Written by Katie Robinson, Chief Academic Officer at Meeting Street Schools and Spring 2021 Leadership Discovery participant, after hearing from Jamie Tozzi, Owner of Jamie Tozzi, LLC.
Jamie Tozzi spent more than 20 years leading teams and transformations at a couple of the most iconic companies in the world. Recently, Jamie left the corporate world behind to focus on her passion for helping people be their best and show up authentically. She currently works with organizations to grow leadership talent and inspire breakthrough team performance because she knows first-hand that the leadership journey is a worthwhile yet challenging one, and all leaders need an advocate. Jamie was able to boil down her two decades of experience into meaningful tips that every leader should consider.
Be aware of what is happening on every floor. Often, when leaders figuratively move up the ladder, we also literally find ourselves on a higher floor in the building. Therefore, it’s important for leaders to remember that every view matters. Strategy often comes from the top, but the ripple effects of the accompanying small changes are always biggest at the bottom. Capitalize on your vantage point that allows you to see far and wide while also staying abreast of what is happening on the bottom floor. And, remember that being on a higher-level floor enables you to travel between floors, which then allows you to make yourself indispensable.
Excellence requires leaders who can connect the 40th floor with the 1st floor.
Say it the way others can hear it. Use the guiding questions, “So what? Who cares?” to ensure that you are speaking the language of your audience both when you are communicating up and communicating down. When communicating up, think of your expertise as both a great asset and also a potential bothersome liability if you can’t relate to your audience. When communicating down, note that credibility comes from demonstrating “you get it,” making people feel heard and embodying servant leadership and humility.
If it is the right thing and we communicate it well, anything is possible.
Use an objective framework when giving feedback. The phrase, “I want to give you some feedback” is scientifically proven to trigger the amygdala, or fight or flight reflex, for most recipients. So, in order to avoid triggering this response, give meaningful feedback by 1) Stating the observable fact. 2) Telling how this makes you feel or what this makes you conclude. 3) Asking, “Did I get that right?”. This removes some of the subjectivity and allows you to have a more objective conversation.
If you see something, say something. It keeps things from festering.
Incorporate a deeper growth mindset. Sometimes when people become successful, their growth mindset starts to diminish. This can create a fixed mindset in which the person ignores input, focuses on his/her own successes, doesn’t take risks and refuses to fail. In contrast, truly successful leaders possess a growth mindset which allows them to embrace challenges, persist against setbacks, celebrate risks and see failure as opportunities for growth.
A growth mindset allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times.
Jamie’s practical advice can be easily implemented and applied across all levels of leadership. Her words of wisdom help leaders to create a work culture that values relationships, and, in turn, leads to success across all levels.
Katie Robinson, Chief Academic Officer, Meeting Street Schools
Participant in the 2021 Spring Leadership Discovery class
Learn more about Leadership Discovery