After the Webinar: The Art of Curious Leadership. Q&A with Brenda Dietzman

Webinar presenter Brenda Dietzman answered a number of your questions after her webinar, The Art of Curious Leadership. Here are just a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Your webinar “Promoting Yourself in a Male Dominated Field”, is something that a man would benefit from in terms of attending?

Brenda Dietzman: Yeah, you know, as I talked about in this webinar is that that understanding onlys. Even if the topic is specifically directed towards women, if you can, if you can listen in on those webinars, you can actually learn a lot about how to supervise, how to interact, how to be married, how to date, how to raise a female. So just, yes, absolutely. Please come and learn from a different perspective of what it’s like to be a woman in a in a male-dominated profession.


Audience Question: How do you navigate situations with leadership who do not value your drive and motivation without receiving retaliation and retribution?

Brenda Dietzman: Hmm, I get this question a lot. So yeah, there are people who want to stay with the status quo because it’s easy, it’s what they know. Change and new ideas actually trigger a fear response in us, which triggers that fight-flight or freeze reaction in us. So, change is something that we don’t like. And when people come as you come to a leader who likes the status quo and is afraid of change, that can be that can be really threatening to them. So, a lot of times. And this is going to be a broader answer to the question. But a lot of times when I tell people find their pain point. So, why are they a leader? Are they a leader because they want to make money,  and they want to make more money, and then they want to retire and get out of this place? There’s not a lot you can do with folks like that. But if there’s somebody who really does care about their organization and the people, then present the idea on how it’s going to enrich people, how it’s going to make people better, healthier, whatever the case may be. If it’s money, if it’s like Nope, it’s all about money. This is going to cost too much, whatever. Show them how much it’s going to cost if they don’t do those things. So, find those pain points and try to do that. And in the end, I’ll finish up by saying this. You’ve got to decide if you’re going to stay or go. If you decide to stay and try to make the place better. There are pros and cons to that. The further up you can get on the leadership ladder, the more influence you’re going to have, and the more changes you’re going to be able to make. If you want to stay and fight that fight, then there’s a lot of reward, if you can end up doing that, or you can go and go somewhere where it’s not as hard to bring good ideas to the table. And that has so many rewards, too, because it’s easier, right? Maybe more fulfilling, because you get more of your ideas implemented and things like that. But it’s really what you’ve got in you, what you want out of life. What accomplishments do you want to accomplish, and how do you want to move through life? So, no easy answers there but find your pain points and then decide if you’re going to stay or go, and then make that decision and don’t look back.


Audience Question: A comment from one of our other presenters, Diana Knapp, says, to make sure you let your bosses know about your drive and motivation, don’t expect them to figure that out. Help them lead you better. Really great advice. 

Brenda Dietzman: Thanks, Diana. Yeah, Diana, that’s great. Diane is one of my good friends and a co-mentor of mine that I look to as an incredible leader. So, thanks for adding that I appreciate that. Diana.


Audience Question: I have a ton of ideas and ways to improve my department, but I’m extremely overwhelmed and don’t even know where to start. I seem to be running around most of the time putting out fires. Well, now, I’m in a position where I have ongoing projects, and these ideas take some forethought, so how do I evaluate what’s important?

Brenda Dietzman: I think what you need to do is take a look at the list. And what has the biggest impact? What can make the biggest changes? What are the biggest hurdles that your organization is facing right now, and do any of those ideas address those hurdles? And then spend time doing a few things really well. And this is something that I’m preaching myself right now too. Do a few things really well, as opposed to a lot of things okay, just doing them, so they just come out okay. Prioritize those things. Figure out what the hurdles are. Look at your ideas that address those hurdles, and prioritize them. Do a few of them really well, and get them implemented. Get that change frozen into your organization, and then take the next 2 or 3 and work on those.


Audience Question: How do we navigate pursuing a leadership role with having less experience than other colleagues? 

Brenda Dietzman: You know, I think sometimes it’s more about passion than it is experience or knowledge. I can teach you how to do things. I can give you opportunities to experience different things. But I can’t make anybody more passionate about anything, right? That’s internal. So, one of my favorite people to supervise every type of person to supervise ever is that person who doesn’t have a clue what’s not impossible and they just want to make the world a better place, and they want to just go ahead. Takes a lot of time, takes a lot of patience sometimes as a supervisor. But oh, the rewards right? And when you have somebody like that like you,  I never want to see that dampened. And I’m going to put the time and the effort into making sure that you’re successful. And you get to experience and learn everything you want to learn and experience because I can’t teach passion. I can’t get passion out that’s internal, and that’s something to be cherished.


Audience Question: What was the name of that book again, I think she might be referring to the book you mentioned in kind of your closing slides there.

Brenda Dietzman: Yeah. So, Michelle, I mentioned a few books today. So, Adam Grant is a great author. He’s got a couple of really, really good books out there the one that is listed on the slide. I can go back here, is called Think Again. There’s also another one called Originals. He wrote a book with Sheryl Sandberg, called Option B, which is about dealing with the death of a spouse, which is just a really good book to read if you’re dealing with anybody, who has lost a very close loved one. Abd the other book that I mentioned earlier in the presentation was David Brooks’s book, How to Know a Person. David Brooks has a couple of good books out there, too. The Second Mountain is another book that he has written. He’s got a good TED talk out there as well.


Audience Question: Do you have suggestions for good podcasts? 

Brenda Dietzman: I’ve got a great suggestion for a wonderful podcast it’s called Guns and Yoga and it’s our good friend in fact, she had a webinar yesterday on this platform, Wendy Hummel. She talks to a lot of people in the helping profession. So, Guns and Yoga after the group Guns N Roses, absolutely. But yeah, guns and Yoga, is very quality, really good podcast very well done Some other podcasts. Oh, I love Brene Brown’s podcast, Simon Sinek has a good podcast out there. As I pick up my phone, and I’m scrolling through some different ones here. There are some really good ones out there, Tilted, it’s a lean in production, and it talks about women in the workplace. Mel Robbins. I’m a big fan of Mel Robbins. Jim Kwik is another good podcast that’s out there. It’s entitled, Kwik Brain. So, there’s some yeah, there’s some really, really good ones out there.


Audience Question: As a new supervisor, how do you manage staff who compare you to the prior supervisor and resist everything you do as a supervisor? 

Brenda Dietzman: Hmm! This really comes into if you are filling the shoes or coming into the position of somebody who is extremely popular as a supervisor. And there are two sides to that. It can be a really good supervisor who mentors, grows their people, has boundaries, and knows how to have hard conversations. Or it can be, and this is usually where the problem comes in. A supervisor who played favorites, who was not a good supervisor who let everybody get away with everything, who didn’t discipline anyone, didn’t have hard conversations with people. And now, all of a sudden, you’re coming in and you’re setting boundaries for people, you’re setting expectations for people, and that’s really hard. And there are two different answers to that. If you’re coming in and filling the shoes of an incredible leader that really grew their team, just admit upfront. I’m not that person, I’m learning from them. I’m trying to emulate their leadership style, but I am my own person. And this is how we’re going to move forward on this, but I want to continue the momentum that that former leader who is incredible, started within this unit or this organization. If you are coming in behind a really poor supervisor, that’s a tough one, because now, all of a sudden, you’re the jerk. You’re the bad person. We were free to do whatever we before. And it’s not healthy, and you’re going to get a lot of pushback. But I always encourage people to do this in supervision, because a lot of times there’s no rules to what we do, right? There’s policy and procedure absolutely. But a lot of times. We have to make decisions about how we handle situations, especially personality, things like this. Just on the fly. So, I always encourage people to think about this? Am I doing the right thing at the right time, the right way, and for the right reason? And that’s a famous saying out there that was quoted by Bishop. But I add onto that “with the right heart.” Doing the right thing, the right time, the right way, for the right reason and with the right heart. And if you can answer yes to all of those five questions, then you’re doing the right thing, and eventually, people will start to understand that, and the good ones will feel that and follow you.


Audience Question: How do I get others on my management team to be curious? 

Brenda Dietzman: Model it, first of all. Get them to see the advantages of doing that. And you can do this in a in a pretty, you can do this in in kind of interesting ways. So, you know, I was talking to so and so the other day and asked them a question about this problem that we have, or this situation that we have. And this was their idea. And I really like that. I’m going to put my own spin on it, you know, but show people how your job is made easier by being curious. And sometimes it can also be really blatant. It can be, you know, “Let’s start a book club. Let’s read this book. The first quarter of the year, the second quarter of this year.” And “Let’s read four books as a leadership team or group this year.” And I’ve done this. I’ve had other people who’ve in my organization that I used to work with. Do this for me. And in fact, I’m in a group right now. We mee about every other month and just read one chapter, nothing mind blowing, but just having that connection, that interaction, letting people see you do that, and then organizing some structured things to make people more curious? Because people know that they should be reading books on leadership. Absolutely. So, by suggesting this, it’s really hard for them to say no, “We’re not doing that,” because they know they should be doing it. So, doing things a little bit sneaky about saying, “You know, I went out and asked questions like this. I sent out this email. And this is the feedback.” I got back things like that, or being more blatant about it, like setting up book clubs or listening to a podcast a week or something like that and having a discussion about it would be a good idea your good way to start that.



Click Here to Watch a Recording of The Art of Curious Leadership


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