lead. We can’t force anybody to drink, eat, or anything else. That’s our responsibility.

If you go to RankMyResilience.com, you can get yourself this free three-minute assessment of your resiliency, mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually speaking. You could share with the members of your team as well. We do a full analysis of teams and organizations. If you’d be interested in having your team or organization assessed in this regard, it’s a very simple way to establish a baseline for how resilient anyone or any group is at the present time.

It is entirely our gift to you. The resources that follow are things that you can access and take advantage of immediately. With that, thank you so much for supporting us, being an advocate, being a part of our community, and for all the love that we always feel in the comments that we receive. Thank you so much. We’ll see in the next episode.

 

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About Steven Howard

Change Proof | Steven Howard | Humony LeadershipSteven Howard is the award-winning author of 22 leadership, business, and professional development books. His latest book is Humony Leadership: Mindsets, Skills, and Behaviors for Being a Successful People-Centric Leader. In awarding the book a Gold Medal, the Nonfiction Authors Association called Humony Leadership, “a significant work with an important mission.” Steven was named one of the 2023 Top 200 Global Biggest Voices in Leadership in recognition of his thought-provoking and leading-edge thinking on leadership.