· 29 mins · Management Skills

New on the People Leading People podcast: Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale

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We’re launching episode six of People Leading People, the Hypercontext podcast! Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts (be sure to subscribe and give us a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review!). 

In episode six, we’re chatting with Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale, best-selling authors of How F*cked Up Is Your Management?” An Uncomfortable Conversation About Modern Leadership. Melissa and Johnathan have worked with some of the biggest tech companies across North America (Mozilla, IBM, Hubba, Edmodo, Wattpad and Creative Commons to name a few). In their latest venture, Raw Signal Group, they’re helping even more companies build better bosses. 

We talk to Melissa and Johnathan about the pitfalls of going from peer to manager (and, of course, how to avoid them). One note on this episode: it has a few swear words 🤭. If that’s not your thing, you might want to move on to our next episode! 

The full episode and transcript are below, but here are a few of our favourite things they had to say:

Melissa on managing your former peers

“I think that can be really disorienting for folks, especially if they had really good personal relationships heading into the role. Suddenly you’re not invited to lunch anymore. You’re not invited to those after-hours drinks anymore. The social pieces of it can be really disarming. The other piece that I’d say is the disorientation can come when you used to draw a lot of identity from doing one job, and suddenly, your job is really different. (Skip to 5:00 to listen to this part!)

"Suddenly you're not invited to lunch anymore. You're not invited to those after-hours drinks anymore. The social pieces of it can be really disarming." – @shappy of @rawsignalgroup on managing former peers." Click To Tweet

Johnathan taking advantage of “manager moments”

“I’m a big fan of moments. There’s these moments all around you if you grab them, and if there isn’t one nearby, you can make one. If you promote someone, that’s a moment. That’s a position where they will listen to you, and you can say, ‘Great work. How can I recognize you? The whole leadership team thinks you’re doing amazing stuff. There are new expectations now,’ and in that moment, they can hear you.” (Skip to 9:15 to listen to this part!)

Jonathan on relationship vs results-oriented managers

“Every time we go into a group, we talk about relationship focus and results focus. We talk about huggy bears and a**holes. What’s funny is that 60% of managers self-sort. Everybody starts somewhere on our continuum and many of them know where they are.” (Skip to 13:00 to listen to this part!)

"Every time we go into a group, we talk about relationship focus and results focus. We talk about huggy bears and a**holes. What's funny is that 60% of managers self-sort." – @johnath of @rawsignalgroup Click To Tweet

Melissa on self-care

“We talk to leaders about this all the time, which is that you’re going to need a set of things. The responsibilities of leadership and management are so intense that you need an outlet for showing up every day and doing that work and doing the best version of that work that you can do. Many folks will try and do work on two hours of sleep. Many folks will try and do that work on no breakfast and black coffee and just fumes. They will run on fumes and I think the more you know about what you are at your absolute best, the more you can bring those things into your management practice.” (Skip to 28:45 to listen to this part!)

Check out the episode below – and scroll down for a full transcript. Be sure to subscribe and review us in Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen (and we’d love for you to give us a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating!).

Happy listening!

People Leading People episode 6 | Melissa and Johnathan Nightingale of Raw Signal Group on being better bosses (transcript)

Jillian Gora: Hey guys, Jill here. before we get started with the interview, I just wanted to let you know there are some swears in this episode. If you’re listening with little kids, you might want to hit pause and just come back to it a little bit later. Okay, enjoy the show.

Melissa and Johnathan have worked for some of the biggest tech companies across North America. Mozilla, IBM, Hubba, Edmodo, Wattpad, Creative Commons, to name a few.

They’re taking about what they’ve learned along the way to help even more companies build better bosses with their latest venture, Raw Signal Group. They’re also co-editors of the co-pour, a blog about effective leadership, dumb mistakes and whiskey, and best-selling authors of How F*cked Up Is Your Management: an Uncomfortable Conversation About Modern Leadership. Welcome, Melissa and Johnathan.

Melissa Nightingale: Thank you.

Johnathan Nightingale: Thank you.

Brennan McEachran: Thanks, guys, for coming in. I know a lot about each of your backgrounds, and we’ve talked and shared, I think, a lot of while just chatting about some of the dumb mistakes, I think we probably share as well. Maybe for the listeners, do a quick walk through of your LinkedIn. How’d you get in this room? What’s your management stumble into story?

Melissa: In terms of how we got into it?

Brennan: Yes.

Melissa: I actually started my career as a developer, and knew that that was not going to be the end state of my career. I was really grateful for both my technical education and also the opportunity to deploy that in the workforce, but knew that that wasn’t the end state of my career. As soon as I could get a job working on the marketing and PR side, I had an opportunity to go work on some of the early PR for some pretty cool value companies. I was pretty excited about it, and from there, took a job, found out that Mozilla was hiring for the very, very first PR hire, and at the time– Mozilla with the commute was insane.

I didn’t have a car. I was really excited about it. I was just like, “I’ll just figure it out. Once– If that job offer comes through, I’ll figure it out.” Basically, I felt like when Mozilla called and made that offer, everything else fell into place. That job– I started at Mozilla when the organization was about 60 people. I was a team of one. I was a very traditional, individual contributor story. As the organization grew, and the mandate and the mission of the organization grew, my team grew around me.

Johnathan: For me, I went to school locally here, in Toronto, for Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence. These days, that’s really cool, but when I did it was really not cool. I mean, I was sad. We didn’t know if it was ever going to turn into anything.

The Computer Science part of that degree is actually what got me a job. I started off as a programmer at IBM’s R&D facilities here, and then moved to Mozilla. I started interviewing in 2006. That’s where I met Melissa. Again, as a Security Engineer, and then, basically, I just kept replacing people named Mike. [laughter]

Jonathan: The manager of Firefox engineering was a guy named, Mike. I moved into management and got his job, and he reported to a director named Mike, and I got that job. Eventually, I picked up the keen engineering from Mike Shaver, who had gotten it from Mike Schroepfer. The diversity problems were evident there– [laughter]

Johnathan: –but a couple of years after, getting the VP Eng’s nod, we moved to alliance business, and became general manager of Firefox. I loved that job. It was really hard. I would do really differently now. I learned that management for me is about building those teams, for sure, but also helping those different teams communicate with each other. Once I had multiple teams, I loved it.

Brennan: Awesome. You went– Both of you went from Computer Science to almost like people science now, which is crazy and totally different, but what I do think is actually neat about both of your careers is, I mean maybe less so growing your team with PR, but is going from peer and working your way up through the management chain, from peer to manager.

That’s a hard thing, I think, for a lot of people, especially when you do that the first time. You’re almost like a group of friends, a group of peers, commiserating about management a lot of times, becoming potentially part of the commiseration. What do you think makes that transition so hard?

Melissa: I think it’s anytime you’re able to hang out after hours and shoot the shit, and talk about the things that are hard. Suddenly you’re the person who’s tasked with fixing the things that are hard. You now have all of the context that came before, from all of those certain after hours, like casual session with the people who now report to you. You not only know that you are the person tasked with it, you know that that team is all– they’re having the same drinks whether you are there–

Brennan: You’re just not invited, yes.

Melissa: –or not, right? You’re just not anymore, and I think that can be really disorienting for folks, especially if they had really good personal relationships heading into the role. Suddenly you’re not invited to lunch anymore. You’re not invited to those after-hours drinks anymore. The social pieces of it can be really disarming. The other piece that I’d say is the disorientation can come when you used to draw a lot of identity from doing one job, and suddenly, your job is really different.

The things that made you great as an individual contributor, and are likely the things that got you promoted, are not the things that are going to help you succeed at all in this new world. I think they can be good and they can be wonderful things, but once you shifted over to this new world, you’re being measured by an entirely different set of things, that your criteria for success has really changed.

Johnathan. Yes. I think it’s funny we work with a lot of managers, and a consistent trap you see when people get that first promotion into management is to pretend it’s not a big deal, right? They don’t want it to be a big deal. They’d like to go on after drinks. Those people are still their friends. They’ll go into their first conversation after the promotion is announced, and just act like it’s basically the same.

Don’t make a big deal about it. You have got this new thing, but mostly, it’s just extra work for me, right? It doesn’t change anything about our relationship. They do so much work to delegitimize their role there, that by the time it catches up with them, where they’ve got an employee who’s just not going to work on the stuff that you need them to work on, they’ve lost their ability to say, “Here are my expectations and you’re a member of my team.” That whole idea, even that sentence, I’m sure there are people listening who are like, “No, I would never say that to my team.”

It feels pompous. It feels arrogant. It feels corporate, whatever your word is for it, but the result is that you didn’t use that moment. You wasted it. You had that ability to say, “I know you. We get along. We’re friends, and we have different roles now.” I think it comes from this pride thing that you don’t want to put yourself above anyone. You’re proud to be humble. That’s great, but it’s getting in your way, it’s making you less effective as a manager.

Brennan: Yes. Your job is now different, and we talked about this before. It’s a mid-life career change and you have no training, right?

Melissa: Yes.

Brennan: I think it is a common mistake, and it’s something that I’m sure I screwed up on for sure at Hypercontext, especially when I– The lines between being the first individual contributor and the first manager become really blurry when you’re some 10 people. It’s a common problem. Most people have already committed that problem. How do you coach someone to fix that? To take a step back and take the right step forward. What’s the tip?

Melissa: One of the things I ask managers a lot, who are struggling with this idea of, “I used to draw identity and success from these things,” is to help them understand, what are the things now? What’s your current mandate? You took this job. You said, “Yes” to a manager title. You said, “Yes” to a manager salary. When you said, “Yes,” what were the things that you were committing to?

It couldn’t have just been a new business card and a new salary. Maybe it was, but as part of that contract with the organization, be it an actual paper contract or just like your understanding and your bosses understanding what you’re meant to be doing, do you have clarity around what success looks like in the role? It’s not just individual success. What is success for you, and for your team, because that will help you figure out the new places where you can draw identity and be successful.

Johnathan: Yes. I think you said something really important, which is that at any given moment, most managers already made that.

Johnathan: They can’t walk it back. There’s two things that I say is that one, many managers are, at some point in their career, hiring, and when you hire someone new, and you have the first one-on-one with that new employee, you get to try again. You get to re-establish expectations there. That’s a good place to start, because that person, you didn’t have a pre-existing relationship with, you do get to say, “I’m your manager, here’s what I expect of you. We can collaborate, I’m here to support you on all of those great things, but it comes from a place of me owning my role in this organization.” That’s one, I think, for the people who’ve already heard you say, “It’s not a big deal.”

I’m a big fan of moments. There’s these moments all around you if you grab them, and if there isn’t one nearby, you can make one. If you promote someone, that’s a moment. That’s a position where they will listen to you, and you can say, “Great work. How can I recognize you? The whole leadership team thinks you’re doing amazing stuff. There are new expectations now,” and in that moment, they can hear you.

Certainly, that’s true, when you put someone on a performance plan, too, but that’s a harder conversation for a lot of reasons. It doesn’t have to be that, though. It can be, “Our team has new responsibilities.” It could be, ”I got a promotion and now, that’s the reset button.” I need to come back into my relationship with you and say, “We’re going to be working differently now because of this stuff,” but leaving it is the worst. Just sitting there knowing that, “I got to talk to that person that I haven’t created a structure for him.” If you can’t do it on random Tuesday you have to find a way to get them into receptive place.

Brennan: Yes. I’m a fan of that windows of opportunities are moments that are artificial. I think that’s one of the things that’s really interesting when I go out and talk to other managers or leaders is like a lot. Especially founders and we talk about career paths and stuff like that and as founders are totally arbitrary because you show up and you’re CEO. There’s no growth, there’s no career path and you get to invent all of these different steps.

I think you’re right, very powerful parts of your business is some of these things. Any other moments that a manager can create without getting approval.

Melissa: This is where I love my PR training. I feel public relations training is life training. PR is responsible for like every hashtag you see on any given day where you’re like, “It’s national nap day.” “Who did that?” “PR Industry did that.” It’s Wednesday wisdom or Monday motivation, all of those things are moments and somebody put some deliberacy into those moments and the reality is basically like spring is a moment. Take your team out to lunch to celebrate the fact that it’s not snowing in Toronto in April anymore. That is the moment.

I think there’s a lot of opportunities to manufacture them. There’s also a bunch of these real moments if you start looking for them. Io Jonathan’s point, without falsely manufacturing them. There’s tons of them, performance reviews are absolutely a moment. A lot of organizations are starting to have them every six months instead of every 12 months just to give people that opportunity to have forced clarity around, what are the expectations in this role.

Jonathan: It’s figuring out how to sit in the seat. Let’s say you do comp review twice a year and presumably that means you’re not giving everybody raises over six months but your team figures it out. They know very quickly if comp review is every June and every December they know. One thing you can do to get super awkward about it that when you didn’t give raise to, you just don’t mention it.

The other thing you can do is you can sit down and have a one on one and say, “Hey I suspect you now we do comp review every June. We did comp review. I didn’t recommend a raise and here’s why. It’s not because I’m disappointed, it’s because here’s how we think about compensation at this company. Here’s how we think about job growth in this company.”

In the process of having a conversation about that where you’re saying like, I had an opportunity. I know we’re friends. I had an opportunity in that room to put 5% raise down and I didn’t do it. If you own that decision as to why, you start to cement like I am a manager but also I’m willing to be transparent. I want this to be a conversation.

I guess the last one I’d say is that your team will sometimes ask for those moments. If a person on your team says in any kind of management context, “Hey, I want to talk about career growth.” “Great, let’s do that.” We’re not going to do it off the cuff but, “Next one-on-one, let’s set aside an hour, we’re going to talk about that. In that moment I’m going to articulate these expectations.”

Jillian: In terms of building trust with your team. I know as a new manager sometimes it’s hard to know if I should go the route of, “I’m going to be your best, not your best friend but I’m going to get to know you and we’re going to build a relationship versus I’m going to make sure that you’re hitting the mark.” A lot of new managers the tendency is saying, “I’m going to judge you on whether or not you can hit your goals and hit the targets because that’s what’s scary to me and I need you to do that or else I’m failing as a manager.” How do you balance that relationship versus result orientation?

Jonathan: It’s the hardest thing. Every time we go into a group we talk about relationship focus and results focus. We talk about huggy bears and assholes. What’s funny is that 60% of managers self-ssort. They’re like, “Oh, I’m definitely a huggy bear but definitely love the people on my team but care much more about the relationships.”

We’ve had people say over everything, “I know I have feedback that they need to hear but I just don’t do it because I don’t want to hurt their feelings and the relationship matters more to be giving them this feedback even though I know that means failing at my job.” You don’t see so many self-introspective assholes but it happens where people are like, “Look all I care about is the results, I’m really straightforward. If you want to succeed in my organization here’s how you do it. Knock it out of the park.”

They end up failing, they end up really frustrated that their team’s never do the things that they want them to do because they’re not doing the work necessary to connect those individuals to the results to get them really motivated. It always comes as a surprise to them that they were really clear. They said, “Just go kill it,” and people didn’t do that because many people need different motivation than just being barked at. Everybody starts somewhere on our continuum and many of them know where they are.

Melissa: For many folks if they’re trying to figure out where you are in that continuum it feels really big. One thing that can be helpful is to go all the way to the other side of it. If you think about Jonathan’s, find somebody who says, “I’m really results-focused. The way you succeed on this team is by knocking out of the park. I don’t care about your dog.” If you hear that and that sounds unimaginable to you, chances are you’re a little bit more toward people orientation, like huggy bear orientation.

If you hear, “I have feedback for my team but I am worried about hurting their feelings and I won’t give it to them and that sounds unimaginable,” chances are you’re on the other side. One of the things that I think we push on leaders especially folks who are still finding their authentic leadership footing to do is to think about what would it be to draw from that other side of the toolkit.

It doesn’t mean you have to tell people you don’t care about their pets or don’t care about their personal life and it doesn’t mean you have to pound the table and talk about numbers at every given moment. If you’re trying to think through where gaps, where you likely not drawing from a robust management toolkit where you could be I think it’s helpful to give people an opportunity to think through. What would it be to pull from other sides?

Brennan: Do you think there’s value in good management is on one side of that spectrum or is good management on all?

Jonathan: Yes. I think it’s more about being intentional. I think there’s not a perfect spot and it’s almost certainly not the middle but the extremes are provably imperfect. When we talk to huggy bears one of the sentences we get them to practice is my expectation is. They’re like you can care about the relationship a lot and still sit with a person. My expectation is that if you say you’re going to do something in the last one-on-one it’s either done or you’ve told me about it ahead of time. I want to understand how we got here.

For the really relationship oriented people that still makes their gut clench but it’s more honorable than just swearing at someone or throwing a chair or whatever or something they can’t reach. It feels like a cartoon villain.

Yes, I think for the assholes it’s often more useful to use sentences like, “Help me understand.” Help me understand how we got to here, help me understand what happened because those folks are very quick to go. The outcome isn’t what I wanted, don’t have any room for what led to that outcome and I get it. When you’re managing a relatively senior person you ought to be able to ask for outcomes and not be able to spend a lot of time on the stuff they should have anticipated but didn’t.

With junior folks, helping getting them to open up about, “Here’s what got in my way. I’m trying to do the work. I was taught this work at school. I’m new into this role. I don’t even have access to the CIS.” Crap well, we can fix that and it makes it less of it sharing.

Brennan: It’s interesting. One of the things our board member always says is, “I really don’t care about output metrics because we can’t change them. I care about your input metrics.” It’s interesting just hearing you say with juniors you might want to focus it– the way I interpret it is we want to focus a little bit more on expectations and things that are maybe unspoken some of the inputs because maybe it is unfair to just expect them to come out of school and know how to get the results every single time.

Whereas as you get more experienced hires I think it is more reasonable to expect, “Hey you should know how to get these results, how did we miss them?”

Jonathan: How to communicate when you’re not doing.

Brennan: Exactly, yes.

Jillian: My question was actually, and this might be a tough one to answer, I’m not sure. If you’re dealing with the asshole side of the spectrum, how do you train people to avoid that question sounding passive-aggressive. Tell me how we got to here, because I feel like if I’m being managed by somebody who I already know has a short fuse just wants to cut the bullshit, get to the answers and they say something like that.

I might interpret that as, “Oh my god this is even worse. Now, I just actually don’t know where I stand I’m confused.” How do you coach someone to get around that?

Melissa: It starts with understanding the role of psychological safety and building high-performing teams. For many of our folks who are on the asshole side they’re like, “I want everybody from Harvard, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon on my team and I want everybody who gotten all A’s, 4.0 I want a team of people like that. Starting for many of them is we point to Project Oxygen which is what Google did in 2002?

Brennan: They fired all their managers in 2002 but I guess they started the work in 2008, or maybe 2011.

Melissa: It’s wonderful because Google Instruments everything. Particularly for technology organizations that care a lot on, can you see it in the data Project Oxygen proved that it was not about educational outcomes of individuals on teams. It was about the entire psychological safety and makeup of those teams. Could they communicate when they had concerns? Could they share new ideas and be unafraid of their peers making fun of them? I think for a manager who really comes from that asshole orientation it’s helpful to understand the impact of that on the product of your team.

If you are starting from place of results one of the things that gets in the way of you getting the results that you want is your team’s ability to tell you if things aren’t on track. For assholes that can be really expensive. If you’re not going to ship on time and you do it a month ago but we’re too scared to tell me, I have now cost the organization an entire month because my team did not tell me the things weren’t going to ship and they knew it. We could maybe get it in a month ago but here we are now and I’m just finding out.

Jonathan: I think to that point one of the things, Melissa’s pointing to is that even if you come from the meaner side of the spectrum you still need to care about running your team effectively. If you genuinely are convinced that your way is the only correct way and you’re not open to input on it, the right way to coach that is to fire you. I don’t want people in my organization who are not curious about the fact that they’ve never learned anything about management and just assume that they’re natively good at it because they show a lot of strength. [sic]

A bunch of people do that. I just don’t want them in my Org. I think part of it starts with the culture that the leadership in an organization establishes and, Melissa and I come back to this a lot. That one of the defining boundaries for your corporate culture is the shadiest behavior you will tolerate. It’s a problem to tolerate huggy bear managers who run ineffective teams. It’s a real problem to tolerate abusers.

There’s a point on the asshole spectrum beyond which I don’t really feel like my job is to coach you I feel like you got to do some introspection in there and my job is to get you out of my organization.

Brennan: I think one of the hardest things to coach is psychological safety because you can’t be in the room for it. If I’m coaching a manager it’s not like I can sit in on someone else’s one-on-one and say like, “Oh hold on. I don’t know if that employee is being as truthful as they possibly could be.” I think that’s the surprise that a lot of caught results-oriented or column asshole managers find is this result is a surprise and we did know and I don’t understand why people aren’t telling me and I don’t understand how to increase psychological safety. I’m sure there’s going to be people listening that are like “Oh, yes, people are going to share stuff with me.”

Of course, I have my one-on-ones. I sit down, they talked about everything and they’re very open and stuff. The truth is they’re not and you look at the stats, 65% of people would take a new manager for pay raise, 65% of people probably are being lied to in one-on-ones. What tips do you have to those average managers that probably are potentially squandering some psychological safety without even realizing it?

Jonathan: I’d say there’s lots but I’ll give you two quick ones. One when you dig into the project oxygen staff one of the things you see is that showing up for long ones is one of the best predictors of psychological safety. A lot of the people that you’re talking about even if they’re not oddly abusive are certainly much more focused on metrics than they are on humans in their organization. If you check my hunch is that they are not having weekly one-on-ones with their people.

It’s not that they’re having those one-on-ones that I wish those people would open up more. A lot of them are just not showing up, they’re punting them a lot and maybe they never having them but they’re often deferring them. It’s not so surprising-

Brennan: Their employees are deferring them like, “I don’t want, let’s skip this one.”

Jonathan: It’s not helpful, it’s not productive, right?

Melissa: It’s terrifying.

Brennan: Yes, they’re stressing about it.

Jonathan: It’s hard to treat people like cogs if you’re otherwise psychologically intact and if you’re seeing them on a regular basis. We can’t hold their empathy circuits fire. The more you understand a person and talk about what they’re struggling with the harder it is to dehumanize them. That’s one right there. It’s like show up. It’s not the solution to all of management but having one-on-ones is a lot than not having them. We have a ton of people we talk to who have not had a one-on-one with their manager for six months who maybe have one when they were hired, not had any since.

CBO’s are particularly pathological for long ones with love in my heart and they have to be because they’re called upon to do a bunch of stuff than anybody else in the organization can do but that’s why is Charlotte.

I think the second one measuring culture is flawed in a lot of ways but it is useful in the particular case of numbers driven assholes to have some tool for measuring employee engagement and satisfaction. Then being able to point to, “Hey, have you noticed your team has the lowest scores. What is that? Why is that? I as your manager I’m holding you accountable for the fact that your team seems really dissatisfied with their management experience in my company.”

Jillian: Cool, all right. It’s time for our favorite segment the secret question. If you guys could pick a number between one and three please.

Jonathan: It’s a few numbers between one and three.

Jillian: That’s true. Pick one, two or three.

Brennan: You can choose one and three or one or three.

Jillian: There you go.

Melissa: I’m still going with my original choice, two.

Brennan: I believe in you. Let’s do it.

Jillian: I like two, right in the middle, like an Oreo. What’s the most important decision you’ve made as a leader?

Jonathan: I’ll answer that but it’ll take me a second. When I was working in Mozilla at the end. It was hard work. I was tired most days but I felt like I was doing my best work and when I left I was consulting and I spent a while working at Hubba building that organization up and I loved the work I was doing but I was wondering if I’ll have that feeling again that I had when we were building Firefox backup because it was struggling for a long time.

I’d say back in January of last year, Melissa and I decided we were going to quit our jobs and we’re going to build Raw Signal because we wanted to see tech be better at how it treated people. It was June before we left and it was August when we started working with clients and we’ve been at it about a year now. We regularly come home from the day. This is the best work that I’ve done and I think it’s rooted in figuring out what I wanted to lead. When you’re a Junior you’re right out of school you start to do whatever you need to do to impress your teachers and your teachers, culture manager now it’s sort of the same game that you play since you were five.

At some point, something switched and I figured out that I could lead a bunch of different stuff and it actually mattered which thing I chose. I wish I figured that 20 years sooner but that’s been really powerful. Melissa and I talk a lot about, “I don’t know how Raw Signal and look like in five years.” I don’t know if it’ll be a thing but I’m confident that for the rest of my time I will be making leadership choices on purpose and that’s a privilege statement to be able to make. I know it but anybody has an ability to figure out where their efforts go, it’s so powerful.

Brennan: Be more intentional.

Melissa: You stole my answer. It’s so good. [laughter]

Melissa: Now I need a different question.

Jillian: You could choose one or three.

Brennan: You chose two. You’ve got to choose hers.

Jillian: Melissa chose question two. Jonathan answered. Jonathan’s going to choose for Melissa now.

Jonathan: I choose question two. I will choose question three for Melissa.

Jillian: Question three. What’s the one thing you do each day that helps you be a successful leader?

Melissa: Oh my god I love this question. This is great. I’m a person who needs physical activity in order to function. Sweating is part of that really. I got religion around Fitbits and 10,000 steps and never put that down. I find that I am the best version of me when I get out and get fresh air and it’s not always easy to do in Canada, there’s a lot of conspiring against you.

We talked to leaders about this all the time which is that you’re going to need a set of things, the responsibilities of leadership and management are so intense that you need an outlet for showing up every day and doing that work and doing the best version of that work that you can do.

Many folks will try and do work on two hours of sleep. Many folks will try and do that work on no breakfast and black coffee and just fumes. They will run on fumes and I think the more you know about what you are at your absolute best, the more you can bring those things into your management practice. Would be a 100% it is I need to sweat on a regular basis. I need to get out and I need to get into the world and just breathe fresh air and run or swim or walk or hike or whatever it is but for me 100%-

Jillian: Okay. Before we say goodbye I want to throw it over to you guys if there’s anything you want to pitch or any last words of wisdom you want to leave our audience with.

Melissa: I think we started the blog, we started the co-pour basically with this idea that this stuff is hard and that most people don’t talk about the parts that are hard. Particularly in tech which is the industry that we come from there’s so much emphasis on the success story without any of the work that goes up or any of the hard parts that go up, you just all you get is the end result. It’s like reading the last sentence of every novel, whatever that you’re just like, “Oh,” and then that’s what happened. It undercuts everything that goes into the part that are really challenging. We wrote the book, basically with this idea that more people needed to know the parts that were hard because these things come up and they’re not– If you’re out there, you’re listening and you’re struggling with this stuff and you feel like you’re the only one within your organization who’s having a hard time, I promise that you’re not.

One of the best things that organizations can do is create this management culture of practice. Is to give managers within the organization an opportunity– Often it’s a book club, often if it’s a monthly lunch series, but giving folks an opportunity to talk honestly and openly about the things that are challenging. I think one of the things that we find at Raw Signal is how many people are surprised to find that other folks within their organization don’t have it all figured out either.

Johnathan: Yes, find your people. I think that’s exactly and give yourself space. Recognize that like management as a totally different job than knowing you went to school for. It’s a set of skills. It’s not like, “Oh, if you’re good with people, you’re going to be naturally good at this, and if you’re not good at people, you’re not going to be good at it.” You can learn it, but you got to give yourself room to treat it like a thing you study instead of like a thing you’re just expected to know.

Jillian: Great, awesome and for all you listeners out there, we will have a link to buy the book on Amazon, How F*cked Up Is Your Management. We’ll have a link to the co-pour, their blog, so go check it out. Thanks for listening.

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