186. Leading Well Without Leadership Talent

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Ep. 186 – Leadership is not a predetermined ability and no one starts out being an exceptional leader. It’s an ongoing learning process filled with bumps, detours, and pitfalls along the way.

In this episode, I want to provide you with a list of things that can be implemented into your day-to-day activities right away that will help you improve your leadership effectiveness starting today.

Or watch it on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/iMuWWDnOpMo

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Episode 186 Transcript:

Ramona Shaw [00:00:00]:

This is episode 186, and we’re gonna talk about how to lead well without leadership talent.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:07]:

Here’s the question. How do you successfully transition into your 1st official leadership role, build the confidence and competence to lead your team successfully, and establish yourself as a respected and trusted leader across the organization? That’s the question, and this show provides the answers. Welcome to The Manager Track podcast. I’m your host, Ramona Shaw, and I’m on a mission to create workplaces where work is not seen as a source of stress and dread, but as a source of contribution, connection, and fulfillment. And this transition starts with developing a new generation of leaders who know how to lead so everyone wins and growth. In the show, you learn how to think, communicate, and ask as the confident and confident leader you know you can be.

Ramona Shaw [00:00:51]:

Welcome to episode 186 on the topic of leading well without requiring leadership talent. A lot of times when I talk to people who are moving into leadership roles or who’ve experienced people leadership for a while, the question comes up on whether or not They like it, or if they’re good at it. And yes, while as a leadership coach and trainer, I am all about Providing and as a leader, taking in and experiencing and benefiting from leadership training and from coaching. So you don’t have to learn all the lessons yourself, but you can learn from lessons that other people have made, from insights that other people have to share, from best practices, from tools that will help you do this people leadership job easier and better than if you were to go alone. That is a fact. Yet when people are experiencing some of the challenges and they are inevitable, some people experience them from day 1. Others feel like they’re pretty good at it, and they are doing well with their leading their team. But then a few years in, a few months in, Something happens and they realize, I might have had a blind spot or this is harder than I need to somehow.

Ramona Shaw [00:02:09]:

I need some guidance on how to handle it, How to navigate it or prevent these things from happen again. We’re simply in a lot of clients come to me for coaching, Not because there’s any particular issue, but because they know they could develop stronger skills and get better at it with the help of a Sperry partner, a thought partner, and someone who’s challenging their fundamental beliefs about leadership, their principles, and also identifying potential gaps to elevate their overall effectiveness in their people leadership aspect, but also in the way that they spend their time and the way that they support Their team on decision making, on projects, prioritization, strategic planning, and so forth. So With all that said, there are a few really basic things for which you don’t need to have any leadership scale or training or talent. But they will impact your Ability to lead effectively and the respect and trust that you gain from your team. And I wrote down 6. And all those 6 Things are behaviors that you can start to day 1, that you can start thinking about and improving on right after this podcast. There’s no training needed. There’s no self awareness needed.

Ramona Shaw [00:03:30]:

It is very straightforward. So here are six Straightforward ways, increase your leadership ability without any skill or talent needed. The first one is to improve your say Do ratio. What I mean by that is the things that you say you’re going to do versus what you’re actually going to do should be as much overlapping as possible. Now No one makes it that say do ratio be 100% or a one. We’re all somewhat falling short of what we say we’re going to do or by when we’re going to do it versus what actually happens. And that is nature of being a human being, but also the nature of business where Unexpected things happen and we have to constantly pivot, prioritize, or change deadlines and so forth. But the more that you actually follow through on what you committed to and that you explicitly said you were going to do.

Ramona Shaw [00:04:29]:

Or if you don’t, you let people know why you’re not. The more your team will trust you and that imp positively impact your leadership effectiveness. So because it’s a ratio, we all know there are 2 ways to increase that number. One, we can reduce the amount of commitments that we make. So lower the say part of the say do ratio or increase the do part of the ratio. So in decreasing this say, would mean that you make Fewer commitments. So you’re more careful in what you commit to. If I say to someone, I’m going to send that to you within 2 days, I have to, in my head, not think about the best case scenario, but likely the worst case or the more light most likely case scenario when I make that commitment.

Ramona Shaw [00:05:25]:

I don’t think that nothing else will hit my desk between now 2 days, but I do assume that, Yeah. You know, I could probably be delivered by tomorrow, but assuming that there’s some unexpected emails or things coming my way, I give myself grace periods to say I will deliver to you in 2 days. Now if I deliver it earlier, great. But I don’t have to go back and say, I’m sorry for being late. That would diminish, reduce my say do raise ratio. So being careful what you commit to, committing to fewer things or expanding that time horizon, of what that if there’s a deadline attached to it, We’ll make it easier for you to boost your say do ratio. On the other side, you increase what you’re actually going to do. So that on one hand, that means you get really good at keeping track of your commitments.

Ramona Shaw [00:06:17]:

Somewhere you must have a commitment tracker or a task tracker or to do list or a place where you Take note of what you say you’re going to do. Ideally, that is one central place because the more people that you manage and the more the bigger the scope of your responsibilities or the things that you oversee, the harder it will be to rely on your memory. So developing strong systems to manage Yourself and your work work and your tasks and commitments and decisions, the, more effective you will be at this. Doesn’t require skill at all. No talent needed, just the discipline of doing it. Now, a quick word on when you which is normal. Right? Sometimes we make a commitment and we can’t follow through. So when you’re late on a commitment or unable to do it, The moment you realize you’re gonna be late or you’re unable to do it, let the other person or the other party know So that they are not expecting it, but they know that something got in the way and they will be able to, problem solve, Decide whether they want to extend the timeline or they want to reassign it to someone else so that the task can get done.

Ramona Shaw [00:07:28]:

And they will feel like they can trust you, that you will surface issues ahead of time or proactively versus Once the deadline has passed and they have to follow-up with you to see where you stand, that diminishes trust. So that is the say do ratio again, no talent required, but it will boost the trust that people have in you. The second one is to take time to understand when other people make suggestions, When they have problems that they bring to you or when they provide feedback or have opinions that are Different from yours. Our initial instinctual reaction is to Explain again, why we have a different belief or move right into problem solving and fixing. Give yourself more time to understand the other person before you try to fix, solve, convince, or before you move on. Spend more time to understand. And you can start small with this, even if it’s just 1 question that you interject between the other person saying something and your natural tendency to wanna Defend or convince or fix. You pause for a second and you ask 1 more question.

Ramona Shaw [00:08:55]:

Tell me more about this. What else should I know? Elaborate on this one point. Tell me why this is Coming up now, tell me why this is particularly challenging for you. Tell me more about your decision making process, or tell me more about your thinking in this area. I want to better understand. Just 1 question and you’ll go from there. That will change again, the dynamic that you have between yourself as a manager and the people that you lead. As a caring and driven manager, I know you want to strengthen your leadership skills, advance your career, and lead a high performing engaged team.

Ramona Shaw [00:09:35]:

And in order to do that, as a leader, you need to lead with a system, not by shooting from your hips or reacting to everyone else around you. To do so, you need to, first, learn what should go into a leadership system And second, develop your own. Now the good news is that I teach you one must have part in your leadership system in a concise, actionable, and yet Comprehensive course focused on running successful 1 on 1 meetings with your direct reports. It includes over 67 minutes of tactical leadership training plus a set of resources to make this as easy and immediately applicable for you as possible. You can either watch the video lessons or listen to it through a private podcast feed on your phone. You can get your hands on this course, which I want every single manager to have, For a nominal $19@ramonashaw.com/oneone. That’s 2 times the number one. You can check the show notes for the details or head on over to ramonashaw.com/oneone to get started right now.

Ramona Shaw [00:10:44]:

The third one is not to intervene. There is a really strong tendency that a lot of managers experience To want to intervene, not for the sake of intervening, but it to intervene to support and to help. Hey. I can do it faster. I can do it easier. Let me help you. Let me take care of this for you. Let me just quickly make this Quality better.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:10]:

Let me rewrite this sentence. Let me check that code and fix it. Let me take care of this meeting or whatever that may be. Sometimes it’s driven out of this desire to wanna be helpful and wanna be seen as someone who can roll up their sleeves and be in there. It’s often sort of wrapped in this bow of servant leadership, of wanting to be helpful. Sometimes it comes from a place of not wanting to be seen as someone who’s Lazy and not actually doing work. Especially if you find yourself in meetings all day and you are not in the weeds of anything, you feel like you’re losing a little bit of touch and you don’t really deliver anything. And instead of deciding for yourself how you’re spending your time and if whether or not that is Creating the most value for the team based on the role that you have.

Ramona Shaw [00:11:59]:

Or if it’s coming from this place of I don’t wanna seem to be lazy or a lazy manager. Maybe you’ve had past experiences with lazy managers or people who didn’t really care. And so you’re trying everything possible To not be perceived that way. And so you getting yourself involved in stuff that’s not yours. A very common thing that I see, and it’s a small thing, but a very important thing. If someone emails your team member, Your direct report and cc’s you, and your team member is not responding within, you know, an hour or even 4 hours, whatever That may be. And you think, oh, let me just take care of that. My team member must be busy.

Ramona Shaw [00:12:45]:

And you respond back, although you were cc’d. You weren’t the main recipient of the email. That is intervening. And you’re sending that Subtle message to your team member, consciously or unconsciously, that you need to help out. They’re not quite capable to own Their responsibilities themselves to take care of it, to solve things, to fix them, to be stretched and be challenged and to Go through the struggle, but then also be able to own their achievements at the end of it. So managers are constantly intervene through these small little emails or fixes or offering support or taking something off their plate. They’re never really letting Their team members go through that struggle, which then leads to pride, growth, and that sense of achievement and meaning. This is It requires discipline again.

Ramona Shaw [00:13:44]:

It doesn’t really require much else. There’s no skill involved in not intervening. Actually, quite the opposite. You’ll need more skill To intervene, or trying to do so well rather than just not to intervene and to lay back and say, I’m here from you For for you, let me know if I can be helpful. Let me know if there’s something I can take off your plate. I am here to help, but you’re leaving it up to the team member to reach out to you, To seek help versus you in an unsolicited way providing your help, which is what we call intervening. So that is the third one. The fur 4th 1 is to ask for feedback and not get defensive.

Ramona Shaw [00:14:30]:

So regularly soliciting feedback on how the meetings are going, how the goal setting is is going, how much they agree to the current strategy or prioritization of work, what kind of questions or concerns do they have, what feedback they have for you specifically in how you’re supporting them or decisions that you’re making, what kind of risks that they’re foreseeing. Anything that You can solicit input, solicit feedback on what you’re doing or your leadership behavior Doesn’t require skill. You literally just have to ask a question. You have to ask it fairly specifically, but that’s about it. So the only thing you wanna avoid actually, 2 things you wanna avoid is to ask a broad question. Hey. Do you have any feedback for me? It’s very likely People will say, no. All all good.

Ramona Shaw [00:15:22]:

I’ll let you know if something comes to mind. Because that is such an open question that As a as a the recipient of that question, I don’t know where to go and what to do with it. So you have to be very specific. A specific Project a specific behavior, a specific scenario or task or whatever that may be. The second part of this is not to get defensive. Right? The worst thing to do is to ask for feedback and then explain it a way where you would either blame other people or immediately recheck The feedback, why this isn’t and explain why this isn’t valuable feedback or to get defensive right and and disagree or even make them look bad or Like, that feedback was inappropriate. When you do this, even though you might be totally right I don’t know. Right? Even though.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:09]:

Let’s assume. But if you are defending right away without really trying to understand first or even hearing it and then Letting it sit for a couple days or even a week, and then going back and explaining what drove your decision or what is, the reason for your behavior or your approach. It will be seen as defensive and people will not wanna give you feedback again. So then in in all surveys, you’re not getting feedback. People aren’t raising issues to you because they don’t wanna be back in that situation. And if that’s happening at that point, a lot of the information that your team has, it won’t be coming to you. You’ll develop greater blind spots. You’re missing out on opportunities to learn and grow as a leader.

Ramona Shaw [00:16:54]:

You’re also not demonstrating that sense of a a growth mindset where if other people then are defensive towards the feedback that you’re giving them, You can you’re not really setting a good example for how to take feedback to others and the list goes on. So asking for feedback, soliciting feedback, letting people know you wanna hear what they’re thinking in their honest opinion while also then Responding in a constructive way where they wanna share that video because they feel like you’re trying to understand. You’re curious. You’re willing to learn. You’re willing And, to be challenged, you actually welcome it. We have to give that very specific mandate to people so that they feel this is Welcome, and it may even be part of their responsibility to feed information, and opinions back up to you. So that is number the 5th 1 is to be prepared and to be on time. Again, does not take any talent or skill.

Ramona Shaw [00:17:53]:

Being prepared is all about looking at your week ahead or your day ahead and making sure that you got your stuff in order for those meetings or the conversations you need to have. That is it. So it’s about How you plan your day and it’s the discipline of sitting down and looking at your wait weeks and days ahead of time. The, the thing about being on time, the, the most important part here boils down to communication. Yes. Sometimes we’re late and especially if you have back to back meetings, sometimes you’re caught up in a conversation where You just can’t get out. That would be very rude if you were to say, hey, gotta go. Or inappropriate or inappropriate or not a good use of your of your time and everyone else’s time in the meeting.

Ramona Shaw [00:18:44]:

In those situations, now you can always say is, hey. I wanna finish that conversation, but I’m quickly gonna let The people in my next meeting know that I’m running late. Give me 10 seconds. And then you sent them a message saying running about 10 or 15 minutes late. Please Get started, or please address, something I don’t have to be part of early on or start with this or be direct and be explicit here on what you expect other people to do when you’re late. If it’s not your meeting, you’re not running it, obviously, just let them know that you’ll be late and that you’ll catch The notes or the recording, if if anything, afterwards. It’s totally okay to interject Check and say that even in the midst of an important discussion. What that demonstrates is that you care about being there on time and letting people know when you’re not.

Ramona Shaw [00:19:36]:

Being on time also means to end meetings on time or if you do run over to check-in with people, whether or not they’re okay running over the meeting. This is something, gosh, that I have to learn myself too. And I have to remind myself all the time When I’m in a coaching conversation, I might feel like, well, there’s so much to uncover and we’re totally in the midst of it. And I forget if especially if I don’t have another client call right after, and I forget to check my clock. Right? Whether this might be to set a Timer or some kind of alert that pops up that reminds you, hey. It’s time to wrap up the conversation or to check-in with people whether they wanna schedule a new Call because you’re going to be running over or if they’re available for to add on an additional 10 or 15 minutes Or 30 minutes, but do not work with the assumption that everyone else just has a free afternoon. Again, it’s all signaling that you’re not quite in charge of your day, or your time and and you’re expecting everyone else to pivot with incomplete information. So communicate clearly with people on what’s expected, when you’re late late or when you want to extend.

Ramona Shaw [00:20:49]:

This bill will sound to some very basic time management practices, but really it’s the discipline and by no means requires a skill or a talent. Last but not least is consistency. We are creatures of habit. We like consistency. It, is a signal of security. It provides predictability and reliability. As a leader, when you’re inconsistent in either your behavior, your mood, Your approach to decision making, your degree of desired involvement. Like, one day you wanna be Updated and involved in all the things.

Ramona Shaw [00:21:33]:

Next week, you wanna be excluded of all the things. If you, At one point, give really good feedback and encouragement. Then a month later, they hear nothing from you. When you’re really on and Pushing and you’re all focused on the sense of urgency. And then all of a sudden, you’re not responding to emails for days on time. That kind of inconsistency is really frustrating to a team and reduces that sense of predictability, security, and reliability that they have towards you. Consistency, again, is a discipline. It’s not a skill or a talent.

Ramona Shaw [00:22:11]:

So the question I would have for you or the prompt for you to reflect on is, yeah, what are the things that I have handled or inconsistently? How is my behavior possibly inconsistent? And if nothing comes to mind, don’t just drop that. But instead, ask your team. This is a great question to combine Point 4 here, with asking for feedback, without being defensive. And this last 1, we’re being consistent. For you to go out and say, hey, is there anything that you perceive about me or how I run things on our team That seems inconsistent to you. I’m curious to hear what you think. So asking a specific question, it could be, k. Meetings, tasks, behaviors, moods, whatever that is, but what seems to be inconsistent.

Ramona Shaw [00:22:58]:

If they can’t think of anything, Let them know that next time they observe something that seems inconsistent or that it’s confusing to them, unclear because it seemed different from the past, To raise that and say like, hey. This seems inconsistent with what you’ve previously said or previously done so that you increase your awareness of what may be things that seem Totally predictable and consistent to you, but not so to the people on the other side of your behaviors or your words. These are the 6 things that will increase your leadership effectiveness and require 0 training, 0 skill or particular talent to lead. I said in the beginning that oftentimes new managers, especially, are concerned with Whether or not they’re cut out to be leaders, whether they’re gonna be good at it or not. There’s so many things such as the 6 we’ve talked about here that make someone be a better leader or increase their leadership effectiveness. It really has nothing to do with how good you are with people or how while you lead. Now I’m not saying that other part isn’t important. Yes.

Ramona Shaw [00:24:04]:

It obviously is. But if you don’t have time for training or if you don’t know how to increase your skills yet or you’re not quite in that role yet where you would qualify for some kind of leadership training or you don’t have the resources to access leadership training or coaching. Look at those things that we’ve just talked about here. They will all make a positive impact and cost you nothing. I’m gonna quickly repeat. Increase your say do ratio was number 1. Number 2, add time to understand. So in to check those questions to better understand before you respond.

Ramona Shaw [00:24:40]:

3, don’t intervene. Let other people own their work. Number 4, ask for feedback. Solicit that feedback without being defensive. Number 5, be prepared and be on time. Number 6, increase the level of consistency that you display. Those are the 6 factors that will Make you more effective at any kind of leadership responsibilities or even not, even just for you as a professional To increase the trust that other people have in you, the respect that you likely gain from the people that work with you because of the way that they See you manage your day, your time, and the way that you conduct yourself. If you are ready, though, to take this Wait further and to develop skills, practices, and arsenal of tools that you have in your toolkit in order to Be prepared for and then manage and navigate tricky leadership situations or to elevate your leadership approach and skills To handle a team or a larger team or new responsibilities that really stand out in your organization.

Ramona Shaw [00:25:50]:

Let’s chat. I will drop the link to schedule a strategy call to meet below. The no pressure call, it’s really a way for us to connect, Talking through what’s going on for you. What are some options at hand for you? What are some specific areas to focus on so that you leave that call with new insights and clarity on how to level up as a leader. That’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with another episode of the Mancha Truck podcast. Take care, and have a productive week.

Ramona Shaw [00:26:18]:

If you enjoyed this episode, then check out 2 other awesome resources to help you become a leader people love to work with. This includes my best selling book, The Confident and Competent New Manager, which you can find on Amazon or at ramona shaw.com/book and a free training on how to successfully lead as a new manager. You can check it out at ramona shaw .com/masterclass. These resources and a couple more, you’ll find in

Ramona Shaw [00:26:45]:

the show notes down below.


1. Have you ever struggled with your say-do ratio? How did it impact your team’s trust in you? What are some ways you can improve your say-do ratio to positively impact your effectiveness as a leader?

2. How can taking time to understand others’ perspectives enhance your leadership abilities?

3. Why is it important to resist the urge to constantly intervene and instead allow your team members to own their work?

4. How does being prepared and on time contribute to your credibility and effectiveness as a leader?

5. Why is consistency a key factor in building trust and respect within your team?

6. How can you encourage a culture of feedback within your team and create a safe space for open and honest communication?

7. What are your top three to five things you can implement right away to improve your overall effectiveness as a leader?


  • Learn how to turn your 1-on-1 meetings from time wasters, awkward moments, status updates, or non-existent into your most important and valuable meeting with your directs all week. Access the course and resources here: ramonashaw.com/11
  • Have a question or topic you’d like Ramona to address on a future episode? Fill out this form to submit it for her review: https://ramonashaw.com/ama



Grab your copy of Ramona’s best-selling book ‘The Confident & Competent New Manager: How to Rapidly Rise to Success in Your First Leadership Role’: amzn.to/3TuOdcP

If this episode inspired you in some way, take a screenshot of you listening on your device and post it to your Instagram Stories, and tag me @ramona.shaw.leadership or DM me on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/ramona-shaw

Are you in your first manager role and don’t want to mess it up? Watch our FREE Masterclass and discover the 4 shifts to become a leader people love to work for: ramonashaw.com/masterclass

Don’t forget to invest time each week to increase your self-awareness, celebrate your wins, and learn from your mistakes. Your career grows only to the extent that you grow. Grab your Career Journal with leadership exercises and weekly reflections here: ramonashaw.com/shop

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