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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Jul 29, 2020

Chris Kolenda is the Founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, a West Point grad, retired Army Colonel, and author of the book, Leadership: The Warrior’s Art. Chris has had the pleasure and not-so-great pleasure of working with a wide variety of leadership types and styles, including bullies. He explains how junior leaders, or anyone without leadership power, can stand up to abusive leaders and take control of their future.


Key Takeaways

[3:15] Chris served as a senior advisor for the Under Secretary of Defense, Michelle Flournoy, along with many 3-star and 4-star generals. Chris noticed that there is no single leadership ideal.

[5:00] There are four different leadership archetypes: Pioneers, Reconcilers, Operators, and Mavericks.

[7:45] Myers-Briggs is extremely useful, but it’s difficult to keep 16 personality type of mind.

[9:00] Chris has worked with three of these archetypes and shares the impact each one has had on him.

[11:45] Leaders are like gardeners. They help people grow to the biggest and healthiest version of themselves.

[14:45] Empathy plays an important role during a crisis. Take on the ability to see yourself in a situation in the eyes of others.

[18:45] Wash away your assumptions and learn to adapt.

[22:05] Chris was bullied and sexually assaulted when he was younger. He shares the long-term effects bullies have on a person.

[25:25] If you’ve been bullied or assaulted, first recognize that this is not your fault.

[27:15] You can stop a bully dead in their tracks by acknowledging them and calling them out (the right way).

[29:25] Tell people right away. Don’t wait 35-plus years to share your story.

[36:15] Most organizations can’t afford to take 6–8 months to go to a leadership course. It’s just not feasible, so we need to find better ways to multiply our experiences.

[42:45] Always lead with value.

[43:30] Challenge to the listeners: Look at your culture and see if the most vulnerable people in your organization feel safe enough to bring their best and most authentic selves to work.


Quotable Quotes

  • “You don’t have to try to copycat somebody else, you can just be you.”
  • “Leaders are like gardeners; they help each thing they are growing be the best and healthiest version of themselves.”
  • “The more people who are affected by bullying tell their story, the more it deters predators.”
  • “I encourage every person who is employed by a toxic, abusive bully, to leave.”


Resources Mentioned


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