EP 30: Developing Great Talent within Your Organization with Dr. Mandolen Mull

Developing Great Talent within Your Organization

What does talent development truly mean for the managers inside of our organizations? And who has the power to change the direction and success of our business? Here to help us answer these questions is Dr. Mandolen Mull, an Organizational Development and Leadership scholar currently working at Rockford University. In this episode, she will be sharing how you can train individuals to become great leaders in day-to-day life.

Listen in as Mandolen shares the importance of self-awareness and how to become better at leading ourselves. You will learn the benefit of being agile rather than adaptable, what narrative leadership is, and why it is essential to understand what is valuable to your employees.

What You’ll Learn In Today’s Episode:

  • How to train individuals and create great leaders in day-to-day life. (1:17)
  • The importance of self-awareness. (6:27)
  • How to create a more agile team. (9:00)
  • What narrative leadership is. (11:10)
  • Why understanding what your team values is key. (16:00)

Actionable Takeaway for HR Professionals:

  • Learn to speak in the currency of the people you are trying to communicate with. (23:57)

Actionable Takeaway for Executives:

  • Recognize your biggest issues and address them head-on. (21:40)

Ideas Worth Sharing:

“The work that we do today is going to have lasting impacts.” - @ProfMull Click To Tweet “I don’t think we can really ever start to lead someone until we can lead ourselves.” - @ProfMull Click To Tweet “I think adapting is being too reactive. I think we should agile.” - @ProfMull Click To Tweet

Resources In Today’s Episode:

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Click Here for Audio Transcript

Traci Scherck: Welcome to tell an optimization today we are chatting about talent development and what talent development really means for the managers inside our organization.

Traci Scherck: And with me today is Dr Mandolen Mull and what I have so loved about my conversations with mandolin and you’re going to hear much more about this in a second is mandolin is 4 11 red hair and her claim to fame is training steel workers.

Traci Scherck: okay so with that So how do we, you know train individuals and really create leadership opportunities and day to day life.

Traci Scherck: Are you know first thanks for having me on as Tracy I really appreciate I love getting to talk about talent development and what I think about.

Traci Scherck: On you know, being a PhD and then going in to scholastic grounds and all of these types of things, but also going into the trade fields, I have a really lovely opportunity to get to talk to people about.

Traci Scherck: How to just leave how to create succession plans, how to understand that we are playing the infinite game right that the work that we do today i’m.

Traci Scherck: is going to have lasting impacts, each one of us are beneficiaries are someone who gave us a chance, someone who’s saw talent in us and said you’ve got it kid go get after it.

Traci Scherck: I someone who helped elevate us that mentor DAS, and so we stand on their shoulders and as we pass on our knowledge and the things that we have gained.

Traci Scherck: Not only through our mentors, but there are sales, I think, then, we start to really talk about this generational mentorship.

Traci Scherck: And that really should be our legacies, and so I think a lot about legacy building and the things that we leave behind working with iron workers, my father owns I started masonry company.

Traci Scherck: i’m you know I can we resolve a holiday time you can’t drive around the little town down in Texas, where my folks live without my father sign I built that house and 1997 and I had you know, Blab la and I love that my nephew’s have to deal with it.

Traci Scherck: isn’t that fun, though, and I actually grew up in that same environment yeah you know it’s not whether it was my grandparents or or my dad you know that same thing, yes, and so you there’s living Testaments right that these individuals lived.

Traci Scherck: That they gave an impact to generations to come well as leaders there’s that too i’m you know I the first young man who ever gave me the honor of being called mentor.

Traci Scherck: I went to and saw him in Texas, a couple of months back and he said, you know you should get your students to write papers about their mentors mentor.

Traci Scherck: And I said well that’s really interesting about you know, and he goes, yes, because if you don’t know who your mentors mentor is.

Traci Scherck: How do you know that you chose the right mentor that maybe you didn’t.

Traci Scherck: Listen, because if they’re not passing on the things I learned that they’re taking all the credit for them sales and saying I came up with this, I know, and then you know, create this maybe that’s not the right person, you want to lead you and develop you further.

Traci Scherck: wise young man.

Traci Scherck: yeah yeah so shout out to Mr Ashcroft on that one that was really good but that’s why I think we articulate our day to day leadership about really is that idea of.

Traci Scherck: What is the legacy we’re building today, you know I went into an organization was and I asked a group of folks when was the last time you got to win and this gentleman in the back of the room goes, three years ago.

Traci Scherck: friend sorry to hear that but that’s on you and he did not like me.

Traci Scherck: But I said, you know, he said i’ve been here 30 years and I said then act like it.

Traci Scherck: And you’ve been here 30 years that means you have invested a lot, you have sacrifice things for this organization, you have left a mark here.

Traci Scherck: So make sure that when you retire from this place that people talk about you with reverence.

Traci Scherck: And nobody else gets to dictate that but you you’re the person who gets to pass that on your other one who gets to shake that and frame how people talk about you.

Traci Scherck: So do you want people to say man I learned a lot from that comedy or do you want them to say really glad he’s gone.

Traci Scherck: Right and I said you get to drive that that shift so that’s the that’s the things that I really try to focus on when i’m talking to leaders, whether they are in the scholastic realm because you’re in the scholastic realm we have this idea that people are going to keep reading research.

Traci Scherck: I hope nobody reads mine but.

Traci Scherck: You know I don’t even read it anymore I look at that something that I can’t even I can’t believe I wrote that i’m but you know, and then to folks in in any kind of industry type where.

Traci Scherck: it’s still all comes natural leadership is about building off of what we’ve been given and passing it along and reshape that a little bit as we go through.

Traci Scherck: And I think what’s so great about that this leadership is going to look different based on what your personal strengths are absolutely because every one of us is created perfectly the way we are.

Traci Scherck: We may not be created perfectly for every environment that we may not be created perfectly for every job excellent not so let’s just.

Traci Scherck: clarify that, but even in those situations where it’s not a perfect fit and you can how you show up every day.

Traci Scherck: And how you process through that and how you treat people has a huge impact on that legacy that you leave.

Traci Scherck: And some leaders are going to be that charismatic out in the front of the room from wanting the MIC right right and others are going to be the really quiet hey mental and you did a really nice.

Traci Scherck: And I really appreciate what you brought to the conversation and the key here is in that leadership, I think you have to find what your own voice in your own comfort is within that absolutely and I think i’m.

Traci Scherck: Self awareness right is that i’m you know I don’t think we can ever lead someone until we start to lead ourselves and have a really good understanding of.

Traci Scherck: These are some areas that I, you know I I really believe we have to know where our growth points are.

Traci Scherck: And where we’re you know where Do I need to grow where Am I currently growing and sometimes those are not always the same area I i’m.

Traci Scherck: In the same thing I where do I want to grow and where do I need to grow aren’t always the same it either right because sometimes we’re like no I don’t really want to touch that and that’s painful to grow.

Traci Scherck: i’m not, I think that’s really critical for us to be doing the hard work of looking and regulators side have I done my due diligence as a leader there’s a lot of people who are counting on you to make them sustainably successful.

Traci Scherck: Not just for the next promotion and not just the next paycheck the next quarter or the next year.

Traci Scherck: i’m but people are asking you to give them the tools to make them sustainable a successful right, I may have forgotten they asked you that, but they did.

Traci Scherck: So, are you being a good steward to make sure that what you are doing for the people that you serve.

Traci Scherck: That you’ve shown up those areas where there are some identifiable gaps that you’re willing to let people hold you accountable to that too right and the other thing with this, I think, is really important is different roles require different types of leadership.

Traci Scherck: In.

Traci Scherck: with that some of that self awareness comes into what does this rooms very different than who do I want to be.

Traci Scherck: Or you know here’s a strength that I may need to or you know, an opportunity area that I may need to grow in.

Traci Scherck: But what are those key things that the job actually needs and so often if we’re not paying attention to that we’re not aligning with the job needs and what the business needs.

Traci Scherck: To who we are and you know as we grow really amazing teams and dream teams and ensuring that we have kind of this this great fit inside of the organization this container.

Traci Scherck: that’s one piece that I see so often gets overlooked and so as you’re looking at both that self reflection and creating those generational leaders, what are your thoughts on that within specific jobs.

Traci Scherck: So that’s a great question and I think you know there’s an ability for number one that i’m I really rebelled against the word adapt.

Traci Scherck: I think, adopting is being too reactive, I think we should be agile I think of fencing I don’t know anything about fencing but I.

Traci Scherck: Think people like either they I think it’s a pair each other, I don’t know but it’s the idea of being nimble right and I really think we have to condition ourselves and our team Members to be agile.

Traci Scherck: On and in order to do that, it is really making these assessments all of putting ourselves into alignment not just operationally not just an HR but also in our marketing, what do we tell the world we are.

Traci Scherck: Good we hire to carry out those functions and then, how do we hold them accountable and the day to day to actually get those things okay i’ll carry them.

Traci Scherck: In so.

Traci Scherck: When I think about alignment and environments alignment and car.

Traci Scherck: And something gets all wonky and it, you know if it’s out of alignment it’s going to cause problems and the exact same thing that we see in our organizations.

Traci Scherck: So exact same thing we see with the individual Members when they’re out of alignment when I don’t know the priority that my boss has for me.

Traci Scherck: or I don’t know the expectations of a certain group or something like that on we’re out of alignment and so it’s coming back i’m really talking about facilitating that coaching i’m.

Traci Scherck: asking you know I tell people all the time, go into organizations and ask people you know what are the top three priorities we have for today, this week, this quarter this month, whatever it might be.

Traci Scherck: And how do we allocate our time resources, for that is it you know, a 6460 2020 what does that really look like and then, how do we actually have some targeted roles for that.

Traci Scherck: So that gives me a picture and it makes us be intentional about understanding what is currently on our plate.

Traci Scherck: So are we being agile to that or have we gotten ourselves kind of complacent right so that’s the thing we want to guard against.

Traci Scherck: And know it does take that intentional effort for us to really be drivers of that sustainable success there.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely Thank you so much for sharing that and defining what that is, you know that that difference between agility and adaptability, because I think sometimes they kind of get collapsed together.

Traci Scherck: which really brings to you know another key point, which is that narrative leadership and with narrative leadership i’m curious, for your take on this, because so much of leadership is about how we communicate things.

Traci Scherck: And how we’re communicating in a way that has other people think sure so narrative leadership has been something i’ve been really passionate about i’m.

Traci Scherck: Because I think narrative leadership is a massive tool for generational mentorship right.

Traci Scherck: So narrative leadership says that we kind of give people the behind the scenes, so instead of my my team Members coming to me and saying mandolin what’s the answer.

Traci Scherck: I start talking through what my biases are what my assumptions are what am I, you know, considering and these kinds of factors on what.

Traci Scherck: potential consequences, might I I foresee what potential barriers might be there.

Traci Scherck: And how i’m informing my decision so i’m actually having to have a conversation about this with my mentees and with my team members and.

Traci Scherck: The reason this is so important is i’ve noticed this a lot more because of cvoid 19 yeah as we sit here and this empowerment leadership, a lot of us didn’t have time to go back and double check does somebody get this done did they get a time.

Traci Scherck: And we couldn’t just give them the answer we needed to really take time explaining to them the thought process to shorten their learning curve.

Traci Scherck: When they’re in you know similar situations in the future, and I was talking about this with a friend of mine recently.

Traci Scherck: It was a phenomenal storyteller she’s really great about this and i’m brianna hodges and she was telling me that this is similar to her.

Traci Scherck: parenting of her kiddos that you know when she was a young girl, she would see her father come out and.

Traci Scherck: Make Christmas card list or pay bills, with a huge giant roll of decks and he had all of these cards and all these things, it was very visual very you know obvious what he was doing.

Traci Scherck: Well, one day she and her son are sitting on the couch and the belt on their tablets, and she tells her son it’s time to put away the tablet is game, time is over, and he says.

Traci Scherck: Well, how come you still get to play games and I don’t get to it, she said, oh no.

Traci Scherck: mommy’s working right so when he didn’t get to see was that visual action of what is happening on the tablet right because on that tablet we could be playing games, we could be engaging in social media, we could be i’m.

Traci Scherck: watching sports, we could be you know paying bills in the in the checkout line at the grocery store all different kinds of things it’s so we don’t have a visual look of that so she was having them there right what she was doing to shift that.

Traci Scherck: And I think as leaders, now we have to narrate how we are making our decisions for the people who are to follow us.

Traci Scherck: And so that narrative leadership really gives us an opportunity to shorten people’s learning curves and to really build that generational mentorship so that.

Traci Scherck: They now don’t just have an answer, but they understand the process by which we derive that answer because we walk them through.

Traci Scherck: And I was talking to another friend recently about it, and he said yeah I have people tell me I don’t need to know all that.

Traci Scherck: Yes, you do you know, to me it was like right, yes, you do you do, you may think it’s extraneous information right now.

Traci Scherck: But I promise when you get into these decision making roles yourself you’re going to want to know how these answers were derived.

Traci Scherck: Right a lot potential assumptions were my biases had to be chatting considered and consequences made in a way yeah absolutely and you know I love the way that you just described this.

Traci Scherck: Because i’ve never really connected it as narrative leadership before, and one of my mentors coaches, that I followed for a long time is brooke steel.

Traci Scherck: And one of the things that I really learned from her was communication filters.

Traci Scherck: So it’s very much like this narrative leadership and it’s something we’ve implemented with our team, and it has worked so well, so if i’m going to delegate i’ve got six things that I need to answer to delegate.

Traci Scherck: And then, if there’s a decision that needs to be made.

Traci Scherck: i’m actually having them make that decision, you know they’re asking the question and they’re giving me two options for the decisions that they would make.

Traci Scherck: And why they’re making them so that you know they’re not just coming to me and saying hey Tracy What about this, but they’re giving you.

Traci Scherck: Why what decision, they would make an ally right so we’ve got this back and forth of Okay, I can now see your thought process so that I can coach that but also half the time there was a better than what I come up with.

Traci Scherck: The same for me when I start talking about and explaining things they can get they can fortify some of my gaps right and that do well, yes, so empowering is so impactful absolutely absolutely so thank you so much for sharing that, and you know.

Traci Scherck: One of the things that I love is when we can kind of take things and say okay here’s something to input right away that you can go and take that insight and put it into action to get those results.

Traci Scherck: And each of these things you can so thank you so much for that so i’m curious do you have a story of somewhere along the line where these types of whether it is that kind of self awareness this narrative leadership or the generational.

Traci Scherck: impact has had that you’d like to share, or so we can kind of see it come to life sure i’m so recently I I had been on a consulting I project for a year i’m with different leaders i’m working in my manufacturing setting and i’m one of those individuals has now.

Traci Scherck: gone out to train at other facilities within this organization, so he does leadership training now.

Traci Scherck: phenomenal individual who had a whole bunch of leadership potential and talent, but didn’t know it yet right here is one of those I didn’t believe and i’m saying quite yet.

Traci Scherck: And i’m sorry training and the other day he’s a he’s in a different state I reached out to him and said hey how’s training going, and he goes all dark it’s not going so well, so why not even when i’m not feeling it.

Traci Scherck: is about a friend if you’re not feeling it they’re not feeling any better right and I said so I tell you what.

Traci Scherck: Give them a 10 minute break and when they come back say i’ve got a presentation i’m I can talk to you through these you know training paradigms that I had.

Traci Scherck: But I really like to ask you guys, if you have a question for me, or if there’s something you’d like to talk about and I said because here’s the thing.

Traci Scherck: You want to give them value, but you do not get to dictate what is valuable today they dictate that right.

Traci Scherck: And I said so feel comfortable and trust yourself enough, and this is something I had to learn, you know pretty recently in my career was to call these audibles right.

Traci Scherck: was to be able to say hey wait a second maybe I don’t have all the answers, right now, maybe I need to look back and say hey Jane.

Traci Scherck: Well, what would you guys want to talk about right now what you know this is your learning, this is your development, this is your experiences, what is it that matters to you.

Traci Scherck: I can’t think of when the last time was that i’ve worked with organizations, where they really asked their people, what is it that you value in a way that you do.

Traci Scherck: We make a lot of assumptions and, and so the young man said okay all right Doc i’m going to try that so later on that afternoon he goes I get I get a call from me all excited doc it work it works.

Traci Scherck: right away, you know, and I said kudos to you for trusting yourself and trusting your leadership, you know your own abilities to pivot and be agile.

Traci Scherck: With that right to sit there, and he goes back to that original idea to sit there and say what does this moment require of me right, and if he wasn’t feeling it.

Traci Scherck: He wasn’t going to be able to provide value to those folks and in it was it through that sense of saying.

Traci Scherck: it’s okay to let go and see what they are telling you is valuable to them and then you can add to that.

Traci Scherck: And not only did an add for the for his audience there and I for him, of course, right and certainly for me because I got really excited on the sideline okay.

Traci Scherck: i’m and I love that so that really I think you know kind of illustrates a couple of different points that we’ve talked about today.

Traci Scherck: But really that sense of talking through and making ourselves a little bit vulnerable on but also trusting ourselves enough to say i’m agile i’ve done the work i’ve conditioned myself to know.

Traci Scherck: That if they don’t talk at all, I can go back to my presentation and I can sit here and try to think about what you, and now I have a more sharpened honed intention here.

Traci Scherck: Instead of just trying to speak to this presentation, but really try to drive home value.

Traci Scherck: figure it out, you know, try to dig that out of them, what is it that they value today, what is it that they need from this moment.

Traci Scherck: And then stepping into that gap and I love, how you just talked about intention right because intentionality is such a key piece of leadership.

Traci Scherck: And it really flows through how we reflect, you know how we’re doing generational leadership.

Traci Scherck: Because if we don’t have an intention it’s like a roadmap right if we don’t know where we’re going.

Traci Scherck: we’re not going to get there, so that intentionality really gives us what our direction is it totally does you know, one of my mentors wants to play a piece of metal and.

Traci Scherck: we’re going to think like sports teams, he said, sports teams and 90% of their time you’re practicing training watching your review fail and then 10% executed and he said in business, we.

Traci Scherck: Were spending 90% of the time you know executing and 10% is that we are.

Traci Scherck: Not spending 10% actually training and.

Traci Scherck: Training.

Traci Scherck: thing working ourselves and trying to really have that reflection component so on that’s a huge disservice in, but when you think about that.

Traci Scherck: We can condition our sales, just like we can physically, we can condition our leadership skills.

Traci Scherck: To be more reflective to have more of that intention on but it’s not going to happen just magically you know it’s not going to happen by someone tapping us on the shoulder.

Traci Scherck: And so we really have to be drivers on our own development there I always say nobody should be more concerned with your own development than you.

Traci Scherck: And that means you’ve got to, as we say back to Texas grab the bull by the horns and just go after it right and so that’s really where that comes out to so I absolutely believe that intentionality is one of the most critical aspects of leadership and leadership development.

Traci Scherck: Thank you so much for that so as we wrap up our conversation today.

Traci Scherck: there’s always two things that we like to kind of know is what is one key actionable takeaways for executive and our CEOs listening in.

Traci Scherck: So one of the things it was the same mentee that I was working with recently on had gone to a facility and there was a leader that was this really on behaving poorly on had made some comments that really put the organization at risk.

Traci Scherck: Should those comments be taken, you know it, I love to just way or something like that, and my mentor you was making this comment about you know.

Traci Scherck: we’ve got to get rid of this this manager becomes you know we’re going to lose all of our really good people and these people have been here for years, and he was really making a play about the people and I thought that was really important.

Traci Scherck: But that was a mistake that I see a lot of frontline managers do an HR managers, we want to make the play of at the people.

Traci Scherck: But as executives are usually looking at the 3000 foot, you know scope of things and what we have to think about is.

Traci Scherck: Oh, if we keep this individual on knowing that this person has maybe made some comments that.

Traci Scherck: could potentially put us at risk, it could potentially put our entire organization your, how do we knowingly continue on that path right.

Traci Scherck: And so they knew it cognitively but it wasn’t until my mentee actually said it out loud in front of all of them and said guys how do we he asked the entire executive team, how do we knowingly open our organization eyes potential financial.

Traci Scherck: And the answer was we cannot right, and so it was in while executives absolutely think of other people I don’t mean to imply that they do not, but they are so often having to look at these bigger impacts for the collector.

Traci Scherck: And so you know kind of coming and speaking to an executive Member about you know.

Traci Scherck: Independent story of an individual, while they may have a lot of empathy or sympathy for that that situation, you have to communicate in the collective.

Traci Scherck: frontline managers can coach up to that to that degree and executives really coming back down to.

Traci Scherck: Yes, we’re in charge of looking at the collective, but it does us no good if we don’t think about the individuals who make up that collective I mean that that’s really where there’s this kind of.

Traci Scherck: Continuity going back and forth between that relationship yeah absolutely.

Traci Scherck: so that you know as HR folks you know it’s hey really listening in and saying if.

Traci Scherck: i’m chatting with you know CEO or my executive team, I need to make sure that i’m speaking to what their key priorities are right right.

Traci Scherck: Right it’s speaking in their currency right, I always try to think about that what is this person’s currency and it doesn’t mean that this person doesn’t.

Traci Scherck: doesn’t care about the individuals right, but as HR professionals, we want to sit there and be like oh you don’t understand.

Traci Scherck: This person is fantastic, and we really you know we get so excited about the people aspect of it right and and we have to, we can step on ourselves right, we can we can really get.

Traci Scherck: On a little bit too ahead of ourselves and maybe even put up Defense mechanisms of the people were trying to get buy in from.

Traci Scherck: So it’s really understanding how we mitigate on what potentially if we push too hard right, you know sheryl Sandberg talks about leaving in sometimes you gotta lean out.

Traci Scherck: So for those C E O listeners it’s really having that manager your.

Traci Scherck: Name when things are not not going well and being able to name hey here’s this specific issue and really addressing it head on its massive I will say you know every organization I go into people tell me that communication is their biggest goal.

Traci Scherck: And it’s not it is almost always managerial courage, a lack of managerial bravery, or what we also refer to as managerial law practice.

Traci Scherck: Is that people not having the direct conversations people thinking that accountability on is a is a bad word and not understanding that accountability is purely just to give an account.

Traci Scherck: and accountability isn’t about me holding other people accountable is also about how I allow them to hold me accountable.

Traci Scherck: If I truly am with myself if I truly care about developing myself and being a good steward of the gifts that I have and the finite time that I have in as being a leader role.

Traci Scherck: Then I have to be able to be willing to step up and let other people hold me accountable right and so that does take bravery, I mean that’s tough I don’t know, is it you said it i’m a four foot 11 redhead I don’t know if.

Traci Scherck: they’re holding accountable.

Traci Scherck: But it makes me better the people that make us right or not people who tell us right it’s the people who hold us accountable, who help us grow who really pushed us to be a little bit more than what we were before they encountered our lives.

Traci Scherck: And sometimes the people who hold up the mirror and say is that really is that really what you wanted to portray yourself as.

Traci Scherck: The question I asked myself every night when I go to bed, and I probably the woman that I presented myself to be tonight and I carried myself to be my proud of I love it and, sometimes, the answer is a hard knock.

Traci Scherck: And that’s really taught but that’s that reflection component right that we were talking about and it means that, having managerial courage.

Traci Scherck: understanding that people are robust they bring their whole selves to the work environment and when we fail to hold them accountable when we fail to give them.

Traci Scherck: to delegate to them when we fail to correct poor performance, we are failing their development, they asked us to make them sustainable a successful, we have to step up to that plate.

Traci Scherck: And if we’re not willing to do it if we don’t have the bravery and courage to do it, we shouldn’t be in our roles it’s a gift that we are given.

Traci Scherck: And those people are counting on us to drive that for their sustainability.

Traci Scherck: Absolutely Thank you so much for being with us today, and if you are looking to follow Dr Mandolin Mull on learn more about what she’s doing.

Traci Scherck: She is doing leadership and training through momentum consulting and she is also the Chair of the perry school of business at Rockford university.

Traci Scherck: And we will have links to all of those in our show notes, so thank you so much for sharing your insights with us today.

Traci Scherck: And thank you for listening in, and we hope that you’ll join us next week, and if you have not yet subscribed to our podcast please go back and subscribe that you know there’s some amazing episodes up until now and in the future so have a great rest of your day.