Are you ready to rise to the challenge of a new leadership role? Picture this: your first 100 days on the job, and you're equipped with the wisdom shared by Liesbeth VanderLinden, a seasoned executive coach and leadership expert. Together, we unpack strategies to ensure you not only survive but thrive in those crucial initial days. From my own experience including a career-shaping failed presentation at 28, to Liesbeth's insightful tips, this episode is your roadmap to leadership success.
Now, imagine having the power to create an environment of trust, support, and professional intimacy with your team. Liesbeth and I discuss how to strike the delicate balance between impressing your team and being transparent with them, forging stronger connections in the process. We also delve into the significance of psychological safety and the vital role of one-on-one check-in meetings. Remember, as Liesbeth says, 'leadership is really about the human emotion'.
Lastly, Liesbeth offers a sneak peek into her leadership framework designed to guide leaders during their first hundred days in a new role. Whether you're stepping into a new leadership role or looking to level up in your current one, this episode is loaded with actionable insights and practical tips to help you lead well. Join us for a powerful conversation that can potentially shape your leadership journey. Don't miss out!
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Have you ever moved into a new job and worried about what the first few months were going to be like? Let's say, you've elevated into a new leadership role and now you're thinking it's time for you to start delivering results. You've got a new team. maybe some are excited to work with you and there might be a few who are upset you replaced their favorite boss. But we know this, what we do and how we show up matters. And for you, as the leader, it is time for you to show up and lead Well. in this episode, you will get to meet executive coach and leadership expert Leigh's Beth VanderLinden. We look at some things you can do within the first 100 days to set yourself up for greater success, build more effective teams and be on a path toward amazing results. And even if you're not in a new leadership role, you have some time to think about how you want to strategically position yourself for your next advancement opportunity when the time comes. Let's get started. Hello, my friends, this is episode 166 of the Mid Career GPS Podcast. I'm your host, john Nerrell. I help mid-career professionals who feel stuck, undervalued and underutilized show up to find a job they love, or love the job they have, using my proven four-step formula. It's exciting week here on the podcast because, starting this week, i am now committing to dropping two episodes per week. So if you didn't have a chance to listen to episode 165, i talked with you about the importance of having a stretch goal, and in that episode I talked about why we set stretch goals and why they are vital to our career success and trajectory, and in that episode I shared with you. I've got a brand new free resource for you. It's called 10 Self-Coaching Questions to Help You Achieve Your Stretch Goal. You can find that by checking the show notes or visiting my website, johnnerrellcom. forward slash resources to enter your email address and get that free download today. So I certainly hope you will check that out Now. my conversation today with Liesbeth VanderLinden was one that I was really excited to talk to her about, because this is all about setting you up for success as you go into that new job. Now. Liesbeth is a global executive coach, author, speaker and recognized authority in the field of leadership, where she helps high level leaders with international careers thrive. Liesbeth has coached leaders in over 25 countries and is credited for creating insights that change their minds for good and expanded them as leaders so they could make a real impact. Her newest book, connect, inspire, grow the executive's framework for the first 100 days, is a guide for senior leaders in global companies who step into a new role, helping them build the trust that is required to make the changes necessary to create success. Liesbeth and I transition this conversation to specifically help you, the mid-level leader and professional who aspires to be a better leader and elevate to the senior executive level and beyond. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Liesbeth van der Linden.Speaker 2:
Thank you. My name is Liesbeth van der Linden. I work with expert leaders or expert managers, really people that have been sent abroad for their companies. I really work with them. I coach them and I consult them to make sure that they're effective in the world that they're in, and often they're high-stake environments. It's coaching and consulting that I do. I work with corporates and sometimes train their leaders or their managers. I do pinups and workshops on some of the tools that I've developed for the people that I work with.Speaker 1:
Very excited to get into this conversation with you today. As you know, this is the mid-career GPS podcast. There's a common thread here in terms of what was a defining moment for you and your career. I'm wondering if you could share with us what you learned from a failed presentation when you were 28.Speaker 2:
Ooh, now you're asking me to share a very story. That was a bit humiliating for me, but okay, here you go. No, it was a big lesson for me. I was 28 years old, indeed, I was in the South of Germany and I was presenting to a group of German sales representatives and sales leaders They're average age 45 and there I was a little bit younger and the context was the sales operations were going to be moved from Germany to my team in the Netherlands. So I was up there and it was very important for me to present my plans, how I was going to do that, and for me to get their buy-in. And as I was doing this presentation, well-prepared my nice PowerPoint sheets up, and I was just looking across the room and I saw from the audience that it didn't land well. I saw that some people were across the arms. They're exchanging some glances that were like okay, hmm. So I already felt like the energy in the room was not great. So I just went on and on and at the end of the conversation I asked if there were any questions and then John, it was silent And then one after the next started giving me feedback in terms of this is never going to work. You don't know what a customer's want. Everything is different in Germany. So it was all negativity And I wish you stay like, oh my God, get me out of here. And I wish I could tell you that I was able to turn this whole meeting around and I got the buy-in in the end. But really that didn't happen And I left the room till between my legs and I went back to my office and just ruminating on what had gone wrong. What was it that they didn't accept? what I was presenting? And in one moment actually it was a moment that it suddenly dawned on me hang on, it had nothing to do with my presentation, with everything to do with my skills, what I saw as lacking leadership skills, Because in my efforts to do well and I made it all about these plans and strategies and processes and procedures I overlooked completely the human emotions in the room, Because the people there, they were about to lose a part of their team who they've been working together with for 20 years. So there was sadness, there was upset, there was frustration, there were all kinds of emotions going on And I just made it all about my plans. I didn't acknowledge it one bit. So that, for me, was a major lesson that management and leadership is really about the human emotion. And that was a major, major lesson for me Because I was a manager but I was nowhere a leader. And that's the point that I really start to learn and read and wanted to know everything that was to know about leadership.Speaker 1:
Well, first, thank you for being vulnerable with us right out of the gate and sharing that. I know anybody who is listening to this is going to have some type of familiarity with that story, because we've all done a presentation that hasn't gone well, but, to your point, it's what happens afterward that shapes us and moves us into whatever is next. And as I've gotten to know you a little bit through some conversations and, of course, i just want to call out and take a moment to celebrate your bestselling book. It is called Connect, inspire, grow the executive's framework for the first 100 days. And when you think about your particular leadership journey, what I understand is that you wrote this book as a guide for senior leaders who are stepping into a new role, and certainly it's a book that is applicable to a lot of leaders in general. But you have this very specific lens on it The people who are listening. We've talked before about how they don't want to be stuck. Well, here's the other thing. They don't want to make a mistake, they don't want to screw up From your lens. Tell us what you believe is the one mistake senior leaders make in the first 100 days that you wish they wouldn't.Speaker 2:
Yeah, And thanks for the question, John. What I see many, many people do and it's so natural to us We want to make progress, We want to, especially in new jobs. We want to impress people, we want results really, really quickly. So what I see lots of people do and what I've done in the past as well, and the story is just an example is we want to get to the end really, really quickly. So we focus on the what, We focus on making plans, We focus on making strategies And anything that gets us to the results quickly, And particularly when you're stepping into a new role and even more so when you're in a new organization, if you're focusing too much on the what, I would and that's what the book is really about the focus to shift the focus first on the who. Who are the people that surround you, Who are the people that are going to have an impact on your job, your project, your mission, your assignment, whatever it is that you're out there to do, And not only who will have an impact on your project, but also who will be impacted by your project. So I'd like people to focus on what are the skills and capabilities of yourself, but also the people around you and what is lacking and be very open and honest about it. So to really make sure that you create a network of people as soon as possible to that have all the skills and knowledge and expertise around you to get the results in the end. But it is all about the people first before you start making plans. So that is the initial part and something that just came up. If you're focusing on people first, then obviously you need to build trust with people first before they are willing to step onto your train and say, yeah, this is a great idea, We'll do this with you. So the building trust is essential in the first few weeks and months that you're going to learn so many new people.Speaker 1:
When you mentioned about building trust and it's admittedly, it's not a new concept, because we hear this a lot from people I'd love for you to dig in a little bit more with us, though, specifically about how do you help leaders build trust with their teams. So, to your point about really getting to know the who and where they're good at and where they may need to level up. How do you help your leaders build trust with their teams so their teams are more effective?Speaker 2:
Yeah, and that's the great point, because building trust, we say yes, it's essential, but how do you do it? And what I see people do, when it's quicker to be successful, when you use something what I call building professional intimacy, and what that really means is really having a sincere interest in the person, the human being behind the colleague, the team member, the customer, the peer, even your supervisor or your own manager. Really having a conversation, because initially you're going to have lots of conversations, but creating a conversation that has the other person think like, oh, this is a really kind person, this really is somebody that wants to hear my ideas and my views. Creating an atmosphere where people want to open up, because that is essential in terms of getting to the core of what's going on in the organization and in the teams. So in this initial conversation, i always say, okay, focus on three points only. There should only be three points on the agenda. The first is really get to know the other person, so, and not only about what's your career been like, but also where are you from, how have you been raised. And remember, i'm talking a lot with people that are expats, so they are actually meeting people that come from a different background, had completely different upbringing in terms of a country where they grew up. So it's really talking about life, and so what were the important points or moments that were essential for you and what made you choose this career? and all these types of questions that really get a little bit, give you more information than just this is this person in this role And these are the skills and capabilities that he knows she has. So that's the first point. The second point is that you really want to know what they would need, how you could help them, what are their challenges, what are their pain points, what are some things that they are struggling with that you may possibly be able to help them with? So, especially when you're talking to new team members and you're the supervisor or the manager, having questions ready like, okay, well, if you would step in my shoes, what would you focus on in the first 100 days? What are things that would really help you in your work, or how would you want to make particular changes? So, to really get to how you can help them, the third point is where you turn it around and try to find out what they can do for you. So that's where you share a little bit more about your mission, what your vision is and how they could help you achieve what you dare to achieve. So, and these are really the questions about okay, what is it that you're really good at? What are we looking for in our team? And get them excited as well for what you're trying to do, and so they're really excited to step into on that train with you and to achieve the results that you're looking for.Speaker 1:
I just want to pause for a second and acknowledge, when you described about building professional intimacy you walked us through those three key questions that the thought that came to my mind Lee's Beth was these are questions that even an extreme introverted leader could ask You don't have to be this magnanimous personality that starts working with people and leaning them and asking questions that you're like oh hey, i'm going to take all this time to get to know you. You create a lot of psychological safety in those questions in terms of laying the groundwork and the foundation. It's one of the things I appreciated very much about your book was this kind of step-by-step process and showing how we can build these kind of relationships. I just want to thank you for framing it that way. You gave us some really great nuggets there.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and from what you just said, what's probably important as well is not to pretend that you know it all because you're new in the organization. The people that you're talking to probably know a lot more than you, although you're there to lead them. It's this dynamic often like okay, do I need to impress them? But it's probably, if you want people to open up, you don't have all the answers To show them that, to say that and to really be also transparent about. Okay, i'm going to have a lot of conversations the next couple of weeks. It's just for me to get to know you, get to know other people in the organization, and we're going to have a lot of these talks because it's important for me to know what the organization is all about, and you were there to help me with that, so it's really being relatable and being transparent and being the kind of person that they say, okay, well, it's actually quite a nice person to spend time with. That's all.Speaker 1:
I want to take this a little step further here, because we know there's a lot of excitement in the first hundred days. There's a lot of things to get done. Executives are meeting with people, they're starting to figure out what their plan's going to be, or refine a plan in some ways. And as we think about the who, we think about the people on the team and who we're working with, one of the things especially mid-career professionals hear a lot is you need to check in with your team, right? So I'm curious from your point what are your thoughts on regularly scheduled check-in meetings with your team members?Speaker 2:
One-on-ones. One-on-ones, i mean I describe in the book quite a few different types of meetings that you can have with people, but one-on-ones are really important. But there are different reasons why you're having one-on-ones. So that could be just to get the progress. How are we doing here? how are we doing there? are you having any challenges in what we discussed you would do? do we need to change some agreements? So that's all the work-related stuff. But actually I would always like to, at least once a month, really just sit down more casually and say, okay, our thing's going with you, not just about the work, but really okay, we're now stepping into almost the growth phase already which we're trying to help people also develop. So it's also that that is okay. Where are you now and where do you want to go? Where do you see yourself go in, let's say, three months from now, six months from now, a year from now, and also, where do I see you go? I mean see if there's any alignment in what we're trying to do together to achieve together. So it's having those really more task-related one-on-ones, but definitely very regularly have those conversations about okay, where do we see the organization go, what are your views, what are my views about it. Where do you like to go? Where do you see yourself And how do I see you? Where can I help you as your manager And where can you help me? So are there any improvements, any things that we can change for us to work in a way together that's that's serving you and that's serving me? So it's a bit of a different conversation, but one that is not being helped often enough. It's often these midterm reviews or yearly reviews, but I would really say, have these type of conversations more regularly, because, at the end of the day, if you don't have these conversations and people end up leaving, that's too late, because often we have exit interviews and we're like, okay, what's the reason you were leaving? Yeah, but it's too late. Why would people share that with you? Have these conversations really early. How can we accommodate that to your learning and what you desire to as your next step? How can help you get there? So, yeah, those are conversations to be heard.Speaker 1:
That's great. Can you share with us a story, either from one of your coaching clients or one of your consulting experiences, where you particularly saw an executive transform? You saw them level up their leadership in some way that you as their coach, their consultant, just kind of took a step back and went you rock, you did everything I was hoping you were going to do, kind of a thing Those are the moments like John, like that happening with your clients, that's really really so exciting.Speaker 2:
Yeah, and the first story that comes to mind is of a senior leader. She was working at an international bank and I remember one of the first sessions and she came into the session saying, oh my God, the new CEO was appointed and the first thing he did was he fired my boss. And I don't know what that means for us. I don't know what that means for me. I haven't heard any plans or strategies. Now I'm about to meet him next week. I have no idea how to prepare for these kinds of meetings. So she was totally stressed out And what we did together is what I call we shifted gears And we really and shifting gears. With that I mean okay, if the way we think and the way we feel, that's determining our actions is determining our results. So if your mind is in that space of oh, i don't know what to do, i'm overwhelmed, and the plans, everything's up in the air and I'm really anxious on what's gonna happen, that's not the best place to come from when we're meeting somebody for the first time, let alone the new boss, the CEO. So we spent a couple of sessions like okay, how can we really prepare you for that meeting? And let's just take it from another perspective What are the, let's say, three things that your CEO is challenged by at this moment? What do you think is on this plate? And then we started really brainstorming about okay, well, he needs to make results quickly. He has to. She came up with all these great ideas and he needs to get to know the stakeholders, and so, and then we said, okay, how can you and your team help him do that? Oh, well, there's a couple of things that we can do. So we really, in that way, set her up from and changed her from being out of control, really not knowing what to do, very stuck, very all over the place and worried and concerned about her and her team, to okay, well, these are points that are really, i feel, confident. Now I have a list of questions. I can go into that meeting, and so that's the type of work we did. And it was actually last Friday literally last Friday, she sent me a WhatsApp and she said well, i got a promotion, i'm now directly reporting into the CEO and I'm really really happy with where I am right now.Speaker 1:
So, yeah, those are, you know Those are fantastic moments when they happen, right Cause we just celebrate our clients and like yes, good job, congrats, and then we just get to work with them on a completely transformative and different level.Speaker 2:
In that regard, So and it's really coming from I'm about to leave because I don't know what's gonna happen and this doesn't feel good to man. I really got a promotion. I'm so happy where I am right now. So that's, yeah, those sort of you know, those sort of moments that are really rewarding and we see people thrive. And that's what we do to work, what we do.Speaker 1:
Exactly, and it's why, in my work and it's one of the focuses of this podcast, though is to help mid-career professionals find the job they love, or love the job they have, Cause sometimes they might, admittedly, be like my job sucks right now, but if they ride it out and they have the necessary conversations, they can see that transformation happen exactly within that organization And, to your point, they don't have to leave or they don't leave. In that regard, there was one other thing that came up for me as I was listening to you, and it's I oftentimes hear from my clients and people with whom I speak with that they're often having some trouble with their leadership. They'll say things like my leader is very overwhelmed, my leader is too busy, my leader canceled a check-in meeting again, and the underlying theme here is that they start feeling as if there's a disconnect From your expertise. What advice would you have for a mid-career professional who's dealing with a leader and perhaps more at that senior executive or even CEO, c-suite kind of level, that they believe they're disconnected from the team and they don't give this mid-career professional any kind of feedback whatsoever? What advice would you have for them?Speaker 2:
From the perspective of the manager right.Speaker 1:
The mid-career professional. So they're like they're not getting anything from their boss, right? What advice would you have for them to help them get the information they need?Speaker 2:
Yeah, and I know where we've all been there. You want that connection with your boss and it's not always working And these people are busy, so very hard to get a moment of their time. But I would in terms of advice if you feel that disconnect, because once you're disconnected then that's a problem, because then you're more focused on yourself and no longer on building the connection. So I would always try to continue that connection in one way or another. But open up in terms of, okay, how can I help you? Not what is my problem, that I want you to solve it. But obviously there's a lot going on. I'm here to support you in what you've got going on. How can I help you? And it's not always easy to get a hold of these managers, but if there is a chance I would have that one-on-one conversation. If you see it's happening all over, if you see that everybody has that problem and some leaders are like that, some leaders and I've seen it happen as well I've actually one example of somebody who stepped into a project which was gotten off track and this was somebody who was an expertise, it was an engineer and he was a good project manager in the past and he was put on this project And he said well, if I need to do this project, well, i need to know all there is to know about this project. So he actually locked himself up in his office and went through all the history of this project and wanted to learn all the things and he said all the while he was doing that His team didn't get any guidance. They were waiting for him to lead them, but nothing was happening. The leadership and the clients were seeing no progress, so there was a disconnect, so no trust was built. So I give you this example just because some leaders are so focused on themselves that they forget that there's a team out there. So if really, if you see that this disconnect is not just with you, but you see it with the whole team, that's something that is kind of a bad flag for me. If there's no connection built with any of the team members, then this is something to be raised on a higher level or with HR. But if you feel it's just you, then I would just try to keep that conversation, try to open up and try to help the leader and see if you can find something that you can help them with.Speaker 1:
I appreciate that We talk about using the word help a lot in our mid-career conversations right, both with the people they're managing as well as managing up in that regard. So thank you for reiterating that concept as well. I appreciate it. Lee's Beth, we're going to start wrapping up here, but before we close out our conversation today, what advice would you have for somebody listening to help them build their mid-career GPS today?Speaker 2:
Oh, i love that GPS because with GPS, it suggests that people know when they're off track. When you wake up on a Monday morning and you just don't feel like starting the week, you're already. you know your energy is low, you just don't feel that you're happy or you're contributing anything, then you feel that your GPS is off track. When you wake up instead and you're happy and you know you're going to be working on some exciting projects and you're all happy with where you are right now, you're on track. So, like we do with our car, that's going off track. If you bring it into the garage, they can help fix it and align it again. And that's what I was thinking as well when we're talking about the GPS is how can you find, either in your support system or in somebody you know very well and trust very well, that can give you honest feedback, whether it's a coach or a mentor or a very good friend or a colleague? how can you have that conversation to really checking, like, okay, if I'm not on the right track, what changes can I make? Is it me? Is it my environment? Is it because often people think it's the environment? but a couple of things that we can do to look different to our environment as well. So, but somebody who can give you feedback, somebody in your support system and have that conversation, okay, what can I do from here? And so, yeah, i think when your GPS is off, people have that inner knowing, that feeling like, is there something that I can still do or is it something that is time for me to move on? So yeah, Sure Yeah. Well.Speaker 1:
I appreciate our conversation so much and I want to thank you for sharing some really great leadership and, as you described it, building professional intimacy. It was one of my big takeaways from our conversation today. Please, beth, if people want to connect with you further they want to get your book, they want to learn more about you I'm going to turn the microphone over to you right now. share all of the details and the great things about how people can connect with you.Speaker 2:
All right, john, thank you. Well, my company is called GLTD, so my website is GLTDco, no Mco, and I guess that's where you can read about the book. You can order the book through there. That's where my leadership programs are, my coaching programs are on there. That's where I have the topics that I have key notes and speeches on. So, yeah, i guess the website is the best place, and if you want to get a hold of the book, amazon, barnes, noble have it on stock, and so that's a way as well to learn more about the framework that I use with leaders who start their first hundred days in a new role.Speaker 1:
I will make sure all of that is in the show notes. Lee's Beth VanderLinden. Thank you so very much for being a wonderful guest today on the mid-career.Speaker 2:
GPS podcast. Thank you for having me, it was a pleasure you.