The Essence of Leadership | Randall Stutman on The Knowledge Project

Check out The Knowledge Project Episode Page & Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • There are 3 types of leaders:
    • Result Leaders: People who achieve the company’s goals
    • Followers Leaders: People who are loved by their subordinates
    • Admired Leaders: People who both achieve results and are loved by subordinates
  • Admired leaders aren’t just admired in the workplace, they’re admired by friends, family, neighbors, and basically everyone they interact with
    • “It applies to everything…Leadership is leadership and it applies to every aspect of your life.” – Randall Stutman
  • Traits in leaders tend to almost always carry over to other domains:
    • If you’re impatient as a leader, you’ll be impatient as a spouse
    • If you’re decisive as a leader, you’ll be decisive as a parents
  • The strategy for giving feedback to kids is the same as giving feedback to employees. Even if you’re a parent with high standards, don’t constantly criticize your kids. You need to have a balance of good to negative feedback.
    • If an employee or kids ever says: “Do I do anything right” or “Is anything ever good enough”, that’s a sign that you’re giving too much negative feedback
  • A great way to spread positively is through third-party praise. Say something nice about someone to another person and eventually, the positive comment will make its way to the individual mentioned.
    • Make third-party praise into a common routine. Think of it like playing hot potato: When you see someone do something great, spread the word about them to someone. 
  • Common mistake leaders make: They adopt bad habits from good outcomes
    • Many leaders believe that being harsh or stern is a good trait because they have been able to get more out of their employees. But the truth is that if they weren’t as harsh, their workers would probably perform at an even higher level.
  •  When it comes to organizational change, just having the right answer isn’t enough. Sometimes people will ignore or avoid implementing a new decision because they benefit (in terms of power or resources) from keeping the problem. 
    • “People want to stay in power. People want to stay in control. They want to have influence…They do things that are in the interest of maintaining those things.” – Randall Stutman

Intro

  • Randall Stutman (@AdmiredLeaders) is the Managing Partner of CRA. He is a leading scientist dedicated to exploring the behaviors and routines of extraordinary leaders. Labeled by Goldman Sachs as the most experienced advisor and executive coach on Wall Street, he has served as a Principal Advisor to more than 2,000 Senior Executives, including 400 CEOs.  
  • Host: Shane Parrish (@ShaneAParrish)

Defining Leadership

  • How do you define a leader?
    • It’s someone who makes situations and people better. Anyone can lead at any time and anywhere as long as they have the intention of making things or people better.
      • “They don’t have to have authority or title or position to do so” – Randall Stutman
  • Excellence in any field has a set of foundational routines, including leadership
  • The best teams are usually teams of leaders and not a team with a single leader

Types of Leaders

  • There are 3 types of leaders:
    • Result Leaders: People who achieve the company’s goals
    • Followers Leaders: People who are loved by their subordinates
    • Admired Leaders: People who both achieve results and are loved by subordinates
  • Contrary to popular belief, result leaders often aren’t loved by workers. In fact, most of the time workers resent them. 
    • “Results is part of the equation but not the whole equation. You have to have followership.” – Randall Stutman
      • Great leaders are able to get things done but also maintain a good relationship and loyal following with employees
  • Admired leaders aren’t just admired in the workplace, they’re admired by friends, family, neighbors, and basically everyone they interact with
    • “It applies to everything…Leadership is leadership and it applies to every aspect of your life.” – Randall Stutman
      • Admired leaders have a set of core behaviors and routines that they do all the time

How To Give Feedback Properly

  • Every leader can use these tools to make people better:
    • Criticism
    • Feedback
    • Evaluation
    • Counsel 
    • Motivation
    • Inspiration
  • When giving feedback, make sure it’s in a balanced proportion:
    • If you’re going to give 4 points of criticism, try to give 4 points of positive feedback
      • If you’re constantly giving an overwhelming amount of negative information, people will withdraw, become defensive, or just stop listening
      • If you only give positive feedback, people will get alarmist when they receive a negative comment
  • The strategy for giving feedback to kids is the same as giving feedback to employees. Even if you’re a parent with high standards, don’t constantly criticize your kids. You need to have a balance of good to negative feedback.
    • If an employee or kids ever says: “Do I do anything right” or “Is anything ever good enough”, that’s a sign that you’re giving too much negative feedback
  • “Do you want to really prepare children for success? You have to give them a nice balance of feedback, positive and negative. Again, it doesn’t have to be perfect, but too much positive makes it so that people get alarmist when they hear negative and too much negative means people defend themselves on good basis.” – Randall Stutman
  • A great way to spread positively is through third-party praise. Say something nice about someone to another person and eventually, the positive comment will make its way to the individual mentioned.
    • Make third-party praise into a common routine. Think of it like playing hot potato: When you see someone do something great, spread the word about them to someone. 

Know Your Priorities

  • When leaders have their priorities right, lots of good things happen in other ways:
    • “When you get people’s priorities right on the short term, a lot of the longer-term goals and issues take care of themselves” Randall Stutman
  • Priorities aren’t stagnant. We should be reevaluating and recalibrating them all the time
    • Know what your highest priority is for today, this week, this month, and so on
  • Priorities aren’t the same thing as self-interest
    • When Randall asked his son what his highest priority was for the week, his son said lacrosse. But, the real priority was the son’s calculus exam, because if he didn’t do well on the exam, he wouldn’t be able to play on the team.

Calibrating Leadership

  • The first step to becoming a better leader or even a better person is to understand who you are. Then, you need to understand the differences in your team or friends. And finally, you need to adapt to those differences.
    • It’s important to remember that people are really different:
      • Some employees want to get assigned a hard project to prove themselves but others may feel like they’re being singled out if that happens to them. Some employees crave recognition, for others, it has no effect on them. 
  • There are many different ways to incentivize people:
    • Money
    • Mentorship
    • Recognition
    • Title
      • Identify what’s important to someone and incentize them properly
  • To understand who a leader is, ask the person who knows them best (usually their spouse or best friend) what their strengths and weaknesses are
  • Traits in leaders tend to almost always carry over to other domains:
    • If you’re impatient as a leader, you’ll be impatient as a spouse
    • If you’re decisive as a leader, you’ll be decisive as a parents

A Common Mistake In Leaders

  • Many leaders adopt bad habits from good outcomes:
    • Many leaders believe that being harsh or stern is a good trait because they have been able to get more out of their employees. But the truth is that if they weren’t as harsh, their workers would probably perform at an even higher level.
      • “A classic example with a lot of organizational leaders is that they’ve been harsh, stern people and people generally perform at a high level for them and they think it’s because of their harshness…that’s the lesson they learned. When in fact I can prove to them empirically, that it’s actually in spite of their harshness and sternness that they would get even more out of people if they varied that style in different ways, but they learned that lesson and they’re not going to give it up.” – Randall Stutman 
  • As a leader, be careful of falling in love with yourself and not wanting to change:
    • “Why are some people coachable and other people not coachable on any given behavior? And what my experience is some people like themselves too much. They aren’t open to making change because they like the outcomes they’re getting…When they look in the mirror, they like what they see.” – Randall Stutman 

Want To Be A Better Leader? Become A Fan

  • Great leaders are fans of their company and employees. When there’s good news or a breakthrough moment, they document and share it:
    • They frame a business article about the company
    • They make a unique t-shirt for the whole team 
    • They write a letter to the employee
  • If you’re having trouble motivating and inspiring people, spend more time being a fan of them and celebrating their successes
    • Even if there are people you don’t like, your job as a leader is to inspire everyone. You want to be a fair leader and not show favorites.
      • “Your job as a leader and it’s kind of thankless and it requires a lot of creativity and thought but that’s the job” – Randall Stutman
  • “Here’s something that everybody on the planet wants. They want the people that they respect, that they admire, that they look up to, they want them rooting for them. They want them clapping, cheering for their ball to go in. What that really means is they want them to say and do, we’ll talk about that, and prove that they’re a fan.”Randall Stutman

Crisis Management 101

  • Advice for handling a crisis:
    • Wait till you get the facts and then respond as quickly as you can in a transparent way
    • Don’t just give an apology, produce a remedy
  • Your response in crisis will define who you are in other people’s eyes
    • If someone can’t trust your response during a crisis, they will probably never trust you again
    • If you respond well to a crisis, people will forgive you for the incident
      • “It’s the response that defines who we are and what we are as leaders” – Randall Stutman

Additional Notes

  • Randall has been interested in organizations and how leaderships operate for most of his adult life
    • “That fascination just turned into a lifelong commitment to study leaders” – Randall Stutman
  • “If I’m trying to influence an organization at the deepest level, I want to deal with talent first” Randall Stutman
  • When it comes to organizational change, just having the right answer isn’t enough. Sometimes people will ignore or avoid implementing a new decision because they benefit (in terms of power or resources) from keeping the problem. 
    • “People want to stay in power. People want to stay in control. They want to have influence…They do things that are in the interest of maintaining those things.” – Randall Stutman
Knowledge Project : , , , , ,
Notes By Alex Wiec

More Notes on these topics

Top Insights and Tactics From

31 Best Podcasts of All Time

FREE when you join over 12,000 subscribers to the
Podcast Notes newsletter

No Thanks