Bob DeKoch is the founder of the leadership consulting firm, Limitless, and co-author of Leading with Care in a Tough World. He has spent his entire career in leadership roles, refining his own skills, and mentoring hundreds of aspiring leaders. In this episode of Love in Action, Bob shares insights and examples about his approach to caring leadership and the 9 principles he and Phil Clampitt write about in the book.
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- “There is a natural tension between serving people and doing everything needed to get them engaged and the reality of the results and mission of the organization.” [8:19] What does the subtitle ‘Beyond Servant Leadership’ from Bob DeKoch and Phil Clampitt’s book mean? Bob describes “beyond” as bringing that tension together, where motivating and serving meet.
- “We propose the side of caring that we call, deep caring.” [9:42] There are varying levels of caring and Bob briefly explains the discussion of these levels in the book as shallow vs deep caring. Shallow caring places focus on the short term like perks with birthday celebrations, or pool tables in the break room. Deep caring lives in the long term with more focus on goals, development, and self-actualization. Deep caring is less about appeasement and more about growth.
- “We have to have a respect for continuous learning not only through on-the-job experience but through coursework, seminars, working in organizations, and other methods.” [14:25] Marcel comments on the value of lifelong learning Bob and Phil highlight in the book. Bob explains it as a need for the best of the best and they can only be a lifelong learner. Leaders cannot be stuck in their ways; they have to have the willingness to grow leadership skills. And when you don’t your people feel that lack of commitment.
- “The kind of kindness that’s important has an empathetic factor, a listening factor, and an understanding factor. That’s necessary to engage people but it’s not an indication you’re soft.” [19:03] Too often people think kindness is soft or weak, but Bob gives examples of the impact of kindness in the workplace. The communication in making choices and decisions in an organization is a big part of that kindness and a benefit as well.
- “It takes self-reflection and honesty with yourself about how you’re coming across.” [20:43] When you become a leader you don’t check your humanity at the door. Through coaching, reflection, and self-awareness, leaders can change their behavior to become kinder if they understand what they’re doing and how it’s affecting their organization. At times leadership feels like a race to check off the boxes, but it’s important to slow down and reflect on how you’re doing that.
- “The command style might be necessary sometimes but in a caring environment…not often” [24:16] Caring leaders coach not command, is one of the 9 principles from the book, Leading with Care in a Tough World. Bob explains that subtle coaching happens every day by listening and having conversations work out a path. Caring and coaching are about making suggestions, helping overcome barriers, creating action plans, and facilitating employees in success.
- “Leaders have to listen, but they have to accomplish the organizational mission as well.” [28:49] Marcel brings the questions to the current landscape in the workplace with hot-button topics when it comes to political activism. How should leaders respond? Bob says it’s about listening to differing points of view, and finding balance and respect on both sides. But it’s also important to maintain the objective of the organization and where that comes into play with the employees.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Leading with Care in a Tough World
- Phil Clampitt on LinkedIn
- Bob DeKoch on LinkedIn
- Marcel Schwantes
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