Nia Thomas [00:00:03]:
Hello, and welcome to the Knowing Self, Knowing Others podcast where we discuss self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe. I’m your host, Nia Thomas, and join me as I talk to today’s guest.

Nia Thomas [00:00:16]:
Listeners, I’m delighted to be joined by Andrew Bryant today, and it’s taken us quite a while to get this just it dates in the diary. I think it’s probably taken over a year, but I’m really pleased to be able to have this conversation with Andrew today. Andrew Bryant is the founder of Self Leadership International and the world’s leading expert on self leadership. He’s written a number of books on the topic, Self Leadership, How to Become a More Successful, Efficient, and Effective Leader from the Inside Out, and Self Leadership, 12 Powerful Mindsets and Methods To win in life and business. And now his latest book is The New Leadership Playbook, Being Human Whilst Delivering Accelerated Results. Andrew has coached hundreds of leaders and leadership teams to become the very best version of themselves and to scale their companies. Do He has international experience with clients in Asia, Australasia, the United States, Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Wow.

Nia Thomas [00:01:11]:
Andrew, you’ve certainly been around the globe. And I think if I’m right, you’ve not long had just come back from the Middle East?

Andrew [00:01:18]:
Well, Middle East, actually, it was a couple of months ago. I just got back actually from Norway.

Nia Thomas [00:01:24]:
How was Norway?

Andrew [00:01:25]:
Norway was wonderful. Do Yeah. Hello. Hello. It’s my 1st time to Helsinki, and I always love going to a country for the 1st time, just to check it out. Yes. I do get about a bit, but when I was growing up in England, that that was not a compliment.

Nia Thomas [00:01:41]:
Indeed. Indeed. One of the questions I was gonna ask you was about the difference between self leadership and self awareness. So, as you know, my interest just say self aware leadership, and yours is self leadership. There are definitely crossovers, but they are not the same things.

Andrew [00:01:57]:
Well, the crossover is one of the pillars of Self leadership is self awareness. So firstly, let’s define self leadership as I did with doctor Anna Kazan in our 2012 book. Self leadership is the practice of intentionally influencing your thinking, feeling, and actions towards Your objectives. So self leadership is about agency. It’s about ownership and accountability. To be an effective self leader. And we we all self lead. It’s just we we don’t always do it to the best of our abilities.

Andrew [00:02:30]:
To be a self leader, we have to have self awareness, Self regulation, which some people might call emotional intelligence, and self learning, the ability to adapt and be agile to the world around us.

Nia Thomas [00:02:43]:
So when you are exploring different countries around the world, does does this play out differently? Does it look different depending on your cultural stance?

Andrew [00:02:53]:
It it looks different because part of the self awareness, of course, is awareness of self also gives us awareness of others and awareness of context. So self leadership is context specific. Self leadership in North Korea is gonna be different from self leadership in North Manchester or North Carolina. So we do need to be aware of the circumstances that we’re in. And, Yep. The thing about the self awareness is it really pushes against so much of our programming. Self leadership only comes about when we have that epiphany when we wake up that we can be the driver of our life. Psychology clearly shows us that we don’t have anywhere near as much free will as we think we have.

Andrew [00:03:42]:
We may even have no free will Because we don’t choose our DNA. We don’t choose our parents. We don’t choose the place, time, and of our birth. We don’t choose our childhood upbringing. But at some point in our life, we get this awareness of, hang on a moment. I wanna be the driver. I don’t wanna be reactive. I don’t want to be blaming, Complaining and playing the victim, I I I wanna make a difference, and I want to take that agency.

Andrew [00:04:07]:
And regardless of whether we do have Any agency, whether we do have free will, the act of imagining that we have agency changes our our life and The version of ourselves that we’re gonna become.

Andrew [00:04:19]:
Explain the word agency to us a little bit more. I’m hearing more and more people using it, But I’m not sure whether in the UK, we use it, possibly not as frequently and maybe not in the same way.

Andrew [00:04:33]:
Well, in the definition of self leadership, I talk about intentionally influencing. So we all influence a situation. We walk into a room, And we influence that room. Right? But if you intentionally go into a room so I’m I’m a professional speaker, so I walk onto stages around the world. Now some people are terrified. In fact, the majority of people are terrified of public speaking. I actually like it. But when I’m Preparing a speech.

Andrew [00:05:01]:
I’m also preparing my intentionality for that speech. How am I gonna be when I step on stage, and what is the outcome I want for the audience? And because I have that intentionality in mind and on my heart, then that drives my behavior, and that is the agency. It is being the driver rather than Passenger. Being proactive rather than reactive. Does does that help?

Andrew [00:05:24]:
Yeah. Most definitely. I think that’s a really helpful way of describing it is how you choose to drive your behavior. If you think about your coaching work and you think about, discuss different different leaders’ behaviors. Have you identified that self awareness is something that people come to took coaching with, or is it something that is uncovered through coaching? Where does self awareness fit in that coaching journey of the people that you’ve worked with? Well,

Andrew [00:05:53]:
I have a chemistry conversation with with the people I coach, and I’m really asking them, you know, did you choose me, Or was I chosen for you? Right? So if an organization says, hey. You need to have some coaching with Andrew, then the whole setup is somewhat remedial. And they’re do Well, you know, who are you and why are you coaching me? But if they sort me out, they’ve been proactive, they’ve they’ve engaged with an agency, then they’re very much Gonna have some self awareness. But, you know, self awareness is on a scale. Right? So, you know, right now, I’m aware that I’m sitting in a chair and I’m speaking to you and as vice versa, you would be aware of too. And our listeners and our viewers would be aware. Okay. I’m listening to this podcast.

Andrew [00:06:35]:
But the balcony view, which we talk about, is that that step back perspective is is I can be aware of myself sitting in this chair Talking to you. Typically, we use the example of, you know, if you were at a high school dance and you’re dancing with a partner, you’re aware of your partner. You’re aware of your own movement, and you’re aware of the people immediately around you, but you’ve got a limited perspective. You you might you’re hearing the music, but you might not be able to see the band or the DJ. And and you’re unaware of what’s happening on the edges of the dance floor. But if you zoom out and you’re on the balcony of whatever venue that is and looking down at the dance floor, You’re you’re aware of yourself moving with your partner, and now you’ve got a bigger perspective. You can see the patterns of the movement of the dancers and the people standing at the bar and The people standing around the edge looking on, etcetera, etcetera, and now you can see the band. But we could zoom out another level.

Andrew [00:07:25]:
We could go to have The raft of you. And from the raft of you, you’re looking down at the balcony and considering the biases with which you are even looking at yourself On the dance floor moving around. So there are levels of self awareness. I I’m aware of the immediate stimulus response and maybe the emotions I’m feeling, But am I aware of what what’s behind that? What is the patterns that I’m bringing? What is the history, the narrative that I’m bringing to this situation? What are my biases and my previous background driving to my reactivity or proactivity? So Self awareness, as you know, has a lot of depth.

Andrew [00:08:04]:
Definitely. It’s awareness of awareness, and sometimes you have to go to that 3rd level, do awareness of awareness of awareness.

Andrew [00:08:09]:
Well, it and it it keeps going on. Right? I mean, eventually, you get up to some sort of universal or god view. I I love, You know, that concept of you know, was it I think it was December 24, 9, 68 or 69, and when Apollo 8 came around the moon, And and we get that amazing photograph of Earthrise. We see the surface of the moon, and we see the globe, you know, rising on the horizon, hanging there in space. And the great mythologist Joseph Campbell said we should’ve all had an epiphany at this moment. You know, for the first time in the history of man, We we get the god’s eye view. Every religion on the planet has an upward orientation to our deity. And and suddenly, we’re looking down from that god perspective.

Andrew [00:08:53]:
Do And we should have realized, you know, 1 planet, 1 tribe, 1 future. And yet if you turn on the news Today, you’re gonna hear about more and more division. So we really haven’t had that step back, step back, step back phase as as a as a race or as a population of the planet.

Andrew [00:09:14]:
So I guess the best that you can do is do that for yourself as an individual, support your team to do that, and if you have the opportunity, tell your organization to do that.

Andrew [00:09:25]:
Absolutely. Yeah. Transformation starts with ourself. Right? If you wanna change somebody else, change yourself. And people notice. I mean, The moment you you have some self awareness and then you engage in some self regulation, you know, it’s it’s interesting how everything changes. One of the practical skills of self leadership is executive presence. How how do we turn up? Do we project gravitas and confidence and poise under pressure.

Andrew [00:09:54]:
And the moment you start feeling better about yourself as you step into that room, Then the people react differently to you. And, you know, the the movie Pretty Woman, when she goes into the expensive store on Rodeo Drive and she’s not. Doesn’t get the reaction, and then the Richard Gere figure goes in, and he gets the reaction. And then over time, she dresses well, the reactions change. Right?

Andrew [00:10:17]:
Yes. Interesting. When you think about leaders and leadership, what are some of the techniques just we can draw on to really bolster our self leadership and self awareness within that.

Andrew [00:10:31]:
Well, there are there are obviously many, many strategies, and I’ve been writing extensively about those. The the number one technique that I would always prescribe to somebody in leadership is is to start journaling, And I’m I’m sure you probably give the same advice, is that the moment you write it down on a piece of paper, you you immediately are 1 step back in terms of self awareness. Right. What is the narrative I have? This year, I I gave up drinking alcohol. And, you know, immediately, I gave up Something is a negative narrative. So as I was writing that down, I go, I’m giving up, and how does that make me feel? It makes me feel like I’m giving something up. That’s not a good feeling. But hang on a moment.

Andrew [00:11:11]:
What am I getting in return? Well, what I’m actually getting is better sleep, And I’m getting the weight loss that I was looking for. And with the weight loss, I, you know, reduced some of the symptoms of Alcohol, which was, for me, was acid reflux, and I was taking medication. And I I so what I got back was not needing to take omniprozole I’m feeling better in myself, so hang on. I’m not giving anything up. I’m getting something back. And I learned that by journaling. And so, you know, it’s a self coaching, self transformation piece. So I recommend every leader, you know, journals at least well, certainly, they they journal every day, but they should have a an hour each week, no devices, and, you know, sort of think about, you know, who is it that I am becoming? So back to this point about agency and and the possibility that we don’t have as much free will as we think we have.

Andrew [00:12:05]:
The moment that we say I’m gonna be the driver of my life, we start becoming a better version of ourselves or a more aware version, and If we are intentional about it, a better version. So I’m I’m version 6.2 of myself, and I’m certainly a lot wiser than version 4 point to, and hopefully a bit more compassionate than version 4.2, even though I have a lot less hair than version 4.2. And, obviously, in a few years, I’ll be version 7 point do. And I’m on a very clear and intentional path. You know, who do I want to become, and what’s my legacy going to be when I’m version 7.2? And part of my choice to, you know, put alcohol behind me was that it didn’t fit in the plan To be the energetic version, I wanted to be at 7.2. Not that I’m judging, not that I’m proselytizing to anybody. I’m just sharing, you know, a practical example of a change that I’ve recently made myself.

Andrew [00:13:00]:
Interested in what you say about language. And I think when we use language in a different way and we we have that self talk. I think that does make a a very big difference. And I think When you were talking about walking on the stage and how you talk to yourself about your confidence on a stage, that is about the language that you use to talk to yourself. How does language then fit into to your view of of self leadership?

Andrew [00:13:30]:
Well, I mean, self leadership owes a lot to narrative therapy. And so we we are metaphorical creatures. Right? Human beings are meaning making machines. Right. We create meanings. Self leadership owes a lot to logotherapy from Vic doctor Viktor Frankl, the the the Jewish prisoner of war, the doctor who noticed, you know, who survived and who didn’t. And and he had agency about how he felt about his captors, just That they could hate him, but they couldn’t make him hate them and and how he choose to have a a positive outlook. And, of course, he survived An almost unsurvivable experience.

Andrew [00:14:11]:
So, I mean, language is everything. So many people that you speak to are actually emotionally literate. Right. You say, how are you feeling? And they go, okay or I’m fine. You go, yeah. But how are you really feeling? And they struggle to articulate it. I do I remember my when my kids were at kindergarten, they were coming home with little charts of I’m feeling happy or I’m feeling sad or I’m feeling excited or I’m feeling frustrated or I’m feeling curious or I’m feeling wonder. And so and one of the first things I do with with senior executives is to say, well, how are you feeling? And they and they think, Tom, do it.

Andrew [00:14:45]:
Do There’s a wonderful colorful diagram. Just Google emotional wheel, and I think you’ll find it. And there’s, you know, hundreds of words that we can use to describe how we feel. And as an exercise, say, well, how do I feel about this? And actually being able to label it is incredibly powerful. The moment we label something, we have some power over it rather than it having power over us. I mean, this goes all the way back to the early alchemists, just you know, those, guys trying to turn lead into gold. They believed that if you knew the true name of something, you could do Call upon it. Now this is, you know, witchcraft or wizardry, but that’s what a spell is.

Andrew [00:15:23]:
You know, I could tell somebody to, you know, go jump in a lake, or I could wish an incredibly focused and productive day. Now imagine them saying, you know, have a great day, but changing that to have a productive and focused day, have a joyful day. And suddenly, your language has become a blessing to somebody else. It’s become a spell.

Andrew [00:15:43]:
And you definitely see how that links discuss with journaling. So if you are putting your thoughts out, you’re getting it from your head, you’re putting it down on paper, you then have that distance distance an objectivity. You are able to view the language you’re using, and you are able to make that choice about changing that language so that you operate in a more positive sphere, in a more productive sphere.

Andrew [00:16:03]:
You make it seem sound like a lot of hard work When you label it out like that Okay. So and and it is. And to be fair, it it takes practice. As I said, I’m version 6.2, and I’ve been doing this do for many, many years. But it gets you you get quicker at it. Right? I remember writing down reframes. Do How do I feel about money? You know, money is the root of all evil. No.

Andrew [00:16:28]:
It’s not. The love of money is the root of all evil. You know, money gives me choices, and and do Writing, you know, hundreds and hundreds of lines about what my relationship with with money is. And it’s quite interesting. I had a a a call this morning with An entrepreneur who had built a very successful business and then bought in some new partners, and those partners had this lack and fear and anxiety. And he’s like, it was really freaking him out because he had a very good relationship with money and abundance and, you know, the fact that money goes in cycles, And he was having to deal with all this negativity. So you’re absolutely right. It is a practice, and it takes intentionality.

Andrew [00:17:06]:
But then My origins of self leadership go back to I started my career as a physiotherapist. And initially, I was patching people up, and then I realized I I didn’t enjoy Patching people up as much as I enjoyed preparing them for peak performance. And, you know, in sport, you don’t expect to be good do If you don’t put in the work. So, you know, what’s it worth to be the best version of yourself? Put in the effort.

Andrew [00:17:34]:
Do practice makes perfect.

Andrew [00:17:36]:
Well, perfect practice makes perfect, remember, because, you know, if you pack practice a bad golf swing, you just get really good at a bad golf swing. So That you need a lot you need a round, you know, what what

Andrew [00:17:48]:
kind of practice it is. Right? Hey. That’s that’s good advice. Yeah. Thinking to our conversation about language. In one of your blog posts, you use the phrase constructive vulnerability. What does that mean for us? What is constructive vulnerability. We we talk about being vulnerable in the world of work and being vulnerable as a leader, but what does constructive vulnerability mean to us?

Andrew [00:18:11]:
Okay. So this this is an example of, you know, getting good with language and the distinctions. Right? So vulnerability is being aware of the the threat and or being aware of a weakness, And so that has negative connotations. However, when we’re constructive, when we share with people, hey. Look. I’m gonna show you the mistakes I made and what I learned from that, then that’s very powerful as a leader to engage other people. If you’re setting up a frame that I’m perfect and you’re not, that creates a barrier between the leader and the follower. And and for me, leadership is measured by the changes in the followers, not in the traits of the leader.

Andrew [00:18:50]:
So Constructive vulnerability is being intentional about revealing your vulnerability. I wrote a a follow-up blog just This week, actually, about, you know, is vulnerability the new social media superpower? And that was because I was seeing vulnerability Somewhat overused. Right? You know? And and in in speaking, we we have a little phrase, share your scars, not your scabs. If it still bleeds, keep it to yourself. And so the scars that we we have, if we share, how do we get those scars and what we learn from those? We’ve done the process. Right? We don’t wanna be doing therapy in public. We wanna have done our therapy in private, but then when we’ve had our victory, Sharing that victory with other people is constructive vulnerability.

Andrew [00:19:41]:
That’s that’s very helpful in terms of phrasing it that way. And I think it comes back to what we talked about initially around agency. It’s about making that very clear choice about what you are sharing and the appropriateness of that. And I think as a leader, if you want modeling behavior, you’re modeling language, you’re modeling that positivity and not sharing at the same time.

Andrew [00:20:01]:
Yeah. I I think we I think we should share vulnerability on on social media once we’ve done it. Alright? Vulnerable posts certainly get lots of traction. In in 2021, I had a possible dance a diagnosis and had major abdominal surgery. And when it was all over, and only when it was all over and I was in the healing phase, I wrote a blog about what did I learn about going through the process. You know? That that got thousands and thousands of views, and I had lots of comments on that. And it was really helpful To get a window into, you know, how did I face the fear, how did I build a a network around me to support me, and how did I stay positive and yet realistic?

Andrew [00:20:39]:
Do And we’re very glad you’re better and you’re

Andrew [00:20:42]:
Oh, well, I’m very yeah. My my wife is particularly glad that I came out the other side about it, so I’m do Very, very happy about that. Yes.

Andrew [00:20:49]:
Indeed. I’m interested in groupthink and cognitive diversity, and I’ve heard you talk about leadership did being as a real result of a shared psychology or group psychology, and I’m interested to know more about your thoughts on that.

Andrew [00:21:03]:
Yeah. Well, do Leadership is a it is a group process. It is, you know, the leader is inviting, engaging the followers to move towards an objective. Do And it’s it’s usually a shared objective. Otherwise, it’s management or it’s coercion. So the leader says, let’s go here, And that’s in line with the values and the objectives of the followers, and so, therefore, it is a group activity as opposed to groupthink, which is Everybody thinks it’s a good idea, and they’re not using the critical thinking to say, you know, but is it the best idea? Right? Or is it even a a a a good idea? We’re just all doing it. So, you know, the group dynamics here is, I believe, that a good leader Sets out that vision, that objective, engages the the followers, and at the same time, encourages the self leadership to say, Is this the best way to do it? Is to encourage their critical thinking. So many people are just following a football team or a political party horror religion just out of the fact that that’s what they were born into, and there was no critical thinking about, well, you know, what are the values of this do Political association.

Andrew [00:22:17]:
You know, is that what I I I believe in? Are they doing the best? How much agency do I have over my political or religious Or cultural process do I have and as uncomfortable it is, as a leader, having people Push back and say, yeah. Can you explain that to us a bit more, or, you know, can we offer an alternative way is it’s really the evolution of the leader. And I’ve been the president of 2 associations In my life, I and, you know, when you’re when you’re leading volunteers, you really know whether you’re you’ve got any leadership skills or not because they’ll tell you if you’re not doing it right.

Andrew [00:22:59]:
Absolutely. So if we think about self awareness and self leadership, how does that really help us navigate the challenges that that we are facing as leaders when we’re thinking about their physical, social, emotional, mental health. How do we really draw on that agency to make sure that we are putting ourselves as leaders into a good position to be able to lead well and lead well for ourselves.

Andrew [00:23:24]:
I think you almost answered the question as you asked the question is that there is a responsibility as a leader to to role model that which you want. Right? Do So if you haven’t thought about being a well rounded leader, if you’re only thinking about the objectives and not thinking about the people getting to the end and Being able to do the next thing. I mean, if you were a rugby coach and and you pushed your players to win at all costs, but, do You know, you you had 11 men down with injuries at the end of that game, then you’re not sustainable for the season. I’m using a a sporting metaphor. The Leaders today are aware that they need to have focus. They need to have relaxation. They need to not be reactive. They need to be able to have the time to step back and have critical thinking and they want followers to do the same.

Andrew [00:24:14]:
Now the challenge is, you know, we we still operate from paradigms of, you know, drive the results, drive the results, drive results. And as leaders, if we don’t deliver those results, perhaps our tenure might be limited. But if we deliver those results at the cost of ourselves, our own health insanity, and the health insanity of the people that we are leading, then that’s irresponsible. It’s nonsustainable. And we’ve seen The great resignation of people who say, you know what? This isn’t worth it. I’m not I’m not following this. This doesn’t make sense. And the pandemic opened that up to us to the fact that, you know, the way workplaces were set up were not healthy.

Andrew [00:24:52]:
I’m wondering as as you were talking there, I’m I’m wondering, are there some leaders who might use do self leadership in a more self centered, selfish way that if they take some of those, The foundations of that, and they make those choices for themselves, and they are not behaving ethically. Is that something that you’ve do seen, or do you find that there are people are ethically and morally able to make those decisions and generally use do it in a healthy way.

Andrew [00:25:27]:
With great power comes great responsibility, said Peter Parker’s uncle. And, You know, there is always the possibility for for misusing. But as you know, with self awareness, as we build our self awareness, we also increase our other awareness. So self leadership is not selfish. Egotism is not the same as having a strong ego. In self leadership, we develop a strong ego, a strong sense of self. This is who I am. This is what I value.

Andrew [00:25:57]:
This is what my intentionality. This is, And this makes us less needy for ex oh, in fact, if you do it properly, you know, you don’t you’re not needing a call for any external validation or power with that. So the self leader, and we talked about the vulnerability, is actually able to influence with less use of formal power. They are attractive to people. And because they’ve got self awareness, they know what’s important to them. And so, Typically, that comes with some level of moral code and ethics because the self learning is if I do something unethical, I’m gonna be aware of the ramifications of And then fix it. Guilt is not a negative emotion, which most people are surprised about, but guilt says, I’m aware that there is a standard, and I fell below that standard, whether that’s a standard I put upon myself or a standard from society, And then I will close that. We know that a psychopath and a sociopath don’t have that.

Andrew [00:26:58]:
They don’t have guilt, and so they’re able to do terrible things. Do So it is true that psychopaths, narcissists get to the top of organizations and political structures and do manipulate and do hurt people. I’m sorry. That is a reality. I would argue that they don’t have self leadership because Their self awareness is that they’re buying into a narrative that they are more important than other people. And the reality is that it doesn’t matter how money you have. It doesn’t matter how much influence you have. You want a better human being than anybody else.

Andrew [00:27:33]:
You’re better at something. You’re better at making money or you’re better at Throwing a ball or hitting a ball with a bat, but it doesn’t make you a better human being. And I think that fundamental sense that nobody’s better than anybody else as a human being, Clearly, some people are better than others at human doing.

Andrew [00:27:49]:
Which leads me very nicely onto a question that I I’ve asked many podcast guests. And it’s this question about, do you think that that leaders at the strategic level of organizations have greater self awareness than leaders at do other levels of organization. And and I will ask this question because in the research, the answer is yes. What I discovered that the answer was no. So I’m really interested in in hearing from my podcast guest. What what have you discovered?

Andrew [00:28:20]:
Well, it’s a bell curve. Right? I mean, I have met people who’ve got to the very top of organizations, and they they clearly have no idea. But they’ve managed to to be successful in a particular way. I mean, we we promote do People driving results. And that promotion of people driving results can lead them to say, well, I got the results. Therefore, my way is the right way. Therefore, everybody should do it my way. Great salespeople don’t necessarily make great sales leaders because they’ve worked out a way to do it, but it’s not necessarily duplicatable.

Andrew [00:28:54]:
Typically, the leaders that I have worked with I mean, I’ve met some amazing people with a with tremendous self awareness and self regulation To the point, I’m I’m impressed about how they manage their time, their lives, their social lives, and The values that they put around that, I’ve been very impressed by some of the people I’ve coached. It’s an advantage of working at the pointy end of Humanity that I get to see what is possible and say, oh, thank you very much. I’m gonna borrow that, or I’m gonna take that as mine because now I’ve seen it. I can use it. Right? So I don’t have the numbers for you. I would say, typically, the people I work with, you know and and if they don’t have a self awareness, I don’t work with them for very long. Right. You know, they’ll either fire me or I’ll fire myself from that engagement.

Andrew [00:29:40]:
And is that something that that have you had had a particular instance where when you when you’re talking about that, that you’re thinking about, are you going back to a particular type of organization that you can say, this was one of those instances where this really was not happening. I was not seeing any self awareness, under I have to make that decision to move on, move elsewhere.

Andrew [00:30:02]:
Last year, I parted ways with somebody I’d I’d coached for a long time, And it was very painful because this individual had had and still does have great self awareness and had done some amazing things. And in our conversation way back when, I’d been empowered by him to say, look. If I step out of line, you know, you have permission to call me on it. Well, he was going through a particularly tough time, and I I observed that his leadership was kinda taking a backslide. And I called him on it, and I really called him on it on the wrong day because it clearly was taking a backslide. And, you know, that What he felt was criticism from somebody he trusted was just too much. And and he said, you know, I’m gonna take a break, and we’ve not reengaged to this point. That might change.

Andrew [00:30:54]:
I know I did the right thing because I think that would have jolted him to go, okay. Well, I hate Andrew, but I’m gonna course correct. And, you know, if I was the sacrificial lamb in that process, then I’m happy. I I did my role. And I would call it out again because, do That was the frame of our contract, and that, I think, is what makes me a a good coach is that I I don’t put up with anything, I call it. I’m not worried about, you know, well, that’s the end of that that paycheck from that client. I I’m operating at a higher level than that and going, do Am I being the best person for this individual, challenging them to be the best leader that they can be? And that’s made very clearly at the early part of our conversations. On my on my LinkedIn profile, it says a catalyst for change.

Andrew [00:31:40]:
And, you know, a catalyst raises the heat generally of the chemical reaction. So If that’s not what you’re looking for,

Andrew [00:31:47]:
then don’t engage me. What are your thoughts about receiving feedback? Because Receiving feedback can be tough. And I think when you’re having positive feedback, it’s great to hear. But then sometimes, If you really wanna change, if you want to have somebody who’s gonna be that catalyst for change for you, what are your thoughts on guiding somebody to receive feedback and receive it well.

Andrew [00:32:11]:
Well, in the in the new leadership playbook, there’s a whole chapter on feedback, and I I use an acronym, FIF, fact, impact future. What is the fact of the situation? What are we getting feedback on? What is the what’s the actual behavior? Do What is the impact of that behavior, and what do we wanna do differently? So if I’m giving feedback, I’ll say, hey, this is what I’m observing. Do you observe this too? Just Just making sure we’re both on the same page. What do you think the impact of that behavior is? And they will say, oh, okay. Now I’m getting some awareness. What do you wanna do different in the future? Receiving feedback is exactly the same. When somebody’s giving you feedback, you need to check-in what context are you giving me this feedback? Right? Because feedback Has to be feedback, not criticism, judgment, or opinion. Right? So okay.

Andrew [00:32:57]:
In what circumstance did you observe this? Okay. What was the impact of my behavior? Is this your hallucination, or was there actually consequences to that? Okay. You know, is that impact and align with my objectives? Probably not. Okay. What what can I do in the future to improve this? Right? So, again, if I’m receiving feedback, I wanna be interagency. Marshall Goldsmith, who wrote the book, you know, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Talks about feedforward, and that is the proactive reaching out for feedback. And I think it’s important that you have people around you do that you can reach out and say, well, okay. You know, how am I doing on this? How can I do this better? And you’ve given them permission to speak into your life.

Andrew [00:33:43]:
So the the reason we don’t take feedback well is when we we feel it’s an attack to our identity. Do And, well, hang on. You’re you’re saying I’m not okay. And then maybe your self esteem is not as well as it should be. Do And if your self esteem is healthy, it means you know that you as a human being are valuable, but, you know, there’s always room for improvement for your behaviors. Do So my behaviors are not who I am. I I can change my behaviors. I I can give a speech and it didn’t work very well, and I can go, okay.

Andrew [00:34:14]:
What do I learn from that? What am I gonna do differently? Right. That doesn’t that actually makes me a better human being. That doesn’t make me a lesser human being.

Andrew [00:34:22]:
I tend to say hard on the facts and soft on the people, and I think that’s just very similar to what you’re saying. Let’s let’s not say that individuals are not capable, not confident, not good human beings. That maybe it was this particular instance where they could have done something differently, and maybe they can do make that choice next time.

Andrew [00:34:40]:
Yep. And, you know, do People will not always appreciate you for giving the feedback in the moment, but if you do it well, they’ll appreciate you long term.

Andrew [00:34:49]:
Yes. I agree. You talk about AI tools like ChatGPT and how they can really facilitate do self reflection and enhance self awareness. And I’m really interested to hear more about your advice on how listeners can do that.

Andrew [00:35:04]:
Okay. Well, so back to our conversation on languaging. I think artificial intelligence is misnamed. Yeah. So if you reframe it to augmented intelligence, just Yeah. So I have a bit of a raw material.

Andrew [00:35:15]:
Description. Yeah.

Andrew [00:35:16]:
Yeah. So it because, you know, ChargePointe is you know, what did it do? It scraped the Internet For all of the information. So it’s the sum of or an approximate sum of human knowledge to date, right, the in a certain format. And so you’re making an inquiry of knowledge, and some of it could be your own knowledge. So you can train ChatchePT to read PDFs if you have the plug in. And so, you know, if I’m gonna ask ChachiPT a question, I’ve actually uploaded my own books, and I’ll say, Hey. You’re the author of The New Leadership Playbook or and you’re the author of self leadership, how to become a more successful, efficient, and effective leader from the inside out. What do you know, how would you approach it this? So I’m making Chat GPT me.

Andrew [00:36:01]:
It’s read my book, and then it’s so it’s actually giving me my own perspectives. And and sometimes it does it in a while. Like, actually, I have said that, but I never quite said it that way. And it’s like this interview that we’re having right now. You’re a great podcast interviewer. You’ve clearly done your due diligence, do And you’re asking me questions about stuff I’ve written. And that is enjoyable because I go, oh, yeah. I did say that, and I’ve forgotten.

Andrew [00:36:29]:
And Now I have to back it up and justify it or remember what my process was at the time. And that’s what chat GPT and other AI tools do is they act as the mirror, and they reflect it back and go you know, when you’re putting your makeup on, you know, you go, oh, actually, that’s in the wrong place. I need to shift it. And do Changing the languaging or just starting with a template rather than starting from a blank sheet of paper. Do When I’m writing a blog, sometimes I will start with a blank sheet of paper, but sometimes I’ll go, okay, Chat g d BT, give me everything I know on this topic Based on my writings, and then, you know, what is the current cutting edge on this topic? And then I’ll sit back and I’ll go, okay. Now me, Andrew, in real time human, What do I think people need to hear about? And then I will distill that and write the article. So for me, that’s an augmentation. Just as a calculator didn’t replace mathematics, it just meant I could add up a little bit faster.

Andrew [00:37:26]:
That’s really interesting. So it’s it’s almost like a do an augment coach that reviews how you write, what you write, and plays it back to you like a mirror.

Andrew [00:37:37]:
It does. It’s it’s like a mirror, like a tape recorder. If you wanna know what you sound like, I mean, as a speaker, when I first I don’t do it anymore. Actually, maybe I should. Yeah. I would listen back to my speeches and, you know, I could have done that better, or I don’t like the way I sound here, and I changed it. I used to just deconstruct every sentence Okay. To perfect the craft.

Andrew [00:38:01]:
There are AI tools that can analyze my speech, and there are AI tools that can actually analyze the audience interaction to that speech. And then I could, you know, rewrite it. If you put a video on YouTube, you’ll see how long people watched your video for. There are tools that’ll say, when did they stop In the video or when did they pause, when did they do these things, and that gives you immediate feedback. So feedback is powerful, and it’s it’s Having a way to sort through the data and with an intentionality of, I want that feedback because I wanna improve in this direction.

Andrew [00:38:37]:
Listeners, that might be something you’re interested in. So I know we’ve talked about feedback in terms of getting that feedback from another person, but actually AI is not another person. It’s it’s giving your information and what you may have written back to you. And maybe that’s do a nonthreatening way for you to start to seek out feedback and feed forward in a way that doesn’t mean that you you have to fall out with your friends.

Andrew [00:39:01]:
Do I’m a great I’m a great believer in any kind of feedback. I mean, to biohacking. Right? So I’m interested to know, you know, what is my blood cholesterol? What’s my blood pressure? You do If you’ve got an Apple Watch, it’ll tell you what your blood oxygen is and are you in sinus rhythm. And you can stand on a set of smart scales, and it says, what’s your percentage of body fat versus muscle mass, Etcetera. And I’m interested, you know, how long can I fast for and still exercise? Because if you fast too long and exercise, you’re just gonna hit the wall because you’re not Kicking into burning your fat fast enough. And I think all of these things is just being curious. What’s the best version of me? Do How much sleep do I need? When am I best focused? And you can use AI to track that. They’re already built into your your iPhone is, you know, These are your number of focus minutes working.

Andrew [00:39:50]:
And and so get proactive with that. Realize, actually, I’m I’m best to get up from my computer and go walk around the block. Right. And I’m lucky. I I live a short drive from the beach. And in the middle of the day, sometimes when I’ve hit a wall, I’m going I am not being productive. I’m fortunate being my own boss. I can go and have a walk on the beach, come back, and I might work late into the night.

Andrew [00:40:12]:
I’m better off that way.

Andrew [00:40:14]:
So that’s certainly something that you wanna think about, listeners, is developing your self awareness is is a whole body thing. So whether you are looking at biohacking or whether you’re reflecting on your behavior or whether you’re trying to unpick your thoughts and and to really give your emotions names, then maybe there is something in in AI that can help you do that. Andrew, you’ve written a couple of books, and you have mentioned shared the new leadership playbook. Before you go, tell us a little bit about what listeners expect to read when they’re they’re reading the new leadership playbook.

Andrew [00:40:48]:
The new leadership playbook was commissioned by one of my clients, a Silicon Valley software company. During the pandemic, I’d worked with the CEO, the executive leadership team. And the chief people officers said, look. This has been transformational. We wanna cascade this down through the organization. Could you write us a book? And We went back to forwards around the budget for that, and they didn’t have enough money. But I said, look. I’ll tell you what.

Andrew [00:41:09]:
I’ll write it for you, but I wanna hold on to the IP. And so I’ve I’ve then published it. But what I got from them was, you know, real case studies. And what I it’s called a playbook because it’s such an American term. A play in American football, of course, is a set do What I realized about leadership is that leadership is a conversation. It’s a conversation one to 1. It’s a conversation one to many. And yet only 8% of leaders that we can track, at least on their digital platforms, are having conversations that everybody’s broadcasting.

Andrew [00:41:42]:
And so I realized that just as people are emotionally illiterate, they’re actually conversation illiterate. They don’t know how to have the feedback conversation. They don’t know how to have the career conversation, the coaching conversation. And so in the new leadership playbook, there’s my view on leadership. There is what’s required for leadership in the future and living in a post pandemic digital world, and there are 12 conversations, Very practical that can improve your leadership by by role modeling out how to have better conversations.

Andrew [00:42:11]:
We will make sure that there is a link to Andrew’s books in the show notes. Andrew, how can listeners and watchers get in touch with you if they want to know more about self leadership?

Andrew [00:42:23]:
Two best places to find me are the website So since self leadership is the methodology that I’ve been talking about for 20 plus years. And On there, there’s pretty much links to everything. If you’re a LinkedIn person, I’m on LinkedIn, and I there’s lots of my material on LinkedIn. And then that’s that’s pushed to Twitter now x, and you won’t find me on TikTok. I I just don’t dance in 30 seconds. So on LinkedIn.

Andrew [00:42:49]:
That’s brilliant. Thank you so much. And I’m really pleased that we were able to have this conversation at last. Andrew, where are you heading off to next in the world? Where do you where do you fly on to?

Andrew [00:43:00]:
Next week, I’m, here in Portugal, speaking in Portugal. The week after that, I’m in Barcelona. And the week after that, I’m doing something for counselors in as in therapy counselors, not town counselors in the UK. So in

Andrew [00:43:16]:
the world. Wonderful. Well, maybe I will see you in London. Andrew, thank you so much for joining me. It’s been a really great conversation. Thank you.

Andrew [00:43:25]:
Pleasure. Thank you very much.

Nia Thomas [00:43:28]:
Thank you thank you for joining me on today’s episode. Please remember to leave a rate and review on your favourite podcast platform because a little word from you means a big deal to me. You can also sign up for my newsletter on my website, knowing self, knowing Join me next week when we does self aware leadership with thinkers from around the globe to generate kinder, more respectful, and creative working relationships do through reflection, recognition, and regulation. Looking forward

Andrew [00:44:00]:
to having you on my learning journey.




Nia is an expert leader who talks the talk and walks the walk.  She is an academically awarded thought leader in self-aware leadership and practices self-aware leadership every single day in her role as a Director in a Children’s Charity.

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