Jan 25, 2017
Co-hosts Jan Rutherford and Jim Vaselopulos interview
Mary Kelly, CEO at Productive Leaders. They speak with Mary about
the challenges of leadership in industry, and what happens when a
leader tries too hard to be liked. They also discuss how employees
perceive leaders differently than leaders perceive themselves. They
discuss accountability, fairness, consistency, and mentoring. They
end with a discussion on motivation, happiness, and contributors to
Listen in to learn more about steps leaders can take
today to build trust and accountability in their organization.
[3:23] Productive leadership is hard, with competing
demands from above and below. In the military, everyone wants to
lead; to be productive. In many cases in business, we take the
enjoyment out of being a leader. We’ve made it difficult to be a
leader. If leaders make mistakes, they get fired. Some ineffective
leaders put themselves first, and lack compassion.
[6:34] Simon Sinek did a video on Millennials, whose
parents wanted to be liked instead of being respected. Jim says,
being respected is hugely important. If you care about people, they
will like and respect you. Mary says, they like you, until you make
a decision that is not in their best self-interests, and then they
don’t like you — but, if you made a fair decision, they will still
[8:38] For Peter Stark and Mary Kelly’s recent book,
Why Leaders Fail, they studied over 100K employee surveys
from over 10 years, used that data, and crafted a survey for the
employee’s bosses. They received 1,000 survey responses. The
responses exposed a large disconnect between the bosses’ thoughts
and the employees’ perceptions of what was happening.
[9:28] The book observes seven common leadership
failures: (1) lacking vision and clear goals, (2) sabotaging trust,
(3) self-interest, (4) unfairness and inconsistency, (5) not
understanding how to build a team, (6) wanting to be liked instead
of respected, and (7) turning confidence into arrogance. This last
failure stirs the most emotion.
[15:55] Hold people accountable for their actions,
for what they do, as well as for what they don’t do. Encourage them
to take initiative, even if it means risk. The right risks are
acceptable. Make sure people are doing their job. Don’t just go to
your go-to person and let others skate. Assign jobs consistent with
people’s job responsibilities, and then hold them accountable.
[20:12] Jan talks about succession planning
throughout the organization. People want to know what their path
is, and that there is a concerted effort to develop their skills
for their future aspirations. Mary sees some who come into an
organization for a specific job, want to do it well, and not to be
promoted. Leaders will recognize where individuals can do their
[24:23] Big companies in many ways have outsourced
the risk-taking to startups; and if they’re successful, then they
absorb them, destroying the startup culture. Big companies just
aren’t good at taking risks. Risk is the path to growth.
[26:36] Jan quotes Dan Pink and Frederick Herzberg
about motivators. Mary says attracting top talent is critical for
every organization. The happy medium between Herzberg and Pink is
that people are individuals. Everyone needs different motivators.
Most people leave jobs because of their boss or coworker. They knew
what the job and salary were when they walked in the door.
[31:30] Mary believes in strength-based jobs. Don’t
“work on” weaknesses. Develop existing strengths. Student report
cards with five A’s, but consistent D’s in Economics, give awesome
clarity. It means their strength is not in Economics, but in the A
subjects. They should not try to be economists. Employees with a
project that they love, and have passion for, lead themselves.
[40:16] Mary did a study on happiness vs. the need to
feel valued. The age group with the highest suicide rate is people
over 85, because they feel as though nobody cares, and they’re not
valued. The next group is 45 to 65. They also feel they’re not
valued. Being valued, needed, and feeling as though you are
contributing, is the most important support we have for mental
Books Mentioned in This Episode
Why Leaders Fail: And the 7 Prescriptions for Success, by
Peter B. Stark and Mary C. Kelly
Master Your World: 10 Dog-Inspired Leadership Lessons to
Improve Productivity, Profits and Communication, by Mary C.
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by
Daniel H. Pink
The Motivation to Work, by Frederick Herzberg, Bernard
Barbara Bloch Snyderman
Raised in Texas, Mary Kelly is a graduate of the
United States Naval Academy and spent over 20 years on active duty
in intelligence and logistics. She retired from the Navy as a
commander, has a Master’s degrees in history and economics, and a
PhD in economics.
With over 20 years combined experience at the Naval
Academy, Hawaii Pacific University, and the Air Force Academy, she
taught economics, finance, history and management. She has
experience in business development, human resources, finance and
organizational leadership. Mary has a track record of success as a
leadership expert and executive coach.
Mary’s sister and brothers were also in the military.
Mary is the author of 11 books. She was once the Chief of Police,
she makes her own wine, and she’s never played a video game.
Through her work in college teaching and in the
military, Mary discovered the need to make the principles of
leadership and communication available to all types of businesses.
Her book, Master Your World, became a bestseller and
launched her career as an author and speaker.
After publishing additional books on leadership,
productivity, communication, business growth, and organization,
Mary desired to make leadership fun and fulfilling. Mary views
conferences and events as a partnership, and she works to eliminate
worry and uncertainty for her meeting professionals. Mary knows
leaders today are developing talent, managing change, building
teams, communicating across multiple platforms, and worried about
profitability. Mary helps leaders and managers save time, reduce
conflict, decrease absenteeism, resolve challenges, gain clarity,
and make decisions that boost morale and productivity. “Great
leadership can be learned.”
Website: 7PrescriptionsForSuccess.com for a free
chapter (the Trust chapter) of
the book, and a free 36-question leadership
assessment to use with your team.