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S1E07 - What is the power of positive leadership? (Julie Nee)


Inside this episode

Today we are in conversation with Julie Nee, a passionate trainer, speaker and author. We deep dive and talk about the book/course The Power Of Positive Leadership

Host: Aaron Rackley

Guest: Julie Nee

Book Recommendations:

Show Transcript

These transcripts where auto generated by Descript. If you see any issues, please do reach out and we can rectify the issues.

Aaron Rackley: [00:00:00] Hey everyone and welcome to this episode of the Tech Leadership Decoded podcast. The podcast where through conversations We unravel the interests of leadership in the tech industry and provide insights on how to become a top performing leader. Today we’re in conversation with Julie Nee answering the question.

What is the power of positive leadership? But before we jump into today’s conversation I just want to take a moment to let you know that our new website is now live So head over to techleadershipdecoded. com to see all our past episodes and an interactive bookshelf that displays all our past GEDs recommended reads.

And with that, let’s get straight into today’s conversation. Hi Julie, and thank you for joining me this week on our podcast. How are you doing?

Julie Nee: I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me. I love that we get to connect. Across the pond,

Aaron Rackley: to be fair, quite a few of my guests have been across the pond at the moment.

It seems that there’s a lot more people on that side of the world that are willing to come onto my podcast in the UK at the moment. So I need to get down to [00:01:00] some, um, local meetups, I think, and drum up some more people. Um, so yeah, uh, welcome to the podcast and for everyone listening, obviously they’ve had a little intro, but we are here today to talk about what is the power of positive leadership.

But before we get into any of that, to introduce yourself and how you’ve got into the point of being involved in the power of positive leadership.

Julie Nee: Yes, I’d love to. So my background is in sales and sales leadership. I worked for the Hershey company, uh, for 19 years and I sold chocolate and lead teams all over the U S um, during my couple of decades with Hershey and.

During that time, I had joined a new team and I was leading people all over the country and one of my guys out in the West. Was reading John Gordon’s book, the energy bus, and he gave a copy of it to his whole team and I was his new boss. So he gave me a copy of the book as well. And [00:02:00] he said, I really want you to read this book on your flight home.

So it was really important to him and he was a new guy on my team. So I read the book on my way home and I immediately said, this is it. This is. Powerful, powerful work. And this is how I want to lead my team. And this is how everyone should be leading their team. And I started bringing the principles from John Gordon’s book, the energy bus into life with my team at Hershey.

And by the way, for there, there probably are many people who haven’t heard of it. So the book is called the energy bus. And the subtitle is the 10 rules to fuel your work life and team with positive energy. So it’s all about positive energy and mindset and all those things. So I just, it really clicked with me and resonated with me.

So I started putting the principles into practice and here’s what I found. My team was able to thrive not only when the business was good and everything was going along easy peasy, you know, just when, you know, it’s easy to thrive when, when the business is good. Right. But [00:03:00] what happened was my team really learned how to thrive when the chips were down and when the business got hard.

We weren’t finger pointing at each other and we weren’t shaming and blaming and doing all the things we were just working together to figure it out and find a way forward. And we were able to keep our minds positive, even during the hard time. So, because of what I saw in that work, I felt the need to reach out to John Gordon, the author.

So I wrote him an email and I said, thank you so much for the energy bus. This is what happened with my team. So powerful, et cetera. And he responded. So I was like, well, wow, this guy’s really cool. I’m going to read another one of his books. So then I read his book, the carpenter, and I wrote another email.

And then I read the seed and I wrote another email. And then I said, man, I gotta bring this guy into speak. Like he he’s a big time speaker. So I’m like, I’m going to bring him in to speak. So I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I brought him into this executive women’s leadership group that I’m part of.

And. And he, and I had the opportunity before he got on stage to [00:04:00] introduce him. So of course I volunteered myself for that because I was totally fangirling over John at the time. And I introduced John and he got on the stage and he said, I think Julie’s more passionate about my work than I am. And I was like, yes, yes I am.

Yes I am. And so that was the beginning of kind of building a relationship with John Gordon. We built this relationship over the course of a couple of years, while I was still working with Hershey, while I was still traveling, while I was still leading a big team, all these things were happening. But after a couple of years, I was kind of ready.

I was ready for a change. I was getting a little bit burned out in my corporate environment, and I really wanted to share this work in a bigger way. I just had found that. The seed that had been planted inside me was really growing and I wanted to share it. So I finally, at the end of 2015, uh, wrote John one more email.

And I said, top five reasons why we should work together in 2015. And he [00:05:00] called a couple of days later and he said, what do you want to do with this? How much money do you make all the things? And we had a big conversation. And by the end of the conversation, he said, okay, you can go out and start speaking about the energy bus for free.

Don’t quit your day job. Yeah, you know, and so I did not quit my day job yet. Uh, I went out and started speaking for free. I spoke to junior leagues and rotary clubs and women’s groups and really anyone who would listen to me speak about the energy bus. Um, and I did that for about 6 months and then it was time, there was some organizational changes going on inside Hershey.

So I had the opportunity to make a change and I left and I started working with John Gordon about 6 or excuse me, 7 and a half years ago. And it started out as just speaking about the energy bus and then clients would say. Hey, can you do a workshop about the carpenter? Hey, can you talk about when in the locker room first?

Hey, can you do this? Hey, can you do a talk about this? And so I started creating all this content just for, um, either [00:06:00] keynotes or for workshops and then clients as the years. kind of went on, then clients started saying, we need training, we need training, we need training, we need more. And so John and I created the power of positive leadership training together.

And we launched that kind of soft launched it at the end of 2018 and then formally launched it at the beginning of 2019. Um, and we started doing public events together, John and I training people publicly on the principles inside. The power of positive leadership. And then since then, we’ve been doing this both publicly and privately with leaders and teams all over the U.

S. We also built another training called the power of a positive team. So that’s taking those same principles and filtering them through the lens of the team and building stronger, um, commitments and connections inside teams. Um, and then recently we just kind of rebuilt a whole new. Training experience that we call [00:07:00] a day of development, and it’s taking the best of the energy of us, the power of positive leadership and the power of positive teams and wrapping it in all into one awesome day of development.

So, um, something that started out as just speaking about the energy bus has really turned into something so much more between workshops and training and a lot and lot, a lot of content creation around all of this work. So that’s a summary of how I got here. Yeah,

Aaron Rackley: well that, that is a great, great story of um, taking what you found out, loved, and then turn it into something you could do every day, which I think is what we all aim for at some point.

Um, so. Obviously you mentioned quite a few different, um, kind of courses and stuff that you, um, do on behalf of John. Um, obviously we’re gonna talk about the power of positive leadership today. Maybe I’ll get you back for the other ones, at some point. But, um, so you mentioned that [00:08:00] the power of positive leadership is built on principles.

Do you wanna just give us a quick overview of what those principles are and then maybe during this episode we’ll just delve into a couple of them?

Julie Nee: Yes, absolutely. And before I do, I want to share something that we kind of foundationally set up at the beginning of any of our trainings and really in our conversations with clients.

And that is that. Positivity is the competitive advantage that makes teams and organizations and individuals, frankly, stand out from the rest because there are so many negative people, negative organizations, negative cultures, and people can’t thrive in that environment. Not only will the business not thrive financially when you have a toxic environment, but people can’t thrive individually.

And there’s so many people today struggling with. Mental health and all these things and so. That positivity piece is a key element of having a competitive advantage and what we have and what we share often is a [00:09:00] body of research, which, by the way, I’m happy to share a resource with you if you want to post it in the show notes for your listeners, um, with some of the research points around this and really this is not what we’re talking about.

It’s not just fluffy stuff. It’s not just an idea like, Hey, be positive. We’re talking about real. Bye. Scientific proof and research about why positivity and positive leadership matters. So if you want that resource, I’m happy to share it, but with that, I’ll share the principles. So it, we kind of go around a little bit of a wheel.

So it starts with culture. So positive leaders drive positive cultures. And when we talk about culture, we say culture is not one thing. It’s everything. It’s literally every little behavior. It’s every good morning. It’s every, can I help you with a project? It’s every, uh, can I get you some coffee? It’s, it’s every, it’s every smile.

It’s every turning on your camera, engaging with people when you’re doing it virtually. It’s literally everything. Culture is everything. And by the way, it’s being created, [00:10:00] whether we intentionally created or not. It’s being created by the way everyone is behaving toward each other because not one person creates the culture.

Everyone creates the culture and so we make it great really by our actions and it’s our most important job as leaders to create the culture intentionally. Right? So that’s the 1st 1. The 2nd 1 is positive leaders, create and share a positive vision and really that’s about where do we want to go? Where are we going as an organization?

Because if you don’t know where you’re going, how in the world can you get there? And also you have to invite people to be part of that. Hey people, this is where we’re going. And I want you to be part of it. It’s exciting. I want you to be part of it. Let’s do this together. This is how we’re going to get there.

And as a leader, and especially a positive leader. We have to be saying it over and over and over again, like to the point where everyone around us is so sick of it, that they’re spitting it back to us all the time of like, where we’re going. Okay. We got it. [00:11:00] We know where we’re going, but like, no mistaking.

This is our vision. And this is how we’re going to get there. So positive leaders create and share a positive vision. The next one is positive leaders lead with optimism, positivity, and belief. And this is so big and needy. This, this particular one, because. There’s a lot in there, but it’s really, if you think about optimism, really at its simplest form, it’s believing that tomorrow is going to be better than today.

So, even if today is hard, I believe that tomorrow can be a better day and positivity having that positivity inside ourselves as leaders. And by the way. You don’t have to have a team of direct reports to be a leader if you influence other people, which we all do. We influence our work people. We influence our families.

We influence our sports teams. We influence our churches, you know, whatever it is. If you influence other people, you’re a leader. So [00:12:00] if you want to be a positive leader, you have to be able to fill yourself up, fill and fuel yourself, right? If you are tired and down and depleted and depressed, you can’t possibly pour into others.

So when we lead and teach people around this particular principle, we do a lot of exercises around how to fill yourself up so you can pour into others. And then the last word inside that lesson was belief. And it’s about believing in yourself. It’s about believing in where you’re going, and it’s also about pouring that belief into others.

So I believe in you, right? I’m going to tell you, I believe in you. And even if you don’t believe in yourself yet, I’m going to have enough belief for both of us until I can pull you along. So positive leaders lead with optimism, positivity, and belief. And then of course, we can’t talk about positivity without also talking about negativity.

So the next principle is positive leaders transform and remove negativity. And that’s [00:13:00] really about a consistent weeding and feeding inside our minds, right? So we feed the positive, we weed the negative, we feed the positive, we weed the negative, right? And. A lot of times inside cultures, people just let people be negative, like, Oh, well, that’s just how he is.

That’s just how she is. And we’re just going to let them sit over there and be the way they are. Well, it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because that one negative person can suck the life out of the greatest, highest performing, smartest, most capable team with their negativity. So truly, truly, truly the biggest mistake leaders make is they don’t.

Address the negativity inside their teams, and it’s about making a decision back to that very first principle about culture. We have to make a decision inside our culture not to allow negativity to sabotage our teams. So when you have someone that’s negative, you point back to the standard. Remember, we said as a culture.

We don’t do negativity, so we got to stop that behavior right now. And so inside that [00:14:00] lesson, we talk about complaining. We talk about something that John likes to call energy vampires, which are basically people who suck the life out of the room. So yeah, must transform and remove negativity. And then the next one is.

Positive leaders create great relationships and teams and inside that principle, we really share about the importance of knowing your people and having those connected and committed relationships. Because if you don’t know what motivates someone, how can you motivate them? Right? And kind of the key, the key themes inside this lesson are what we call the four C’s.

So communication, connection. Commitment and care, and they kind of build on each other, but it starts with communication and, um, we always say where there’s a void in communication, negativity is going to fill it. So if we’re not intentionally communicating as leaders, people are going to make up their own stories about what’s happening inside our [00:15:00] organizations.

Right? So we have to fill the void with our own positive communication. And then next is positive leaders. Build excellence through love and accountability. And this is really important because again, some people are like, oh, that’s just fluffy stuff. Oh, that’s just your silly, you know, fake positive stuff, whatever.

No, we’re talking about building excellence, driving excellence inside our organizations. And the two hallmarks of the great, the greatest positive leaders are love. And accountability together. So I’m going to love you up. So I’m going to love you up. I’ve built a relationship with you. I’ve used the four C’s communication, connection, commitment, care, and I’m going to love on you.

And we have trust and we have a great relationship, but because we already are in relationship, I’m going to hold you to a high standard of excellence. Because I care about you and I want you to be great and I want you to get promoted and I want you to make more money and I want us to hit [00:16:00] our numbers and I want us to do all the things that we want to do, but I have to hold you to that high standard.

But the reason it works love and accountability together is because of the relationship. If I have, there’s this awesome quote that John has in the book and it’s by Andy Stanley and it says. Rules without relationship equals rebellion. And that’s the truth. So if I’m grinding you hard, charging you, trying to push you all the time, but we’re not in relationship, then you’re going to shut down.

Right. So, but if we are, we do have a good relationship and we have the trust and the love already. Then, you know, I’m pushing you because I care. And really, the goal is to build a bridge between those two. Because what we see, if you think about love and accountability as a continuum, and on one side of the continuum is all love and no accountability.

And when I talk about people who are all the way on the love side of the continuum, I think about, you know, and believe me, Erin, I’ve been there myself early in my career [00:17:00] when I first moved from an individual contributor into a leader of people. Um, I just wanted everybody to like me like these are my friends and we used to work together and now I’m their boss.

So like, I didn’t want to tell them how to get better on their performance because I wanted them to like me, but I was way too far over on the love side. So everybody liked me, but I didn’t really have excellence and my people weren’t really getting better because I wasn’t telling them the truth. So I call that kind of like successful in people to death.

I’m not sure how you do, uh, kind of performance rankings in the UK compared to the US, but for us, it’s usually. Like a five level scale or a four level scale and successful is kind of, or meets expectations is kind of right there in the middle that doesn’t do anyone any favors. If you, everyone gets, everyone gets a successful, but nobody’s making the number.

Like, it doesn’t make sense. Right? By contrast, if you go all the way over to the accountability side of the continuum, and it’s all accountability and no love. Then you’re just grinding people and they’re tired, stressed, and burned out. So [00:18:00] that’s why kind of building that bridge in the middle is so powerful.

So anyway, uh, positive leaders drive excellence through love and accountability. And then lastly, positive leaders lead with purpose. And that kind of brings it all together when you’re doing all these other things. And sometimes as leaders, we get tired, right? Some days we’ve got so much going on. We don’t feel like connecting and committing to our people and we don’t feel like communicating all that.

Like I don’t have time to communicate all the things and energy vampires are sucking the life out of us and all the things, right? Sometimes it’s hard, but here’s the thing. We don’t get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. And that’s when we have to come back to our purpose.

So asking ourselves, why do I do what I do? And what kind of legacy do I want to leave with my people? Um, and that’s where we give our, give power back to ourselves through that kind of last principle of why, why do I do what I [00:19:00] do? So those are the principles inside the Power Plaza.

Aaron Rackley: A lot of great principles.

And I, I literally don’t think we’d have time to go through all of them in detail. So obviously I will definitely be linking. to the books in our show notes. Um, I’ve ordered the box set. I’m waiting for that to, to arrive. But I want to just pick out a few that I think would be interesting to talk about.

Um, I think one that’s very relevant at the moment is obviously positive culture. And I think the question I have around that is obviously now that there’s Obviously since COVID, since now everyone’s working from home, like how do you think that has changed and how we can approach that differently now that we’re not in person and having those micro conversations and interactions that you had mentioned there about building up?

Julie Nee: Yeah, I’m so glad you asked. And here’s the thing about, because you’re right. And, and, and there are a lot of different work environments [00:20:00] now. Some people are fully remote. Some people are partially remote, some people are all in person. It really kind of depends on what business and industry you’re in. Um, but here’s the thing about culture.

It has to be on purpose and it has to be intentional. So you just said everybody’s virtual. I have been on more. Virtual meetings where 0 percent of the people turn on their camera. This is just one example. And by the way, this is my opinion, not necessarily John’s opinion, but inside the work. This is what I’ve observed.

I would work with so many different industries and clients. And if, if we’re looking at a bunch of black boxes. How are we connecting with each other? Like it’s hard to build relationship with a black box right now. You and I, even though we’re not sharing the video, we’re looking at each other in the eye and that’s how you build connection with people.

So. When you think about culture, one of the first things that you need to do is say, what do we stand for and what do we want to be known for? And that’s really core [00:21:00] values, right? So you decide as a culture, what are your core values? And then your behaviors need to be in align with that in alignment with that.

So if I say my core values are kindness, connection and excellence. Right. Okay. Well, so when we jump on a virtual meeting, if my first two core values are kindness and connection, then I’m going to have my camera on, cause I want to look at you and connect with you. And then I’m probably going to say something nice in the chat or send you a DM or a smile at you or whatever it is.

But we have to live into what we say we stand for because a lot of, and John says this and I love it. He says. We don’t want mission statements on the wall. We want people on a mission. I literally was at some clients just this week and somebody was talking about how they have their core values on the wall, right?

And it says integrity, excellence, love, or whatever their core values are. And they’re like, people point at it and laugh because no one does the behaviors. [00:22:00] So it’s about being congruent. What do we stand for? And then I got to show that in my actions. And sometimes we say, know it and show it. I know what we stand for and I’m going to show it.

And that’s an easy way to remember it. Know it and show it. I

Aaron Rackley: think one thing that I noticed a lot in all, pretty much as a common theme across a lot of companies that I’ve worked for over here in the UK is this idea of, like you say, positive optimism, right? Is how we don’t have a lot of that, um, from what I’ve seen.

And, um, I think. What would be interesting is, um, how do you develop that as a, as a leader? Like, how do you build up being able to, as you say, give back to your team members? And if you are feeling drained in that area, like, how do we, how do we

Julie Nee: build that up? Of course, that’s a great question. And It’s funny, by the way, just before I answer that, I have to tell you, I had a Scottish gentleman in one of my sessions this week and he’s, he said, [00:23:00] culturally Europeans, we don’t really have it like it doesn’t, but, but really, when, when I was talking about that lesson earlier, I’ll say it again, if you don’t have it, you can’t share it.

And so if you, Aaron, have an intention to pour optimism and positivity into your team, you have to have it first. So what are some ways that you can kind of feed and fuel yourself? And I’ll give you a couple of those ideas just so you can kind of think about pouring into yourself. Um, I’ll probably share my two favorites.

Okay. One of them is gratitude. And you’ve probably heard about this 5, 000 times. Like if you’re plugged into this, any kind of mindset or positivity work, you’ve probably heard about gratitude or read about gratitude. Anyone listening, Google the benefits of gratitude and you will find probably a hundred thousand studies about this.

Like this is how. Real. It is. Gratitude is a power and it really does [00:24:00] help us change our minds. And so I would encourage people to find a way to be grateful and bring a gratitude practice into your life and work. And it’s, it’s, it’s kind of easy to do it. It really is like, Hey, tell me something good. This is a great way to start a team, start a day.

When you jump on a virtual meeting with your team. Hey, everybody blow it up in the chat. Tell me something good. Just tell me something good. Anything. Work, personal, I just had a baby, the sun is shining, whatever, it doesn’t matter, anything. Tell me something good. It’s like a mental warm up to start thinking about.

What good is going on in your life, capture gratitude in a journal or, or, or sit in stillness, you know, prayer or meditation or whatever you do and think about the things that you’re grateful for, but really finding ways to kind of start and end your day with gratitude and even do it during the course of the day.

I had a client who. Um, at the end of each business day, and he was a leader of a [00:25:00] large company and, you know, fires coming at him all the time and just a really hard role. And he said, at the end of every day, I look at my hardest meeting my most difficult conversation, like, really just the most challenging thing of the day.

And I find something to be grateful for in that. And it’s a great practice to find gratitude in the hard things. You don’t have to be grateful for the hard thing, but to find gratitude in the hard thing is to me, something special. And I know that every single person, you, me and everyone listening, we all have hard things, but I bet if you really, really looked inside any hard thing that you’ve experienced, and I know this is true for myself.

I can always find things to be grateful for inside that thing. I’m not grateful for it, but I’m grateful for inside it. So gratitude is huge. And I strongly suggest incorporating some type of a gratitude practice. And the other [00:26:00] thing that is incredibly powerful is for us to fill ourselves up. It’s the way we speak to ourselves and John uses this example inside his work all the time of this gentleman named Dr.

James Gills and he’s a man who ran six double Ironman triathlons. And you read about this when you read the book. And by the way, the last one, he was 59 years old. So an Ironman, if you don’t know what, I’m not a triathlete. Are you?

Aaron Rackley: No, I’m just training for my first half marathon in two weeks and So I’m building up

Julie Nee: practice in, uh, into place when you do your half marathon.

So this is great. So what an Ironman is, is you do a full marathon, a 2. 4 mile swim and 112 mile bike ride. And then you do that whole thing again, 24 hours later. And again, the last time he did it, he was 59 years old and people would say to him all the time, Dr. Gills, Dr. Gills, how do you do it? [00:27:00] Like when your, your feet are bleeding and your knees are hurting and like every bone in your body is telling you why you can’t finish the race.

And he said, I talk to myself instead of listening to myself. I talk to myself instead of listening to myself. So instead of listening to all the reasons why I’m too slow, too old, too much pain, all the things can’t do it, not enough, blah, blah, blah. Instead of listening to all that, I’m going to talk to myself and I’m going to feed myself with the positive words I need to finish the race.

And let me tell you, this is game changing because we have people do this all the time in our sessions and we have them write down. And you can do this too. And you can do this with your team, right down in the left column, three things that are in your, in your mind that when you listen to your brain, you know, they’re pretty negative that they’re popping up pretty often.

What are those three things? It’s usually some kind of not enoughness, right? Write those down. And then [00:28:00] in the right column, what new positive truth can I speak to that lie, that untruth that I just wrote in the left column and then you overwrite it. So it’s, you know, sometimes it’s as simple as like, I don’t have enough time.

Okay. And the rewrite is, I make time for what’s important. Sometimes I have parents in my groups who are like, you know, because they’re balancing careers and kids and whatever, you know, I’m not a good mom or dad, I’m not a good parent. And then they say something like, um, I’m fully present. And I make my moments count when I’m with my kids, you know, whatever it is, like some people talk about just, I’m, I’m, I’m not, I’m too old.

I’m too slow. I’m too fat. I’m too thin. I’m too this. I’m too whatever. Right. But speaking truth to the lies, and I tell you what, I’ve, I said this to a couple of groups this week. If you, if I asked you walking out of this room to read the things that you put in the left column, the lies. To either your spouse, your best friend, or your child, [00:29:00] you would never say those words to them.

Never. So don’t say them to yourself. Right? So speak truth to the lies. When those negative thoughts pop in, stop your brain and replace them with something positive. So those are two really, really powerful ways to Feed and fuel yourself.

Aaron Rackley: Yeah, no, that is amazing. Um, the second one, like um, talking to yourself, is the listening self, is definitely something that I’ve actually found myself doing in the last run I done last weekend because I use like um, I do the training but then on a On a Saturday I do like a fun 5k run at the park, park run I think it’s called.

And um, that is the only time where I try and do it against the time. Any other training I don’t worry about time, I just worry about finishing. And during that race it was exactly the same thing where it was like… there was a point where my, I get, I’m, I have an element of ADHD, so I get very bored very [00:30:00] quickly.

So obviously on long distance running, my brain starts getting bored. I say my brain, me, I get bored and I start, you know, looking away over the place and start, stop focusing on what I’m doing. And then I had to do just that kind of exercise to myself where I start talking to myself and being like, no, you’re doing this, focus on this.

Like you’ve got to run this distance. Just think about that for the next two minutes. Like that’s, that’s how I was. Doing it. So I could see definitely how that that definitely would work.

Julie Nee: So I love that. I love that. You’re already using it Encourage yourself too, and I hope you will use it during your half marathon, you know Use poor encouraging words into yourself and like I know for sure.

I’m I believe me. I’m not a huge athlete, but When I run or jog or whatever, sometimes I’m literally counting mailboxes. Like, okay, three more mailboxes, you know, and then you can walk for a minute or whatever.

Aaron Rackley: Perfect. [00:31:00] Um, I want to talk about the whole kind of energy vampire transforming negativity. Um, again, it’s like, um, I’ve worked in many places in the past where. Negativity just spreads like wildfire. Someone has it, hits the next person. They have it, then they sit together and they, it swells up. And so how do you have any.

Tips or tricks for leaders to kind of like help transform that into something else, how we can identify it. Right. Or whatever. Yeah. So I

Julie Nee: do. So first thing I know this is going to sound way overly simple, but don’t do nothing because you’re right. It spreads like a cancer. So don’t do nothing. A lot of times when you have some negative people around you and on your team, people are just sitting around waiting for someone to do something.

Why isn’t he talking to these people? Why isn’t he doing something or she, why isn’t he or she doing something about this behavior that is killing our team, right? [00:32:00] So don’t do nothing. But here’s the next piece. When we’re confronting our energy vampires, which again, we’re committing that we are going to confront it, right?

And this doesn’t matter if it’s your boss, if it’s a peer, if it’s a direct report, if it’s, you know, anyone who is. Um, contributing to any toxicity inside your culture, it has to be confronted. So I think the, the best way to start is to get curious with your energy vampires. And so it’s like, Hey, Erin, um, I noticed last week in the meeting when we started talking about XYZ, um, and you slammed your pencil down or your book or whatever it was, you seemed really frustrated about this topic.

Tell me what was going on there, you know, and just like pointing back to a real situation. What I would suggest is never saying you’re always this and you’re never that, and you’re always like always and never don’t help anyone specific situations, help people. So [00:33:00] talk about a specific situation. Ask what’s happening, bring curiosity to the situation because sometimes it’s something really simple like, um, maybe they’re frustrated with a process or maybe they’re upset about a change going on inside their organization or whatever.

It could be something so simple that as soon as you ask, they tell you and you’re like, Oh, well, we can fix that. You know, let’s go. Let’s work on fixing that right now. Right. Um, but sometimes it’s something else. Uh, we are all whole human beings, right? We’re not just our job titles. So it could be they have a sick child or a sick parent, or they’re worried about a scary result they got from a test themselves, something health wise, or what could be anything, any number of things.

But if we don’t ask and we just let them behave that way and continue to behave that way. We’ll never know and the other, so, so do something, get curious. Um, the other thing is it’s on us as leaders [00:34:00] to coach, train and develop our people. Sometimes people behave in a certain way because maybe they weren’t properly trained.

Maybe they don’t have the right tools to do their job. Maybe they’re, we’re not doing a good job coaching. Maybe we’re just grinding and hard charging and it’s just not a leadership style that works for them. So it’s on us to coach, train, and develop our people. Um, we also have to encourage our energy vampires.

A lot of times people behave that way because of fear. And so it, you know, it’s just, we have to put, literally the word encourage means to put courage into. So we have to encourage our energy vampires a lot of times. When there are people who are so negative around us all the time, um, we just, we literally just think of them or see their face and we’re like, you know, we have a mindset about them, but we have to be the only way to change our own mindset about our energy vampires is to find something positive about them, [00:35:00] anything and tell them, you know what I mean?

Like it changes our brain and then we can change our relationship by putting courage into someone and encouraging them and making them feel better. About what they’re doing. Um, but it’s a lot of work on the leader. This is if you have an energy vampire on your team, I do want your listeners to know it’s not one conversation and then it’s solved.

Yay. All the energy vampires are gone because we had one conversation. It doesn’t work like that. It takes time and energy and coaching and revisiting and checking in and all the things. So it’s really on us to keep checking and sometimes and again, I’m not sure how your. Uh, how it works from a documentation standpoint in the UK, but in the U S a lot of times we have to document, document, document, document, because if we are coaching and training and developing and encouraging and getting curious and having the conversations and doing all the things and the person is still not willing to change, [00:36:00] sometimes they have to go, they have to go because they are ruining The performance and the productivity of the entire team.

And like I said, one person can’t make a team, but one person can break a team. And I’ve had a lot of people ask me on this topic. Well, what if my energy vampire is my top performer? Well, here’s what I’ll tell you about that. When, even though you have to get to the point where you let go your top performer, and you’re really worried about it from a financial perspective.

As soon as you do that, everyone else is going to elevate because they’ve been so stressed out and so drained by this person that they haven’t been bringing their best work. So once you get rid of that behavior, now everyone else can bring their best work. So it’s worth it to do this. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

Aaron Rackley: Interesting. So to expand on that a little bit, what if you find that you are starting to become? The negative [00:37:00] person.

Julie Nee: It’s so funny that you ask that because one of the things we do in our trainings is we say, okay, either stand up or raise your hand if you’ve ever been a complainer and 100 percent of the people stand up, right?

Stand up if you’ve ever been the one who is about to suck the life out of your team, you know, has sucked the life out of your team, you know, stand up if negativity has ever threatened to sabotage your team. Uh, frankly, most people stand up on all the things, right? Sometimes it is us. So I, I think one of the things about that is bringing some self awareness.

Um, to ourselves, I read this study recently and it said that 90 percent of people think that they’re self aware, but only 10 to 15 percent actually are. So we have a huge gap in terms of what we think we’re bringing to others. So as leaders, as teammates, as humans, that willingness to look in the mirror and say, wait a second, I’m not bringing my best to my team.

So if I, [00:38:00] it goes back to know it and show it right. So if I say that I stand for this personally, or we say organizationally, we stand for this, but I’m yelling at my people all the time, or I’m taking out my frustration on everyone around me, then I’m not modeling the behavior that I expect from everyone else.

I mean, and if you, if you’re not modeling it, your team is not going to do it either. So, um, the ways to come back. To yourself, come back to center are things like what we just talked about earlier around gratitude and talking to yourself versus listening to yourself and. Finding ways to feed the positive inside of you.

Aaron Rackley: Awesome. Now I could definitely go into this for hours and hours and I feel, and I guess this is why you have whole courses and dedicated to it because it’s, there’s a lot to unpack in, in this, uh, in all of those different principles before. Um, we wrap it up and end. I’d like to just ask [00:39:00] everyone that comes on to recommend a book.

Now, don’t use, don’t do the powers of positive team, because I’m going to link that one anyway. But, try and think of a book that you would recommend to someone. It can be fiction, non fiction, anything. Um, just one book. It could be Harry Potter, that’s the one I always say. It can be really

Julie Nee: whatever. My son loved Harry Potter growing up, I’ll tell you that.

Well, here’s the thing, and I don’t want this to be selfish, so I’m gonna give you two books. So, one is, I launched my own book earlier this year, so I’m gonna be a little selfish, I’m pointing to it. Yeah, go for that, yeah. Um, but my own book is called Mirror, Mirror. And the subtitle is Five Reflections to Clear the Fog and Help You Shine.


Aaron Rackley: So. Adding

Julie Nee: that straight to the Amazon box. I am selfishly saying mirror, mirror. And another one that I actually just started reading this week, it’s, it’s called All It, excuse me, it’s called All It Takes is a Goal. And it’s by John Acuff. J O N [00:40:00] And then his last name is A C U F F. And it’s all about simplifying goal setting.

And I, I’m just like really loving it right now. So I’m about halfway through and I’m loving it. So I’ll give you those two.

Aaron Rackley: Okay, brilliant. Now I’ll add them to the website. And to my Amazon basket, my book, since I’ve done this podcast, my book list is getting very long. Um, yeah. So where can everyone find you, the courses, everything online?

Julie Nee: Yes. I’ll give you some websites that you can link, but I’ll, I’ll say them out loud, but I’ll give you some websites as well. So, yeah. Um, the power of positive leadership. com is where you’ll find content about this, um, and of course, john Gordon. com about all of John’s works, work, J O N G O R D O N. com. And then me personally, uh, you can find me at julie knee.

com or on [00:41:00] Instagram at. at julieny108. Um, so those are probably the best links to start with. And again, I know you’ll post those in the show notes.

Aaron Rackley: Well, no, honestly, thank you for taking the time to come on board to the podcast. It’s very been eye opening and there’s a lot that I need to go read and dive deeper into.

Um, so thank you for

Julie Nee: joining me. You’re most welcome. And I sure hope it serves your audience. So thank you so much, Aaron.

Aaron Rackley: I hope you enjoyed today’s conversation with Julie and thank you. For making it all the way to the end of this episode. If you like this conversation, please can you share this podcast across all your social media.

It really does help us reach a wider audience. And finally, if you’re our tech leader and would love to come and have a conversation with me on this podcast about a subject you’re passionate about, please email me via contact@techleadershipdakota.com and I’ll see you in the next episode. Bye for now.[00:42:00]