357 - Know Your Altitude - John Laurito

Ready to elevate your leadership to new heights? Join me in today’s episode as I talk about the balance between authority and micro-management. This forms the crux of our main discussion – understanding the right ‘altitude’ as a leader and the significance of setting clear expectations. So, if you’re looking to amplify your leadership abilities, let’s get started on this journey together! Turn up the volume and prepare to soar!

[0:00] Intro

[0:45] Quick shout out to his friend and faithful listener

[1:20] A leadership anecdote I learned way, way back

[3:53] Figure out where your altitude is as a leader

[4:49] Ask questions around decision making

[8:46] How to use this concept in real life

[9:36] Outro

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John: Over the last two decades, I’ve been in an insatiable quest to learn everything I can about leadership, what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large over the last 20 years. Today, I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question.


John: My name’s John Laurito. I’m your host, and I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this very topic and what makes the best leader so good. Welcome to Tomorrow’s leader.


John: All right. Welcome to this show. I am John Laurito, your host. Welcome to Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dive deep on all things leader related, related to leading yourself and leading others. And yes, I am back after a little bit of a hiatus. Uh, this show is dedicated. I’m gonna give a shout out to Reggie Suggs, friend of mine, faithful listener, who gave me a nice swift kick in the butt.


John: He’s like, John. What’s the deal? It’s been like a month. Yes, I know it has. I have episodes created, topics that I’ve identified and great shows, great content that will be coming. It’s just been a matter of dedicating, getting the dedicated production studio time. This is the beginning of my production, um, run streak, I guess we’ll say, we’ll call it.


John: So, uh, today’s episode I wanna share with you a little bit of an anecdote. This is a leadership lesson. I learned really early in my working career. I didn’t really know what it was. I was too young and dumb to understand what it was, but it kind of pieced together over time. I just knew it didn’t feel right.


John: And this goes back to my days in college. I was working. Yes. Going way back, way, way, way, way back, I was working at a country club and I remember I had earned a little seniority. I was a waiter. Yes, I was a waiter and I actually enjoyed it. I liked it. Good chance to interact with people, make some money, make some cash.


John: And, uh, I had earned some seniority there. I’d been there for a little bit and done well, and, and this and that. And so my, my leader, uh, gave me more and more responsibility. Kind of. Um, and he ended up having me do certain things, like decide, um, who was gonna work, which sections, um, uh, occasionally put together the schedule and who was on, who was off.


John: Uh, so I kind of had this more and more responsibility, which felt good. But, um, then every once in a while I would get these really. Weird interactions or messages from him. And he had this, this southern accent. So he’d just come, he’d kind of come over to me. I, I’d be standing there and he would say, John, um, listen, what’s, what’s the deal with the salt and pepper shakers?


John: I said, uh, uh, what do you, what do you mean, Kevin? Well, why, why, why, why is the salt and pepper shaker rot smacked avenue in the middle of the table? I think that should be, you know, maybe about three inches off to the side, a little off center, uh, which would, would make it have a little better appearance.


John: I’m like, okay, I guess I’ll move the salt, salt shakers and the pepper, salt and pepper shakers. I guess that’s, uh, there’s some kind of feng shui thing or whatever. I don’t know. There’s something happening that, okay, we’ll move that off to the side. Create a better dining experience. Um, and he’d come over every once in a while and said, John, John, I noticed I was just watching you.


John: I noticed you have your hands in your pocket. Is there some reason for that? Uh, I don’t, I’m not quite sure, uh, what that, that might be. So, uh, can you, can you, can you, can you take your hands outta your pocket please? Uh, sure, sure. I can do that. Absolutely. Yeah. So, uh, in any event, um, it was annoying and it was, it was, it was very weird.


John: Uh, and I, I didn’t really understand it because on one end I was getting this. Significant amount of authority or what I felt was authority. And on the other end it was like, okay, super micromanaging, and it was very confusing. I see. The reason why I’m sharing this, I see leaders that do this, and I’ve seen this through my career where it’s almost like you’re flying a plane.


John: I. At a certain altitude and that altitude kind of changes over time. So, the thought is to figure out what your attitude is as a leader with somebody that you’re leading now. At times, as a leader, you’ve gotta really dive deep, right? You gotta get down to the, to the, to the ground. Level almost, and, and lead them effectively, which is really showing them exactly what is expected and how to do things.


John: But at some point you empower people. You’ve heard the prior, uh, podcasts around this topic of empowering people. And when you start to develop and empower people to do things, you have to send a consistent message, um, uh, and make sure expectations are really clear in terms of. What you’re empowering, what ultimately is expected of this individual.


John: So here’s a great question that you can ask, and this is whether you are the follower and you’re asking this of your leader or you’re the leader working with. Some of your people, and these are great questions. This is a great question in terms of setting expectations, and it’s all around decision making.


John: So if you are, if you are working, let’s say, and you’re talking with your leader, ask the question, listen, what decisions do you want me to handle? And, and let’s, let’s kind of break it up into three categories. What things do you want me to do to make sure that I Run by you first and consult with you. Okay?


John: That’s category number one. What kind of decisions, secondly do you want me to make, but loop you in afterwards? I. And then thirdly, what things do you not even wanna know about? What things do you want me to have total autonomy and control over and decision making ability on? And you don’t even need to be part of it.


John: You don’t even need to be looped in. So those three things are really critical. I find if you ask those and break them down into those three categories, what things do you want to be involved in? What decisions do you want me to consult you on? First, so you’re part of the decision making or you make the decision.


John: Secondly is, what do you want me to make the decision on, but loop you in after? And then thirdly, what do you not even want to be involved in at all? And I find that that conversation can clear up so much and set such great expectations and really help that person develop. And what I’ve found, and again, I’ve used the analogy, it’s like flying a plane.


John: If you’re the pilot of the plane and you’re training somebody teaching somebody how to fly, you wouldn’t necessarily count on them. Just you wouldn’t count on them learning how to fly from a book and then walking in the cockpit. And take over the controls and you walk out of the cockpit, you’d never do that, right?


John: You learn how to fly by demonstrating somebody’s gonna be in there. You’re gonna, you’re gonna watch them. They’re gonna be in the cockpit with you for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours. I don’t know how to fly a plane, but I know it’s hours and hours and hours and hours and hours of training with a professional in there before.


John: That leader is leaving the cockpit and letting that person really be in the cockpit by themselves, right? So you gotta think about it like this, but this is a development. So if I have somebody that’s managing the, uh, managing a budget, let’s say, and they have responsibility for the p and l, um, if they’re new to that, I might have them say, listen, anything over a thousand dollars.


John: I want you to run by me first and I want you to consult with me. I’ll be part of the decision just so we can kind of set the expectations, get a good rhythm going so you know what’s expected, what’s not, what’s inbounds, what’s out of bounds. Um, and once you get that down, I. Then I’ll get to the point where you make the decisions.


John: I’ll just review your approvals or your expenses after the fact. Uh, and then it might get to the point where you’re not even doing that, whatever, whatever the case may be. But there’s gotta be some sort of expectation so people understand. I find a lot of leaders, they don’t set those expectations, and then there’s problems after the fact.


John: So my quick little leadership lesson today, On how to make sure that you’re flying at the right altitude. If you’re that leader that’s flying at 30,000 feet and all those for most things, and then you dip down to 2000 feet for some things that don’t really make sense, I. Without a conversation and expectations, it confuses the people that you’re leading.


John: They don’t understand what they are empowered to do and decide on, and because of that, their leadership, they tend to then walk more cautiously. They’re not leading as I. John: Forcefully or as loudly, they’re taking more cautious steps because they’re not sure what they have control over. They don’t really know what they have leadership responsibility for.


John: So have that conversation and that will clear things up. Hey, you can, you might even use that analogy. Hey, for this area of the business, for the day-to-day leadership of your people, I’m gonna be it. 20,000 feet every week or whatever. Every couple of weeks, I’m gonna want an update. I’m gonna be at 20,000 feet.


John: That’s your team. You run it. You lead them the way you want. For this, the p and l, I’m gonna be at like a thousand feet. I wanna be more involved. Have that conversation. Just set the expectations. I promise you that we’ll help them develop more. It will also help you lead a better, bigger, better organization.


John: So, That’s my quick five, six, uh, nine minute message for you today. I hope this is helpful. Thank you for staying tuned in. I got more good stuff coming. As always, you know the deal. Go down below, give a five star review, like, subscribe, share, all that kind of good stuff, and I will see you next time. Thanks.


John: Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for Suggestions. Or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching, reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks, lead on!


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