November 12, 2023


Episode 103 - Today's Leadership Challenges with Beth Napleton

Hosted by

Patrick Jinks, PhD, BCC
Episode 103 - Today's Leadership Challenges with Beth Napleton
The Leadership Window
Episode 103 - Today's Leadership Challenges with Beth Napleton

Nov 12 2023 | 00:52:36


Show Notes

Patrick chats leadership with fellow executive coach and consultant, Beth Napleton, NYC-based founder of Beth Napleton Consulting.

Beth offers senior leaders in education and at mission-driven organizations a clear path to excellence through individual, executive and group coaching experiences. Additionally, she offers busy leaders a container and her expertise so they can expand their capacity in all areas.

Beth leverages her extensive experience in education to work with senior leaders in education and mission-driven organizations to help them clear out the “adult problems” that get in the way of student success.

Beth is a national award-winning teacher and has been in the education field for over 20 years, having trained over 1,800 teachers and leaders to success. She is an alumnus of Columbia University, Building Excellent Schools, and Teach For America. Most recently, she served as Founder and CEO of a small charter school network on the South Side of Chicago that opened in 2013. All graduates of her schools – most of them first-generation students – were accepted to at least two four-year colleges, changing their paths forever.

Beth took her leadership skills a step further and became a certified Clifton Gallup Strengths Coach so she can offer leaders the opportunity to lean into their own strengths and succeed.

Beth completed the National Principal Supervisors Academy at Relay, and is a former member of the Far South Side Community Action Council. Beth has been a guest on The EJT Show and the Teacher Renewed: What's Possible in Education podcasts, and hosted her own podcast Live on Leadership with Beth Napleton.

She is a solo parent who lives in NYC with her three amazing kids.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:31] Patrick: Hey, everyone. Welcome to episode 103 of The Leadership Window. Man, this year has flown by world. I don't know, it's spinning faster than it used to, I think. I don't know. Anyway, welcome to episode 103. We have Beth Napleton on the show today of Beth Napleton consulting. And I'm going to tell you, I don't usually just read entire BIOS. I usually pull out just the shortest little things and just make quick introductions. But this one just I don't know, it just really interests me and I just couldn't find anything I wanted to take out. So bear with me a second while I let you know who you're about to hear some rich conversation from. Beth is a New York City based executive leadership coach consultant. And by the way, you don't find often people are one or the other, they're a coach or a consultant. We'll get into that. In talking with Beth earlier, I don't know, a month or so ago, she used the word coach sultan and I hadn't ever heard that word. And I love it. I love the hybrid nature of it. But she is the owner and founder of Beth Napleton Consulting. She offers senior leaders in education mostly and at mission driven organizations a clear path to excellence through her individual executive and group coaching experiences. She is a national award winning teacher. She's been in the education field for over 20 years, having trained nearly 2000 teachers and leaders to success. She's an alumni of Columbia University, building excellent schools and teach for America. Most recently, she served as founder and CEO of a small charter school network on the South Side of Chicago that opened in 2013. And all of the graduates of her schools in that network, most of them first generation students, were accepted to at least two to four year colleges, changing their paths forever. So she's making an impact while it's in the education field. I know that many of you who listen to this program in the social sector can appreciate that. She then took her leadership skills a step further, became certified in Clifton Gallup Strength Finders model and became a certified coach through them, so she can help offer leaders the opportunity to lean into their own strengths and succeed. Beth completed the National Principal Supervisors Academy at Relay and is a former member of the Far South Side Community Action Council. She's been a guest on the EJT show and the teacher renewed what's Possible in Education podcasts and hosted her own podcast live on Leadership with Beth Napleton. She is a solo parent who lives in new york city with her three amazing kids, and I will go ahead and spill the beans here to beth. Beth has has told me when we started the show, she goes, hey, if you hear a kid or two that's just molasses life and get ready for it. I honestly love hearing the kids and the dogs and whatever else happens in our homes because that's life. That's just who we are. So, beth, thank you for reaching out. Glad we have connected. Been looking forward to talking with you. Welcome to the show. [00:03:58] Beth: Thank you. I'm so excited to be here. [00:04:01] Patrick: Well, you should be after that intro. [00:04:03] Beth: Yeah, I know. I feel good. I can go. [00:04:05] Patrick: You should be excited to hear yourself. Can't wait to hear the recording of this show. I sound amazing. No, this really is I've had a little bit of contact with teach for america and a good bit of contact in the education arena myself. In fact, some nonprofits who are education focused, like partners with public schools and those kinds of nonprofits. So I'm very high on what your bent is and what you've offered the world, but I'm just going to turn it to you for a second. What did I miss or what in that introduction is really the key for you? Tell us really who you are and what you're doing for the world. [00:04:51] Beth: Yeah, no, I appreciate that. And it's interesting to think about all those experiences and how they shape me. And one of the things I think about as you were sharing the bio and my mind is thinking about different parts of my career and my journey. I think there is a common theme through them, which is that very early on, I realized that often in nonprofits and education, virtually everybody is in it for some sort of a calling, a mission. Right. This is not just a job. There are much easier ways to pay your bills than working in this field. And there is sometimes a step or development missing. Where I found, for example, in the schools that I worked in, there were leaders who had clearly been very good teachers, but who really didn't know much about managing and leading. And it was much to the detriment of the entire school community that the principal was not able to effectively communicate. At my first school, for example, or share priorities or delegate. And I worked at several different schools, and I worked all around the country and had the ability to work under some amazing leaders and also worked under some folks who weren't so great. And it really just had me thinking so much about in any area where the priorities to know, to paraphrase Dr. King, bend the arc of the universe towards justice a little bit more, we have got to have leaders who are both great leaders and effective managers, and those two things are not always the same. But you have to have a little bit of both to be able to move a group of people towards ambitious goals, which is, I imagine, what a lot of your listeners are trying to do. [00:06:38] Patrick: Yeah. I appreciate the fact that you realized in your career that not every high performer is a good leader. And so you stepped into the space to help improve that area. You saw a gap, and you stepped in. That is one of the common challenges that many of my coaches face is they were put in a position of leadership largely because they were high performers. And now they're trying to make that shift from what I call high individual performer to high impact leader. And not everybody succeeds in that. And the Peter Principle and all that, just because you're a good market design person doesn't mean you can run a marketing company and lead people. So when you stepped into that space, what is telling you that you're making an impact in leadership? How do you, as a coach recognize the growth of the educators and others that you're coaching into leadership? [00:07:48] Beth: Well, certainly one of the things that I think about a lot is that it feels like, to use an analogy with what you're speaking of, it's like teaching in a classroom is like being a great springboard diver on the 3 meters. Right. And then you get promoted to a dean, as I did. Right. Dean of instruction. And all of a sudden, it's like instead of the springboard at 3 meters, it's the platform at ten. It's like, well, they're both involve water and diving and pools and children and learning. But I now need to get results through others as opposed to my individual piece. And so I think that a lot of these lessons, I think when you think about me stepping into this arena of coaching, a lot of it was after really 20 years of taking on different roles, learning the hard way, many ways to be effective or ineffective. Right. We learn from our mistakes as well. And so I think that often when I start working with leaders, they are in a place of feeling really isolated. I feel like I've tried everything I can, and I just don't know what to do. And people are complicated, and so there's lots of human emotions that come to the surface, both for them and the people they work with. And I think what we're able to do, really through my coach Salting work is to kind of help, first of all, take a good picture of where we're at right. What's really going on right now, and let's just get a good picture and kind of a full 360. Then let's say, okay, well, given where we're at now and given where we want to go, what's the right way to prioritize a plan? And we always talk about making a good enough plan. It doesn't need to be perfect. It doesn't need to be 1000 steps. Let's make a good enough plan to get from A to B. And then I really work with people. And that all is part of the kind of the consulting part, the Salting part of Coach Salting, where I always say I bring the agenda, I come away with the to dos, I'm doing the interviews and the focus groups and the site visits and the observations and whatever it might be. And then we shift into the coaching where we've got this plan, we've aligned on it, we think this makes the most sense. And now it's about how do we implement this? So leaders might say, I want to work on making my organization more a place where it's like a culture of feedback. And so I'll do a current state analysis. We'll think about why is there isn't that happening? I'll identify kind of various key levers that we can pull. We'll figure out a path together and then they'll start taking those actions and inevitably you hit bumps in the road. That's how it goes. Even the best plan never goes exactly right. There's a reason that's a cliche not according to plan. Right? And so how do we then navigate that so that it doesn't just gather dust in a drawer? You don't get up, you're not frustrated, and you are able to get yourself from step A, point A to point B into that desired state that you're hoping to get to as a leader. [00:10:28] Patrick: Well, I can imagine that the Coach Salting really works in the teaching environment for you because that's where the subject matter expertise is my background. I spent probably about the same amount of time you spent in education I spent in the nonprofit world as an organizational leader. Most of who I coach are nonprofit leaders. And there is a bit of a hybrid where because I have experience, I understand the environment they're in, the nuances of that challenge. I can be a little bit of a mentor, advisor. I still wouldn't quite maybe say consulting, but I certainly can do more than just stay in inquiry mode where coaching lives, but only with them. I wouldn't play that role if I were coaching most of your clients. I would not play the Coach Sultan role. I'd play the coach role. And you may do the same with clients that you're not familiar with their arena. Does that make sense? I think it's a great asset and value for your sector. [00:11:37] Beth: Well, certainly I work a lot with principals and so we'll work on various issues. Like I want my school to become more goal oriented or a lot of people in this kind of current talent landscape. It feels I know we need to revamp our performance review process and I'm kind of terrified because of what's going on in the broader world. So how do we work through this? But what I find is even with my nonprofit clients and in these areas. So much of where my work is is in leading humans to achieve what you want them to do. And it's just in some ways, there's always a few key things I'm asking myself. Are there clear goals that we're shooting for, whether they're quantitative or qualitative? Do we have a clear target that we're aiming for? Right? Do we have ways to monitor that? Do we know who does what? And this is often where it gets real messy because everyone does a little bit of something and who makes the decision. And she really cares about this. And it's really let's clarify roles and goals. And I think that goes such a long way in virtually every industry. I mean, my family is in the automobile business. It could not be more different than education and the number of conversations I've had where it's like, actually, do they know their goals, they know their roles, they know where decision making authority is. That solves a lot of problems. Not all of them, of course, but I think that it is really. I think one of my coaching clients this morning was saying, I love working with you because you always offer solutions. And I was like, well, this is actually not what coaches do, right? True. Coaches are asking all questions all the time, and you're coming to it, and it's fantastic. And I think in some ways, it's just knowing myself, I'm just, like, a little bit impatient for that. And I was like, look, you're thinking about how to continue this development that you had. This was the dean of a large university, and she had had a retreat, and they had some great training on storytelling, and she wanted to continue that, right? She didn't want this to die out. Even though they only do their retreat annually. She was looking for ideas. And I said, well, here's what I think you could do and you could do in this. She goes, I love it. You just go straight to the solutions. And I go, Well, I've tried this, like, probably 50 different ways, and this works best. So this is what you're getting. My expertise is you're leaving out the 49 ways that didn't work so great. And here's the 50th way that I think kind of gets you to where you want to go, because so often there isn't a roadmap for this. There's not like a handbook or a manual that shows you how to go from point A to point B. And there are some things that work and that can be, in my mind, always thinking about the bandwidth of a leader is always stretched, right? Their capacity is always there. How do we do it in a way that gets us to where we want to go without being overly burdensome on the leader who already has so much that they're juggling? [00:14:16] Patrick: Well, it's funny you say, oh, this is great. You go straight to solutions, and if I heard that, I would go, OOH, that's not supposed to happen. But what I like is that you call it out in advance. I mean, you're calling it Coach Salting and you're letting people know that there's a hybrid on this. And yeah, I've done that too. Like I say, I always say I give probably more advice than my coach, mentor, trainer Certifier would like to hear if he were listening in on my coaching conversations. But I think as long as you're calling it out, I mean, you lay that expectation out and people know, hey, I might not get every answer, but she is going to share with me some of the wisdom that she's gleaned. And so they know what they're paying for and they're paying for some of those answers and some of those technical things. I do it and then my coach reminds me, you don't want to own that, Patrick, because if you give them the advice and it doesn't pan out, then you look like then that's yours because your was your advice. But yeah, I think that's where the intersection lies though, is when you have the subject matter expertise and you have clarity about what you're offering the client in that moment. I think it's great to have that hybrid. [00:15:41] Beth: Well, and sometimes there's also there are certainly things where people will say, well, what would you do in this situation? And it's like, it actually doesn't matter what I would do because I am Beth and this is the way that I lead. [00:15:52] Patrick: That's right. [00:15:53] Beth: And so I might do X and Y. You might do A and B. There's no right or wrong answer, but let's actually really get know what are your fears, what's motivating you, what's holding you back, and what are the dynamics of your organization. I mean, you have far more insight into the particulars of what it's like to work there than I ever will. And so let's really make this a safe space to talk, to share your fears, to say, oh, and this would be hard. And I think in a lot of ways I can say to people, well, here's what I did in a similar situation and here's how I found. But really we're different people and I really strongly believe that people need to lead from their own strengths and from their own selves and who they are authentically. And sometimes even just hearing that is a relief for people because we can have these archetypes of like, well, I should be this way or I should be this way or whatever it is and we can say, no, you should be yourself. Right. That's going to always get you the furthest. [00:16:42] Patrick: Yeah, I tell people you don't want to hear what I would do because I would blow it up and fail. That's what I would do. [00:16:48] Beth: Right. [00:16:49] Patrick: So. Hey, I'm interested. One of the things I know about you from earlier conversations and just from some of the materials of yours that I've been able to look at is one of the things you help leaders with is building teams. That's one aspect of leadership is just building a team and helping a team function in a healthy way and an impactful way with each other. I'm curious and then I'll have a little nuanced question for you after this, but I'm curious as to what are those top two or three things that you would say are the keys for a leader building effective teams? [00:17:28] Beth: Yeah, and I would say too, when we use the word building, it's because teams are constantly growing and evolving. I do occasionally work with people who are starting a school and they're really building from scratch, right? But usually you've got a group of people and you're not entirely happy with how things are going for whatever reason. And so it might be a little bit of a rebuild or a reset or whatever it is refresh. But we're always works in process. We're always growing as both individuals within the team and collectively in our ability to affect change. And so I think in a lot of ways what I always try and do is suss out, right, what is the purpose of this team? And it is amazing the number of times that people kind of look at me blankly because this group has always met every Monday for the past 20 years. We just do what we do. Okay, well, let's just revisit. Why do we do it? Why is it important that this particular group gets together? Why is this not check ins? Why is this not in this format? Then we also so why is this group get together? What are they really shooting for? And what's the role of each person there? And then I think there's like a bunch of the kind of soft stuff on the culture side where I spend a lot of time. Do people trust each other? Are people okay with talking about their mistakes and their learning? Is there kind of this growth orientation? Do we hold each other and ourselves accountable? And that doesn't mean that we deliver 100% of the time. I mean, that would be fantastic, but humans are human. But then we say, I'm sorry I was late on this, or this wasn't quite up to where I wanted. And so really kind of observing. And this is one where I think the leader can really set a tone. And so this is where often my work is kind of bounces between working with a leader one on one and then doing some observation and sometimes also working with their teams as well. I think I'm able to, from my outside perspective, sometimes see things that either have been there for so long it's hard for people to see fresh. It's kind of like become part of the background and I can kind of draw attention to it as a barrier or just have a totally outside peace of mind. So I work with a leader of a school in Durham, North Carolina. He is a black man. His AP team was two white women, and there were a lot of racial dynamics that and, you know, to be able to say, like, hey, I think this might be happening, led to a really rich conversation. And I think he was able to see that outside conversation, and we could kind of think about, okay, he's always going to bring more context to the situation than am. So let's hear that context. Let's hear what this is, and let's really think about given the other issues in place right now, how do we navigate through this to getting the student results that you guys promise your students you'll get? [00:20:09] Patrick: Here's the nuanced question. [00:20:11] Beth: Okay. [00:20:14] Patrick: How do you help build virtual and remote teams? This is an area that is very frustrating for a lot of people, both the leaders and the team members. It's frustrating for me as a coach in companies. I hate this virtual stuff. I really do. I hate the virtual and remote. I get it. I think some work is more conducive to remote than other. But there's a lot of it now. And COVID, of course, amplified it, accelerated it exponentially. And now organizations have just kind of said, oh, okay, well, this is the way we do it now. It's rough, it's challenging for leaders to build teams virtually and remotely because of just the connection, everything from the supervision to the connection to just everything. How does it change for you? What do you believe are the keys if there were just two or three sort of keys to building teams that are virtual and remote? [00:21:19] Beth: Well, I'll say, first of all, I think this is a very hot topic, and so I appreciate you bringing it up. And it's interesting because I work with a variety of clients, some of whom schools I mean, God Almighty, we tried schools being remote, and that was a disaster. I speak this as the parent of three school age children. I did virtual kindergarten, and let me tell you, never again. So they have to be in person. I have a large homeless shelter as a client, right? Most of their staff is in person. And then I work with other clients where there is more of the option for flexibility. And they're almost, in some ways, in a worse boat because I have one client whose CEO is insistent they're in the office five days a week. And that's created some issues with the employee engagement and staff culture that kind of from his strong preference. And I have other people who are a little bit wishy washy about it, and no one knows what to do, and then other people who can't decide. It's not made easier by the fact that as we tape this, at least cases are on the rise and people are getting sick and the regular flu season is coming out. And so I think it is really tricky. So what I would say is this a couple of things come to mind. Number one, I think approaching this with a mindset of try stuff and see, right? Take a learning orientation. Let's kind of see what works. It's a pendulum, it's a balance. Let's figure this out. And so, for example, I have clients who tried a 15 minutes cup of coffee zoom, right? And for some clients, like kind of a group gathering watering spot in the morning for some people that has companies that's really evolved into a really nice, pleasant way to start the day. It drove other people absolutely bonkers and they stopped it almost immediately. And so try and see, right? Like, what are you looking for? Do you need more communication? Is it more FaceTime? Is it some of that of what I think of as like the in between stuff, right? If you're at a meeting in person and you sit in a conference room, you turn to someone and say, oh, I like your sweater. Oh, thanks. I got it at the mall last week. It was on sale. Oh, I didn't know. I love that mall. You get some of that. And that's what can be missing in this virtual world, is like some of those informal interactions. And so how can you build those? Is it a celebrations channel in slack? Is it taking time to do an opener that is not at all about work, your highs and lows of the week or what's your favorite food? I mean, the silliest things can be helpful for helping people feel a little bit more connected. And then I also think bringing people together I mean, my company is remote. We did an in person retreat two weeks ago. And I'll tell you, before there was all these logistical challenges and the cost and this it was really great for us in a lot of ways. And we've done virtual retreats and this was far better. And so how can we not be afraid to bring people together occasionally as needed in a helpful, impactful way, even just for the humanity of it and just for kind of connecting and just for getting more aligned. And just because I do think conversations are different when they happen in a room together than when they happen with the screen between them. And there's so much that remote work affords us. It can be so flexible. You can do your laundry while you're in a meeting. It's amazing. But also there is something that it takes from us, and we have to think about how do we add what it takes from us back in at least in some capacity? [00:24:30] Patrick: Well, I guess that's what I'm wanting to know more of how you do that when I say I hate it. I work from home, I run my own business, and I work from home. But of course I connect with my clients. And when I say I hate this stuff, here's an example. I know I sound terrible, but people who know me know I've just said I don't like it. Again, I get it. And I so appreciate the value of technology. I mean, we wouldn't be doing this podcast if we didn't have the technology to be able to be remote. You're not here in the studio with me, so I totally get that. One of the things, though, that I have to keep saying that we're suffering from is we are losing connection at an exponential rate. Human connection. You can't replace it. It's not the same on a screen. It's not the same on a conference call. It's definitely not the same in a hybrid retreat. When you're trying to engage people and four of them are on the big screen up on the wall and everybody else, it's so difficult for that connection to happen. And what I hear from the leaders or sometimes the members of the teams is we just don't connect enough. We don't have the kind of relationships I don't know my people. You mentioned your company is remote, but you also mentioned the things you're doing to make mindful connection and be periodic. One of the things I liked about what you said, you didn't use these words, but what I was hearing was the leader has to be in tune with, is this working? Am I losing connection? Does this person feel connected? And that's just hard to do when you're all about the work. But I just wondered how you approach that, how you mitigate or minimize the loss of connection that happens remote and virtual. Because it does happen. [00:26:39] Beth: Yeah, well, I mean and I think look, like even many, many moons ago, I was an American Studies major in college, and we read an article right, about the loss of social connection that was happening. Bowling Alone. Right. The Robert Putnam article. How'd you find out about your friends? The kid won the soccer championship. Well, you probably saw it on Know. It wasn't at a barbecue or in the neighborhood, in the potluck. And it allows a lot because I can know that about my friend who lives in California, even though that I live in New York. I can feel part of their life in that way. But we are really suffering from this piece, bigger picture. And I think that it's also helpful for leaders in these companies to think about, well, how important is connection? If you think it's not at all important, I would really challenge you to rethink that because are I think research has shown time and again that they like organizations, but they're loyal to the people in them. Right. I'll stay not because I think XYZ Company is great, but because Bob, my manager, is amazing. Well, it's important that Bob feels connected. It's important to kind of keep. Facilitating that. And so I think in some work, it might feel maybe in a more technical field, it feels less important. Maybe it's 25% important. Maybe in a more human centered field, it's more like 75% important. But how important is this, and what can I do to help facilitate it? And sometimes I think you can get and he's like, it has to be this grand thing or this big piece, but it really is as I think sometimes it's just as simple as making time for a chitchat or sharing a photo from your weekend. Or some people are afraid to kind of bring that in, and they think, well, it's work and we should separate these two. But I just did a master class last week where I talked about I always talk with my leaders about the personal and professional, and the reason is because that person is the one showing up to work. And so if you didn't get a good night's sleep last night, that is the person who's in the meeting. That is the person who's running the show. Right. Child is in the hospital. That matters to how you engage in your check in. And so I'm not saying we should only be super personal at work, but who we are as people shows up at work, no matter how good we are at compartmentalizing. [00:28:53] Patrick: Yeah, well, you talk about being in the meeting, so here's an analogy I use, and then I'll get off my soapbox, I promise. We'll go on to another topic, but I just think this is important for leaders to keep in mind. When you're in an office space and you have a staff meeting or when you go to a conference and you're in a breakout session, do you put a bag over your head? [00:29:19] Beth: Right. You're right. You don't have the opportunity to yeah. [00:29:22] Patrick: You can't just turn your screen off. And yet the number of meetings that I have facilitated or been a part of where people just, oh, well, I'll just turn off my video so everybody can either see a picture of me or a black screen that just has my name on it or maybe my phone number. And it's like, how is that being in the meeting? You are not present. There's people listening to me right now. Forgive me, Beth, you might be one of them who does that, and I just offended you, but there are people listening to me right now who are no, no, I'm fully just I'll just buck up against it and say, you're not fully present. If you're trying to get as much connection as you can and you're truly meeting and present again, you wouldn't sit in a meeting and hold up a big black poster board in front of your face so nobody could see you. You just wouldn't do that. [00:30:20] Beth: Why do we I think it gets back to purpose. And how important is this purpose? And I've seen a lot of places. I was still the CEO of the small charter school network that I ran in Chicago when the pandemic struck. And so we navigated the transition to virtual school. And one of the things that we did very deliberately was really talk with our students and with our teachers about why we thought it was so important to have screens on. Right? And so how you could see teachers read facial expressions of students. They get this. We feel humanly, connected. And we also talked about so we front loaded them and said, here's why we think it's important. And we also get that sometimes our students sometimes didn't want to share what was happening in the background of their homes, or they felt like it violated their privacy in a way that we wanted to respect. And so we talked about, okay, so let's think about how you could sit at a place in your home where there's only the wall behind you, maybe not other people, and it's not as distracting. Or what are our norms? Hey, put in the chat if you're just not feeling it. Or, I'm not there today. Which one of my soapboxes is we don't even know the effects of the pandemic. Right? And we won't for a long time. But by all these adolescents who had to spend these developmental years basically on virtual school, looking at themselves all day in the screen, I mean, can you imagine a 7th grade? [00:31:44] Patrick: It ain't good. [00:31:45] Beth: A mirror on your desk and said, just stare into this all day. I mean, that is the worst thing you could ever prescribe for a 7th grader. And so how do we I don't like it. As someone who is very far from 7th grade myself. And so how do we navigate that? How do we recognize that? But again, it's a sense of intentionality and purpose. And sometimes people might say, hey, I'm moving locations, or I'll be in a team meeting, and somebody will chat and say, I'm just changing locations. So I turn my screen off because I think it's disoriented and distracting. Okay, great. But how do we help kind of cultivate the environments where people we can be clear about our expectations, clear about the rationale behind our expectations, and then also think and plan for how should we do when it might be hard to live up to. And I think that there's a lot in the virtual world that is just all over the map. And so how do we help kind of bring people to more of a same page around it, but I definitely hear what you're saying. [00:32:38] Patrick: Well, thank you for coaching me on it. [00:32:41] Beth: I'm just telling you what to do. If I was a coach, I'd be asking you questions. I'm a faux coach in that way. [00:32:49] Patrick: But you are reminding me to think of all the different nuances, and I do. I get those when you're talking about students and being in their homes and us coming into their homes to teach them. And I get there's all kinds of home situations and things like that. I really do. That's not mostly what I experience on these black screens. I have facilitated board retreats online where almost everybody has their videos off after in advance saying, please come fully present with your videos on. This is a board retreat. We're doing strategy here. And then when they don't do it, it's just like, well, all right, we're really losing that connection. You can't duplicate it. But I do appreciate there are tips, there are things you need to know because people are going to do it and it is kind of the new norm, so they say. But anyway, thanks for letting me vent there just a little bit. [00:33:51] Beth: Well, we couldn't be talking today if it weren't for some of these tools. [00:33:56] Patrick: No, that's right. [00:33:57] Beth: There is a bright side. Everything has a light and a shadow, right? So sometimes you have to focus on the other part. [00:34:02] Patrick: Yeah, that's right. Well, let me shift gears a little bit because I read something on I don't even remember what it was. It might have been in one of your initial emails. There's some tenets and concepts that you cover and one of them I read was the top two often unexpected secrets to being a successful leader. And I read that and I thought, I need to hear that because why is it secret? Let's get it out there. We got a bunch of listeners on that. Well, tell me what that's about? [00:34:40] Beth: Well, we're not trying to keep it a secret, so I'm happy to share from the proverbial rooftops here, but I think we touched a little bit on one of them. And I think it is so important for leaders to really be themselves. I just think that that is when we are ourselves as leaders, we give other people permission, unspoken and sometimes spoken permission to be themselves. And they see that, and they see that authenticity. And I am a big fan of I like the lifting Gallup strengths, I like the disc, I like the enneagram, any of these kind of personality tests or assessments that help us know ourselves. Because when we know ourselves better, I think we can operate more from an authentic place. And so often there is an archetype of, well, this is what a leader looks like and this is what a leader sounds like. And I should be more blank because I'm a leader now or I got this promotion and it can be hard, especially if you're I'm a woman. That's not always how people are expected. There's lots of different identity factors that can play into people questioning themselves or feeling imposter syndrome. But I really, truly think that the leaders I see thrive are really themselves and have figured out how to be myself. My CEO self is not the same as my friend self. Right. I'm a different person to some extent at dinner with a friend than if I was at dinner with a client. But honestly, not that different, right? There's a few more curse words peppered in with a friend, right? There's like, a few more stories shared that I wouldn't share with a client. But I really try and operate from that warm place I'm inquisitive. I try to really engage as myself, and I think that's very freeing. So that's my first, and I hope it's not a secret. I hope this resonates. And people are saying, Well, I've heard it before, and I've thought it before, but I just think that it always. [00:36:28] Patrick: Bears repeating before you go to the second one. I got a great opportunity a number of years ago to get some coaching from truly an elite world coach named Kevin Cashman written one of the best books, maybe the best book on leadership to this date that I've ever read, and it's called Leadership From the Inside Out. It's by Kevin Cashman. [00:36:51] Beth: Oh, yeah, absolutely. [00:36:53] Patrick: And he had a definition of leadership, which, I'm a nerd. I collect leadership definitions. And his is or was at that time, I think he slightly altered it. But his definition of leadership was authentic self expression that creates value. And so it's not about authority. It's not about positions, not about managing. It's authentic self expression that creates value. But he describes that as a three legged stool. Number one, it has to be authentic. People see through the superficial. Eventually, at least some people are better at holding it out there longer. But people know nobody can make it forever. That's right. And people know authenticity when they feel it. So it's got to be that. Second, it has to get expressed. If it doesn't get expressed, it's not leadership. And he talked about if you're in a boardroom and there's a decision being made that you don't like for whatever reason, and you go out in the parking lot and you say, I didn't like that vote. Well, that's not leadership because you didn't express it when it needed to be expressed. But he said the third leg of the stool is the key one because it has to create value. So we know a lot of authentic self expressors. They're very authentic. And they'll tell you, I just speak my mind, right? I am who I am. Take it or leave it. I say it if it comes in my mind, it comes out my mouth. It's authentic self expression. But that kind of self expression, as authentic as it might be, doesn't always create value. Sometimes that can be destructive. So I say all that and kind of share that with you and with our listeners, because I love the number one tip there. Be yourself. My add on to that would be Kevin's add on to that. Be yourself in a way that creates value. [00:38:49] Beth: Yes. [00:38:50] Patrick: And it's just always a good reminder for me because I've got a friend and a colleague who says, be careful, too, when you ask people to bring their authentic selves to the table, make sure that's really what actually, can you. [00:39:05] Beth: Go back behind that mask a little bit? [00:39:07] Patrick: Yeah. Put that bag back over your head, right, for a few minutes? [00:39:12] Beth: Yeah, absolutely. [00:39:14] Patrick: All right, so what's the second one? [00:39:16] Beth: And I love that. Sorry. One note on that is that I think also when you're really looking towards the mission and towards the goals and thinking about what do I add? That's how you create value. Right. This is a purpose. And that doesn't mean you have all the answers, because nobody has all the answers. But it really helps, I think, people also see when you are really what you're working for. Right. That's part of being authentic. And so I think that is a. [00:39:41] Patrick: Big piece of that. That's a great add on. People can see the motive behind it, and it's part of trust, the character side of trust. And when they see that, they see that the motive is right because they trust the character side of it. That's authentic. I like that. [00:39:57] Beth: Absolutely. And then my second thing, and this is something that I just see again and again, where especially in the nonprofit world or in education, where sometimes resources are scarce, leaders are sometimes reluctant to invest in themselves. They think, I should be able to do it myself. I was hired for the job. You're looking at a budget and thinking, that could help me get a recess aid. I could buy a classroom library full of books. And I see leaders all the time depriving themselves of development in the same way. But if you said to them, well, what about your teachers? Oh, of course my teachers go to all the PDS and whatever it is. Well, invest in yourself like you invest in your best team members, because you deserve it. And when you think about the impact on an organization and this is one of the reasons I work with leaders, is because I actually really want to impact students. And I know that if I can pick one person in a school building to have the biggest impact on students, I work with the principal because they work with their leadership team, who works with the teachers, who works with the students. And if I do my job well, it trickles all the way down to each student. And that's amazing. That's an amazing return on investment. Right. But I think sometimes people are afraid or have the scarcity mindset or want to white knuckle it or figure it out themselves, when the reality is this job has always been challenging. It will always be challenging. All the pandemic made it more difficult. I mean, artificial intelligence is nobody knows what to do with it and how to corral it. There's, like, lots of elements there, like, you need to continuously expand your toolbox, have some coaching, have the resources you need, the same way that you would want to do to your high performing staff members. That's my second secret, but I hope it's not a secret. [00:41:45] Patrick: It's not a secret, but it is often forgotten and neglected. And it's that self care and self development. And it's the old oxygen mask rule, put the mask on yourself first before. [00:41:58] Beth: You help that one. [00:42:00] Patrick: Because I like to say, if you can't breathe, you can't help anybody else. This may interest you because you like assessments like I do. My favorite assessment that I use, and I use them all, the Disc, the fireb, the center for Creatives Leadership's Benchmarks and all these. I love the motivators assessment. It assesses people's motive and drive across seven different dimensions. And I won't go in depth into it, but back to your number two tip here about focusing on yourself. It probably wouldn't surprise you that in the nonprofit sector, probably in the teaching sector, too, one of the highest Motivators that I see in the people that I coach is altruism. So these seven dimensions are how motivated am I by aesthetics, by economics, by individuality, by power, by altruism, by regulatory, and by theoretical? And altruism always comes way high in the nonprofit sector because that's why people are in that work. They're wanting to make a difference. But listen to the continuum of words describing someone with extremely low altruistic motive and extremely high altruistic motive. So altruism is all about want to make a difference for others, right? It's a giving sort of a thing. And you'll catch this. I hope our listeners catch this. It's easier if you can see it, but there's ten words I'm going to go through in order from least altruistic to most altruistic. And you will see that at both ends, at the beginning and at the end are words that sound like, this isn't what I want to be. Okay? So from low altruism to high. It goes like this self focused, distrusting, suspicious, self protective, helpful, supportive, obliging, accommodating, sacrificial, subservient. [00:44:18] Beth: Wow. [00:44:19] Patrick: So that subservient and sacrificial space, which I see people in, can be a huge it's a very virtuous asset to say, I'm here to give to others, right? We get it. It's a great thing to have, but it can really cost you because you can reach a point where you cannot as effectively serve others because you're too sacrificial and subservient and not developing and strengthening yourself. So I'm telling you this to affirm your second. I just love it. I think those are two amazing tips to give. And you're right, they're not secrets, but they are often neglected. [00:45:03] Beth: I think that I love the oxygen mask. I always talk about how we have to put our own oxygen mask out first. And then I think I also sometimes say, look, you can't pour from an empty cup. And so I think about development as something you need to pour into your cup so that you can pour out. And I think that piece unfortunately, I'm all too familiar with what you described, right? People are depleted. They have totally beyond sacrifice subservient. And it's like this actually isn't good for anyone, right? And I'm working with an organization now with a CEO who has made an amazing impact over a ten year tenure, but it's taken a real unfortunate turn the last several years because the headline of this person is kind of constantly, but look at all I've done for this organization. How could you Blank? I mean, and the how could you is like, how could you expect me to have accurate board packets every meeting for finances? Which is, by the way, one of the fiduciary responsibilities of a board of directors. And so what you personally have sacrificed is actually not one of the things that we're looking at here. We're looking at, have you done your job? Have you enabled others to be able to do their jobs more effectively? And I just think there's no good ending I can think of when it is that level of subservience. You got to keep something for yourself. You got to be able to develop yourself, too. [00:46:20] Patrick: Yeah, you got it. Beth, let me kind of lead us toward a wrap here with a couple of questions that I like to ask all my guests because I just always love the responses. They're inspiring. I love stories. I think stories are some of the most powerful ways that we can communicate. So I love to know from people like you who are just excelling, helping other leaders, who is someone in your life that you think about or look to as someone who has had great impact on your philosophy of leadership and how you've become the leader and the leader coach that you are? Who is that for you and why? [00:47:08] Beth: So, for me, it's a man named Caleb Dolan. And I will tell you, 20 years ago, I moved from New York City, which is my absolute favorite place in the world, to a town of 1000 people in rural North Carolina to teach at a charter school that he founded. And I had happened upon the school on a visit. I just fell in love with it. I knew I would be going back to teaching. Right. I really missed the classroom. And I decided to uproot my life and go. And it was one of the best professional decisions I've ever made because the ability to work on Caleb's team and I also had the privilege of teaching the same group of students. I started with them in fifth grade and taught them in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. And now they're young adults in their, you know, with doctorates and law degrees, and most of them the first in their family to go to college. But what I learned about instruction and how to be a great teacher. What I learned about how I mean, Caleb has just no ego. He was such a humble I think, you know, to me leaders with humility is something I always really value and I really learned a lot from Caleb because it was really about right. What's the best answer to this question? Not about who came up with it or where it was at. He was really authentic, he was truly himself and he really was dedicated. And I think that he's still a dear friend to this day. I continue to learn a lot from him and I think that that was just a really transformative experience. And it's really interesting because in my four years when I joined the school was in its third year, it was fifth through 7th grade, growing that school till eigth grade, then the campus next door through twelveTH and there are a number of people who've started. I think it's something like somebody once figured out that like six people have gone on from there to start their own schools. People have been superintendents, they've been master teachers. It really is amazing how working at this organization helped just change the trajectory of so many people's lives to make a really deep impact in education. And I firmly believe that was all due to Caleb's leadership. [00:49:11] Patrick: Wow. That's why I love these stories that's really listening. I hope he's listening. [00:49:18] Beth: Make sure to send him the link. Exactly. [00:49:20] Patrick: Please do. Because man, we often don't stop and think about the impact we're making on someone else. It's probably not top of mind for him, but we do. As leaders we have an opportunity to really impact people and sometimes we don't know it until years later what that impact actually was. So I love it. Last question is if you had this is, this is my 15 2nd sound bite question. What's your top tenet of leadership? If you could stand on a mountaintop with the megaphone and all the leaders of the world were down below and you had one thing to remind leaders of, that we should all be thinking of as leaders, what would that one thing be? Free. What's? The Beth Napleton leadership. Top leadership. [00:50:13] Beth: I always, I think so much of our work as leaders is about leading people towards these big visions and these grand plans and these huge ideas and it can be exhausting. And I always say to my leaders, and it's almost like a bad mom joke, but I always say to them the old cliche, how do you eat an elephant? Right? And the answer is one bite at a time. And so when you're thinking about all this things, that's what leaders are trying to do. They're trying to eat elephants, right? They're trying to close the achievement gap and end homelessness and do these things that are so difficult and how do you do it? Just one day at a time. And so I think that's always what I like to remind people. And I hope that that inspires some of your listeners and as they kind of trudge through some of the challenges that really just come with the role. [00:51:01] Patrick: I had a performance appraisal once years ago when I was in organizational leadership. My board gave me and my board chair said that Patrick's greatest strength is his impatience and his greatest weakness is his impatience. And that's a good reminder for me. One step at a time. Don't get ahead of yourself. It'll still be there. Take it slow, go far. [00:51:33] Beth: And what you're doing now is making a difference, right? It is. And so you have to recognize that maybe not as fast as you want. [00:51:42] Patrick: That's right. Beth thank you. I want to direct people. Is it? [email protected] absolutely. [00:51:50] Beth: And they can go to my [email protected]. I've got some resources and leadership know all kinds of things to really help leaders out, no matter where they're at in their awesome. [00:52:00] Patrick: Thanks. Thanks for coming on. I hope people will check it out and get in touch with you if you can of help to them, particularly if they're in that education arena. So thank you, folks. I hope you take this and find a place to apply it. It's been inspiring for me. You always inspire me as leaders. So lead on.

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