77. Confidence is Competence + What High Achievers Need to Hear

Episode 77: Confidence is Competence + What High Achievers Need to Hear (Summary)

Why how we sound influences how we lead, what high-achievers at work need to hear from their bosses, and Alyssa shares an introvert mommy fail. It’s all coming up on this episode of Boss Better Now.

Links:
To learn more about Joe Mull, visit his website ​Joemull.com​.
To hear more from Joe Mull visit his YouTube channel​.
To learn how to invite Joe to speak at an event, visit ​Joemull.com/speaking​.
To check date availability or to get a quote for an event, email ​hello@joemull.com​.
For more information on the BossBetter Leadership Academy, visit Joemull.com/academy.
Email the show at bossbetternow@gmail.com.
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Transcript – Episode 77: Confidence is Competence + What High Achievers Need to Hear

Opening:
Greetings, BossHeroes! I hope your summer is going swimmingly. I’m away right now, finishing my next book. To tide you over until we come back with new episodes, we’re sharing some of our favorite shows from the last year, including this one. Enjoy!

Joe:
Why how we sound influences how we lead, what high achievers, at work, need to hear from their bosses and Alyssa shares an introvert Mommy fail. It’s all coming up on this episode of Boss Better Now.

Alyssa:
You’re listening to Boss Better Now. Please welcome speaker, author, and Academy Dean, Joe Mull.

Joe:
Hello, BossHeroes. Welcome back once again. We are thrilled to have you here with us. As you know, around here, we say commitment comes from better bosses. I’m often asked then where do better bosses come from? You already know the answer to that. One and done training doesn’t work and a few workshops here and there won’t get the job done. Leaders only develop through on-going training, coaching and support – continuous open-ended. That’s why we’re so glad that you keep coming back to our show each and every week. Please welcome my friend, my co-host, professional coach, Alyssa Mullet. Hello, Alyssa.

Alyssa:
Howdy. Great to see you again, Joe. (Joe: What’s going on in your world?) Uh, you know, like the same for the past, I don’t know, year. Remote school, little coaching, a lot of cooking, you know, the general stuff. (Joe: What are you cooking?) Well, we in my household, uh, are trying to reduce our cholesterol, continually. So we’re eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. The occasional tofu, um, has been added to the mix. Uh, we’re still both trying to really love that one. Um, my kid, uh, has flat out, said, no, sir, no, ma’am, I’m not doing it. Can’t make me. Um, and uh, otherwise just generally trying to not eat my feelings. So anything that I can cook that does not make me want to instantaneously wharf it all down in one continuous bite.

Joe:
I feel like we’ve gone through these cycles during all of the quarantining between really being great about cooking at home and meal planning. And like my wife, uh, found a grocery store about a 20 minute ride up the road that you can do the order, all the groceries on the app and you pull up and you pick it up and that’s the greatest thing ever. Um, and I always feel bad for the people who are shopping for my groceries. They’re like, really? You need four pints of Keto ice cream, really? Okay. Four? But then we go into this. Yes I do. Yes. Then we go into this other side of the cycle where we’re like, should we order to take out for the third night this week? Yes, we should. Let’s Door Dash. We’re going to Door Dash. We do not live in a, there’s like three restaurants on the Door Dash app where we live, that’s it. And we just cycle through the three and, but there are peaks and valleys with it. You know, there’s like all the cooking and then there was all the ordering.

Alyssa:
You’re supporting local. And then you’re, you know, going to ensure you are local because you won’t be able to move from your home because you’re so local.

Joe:
I like that you reframed our Door Dashing as good citizenship. Thank you for that.

Alyssa:
See, silver lining – everywhere.

Joe:
Well, I’m interested in your take on a conversation I had recently about the role that confidence plays in leadership. So, my sister-in-law recently took a new job as an occupational therapist in a large healthcare system. And she is just out of her schooling. She finished her doctoral, her doctorate in occupational therapy. Um, and while she had worked previously as an aide, is now in the role of occupational therapist. And so when I talked to her recently, I said, how’s it going? How’s the new job? And we ended up having a really interesting conversation. She talked about how challenging it is for her to assert herself sometimes to physicians and other people in power. And she’ll, she will be the first to tell you that it’s that uncertainty that unsuredness of herself sometimes, uh, that she’s working on. She is super bright. She she’s incredibly devoted to the work.

Joe:
She’s got a really high motor. She cares really deeply about the patients and she knows her stuff. I mean, she just came out of school. She knows what she’s doing. She is prepared and capable in every way. But she struggles with presenting in a way that communicates confidence. And so we had this really interesting conversation about how fair or not, people will make up a story about her competence based on her confidence and that sometimes right out of the gate, you have to “fake it to make it”. And you’ve been nodding this whole time. I feel like I,(Alyssa: My head’s gonna fall off my head.) You, you are, you are relating to this in some way. Yes?

Alyssa:
Absolutely. Those words “fake it till you make it” came out of my mouth probably 15 times a day. Um, whether or not it was speaking to myself or to, uh, my teams that I was managing. Specifically, um, how I relate to this story is…One Of the teams that I used to manage in my, uh, corporate world was, uh, we provided concierge benefits services to physicians. And I would go so far in the training of the benefits consultants that they would not, um, while they would be in the room, uh, while I was doing, or while one of their colleagues was doing a consultation, no one would be shadowing them when they were executing their first consult, because you didn’t want them… You did not want the client, the physician specifically, to underestimate them to not think that they were the expert in what they were, uh, dialoguing about. You wanted to instill every bit of confidence that was possible because whether it’s a product of training of expertise, whatever it is, physicians specifically, in my experience, have a keen sense of, they can smell the blood in the water.

Joe:
Oh, you gave me the newbie. Great. I’m really important, thanks.

Alyssa:
Right? Exactly, exactly. So this motto of “faking it till you make it” is ingrained early on in the training schematic of, of, uh, consultants on the team. And it really involved…. #1. What’s your tone of voice, right? How we, how we sit, right? Uh, it’s putting my shoulders back. It’s putting my face on in terms of whether that is a, a smile or whether that’s just not a frown, somewhere in between, right? It is making sure that you feel as confident as possible in what you’re doing and how you’re doing it – That you are going to have to take a break from yourself. You’re so confident in it. And we would build in those breaks in terms of, okay, you get to a point where you’re like, Oh crap, this has never come up before. What am I going to do? What am I going to do rather than saying, I don’t know, you’ll be like, you know what? I’m going to step outside for a moment or come up with, we would come up with their language, right? Exactly. Whatever they needed to get an exit out the door so that they could come find, help somewhere and go, what am I going to do? What am I going to do? Before they could confidently go back in the door and go, here’s what we’re going to do.

Joe:
Because that perception of competence directly influenced by their confidence was so critical to their ability to do their job for your office’s ability to do its work.

Alyssa:
Absolutely. You, you have this incredible knack of being able to articulate what I am not able to, that that competence and confidence are so intricately tied in terms of perception. That is, yes. Yes. Yes.

Joe:
You know, and it’s almost not fair to, for me to phrase it that way, because it’s really more the inverse, right? Because you can be confident and you will, you will initially get a perception of competence as a result, but people are going to figure out pretty quickly if that’s not legit, right. If you aren’t actually competent, right. Then you’re just arrogant. Then, then it’s just brashness that is not supported by talent or knowledge or skill. Uh, so it’s really the inverse. That’s true. Isn’t it? That, um, a lack of confidence implies incompetence. I think that’s fair to say.

Alyssa:
I agree. I think that the, the, um, time in that equation is the biggest indicator of actual competence, right? Time and experience. Um, but yes, the perceptions of what we believe, make someone confident are really important in how we’re able to actually do our jobs to the best of someone else’s thought patterns.

Joe:
And here’s the other thing. My sister-in-law looks like a high school student. She’s 28. She’s very petite. She looks young. Um, I even said to her during this conversation, I bet you’ve been mistaken for a college student more than once already. And she said, no high school student. And so it’s interesting when you layer in perception of youth, I’ve looked younger than every job I’ve ever had. And I’ve encountered that a lot in my career that people underestimate your competence and your knowledge, if you appear young. And I actually, I remember one time, um, working with a really big deal, uh, a medical faculty member at a really big deal healthcare system in a really big deal department that was having a lot of issues related to leadership and the interactions of the people who worked there. And the vice-president said, I’m going to pull Joe Mull in, and I want him to have a conversation with you because he can assess sort of where you’re at and what you might want to think about doing. And when I walked into the room, he looked at me and the first thing he said was, “I have ties older than you.”

Joe:
And, you know, there are some days when we’re not the best version of ourselves. And I don’t know if it was an overconfidence or just being a smart ass, but I said, well, it sounds like it’s time for some new ties. Tell me what’s going on in your department. And (Alyssa: Nice.) I, I tried to not let that bother me at all. Uh, and I wanted to get right to work. So he started telling me about his problems. I started asking him questions. I was taking a lot of notes. I said, based on what you’ve said, I think what we really need to do is this, this and this. And here’s why, and here’s the outcome I expect. And when it was over with, I remember he pulled the vice-president aside and said, he’s really good. And I know that because he asked all the right questions.

Joe:
And so I try to try to take that moment and turn it into a lesson for myself, which was forget what you look like. You’re going to gain credibility by the quality of the questions you ask. When you meet people, when you serve them, when you work with them, people will know right away, whether you care about them, whether you’re trying to help them, whether you understand the steps or the work that needs to be done to accomplish anything. When we ask questions, we get there.

Alyssa:
I can say that I’ve never been mistaken for a high school student. Cause even when I was in high school, I was being mistaken for much older, which worked to my advantage in a lot of ways. Um, I blame it on my old soul. Um, but, um, I think also too, it, it bears, um, thought as to the age-ism both being, you know, uh, thought of too young and inexperienced and, uh, not competent. Right. And then on the flip side of that, we have this, Oh, you’re old. You’re older than what I think is useful. You probably are really too jaded with your experience and you’re, and so you’re going to want to come in here and you’re going to try to tell me about how everything is. And, and I think that we have to be conscientious as leaders to say, what are those kinds of bias that I already have that either I’ve experienced personally, or that maybe I am the unfortunate tool of. So we’ve got to check ourselves too, as much as we want to experience the competence and the confidence to do our jobs. Do an internal inventory, make sure that you’re not putting up those perceptions or viewing people from those lenses in a bias way.

Joe:
Absolutely. And interestingly, that is not where I thought you were going at first, when you talked about that, you know, we’ve got this piece of age-ism. I thought what was going to come next was, but when it comes to confidence, there’s also quite a bit of sexism involved, right? Because when, when a male exerts himself at work, he’s described as confident. When a woman exerts herself in the workplace, right. She’s called shrill or emotional, or, or, you know, name, any negative descriptor here. I don’t have to tell you that. Has that been your experience?

Alyssa:
Oh dude, there’s not enough time in two whole podcast episodes. I could go on and on about sexism in the workplace and all of the things. Yes, absolutely. I have experienced them. And, uh, I, I feel that deeply, um, that also is a subject where I have experienced. So it might make me a little more bias in the fact of my reaction to being able to talk about a subject matter like that. Um, because it gets me real upset and gets, I can take me right back to a place of going to like the world on fire. I’m so angry. Um, so yeah, I could go in a thousand different ways, but I try to stay away from the places that make me the most angry.

Joe:
No, but that’s, but that anger is, is real. And it’s certainly, uh, you know, it’s born of a common experience for too many people. Um, and so, so let’s kind of put a bow on this in a way with all of that, as a backdrop, everything we just talked about. What advice do you have, especially as a woman, especially as sorry, I’m not trying to ask you to represent your entire sex or gender at this time. That’s not fair. Um, but I want your voice in the answer to this question, um, for people like my sister-in-law who maybe find themselves unsure, but know how important confidence is, what advice do you give them to make sure that their confidence doesn’t tell a false story about their competence?

Alyssa:
Yeah. So outside of this mantra of “faking it till you make it”, which is the actions that, you know, you need to do in order to, um, make sure your competence is known. I think the other thing that I would, uh, conjure up for myself is this going back to inhabiting my habits. So I’m also going to inhabit the body language, the confidence – specific confidence habits. What I interpret as confidence from the person that I know, does it the best. I might watch them on TV. I might watch a thousand YouTube of their mannerisms, how they carry themselves. And when I go into an interaction, I’m going to embody that confidence.

Joe:
I love it. And even if you’re watching on YouTube, the swagger was coming through the screen, like you literally pulled yourself up and made yourself taller as you described that. And we sometimes actually have to do that, not just metaphorically, right? We actually have to kind of take a breath and, and not shrink ourselves in order to be that version of ourselves to be effective. (Alyssa:Hell yeah!) Well, we would love to know what you think, BossHeroes we want to hear from you are you “faking it until you make it?” Uh, have you learned how to make sure that your confidence doesn’t make up a story about your competence? You can email the show at bossbetternow@gmail.com. You can leave comments under the episodes on the Boss Better Now podcast Facebook page, or you can hit me up on Instagram or Twitter @joemull77. Oh. And if you want even more Boss Better content, then head over to bossbetternow.com and subscribe to my free BossBetter Email Newsletter.

Joe:
And that brings us to the Camaraderie Question of the Week. Bosses build camaraderie on teams, by making it easier for people to find things in common with each other. Every week, we give you a question you can use at meetings or take to your teams to facilitate connection and build camaraderie.
Alyssa, finish this phrase, “the most interesting place I’ve ever visited is…”

Alyssa:
Rome, Italy. (Joe: Oh, really?) 15 years ago, this year, my husband and I eloped to Rome, Italy. (Joe: Really? I did not know that story.) Really? Oh gosh. So yeah, we, uh, we met, uh, my husband’s best friend, uh, and his girlfriend at the time there, they were backpacking across Europe. Um, we were not those people. They were those people. Um, they’re both wildly successful now. And, um, we had the most amazing 10 days. And after day three, I think was our, uh, third day there. Uh, we were able to get married because they have certain residency requirements. Um, but I, we had hired a wedding planner and the whole shebang. Um, it was amazing. And it would only happen because my husband’s best friend, uh, Mark and, uh, his girlfriend were visiting us in Pittsburgh a couple of months before that. And they were telling us about their plans to backpack across Europe and blah, blah, blah. And they were like, you guys should come, you know, meet up with us somewhere. And, and, um, so we were trying to plot, you know, where would be an awesome place to visit. And Mark says, “You guys should get married. That would be so cool.” And on the ride home, in the car, my husband goes, “‘So you wanna?”

Alyssa:
And I was like, “Are you asking me?” Cause we’ve been together for five years at this point, I was like, “Okay.”

Joe:
Not the proposal you envisioned?

Alyssa:
That was the romance of our proposal. But what our proposal lacked in romance, the wedding made up for in spades. It was an amazing experience. And I would do it again a thousand times.

Joe:
So that was going to be, my question was why Rome? But it sounds like it’s because there was already a trip plan and it was, well, you should go and well, you should get married and now we’re snowballing.

Alyssa:
Yes, yes, yes. All those things. Oh, tell me about your most interesting place. And if you say anything Disney related, I will punch my monitor.

Joe:
No. Oh, it’s it’s. I went there because of a Disney visit, but…

Alyssa:
Yeah, ok removing my bias.

Joe:
Take, take a deep cleansing breath. It’s okay. Um, my most interesting place that I just loved and I can’t wait to go back was the Kennedy Space Center down at Cape Canaveral. Uh, I have always been a bit of a space nut, right? We’re recording this right after the Mars Perseverance Rover landed. I’m I’m the person who has had that on the calendar for a while. Who blocked the time yesterday, who watched the NASA live feed. Um, I find all of that deeply inspiring, incredibly moving. You know, that look at what we are capable of as human beings, because like some kids fell in love with math. You know, it’s an amazing thing to me to think about. And so we, two, three years ago, um, did a vacation in Florida and we were about an hour North of there. And I said to my wife, I really want to go see the Kennedy Space Center.

Joe:
And so we took a day and we drove down and we didn’t see all of it. Um, it’s an extraordinary experience. Um, I, I’m not going to give too much away, but the Atlantis Space Shuttle is down there and you can literally stand nose to nose to it. It’s one of the most impressive, it’s massive. It’s one of the most impressive things you’ll ever see. You, you can walk through a small, quiet exhibit hall around the challenger explosion. You, it, it it’s, it’s a deeply impressive experience if you like space. If you’re kind of in awe of it. And if you are inspired by watching really smart people put forth a tremendous amount of effort to do something for the sake of exploration and science.

Alyssa:
You should do a commercial for them, man. I can. And you’re just oozing with like enthusiasm and awe-inspiring… And just you kind of make me want to go there. So that’s cool.

Joe:
You got to check it out. Anybody listening, if you like any of the space stuff, uh, take a day and go to the Kennedy Space Center. I have to do the Johnson Space Center, next time I go to Texas. Cause I hear it’s pretty great there as well. So, uh, that folks is the Camaraderie Question of the Week. And we’re going to be right back.

Joe:
Hey, BossHeroes. More than once, you’ve heard me say “commitment comes from better bosses”, but where do better bosses come from? Answer the Joe Mull and Associates BossBetter Leadership Academy. The managers on your team aren’t going to develop the self-awareness, knowledge, skills, and relationships critical to success in a one day training. If you want them to motivate teams, maximize effort and create the conditions for your employees to thrive, they need on-going education. When your organization subscribes to our BossBetter Leadership Academy, all your leaders get to join me for a monthly learning event. These live coaching clinics, micro-trainings and dynamic virtual summits take just a few minutes each month. And the year round access to our digital vault gives you all the recordings for on-demand use, new manager on-boarding, and more. Oh, and everything we do is evidence-based and highly entertaining – If I do say so myself. Best of all, for most organizations, you can get a year of this continuous leadership development training for less than the cost of bringing me on-site for a one hour keynote. If you want managers to lead well, they need to work on it year round. It’s like going to the gym. If you go once, you’ll get a good workout, but no long-term results. If you keep going though, you get healthier and healthier over time. The same is true for bosses. They need continuous learning and mentorship. So what are you waiting for? Let’s give your leaders the skills, tools, and knowledge they need to supercharge commitment and BossBetter. For more information, including pricing visit joemull.com/academy.

Joe:
Okay. Alyssa, we are going now to almost everybody’s favorite segment of our young podcast “Boss Like a Mother.”

Alyssa:
That music – that’s what makes

Joe:
I think that’s why it’s everybody’s favorite segment. Um, and that is not wrong. If you’re new to our show folks, the “Boss Like a Mother” segment is where, uh, Alyssa and I sort of, in our daily lives as parents, continue to encounter parallels between being parents and leading people and teams. Uh, and so Alyssa, I know you reached out ahead of our recording today and said, Hey, Joe, I’ve got a “Boss Like a Mother”. And so I turn the floor over to you.

Alyssa:
Thanks, Joe. So this was a story that occurred early on in the pandemic, um… April of last year. And I like to summarize it by saying, as Brene’ Brown puts forth, “you have to rumble with vulnerability daily”. Well, I took a rumble with vulnerability in the mommy space and I’m still not sure who won the battle. It was a rumble for sure. So let me set the stage here for you. I, you know, am an introvert, um, and in the mommying space, you can take that times like a thousand. Okay. Uh, in the professional space, I can be out there cause I can be on a podcast. Right. I can put on the show. But that’s really hard to do. Um, at least in my experience as a mom. So I decided that I was experiencing this kind of loneliness or this detachment from those kind of routine social interactions that I was, um, used to having, right.

Alyssa:
The pickup or the drop off at school, the seeing folks out-n-about, the playgrounds, and what have you. And so I decided I was going to host a virtual happy hour and it wasn’t even going to be a whole hour. I was holding the mother of all happy half hour – 30 minutes. That’s what I could commit to that’s that’s as much as my vulnerability would stretch for all right. So I devised this list. I had all of these people written down. I made a list of all the moms, and then I kind of grouped them by age of their kids. Right? So that I could pocket, you know, who I should invite in, into this particular group. So I sent the following message. “I know this is last minute and that’s actually on purpose, because if you’re anything like me, you can’t commit to anything for yourself, your own well-being, let alone RSVP plan, and then you will talk yourself right out of showing up. So I’m trying to make this real easy for us introverts, who can usually get our fill of socialization by weekly grocery shopping, and drop off and pick up at schools, or otherwise momming it up on the regular since zero of that is happening. And we mothers are charged with still being awesome, during a global pandemic. You need to report for the mother of all half happy hours. You are guaranteed to know at least one other person on the call. And then I go on to give all the great details, right? So this was about 20 people that I sent this invite out to. And what I experienced, I decided to document. And I documented in the form of journal writing. (Joe: Okay.) So I’ll set the stage, you know, the appoint – appointed time. It’s 7:00 PM on a Friday or a Saturday. I can’t remember exactly which, right. And I’ve got my nice whiskey and ginger beer cocktail mix. I’ve got some music teed up playing in the background. I’ve got my Zoom all set up. It’s great — I’m live. And I’m like, okay, you can do this. You can do this. You can do this. Nothing happens.

Joe:
Oh no.

Alyssa:
So my happy hour began at 7:00 PM at 7:15, I write the following:

Joe:
Oh no.

Alyssa:
No one has shown up.

Alyssa:
I’m reaping what I’ve sown socially. Nothing.

Alyssa:
Is this the worst that exists in vulnerability? I answer, quite possibly, maybe. Can I deal with it? I respond. Yeah, I’m doing it. I’m surviving it. I’m dealing. How do I feel? At first, Def despair? (Joe: Oh my) Right. But now I’m pretty proud of me. I’m 15 minutes into this. I put myself out there. (Joe: Yes.) And now I ask myself the key question that I think is where the magic happens. Right? Which is what am I learning from this? And I wrote, “Acting on my intuition, even when the outcome is not as expected is worthwhile. It proves to me, myself and I life’s lessons and the universe’s messages. My intuition is not an absolute answer. It is a compass that guides me in a direction towards the universe’s messages. Yes. There’s a pain in my gut. Maybe it’s the whisky. Maybe it’s hurt. Probably the hurt. But I can feel hurt without having to allow it to wound me.”

Joe:
Wow.

Alyssa:
And so at 7:25, I write. “Will my silent prayer that no one bears witness to my shame be answered? Perhaps loneliness is a symptom of moving away from my true self-awareness. I must reject the idea that external connection is more important, more valuable than a connection to myself.”

Joe:
Hmm. And in the moment, when you said to yourself, will I be able to keep this to myself? You are now on a podcast…Sharing it with the world. Which as I’ve said to you many times before, uh, thank you for your willingness to share. And in that way, why? As this was clearly something that, I mean, cause, cause let’s be honest, 99 out of 100 people would not go as deep as you went, even in the moment of this, in a journal and tear it apart. Right. 99 out of 100 people go, “This sucks. People suck. It makes me feel like I suck. I’m going to drink four of these whiskeys and never talk to these people again.” So yeah. Yeah.

Alyssa:
Okay. Some of that occurred in my head. Okay. Um, but why I’m sharing. Because I think that it illustrates the necessity of vulnerability for me in the mommying space, for you in the leadership space out there, BossHeroes, it is necessary and it might be painful as hell, but it’s worth doing because there is something to be learned. And if you can lean into what can this tell me? What can this teach me? And being open to receiving that lesson. I think that’s where growth comes from. So I, I share my shame. I share that vulnerability, um, and I’m taking it to the next level and I’m sharing it with our audience today in hopes that it serves someone else and gives them the confidence that they need to be more vulnerable because it’s a powerful space to be in.

Joe:
Well, and I hope you never spend another moment feeling any shame related to that experience. One, because there is no shame in taking a risk and putting yourself out there. And there is absolutely no shame. There’s quite a lot of grace in turning to a place such as your journal, turning inward and trying to cope with it in a really healthy way. And again, 99 out of 100 people don’t do that. And so even if our BossHeroes who are listening to this, when they have an experience like this, where something, maybe doesn’t go their way, even if they don’t go to the journal and pull it apart and try to unpack it and understand it like you did. And there’s absolutely value in doing that. And I think that actually makes people more resilient and it makes them more, more emotionally intelligent. But if that’s not your way, that’s okay. I think the first lesson here is you still got to take a risk. You still got to put yourself out there and it’s not always going to go the way you want. And sometimes there’s going to be 19 kinds of suckitude afterwards because it didn’t. But you can’t fly if you don’t jump.

Alyssa:
Yes. All of that. Thank you.

Joe:
Well, I have, too have, a “Boss Like a Mother” story. By the way, “Boss Like a Mother” also includes “Boss Like a Father”, but that’s too long of a title. So it’s, it’s “Boss Like a Mother.”

Joe:
There’s really no reason to play the music twice other than I really like it. And so… (Alyssa: Agreed, yes.) Um, it’s interesting that we both had a “Boss Like a Mother” segment in the same week. That doesn’t happen very often, but uh, mine does not carry with it, the intensity of yours. Um,

Alyssa:
That’s okay. Probably our audience is like, all right, dial it back a notch, Alyssa. Good Lord.

Joe:
They’re all weeping in the corner. After running on their treadmills, like, Oh, poor Alyssa.

Alyssa:
Don’t shed a tear for me, folks tear for me. I’m good.

Joe:
Well, uh, recently my two oldest kids who are in second and fourth grade respectively brought their report cards home. Um, and as a real quick backdrop, obviously on March 13th, last year, they came home from school. They did not go back to in-person school until much later this fall. It was two days a week. And then now they’re back five days a week. Um, and you know, with a lot of COVID protocols. Um, but without fail, since the moment they went to school and through this latest report card, they have never gotten anything other than straight A’s. And so we are incredibly proud of them. Um, they in general like school and they are in general, very good students. And so when they brought their report cards home recently, uh, I had come home a little bit late from work. We were at the dinner table.

Joe:
Oh, we got the report cards. Oh. And it was expected. It was, Oh, I know what your grades are before the report card comes home because I’m trying to, you know, be involved. And um, and, and, and it was a very brief conversation and I was like, Oh, I’m really proud of you and great job. And you know, that’s amazing. And, and you know, it’s not amazing that you got straight A’s. I mean, that is amazing. But it’s amazing that you put forth the effort that resulted in straight A’s. That’s what I care about. And I even intentionally said to both of my kids, I want you to know that I’m never going to be mad if you get a B as long as you tried your best, right? Cause sometimes our best gives us a B, and that’s going to just have to be okay.

Joe:
My daughter needs to hear that, especially because, um, last year she was getting to a place where it wasn’t coming so easily for her. And some quizzes and tests were coming home with some wrong answers on them. And she was really beating herself up about it. But I went to bed that night and the next morning, and I, and I woke up the next morning. I went to bed that night and I woke up the next morning and I just kept feeling like I didn’t shine a light on the right thing in that conversation. I didn’t feel like I made enough of a fuss about the right thing. These kids are bringing home straight A’s — for now my daughter for four, five years, my son for three of those years. And I just kind of had that moment where it was like, it’s because you didn’t shine a light on how much they care about it.

Joe:
They, they care about the excellence, right? This idea that I made a fuss that, okay, you got straight A’s and that’s great. And you should always give your best effort. And I’m really proud of you. And that’s great. But I kind of felt like what I really want wanted, I wished I had done was stop and say, I’m really proud of you for how much you care about putting forth a good effort. You’re not putting forth a good effort just because, you know, that’s what we want you to do. You genuinely are dedicated to it. And that’s what I want to nurture. And so, uh, I, I tried to be intentional about that with them and circle back to them on it the next day. But it got me thinking about leaders. And one of the things that I, I train around a lot in the workplaces is, um, the different levels of engagement that employees have.

Joe:
And we know that everybody listening to this podcast has some rockstar, superstar, employees on their team. And we sometimes forget that we need to make a fuss about them. You know, we have to be careful that we don’t take them for granted. And so I saw a parallel between the conversation that I wanted to make sure I had with my kids to praise their caring, to praise their dedication to the excellence, and that being the same kind of conversation we need to have with our high achievers. We need to pull them aside and say, I probably don’t say it enough because you always do an amazing job, but I want to thank you because I, because I know how much you care about doing a good job and I will never take that for granted. So that’s my “Boss Like a Mother” reflection.

Alyssa:
Great parallels, again to the parenting and the leading. I think that’s amazing. And it completely puts a beautiful bow on all the topics that we’ve covered.

Joe:
Well, then one more time. Thanks for listening to “Boss Like a Mother”.

Joe:
Friends. If you got something out of our show today, we only ask that you spread the word. Please leave a review on Apple Podcasts, encourage your network to subscribe. And when you see our posts and videos from the podcast on social media, hit that share button and write a few words about what you’re getting out of it. Until next time, BossHeroes, thank you for all that you do to make work, work for the people in your charge. Take care. And thanks for listening.

Alyssa:
This show is sponsored by Joe Mull and Associates. Remember commitment comes from better bosses. Visit joemull.com today.

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