Webinar presenter Brenda Dietzman answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Leadership Lessons Learned throughout a Career. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: We’ve all had influencers who have shaped who we are, as leaders, both good and bad. Who shaped your leadership philosophy, who are those key leaders that shaped your subject, your particular leadership philosophy?
Brenda Dietzman: You know, I think, it starts off with my mom and dad. I was raised on a farm in Wisconsin on a dairy farm and we got up in the morning and we worked our tails off. I went to school, or in the summertime, we went up to the fields, and we worked, and we worked, and we worked. They didn’t complain. I didn’t complain. We’ve just got the work done, and made decisions, and good decisions, and learned along the way. So, I think it all starts with my mom and dad. Absolutely. And as far as like, career leadership. I’ll never forget. Sgt. Hinshaw. I was still in field training. We pulled up car to car. You know, like, cops do. And it was third shift like at midnight and I remember him looking at me and he asked me a question about what do you do with an injured animal? He didn’t even say “Hi,” And I was like, “Ah—-“, and I gave them the answer. Luckily, it was right. And he just kind of smiled and nodded. And I understood at that point that there was an expectation of me that I would know how to do my job even though I was brand-new and that he could trust me. And I really did that moving forward. Another one was a colonel of mine, who often would send me hand-written notes and that’s where I got the habit of sending out birthday cards because when I did something good, I would get a hand-written card from him. And, that means so much so Colonel Green. You’re awesome, and I love you for that There weregreat influences on me.
Audience Question: What was the study that you referenced? It was back on the slide where Maya Angelou, who talks about how people will make you feel. You referenced a study during that little segment, and he was asking, what was the study again?
Brenda Dietzman: So, the study was about competency about how people feel about their leaders. That if they’re treated poorly, they are thought of as being less competent, less knowledgeable than what they actually were. But if they are treated well, people will think of their leader as being more competent and more knowledgeable than they actually are. And if you send me an e-mail, I will send you that research. Absolutely.
Audience Question: Are there resources available to teach supervisors how to lead people who don’t look like them? I mean, besides talking to the employees and asking what they need. Do you have a sense if there are good resources out there to do exactly what you were talking about?
Brenda Dietzman: You know, the first thing is to go to someone that doesn’t look like you and have a conversation and say, you know what, I want to learn. I want to learn. And I, the sheriff that I just left, when I retired, we would have incredible conversations, both about how men operate and look at things in the organization as well as women. And we both learned so much from each other and it helped us, it helped me, I know, be a better supervisor. Because I had some assumptions based on what I felt was normal, what I thought was normal. As far as gender-related education books, it’s an oldie but a goodie. The book Lean In. And again, if you reach out to me, I’ll send you a list of books. But it really talks about some of the internal hurdles that women put in their own wayand get in the way of their success. And so that’s an excellent book. She talks about things like Impostor Syndrome and the Inner Critic, you learn about that and you will not be able to unhear what women say in the workplace after you read it. It’s just amazing.
Audience Question: Speaking of books. In addition to Lean In, what are some books or TED Talks that have influenced your leadership? What should we be reading?
Brenda Dietzman: I think one of the biggest TED Talks… there’s a couple actually. Adam Grant has a TED Talk out there, called Originals. That’s actually the name of his book, but there’s a TED Talk out there that’s based on his book. But again, you’ll get all of that in the handout. Another one that I really like, and is especially interesting to law enforcement and Corrections, is a TED Talk by Dr. Dolly Chugh and it’s How to Let Go of Being a Good Person and become a Better Person is the name of it. And it talks about implicit bias and how it’s actually formed. And I find so many times in law enforcement, I say implicit bias, and people are like, “Oh, one of those trainings,” and it’s because we talk about the outcome of implicit bias instead of where it comes from. But she talks about bounded rationality and bounded ethicality, about how implicit bias is actually formed. And it just is so enlightening. Because it’s like, okay, it’s not our fault that we have an implicit bias because of the way that it’s formed. And then I tell people, but now it’s your responsibility to get over it because now you know how it’s formed. So that’s huge. So, I loved those two TED talks. The book Lean In absolutely changed my life. There’s a lot of good resilience books out there, as well. Maslow on Management is probably one of the best books that you can read about generations and motivation. It’s old, as well, but it really is spot on what motivates Gen Z, what motivates Millennials. It’s not a paycheck, it’s their purpose and its achievement. And that’s all based off of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. So, a lot of good books. A lot of that’s going to be listed out on that handout. If you reach out, I will absolutely send that to you. Even if you are listening to this at a later time, contact me and I will get you this information.
Audience Question: Andrew shared and asked, great advice, would love to see a supervisory class that takes each of these topics and develops a class around each of these skills. Do you have any advice for supervisors, middle managers, who are attempting to use this guidance when an executive leader doesn’t exactly follow it?
Brenda Dietzman: You are the only person that you have to live with 365 days a year, every year, every day for the rest of your life. Don’t disappoint you. Period. Just don’t disappoint you. Remember when I talked about the steering wheel therapy, and I would get home at night after having a conversation about how I did through the day. And I would look in the mirror in the rearview mirror and go, “How did you do today?” That is the person, the only person you can’t disappoint. If I can make that person happy, if I can make that person proud. Then, I’ve done the right thing, at the right time, the right way, and for the right reason. And even if it costs me in the short-term, it’s going to be good in the long term, because I’m going to be able to keep looking myself in the mirror. So, it’s tough. I get it. We’ve all had those bosses, I have, but you have to keep doing that right thing, at the right time, the right way for the right reason.
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