Episode 82: Clean Leading

I once had a boss who hyper-focused on one person until firing them, then another, then another. 

Someone would land on her “bad” side for one reason or another, and then her brain observed what the team member did and said, creating further evidence to prove the initial thoughts.

All of our brains do this – think a thought and then create evidence to back it up through our feelings, actions, and results.

The problem is, we don’t stop and question our brains on whether it was a thought or FACT, before taking action.

How unfortunate for the team member on the receiving end of the criticism and firing. And also for the leader who causes themselves so much pain and suffering.

This is why leaders need what I call “Clean Leading”.


What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Coaching yourself first before you coach others
  • Focusing on what you can control and the difference between feeling in control and controlling
  • Shifting out of victim mode and into coach mode


Featured on the Show:


Welcome to Scale to Seven®! Your behind-the-scenes look at what it really takes to scale your business to seven figures. I'm your host Kathryn Binkley, business and leadership coach for online entrepreneurs. Here's what I know, building a business that will generate millions requires the mindset, strategy, and action of a future seven-figure CEO, starting now. Ready to Scale to Seven®? Let's go! 

Hello there, I want to tell you a little story back from my corporate days about a leader, and a big mistake that I saw them make over and over again, eventually I saw that there was a pattern. And since then, I've noticed it among other leaders. And even when I work with entrepreneurs who are growing their teams, I see this happening today, it's very easy to do, we all do it because we're all humans, we just may do it in different ways or with different, you know, aspects of our life. But today, I want to talk specifically about how I see this done with your team. So here's what happened, I had a boss who hyper-focused on a single team member and constantly criticized them or thought to themselves, even if they didn't take the feedback to the person thought to themselves that that person just wasn't meeting standards. And there was so much hyper-focus on that one person until eventually, she'd fire them. And the problem was, it wouldn't be the end, the cycle would start over, and she'd begin to hyper-focus on another person until she let them go, and then another, and then another. There was actually a running joke that whoever sat at a specific desk would be the next one to go. It's almost as if she moved people are closer to her to keep an eye on them. But then she'd let them go. That just gave her more visibility and more evidence into what they were doing wrong. 

Now, we talked about this on a recent scale to seven mastermind calls and a client of mine had a name for this, that was hysterical, and I want to share it. She said that this was having a "BEC", and I was like, okay, like she typed that in the comments was like, you're gonna have to tell us what that means. What do you mean by "BEC", and she said, it's a "Bitch Eating Crackers." Now, she had to go on to explain, and so I'm gonna do the same for you. She said, It's when you don't like someone, and it doesn't matter what they're doing. They could be over, minding their own business, just eating some crackers, and you're just like, "look at her, she's such a bitch, just over there. Look at the way she's eating those crackers", and like just finding things to be wrong about them. Okay? I thought that was hysterical, and in part, because I've seen it over and over again, just in life, right with humans with women. But in this case, again, we're talking about team members. And it's not so funny when you're on the receiving end. And to be honest, if you don't realize you're doing this, then it's not so funny. Even for yourself, it creates so much pain and suffering so much suffering for yourself. And so,  how do you know if you're doing this? Well, I want you to think about the person that does something that frustrates you or annoys you or that you just don't agree with. And I want you to think about something specific that they did recently, or said recently. Okay. I want you to think about how you reacted to it what you thought. And then I want you to think of a different person, someone you love, someone you adore someone who, no matter what they do can do anything wrong, whether it's a child or your favorite employee or anyone I want you to think about this person. And then I want you to imagine that they did or said the same exact thing. Do you have the same thoughts or feelings?

The funny thing is, I actually asked that question to one of my clients. And she was so frustrated, obviously frustrated with one team member. But when I asked about another team member doing the same thing who I knew that she loved, she said she would just laugh it off. And that's how you know if you have that different response, that there's something going on with your thoughts about a person and that you're likely finding evidence and using things that they do or say, to really create that evidence to prove your thought, the problem is that thoughts are not facts, your thoughts are not facts. And when you go find that evidence to prove your thoughts, you're building a case against someone, except it's not a case built on facts, it would not stand up in the court of law. So, before you give someone feedback, whether good or bad, by the way, this doesn't just have to be something bad. Even that example of like someone you love, like, have you ever heard like, the, you know, "golden boy", or "favorite child" or whatever, like, it can be good, too, you can have a bias towards someone good that they can't do anything wrong. So this could go either way. So before you give that feedback, good or bad to a team member, you really need to separate the thoughts from facts. And what this means is that you need to do what I call "Clean Leading". 

So let's dive into what that means. What is clean leading? What do you need to be thinking about? How do you know if you're clean leading, so first, clean leading is all about coaching yourself first, so that you're separating those facts from your thoughts and feelings, you're not going to take action to give someone feedback unless it's based on facts. If that's coming from your thoughts, or it's coming from your feelings solely, you want to go back to the facts and make sure that you're giving feedback based on what actually happened, not just your opinion or perception of it, this is so important. Because what that means is before you react in the moment, you may actually need some time to step away. And to process something, it's so easy to react in the moment and give quick feedback. Again, good or bad, but oftentimes, unfortunately, for team members, the bad feedback, the difficult feedback is done in the moment. And it's not received well, because the way that leaders communicated in the moment is by sharing their thoughts and feelings, which because they are true, the team member discounts because that's not their intention. If you've ever heard that, well, that wasn't my intention. That's because you're sharing something that is your opinion of their motivation behind it, versus just looking at the facts of what actually was said or done. So coaching yourself first. So again, that means separating facts from your thoughts and feelings. So what you're going to do, in order to do this is think about what happened and make sure that after you kind of brainstorm everything about what happened, you go back and you remove everything that was just your opinion, that you can't prove that everyone who saw it everyone who heard it couldn't agree on and just go back to the facts, okay? And then, think about what you want to believe about those facts. And I encourage you to assume the best, okay. So first, you've cut yourself. 

Second, and really connected to this, is you focus on what you can control. And spoiler alert, it's not your team member that you can control. This is where I start to talk about or teach clients about the difference between feeling in control versus being controlling. Feeling in control comes from ownership of your thoughts, and intentionally choosing what to think versus being controlling, which is the action that you're taking, trying to get a result, often coming from a place of fear, or impatience, or just miss trust, frustration. So you're gonna focus on what you can control, which is only yourself only you, which is why that coaching yourself first thing was so important. So before you ever have a conversation with a team member, you're already regrouping in your own mind to figure out what actually can I control and what can I not control so that when you go into a conversation, to lead someone, you're already detached from the outcome. You're they're focused on, yes, you can communicate expectations, but not trying to force them to meet them. They have a choice, and there are consequences of those choices, but you can't force them to do what you want them to do. You're going to detach from that outcome and show up from a different place from a clean place. You have clean thoughts because you've separated out what you can and can't control. 

Third, you're going to shift from focusing on how this area packs you and you're going to shift into curiosity and compassion. So what this means is, even though you're going to take ownership of your thoughts and what you can control, which is looking more towards you, with your thoughts, you're going to end the conversation really focus on them from a place of, again, curiosity and compassion, which means you're going to not be the victim, you're not going to show up, selfishly harping on the impact to you how this is annoying and frustrating, and all of that. Now, this is different than stating the facts about how their behavior is impacting the company, there's a difference right between the facts behind the impact versus being a victim to it. And we've got to separate that and approach this conversation. Again detached, but seeking to really understand where they're coming from, you have to separate your own intentions, your own hopes, and desires and really go into it just focused on uncovering their thoughts and how that's driving their feelings, their actions, and results, so that you can coach them, you want to help them see their thinking, and you want to help them take ownership over their own results. But the only way to do that is to lead from that clean plays, not muddying the waters, with all of your own selfish desires, you want to really make it about them and how they can improve. Once you're detached, and you know that your own feelings are in your control. Now you're going to hold space, you're going to compartmentalize and really focus on helping them. 

This is clean leading, it's doing the work, which isn't always easy to really coach yourself first and show up to a conversation not selfishly with some intention or motive behind it. But to just help them to coach them to show them their thinking, to help them, see how they can step into their own power and take control of their results, good or bad without, again, muddying those waters, and really spilling all of your drama into the conversation. This is something that you're going to work on, as long as you're leading. It's never something that you just master and you're done. And check the box, you have to intentionally focus on this every single time you have a conversation with a team member to give them feedback, again, good or bad, you need to look at your motives behind it and make sure you've coached yourself first. So you show up ready to focus on them, you've taken care of yourself. And now you can focus on them. If this is something that you struggle with, if you find yourself really hyper-focused on a team member, and the things that they're doing wrong, you still have some work to do so that you can show up in a way where you're clean leading. If you want help with this if you know that this is an area where you need some support. If things are happening with your team, and it's sending you down this spiral if things are happening with your team, and you're second-guessing, and you're not really sure whether you should let them go if you're not really sure whether it's you or whether it's them. 

If you're not really sure if you made the right hire if they can do the job. If you are really making them the reason that you're not feeling how you want to feel. I can help you with this, I can show you how to lead from a clean place. It's a concept that will serve you so well. And even though you'll learn it related to your team is going to apply to every aspect of your life. It really can change things, and I know this firsthand because what I can teach you I have personally experienced I have done the work myself. And as I said, I continue to because it's never something that's done, it's ongoing. But if you want that help, the best way to dive into this kind of work, I believe is in a private setting. And it's not very often that I have an opening and private coaching. But right now, I have one spot that I have opened. If you want to learn more about working with me in private coaching. Visit my website, click on work with me and you can learn about how you can sign up, you can submit your application, I'll review it and I will get back to you within 24 hours to let you know the next steps if I feel like you, and I would be a great fit, so go check that out! We'll drop the link in the show notes. But this is definitely a skill that you will need to learn if you're going to scale your business because scaling involves team members, and it involves more and more team members over time. So you've got to master this, I can help you, I'd love to support you and make sure that you don't ever have that BEC that you're hyper-focused on.

Hey, if you're ready to Scale to Seven®, I want to invite you to join the Scale to Seven® Mastermind. It's my coaching program designed to turn your online business into a self-sustaining scalable business that can generate millions. Just head over to kathrynbinkley.com/scale-to-seven. We'll see you inside!


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