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Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them. Or so the saying goes. However, while there are some people who seem to be naturally charismatic with excellent communication and leadership abilities, it still takes work and practice to be a successful leader. There is more to leading a team of employees than simply telling them what to do.
Maureen Falvey, a leadership coach and consultant, sat down with us to discuss the advice she gives leaders to be the most effective. In this blog, Hollywood Branded chats about how individuals and teams can reach their full potential through building strong relationships and effective leadership.
Maureen is a Leadership Coach and Consultant who works with high-potential individuals and teams who want to lead with greater purpose, influence, and effectiveness. In her dynamic and successful 25+ year career in advertising, she has worked with some of the largest and best marketers globally, partnering with Procter & Gamble, Unilever, General Mills Inc., Burger King, and United Airlines, to name a few, developing effective marketing campaigns. Now she is the Lead Coach & Trainer at Strong Training & Coaching, where she works with individuals, groups, and teams to accelerate their growth, realize their potential, and live & work with greater purpose and passion.
Question: How did you get here today? Because you have an interesting story. You, I don't think, thought 25 years ago that you were going to be in coaching and leadership building when you were smack dab in the middle of an advertising career.
Answer: Well, there were a few people who did think I would end up on this path. I come from a family of—they're all therapists, and it was so funny because, in my advertising career, they would say, "When are you gonna join the family business?" So, I have three sisters, a mom, they're all in it, and I said, "Never, because your business model looks so funky to me." Now I say that with a wink because they literally are saving lives every day. But, I said, "Someone will come in, and they'll talk about the same thing for twenty years. I have a bias for action," and it turns out, interestingly enough, that coaching is based on the term stagecoach. So therapy is about looking back and cleaning up patterns, and coaching is about taking you from where you are to where you want to go. So I love that piece of it, and I move as quickly, you know, at whatever pace my client is comfortable moving. But it was a backdrop to all of those years in advertising and seeing things that were in people's way, right, that you just wanted to move, have them put their action plans together, and make sure that at the end of the week, of the month, or the year of their life, they aren't looking back and say, "what just happened?" So how wonderful to be able to go back into that community and work with people to make sure they're unleashed.
Question: What are some of the biggest mistakes that you see people making?
Answer: I think one of the biggest mistakes that we make is thinking that it's just about the work, thinking that it's about marketing. You know, I will help someone in, let's say, career coaching, and they'll get the new job, and they'll say, "the first thing I have to do is get a win on the page. I kind of like win a big pitch, whatever." I'm like, "Okay, that might be the second thing. The first thing that I want you to do is build relationships of trust. The first thing I want you to do is to get your sea legs about you." Find your team and your circle of safety, and the people that you're going to go to. Because if you're in a creative industry, and I'd argue we all are, but certainly in advertising and marketing, you cannot access where the goodies lie if you're freaked out and you don't have those relationships of trust. And so, one of the biggest mistakes is thinking that your job is to do marketing. Yes, but before that, do marketing with these people that you're going to build relationships of trust. So I would say that's one, and I think the other one is not being able to make mistakes.
Question: People are afraid of fucking up. It's the fear of the fuck up at an agency...
Answer: Yeah, it is. And you know, one of the ways to flip that around—that's so true—is to start asking for feedback. So when we're waiting for it, we're on our back foot, so it's just not a great—we all go through the five stages of death. Right? I let you know that you have (and I'm making this up) this up habit of interrupting people in meetings, right? And you want to die for a second because you, like all of us, have a strong value around being loved as we all are, right? So you go through denial and bargaining. "Well, I don't do that well, but I do that..." You go through the whole thing on the path to acceptance. But if you have a trusted relationship, you'll get to acceptance faster, meaning the learning and the growing. And if you ask for it. Be brave and go to people. Say, "Hey, you know what I'm curious about? What is your experience of being on the other side of me? What is one thing I do well, so I know what to keep doing?" Super helpful strategic praise. "And what is one thing I'm doing that might be getting in the way, your way, our way?" Why would we not want to know? So I can promise you people are thinking it, so how beneficial would it be to actually know? Do you want to walk around with spin to your teeth for six months, right? But we have to have trust. Routinize it, 'feedback Fridays...' But to make sure no one has to wonder how they're doing, that kills creativity. Guess what builds your confidence? Actually knowing what you do well and what isn't working, what it's not working for people. So we ask.
Question: What are other things leaders in an organization do that you feel don't work so well?
Answer: So we lead by the Golden Rule, which is, you know, when we were kids, and somebody says to you, "Oh, Stacy, doing to others as you would have done unto you," and you're like, "Oh, that's lovely!" Leadership is do unto others as they would have done unto them. So what that means is, I don't like the term servant leadership, but it does mean other and other orientation of, you know, I'm going to lead you in order to unleash your potential. That's a different path. And John, over here, or Alice to the left, I mean, it's just very different. So I need to figure out what your values are, what motivates you, and what stresses you out. Tell me about your last best day. What do you need for me? So you can have more of those, right? And so yeah, I think that we flip the Golden Rule, and we do unto others as they would have done. And then we get honest with ourselves, I don't think everyone's supposed to lead. That's the truth. I don't think everyone's supposed to. I think it's a calling like a butcher or a candlestick maker.
Question: So, are there any other areas that you see organizations missing with their people?
Answer: It's going to sound so basic, and I'm just going to say it: See them. So I have at least three clients right now that want to quit their job because no one's asked them how they're doing it over a year. That is crazy (they're not gonna quit because they're working with me). You know this way of working, it's not most people's best way of working, so we cancel the one-on-one because it's awkward, and it's weird, and a coffee would have been better. And I don't give you the feedback because that's even more strange to do it over Zoom.
And so it's to see people—and there's nothing I loved about this pandemic—however, I do appreciate the fact that we have seen into one another's homes, and our pets, and our children, and the way we decorate, and my hope from that is that we will never forget that the people that we're working with are human beings, and they have messy lives. So just see the whole person work with the whole person. It doesn't, by the way, that what I just said is not about—empathy is not about being soft. It is the opposite. It is about seeing you where you are at, so I can meet you there and take you where I want you to go, so I can help you be strong again.
Maureen has so much great information from her experience in advertising and leadership coaching. Check out the podcast below to learn more about what it takes to be a successful leader that supports their employees effectively.
Every week we have a marketing professional on our show to share their tips, tricks and lessons learned from their professional experience. Check out some of our other podcast blogs from earlier this year:
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Topics: Podcast Interviews, Podcast, HB Podcast