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45 | Leadership is Art because of Vision

Part of being a leader, and this is one of the things that I believe is so different between a manager and a leader, is that a leader has to have the ability to see the vision, the vision for the organization, the vision for the team, and if they can't, it affects their ability to lead, so not only do you have to be able to know and understand the vision, you have to be able to understand it at a level that you can align with it and know at your core if you believe that you can align with it. 




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The Transcript

Hello and thank you for joining me for The heART of It, the place where we talk people and possibilities. My name is Samm Smeltzer, and I am so excited to be your host for this lovely podcast, and this week, if you don't know, you should know that we are basically sharing with you the five reasons why leadership is an art, and this is all happening in conjunction with Leadership Arts Associates getting ready to make some pretty incredible announcements about the future of Leadership Arts Associates happening today at 10am on Facebook Live, so you want to make sure that you have liked our Facebook page at facebook.com/leadershipisart, and at 10am we'll be going live, and even if you can't make the live announcement, you will then have the video readily available in your News Feed.

We have already gone through reasons one through four this week, and just a little bit of a recap, reason number one is you. You are the artist. As a leader, you're a leadership artist having to know you and who you are and the legacy that you want to leave behind, and then masterfully mastering the skillset of leadership is truly an art. Reason number two is them, so what we value about who we lead is that they're people not widgets, which means they have individuality and the beauty that that brings to our organization and also brings some challenges, and that is where the art gets involved. 

Reason number three is the lines, so talking about the political, organizational lines and boundaries for yourself and for your team, all necessary to know if you're going to create an effective people strategy to create that organizational masterpiece, and then yesterday, I shared with you the realistic, very real trend that is happening right now that I still believe is a huge root cause to most miscommunication in the workplace is assumptions versus expectations, because reason number four is expectations, which establishing expectations, setting expectations, and holding people accountable to them is truly an art, and so yesterday, we explored the concept of what we assume versus what we expect and that basically, long story short, we assume way too much, and now today I'm here to close it all out with reason number five, which is vision.

Part of being a leader, and this is one of the things that I believe is so different between a manager and a leader, is that a leader has to have the ability to see the vision, the vision for the organization, the vision for the team, and if they can't, it affects their ability to lead, so not only do you have to be able to know and understand the vision, you have to be able to understand it at a level that you can align with it and know at your core if you believe that you can align with it. 

All of the other reasons one through four kind of feed into this, knowing who you are, knowing who they are, knowing the lines and the boundaries that are set, knowing what are expectations and the culture's ability to hold accountable to those expectations or if they're just embracing assumptions, that all rolls into them when you are delivered the vision, not only the vision that they are articulating, but the one that you're truly seeing at the end of this path if you can get onboard with, because really when we're talking about leadership, it's your ability to influence and impact the others around you to get them onboard and align with that vision and making that happen. That's why you get to know your people and connect with your people. That's why you get to know and connect with yourself. That's why you set expectations in the first place, and that is why you would even have any interest in navigating the lines of people's boundaries, your boundaries, and of the organization. The reason why we strategize and put all that together is to obtain this vision, and you want to make sure that the vision that you're going after aligns with the vision for yourself.

On Leadership Arts Associates, all the work that we have been doing and this announcement that we're doing at 10am, is all about us getting crystal clear on our vision and who we are. We've kind of gone through these cycles, and I know I have personally, of trying to figure out who I am as a leader, who they are, who are the clients, the people that I am serving, the people that I'm leading, what are the lines. Politically, I assumed when you started your own organization that you didn't have to deal with that anymore, and that's not true. You deal with it in the community. You deal with it in the other organizations that I'm working with, the people that I partner with, the employees, the new hires, the applicants, all that kind of stuff, there's lines everywhere that you have to become aware of and navigate, clients, customers, non-customers, prospective customers, all of that is all things that are taken into account.

Then assumptions versus expectations, man, did I have a rude awakening with that, and that's why I said even I am guilty of it, the assumptions that I made when I started hiring people about what I needed to provide versus not as a small business, and I'm sure that that struggle is not different than anyone else. I guess I assumed that I would have a little bit of an easier time with an HR background, but instead, it just reinforced that at the core, you have to have policies and procedures and some sort of structure there, and that's why I'm so grateful for our associate Gina Nobile, who has a specialty in process and performance improvement, but her routinely asking for structure pushed me down that avenue, which is what we should have had all along, and I feel ... I'm a little bit saddened at the fact that people had to function with that lack of structure, which I think is something that has to happen for every small business, but I feel bad that I wasn't giving people what they needed to truly thrive in this organization. That's because I just didn't know any better. 

Talk about an entrepreneurial lesson that I had to go through, and I've had to go through several of them. I never dreamed about owning my own business. It was daunting and terrifying at the idea of starting it, and then on top of that, hiring people and bringing other people involved into it as well, and so I did get a reality check on things that I assumed versus expect and how to establish expectations and how do I do that, and we're still trying to build those processes in place and knowing that to achieve my vision, I have to have that in place.

This entire journey I've been going through for the last three years has been necessary for me to get here so I can articulate the true vision of Leadership Arts Associates, what we want it to be versus not getting over the hump of what I believed I had to be doing to be successful versus what I feel called to do or what our organization truly, the purpose that we serve and just owning it, knowing that that is our niche and that is our specialty, and that's why leadership is an art for those reasons. Really being able to articulate it is going through each of those journeys or paths, mastering them is what makes leadership truly an art. Yes, there's some creative outlets to achieve those things, but really, it's the outcomes that make it an art, that makes you an artist. Being able to lead, inspire, and impact people, influence people, does not happen without some hard work, without mastering a skillset, without having a style to yourself, without being able to express yourself in a way that is aligned with all these pieces.

Those are the five reasons that I wanted to share with you how leadership is an art, and this is just the preview and also a little bit of the back story to tell you what's coming at 10am and what we will be sharing, and I am so excited to just share with you what the future of Leadership Arts Associates, so I hope that you will join me live, and if not, that you'll at least cycle back through and watch it. I'm sure I'll probably end up downloading the video and adding it to our YouTube channel so that you can check it out there as well, so thanks again for listening to The heART of It, the place where we talk people and possibilities.

Next week, we're going to get into our regularly scheduled broadcasted series episodes. We'll be going back to once a week. My goal is to keep them to about 15, 20 minutes. We'll see if I'm good at that goal, and next week, we're going to try a new kind of type of specialty show. It is called Questions From the People, so we're talking people and possibilities, and I pride myself on being a people watcher. I like to observe behavior. I also like to be very aware of my surroundings, and in doing so, I get to hear some really interesting questions that people are asking each other, and so next week, I'm going to kick it off with a question, and it has to deal with relationships. Our relationships episodes seem to do really well. People ... Think every one of us is struggling with trying to have better relationships, whether they're romantically or not, but it has to deal with relationships. The question came from an observer at the zoo looking at a lion exhibit, so if that intrigues you to join us next week.

Our episodes are going to be debuting every week on Tuesdays at 3pm, so that's the new time that you can expect all these episodes to launch, so if you're watching them from a subscription standpoint, and I'm so thankful to all of our loyal listeners who are always all over those episodes as soon as they hit on iTunes and Stitcher, but yes, so next week, we'll be kicking off our first episode of Questions From the People, and then we'll be kicking into our, getting into our normal shindig of The heART of It, where you will have goodness, and this will be the place to be to talk about people and possibilities, but until next week, I'm Samm Smeltzer, and thanks for listening. Bye.  

44 | Leadership is Art because of Expectations

There is nothing out there that people just know unless you have some sort of certification and governing licensing body that's providing that information. If it's not taught in orientation, if it's not established by the organization, you can't just assume that people know. Reason number four is very real and alive. It's something that we're all dealing with every day.




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The Transcript

Hello and welcome to The Heart of It, the place where we talk people and possibilities. My name is Samm Smeltzer and I am your host for this fun, loving podcast. This week, we are sharing the five reasons why leadership is an art as we celebrate and count down to an incredible live Facebook announcement from Leadership Arts Associates happening on Friday at 10:00 am, Facebook Live. Make sure if you haven't already that you like our Facebook page www.facebook.com/leadershipisart. It's going to be awesome, it's going to be epic, it's going to be Friday at 10:00 am. 

Happy Thursday. The weekend is one day closer. The announcement is one day closer and we are sharing reason number four. Just a little bit of a recap that reason number one was you. You as the artist, you as the leader are the number one reason for why leadership is an art. Reason number two was them, the individuals that we lead. We lead people, not widgets, and that individuality sometimes creates some challenges for us as leaders. 

Reason number three was the lines. Getting to know the political organizational lines, boundaries for individuals and ourselves and how do we navigate all of that to have the awesome people strategy to create that organizational masterpiece? Now, we are to reason number four. I have to be honest that I hesitated putting reason number four on this list because it is something that is very relevant. 

I've talked about it for the last three years that we've seen it as the source for a lot of the epidemics impacting the work environments for miscommunication, however it's just not as sexy as the other reasons. It's not as magical or popular or fun to talk about. It's something that doesn't sit too well with a lot of people. I've had clients who have actually gotten confrontational with me over their disagreements in regards to this whole concept of this reason number four.

I guess I should tell you what it is so that you know what I'm talking about. Reason number four is that we assume rather than expect. Assumptions is the reason why leadership is an art. Actually, expectations is the reason why leadership is an art. Really what's happening out in the workplace right now and all of us are guilty, myself included, is that we through our years of experience have come to just assume that people should know certain things. This can lead to the common misconception of common sense. 

This is something that I had a mentor I started in the training industry, Ms. Tracey Aust, illuminate for me that common sense really doesn't exist. Common sense is basically what we assume that most people should know. We quickly turn those assumptions into expectations as leaders or managers and then we become very frustrated when someone doesn't meet those expectations, yet we've never really set those expectations. We have just assumed that they should know what our expectations are. 

That sounds like a complete tongue twister. For example, let's talk about office etiquette. If you have an individual who works in an office by themselves and they routinely close the door, maybe that's for them to concentrate. Maybe in your work environment, you assume that when they close their door, they don't want to be part of the team, that they're doing things that they're not supposed to be doing. They're being unproductive. Those are all assumptions that you have.

Then you reprimand them and tell them to not close their door anymore. There's no real conversation and the person who sits in that office is bewildered by the fact that they got reprimanded because their door was closed when that's really how they concentrate best. There's a lot of things at play, but for this reason, what we're really talking about is the fact that, for the most part, leadership, it is our job to set the expectations and then give people the opportunity to either meet it or not meet it or sometimes even exceed it.

For most of us, there's a lot of things that we just assume. Dress code is another perfect example of what we assume. We assume that people will know that certain attire is not appropriate for the workplace. You're also assuming that they've had an upbringing where somebody told them this somewhere along their life before they get to your workplace. There's one story which is from my personal experience which I think lays this out very nicely. 

It comes from a job, my last one before I had started Leadership Arts Associates where I was in the process of building my relationship with my new supervisor. What she did not know was prior, my job prior to when she hired me, my supervisor never really wanted us to say goodbye at the end of the day. They found it very disruptive. When the work days were over, we would just leave. You wouldn't go out of your way to give a farewell greeting to this individual. 

When I moved into this other organization and I was going through the process of my orientation, I can remember this very clearly that I got up from my workstation and I was getting ready to leave at the end of the day at the time that I'm supposed to leave. I saw my boss's light on. I thought I should go and say goodbye and then I thought, well, no. She has to deal with me all the time. That's probably not the best scenario. She probably is trying to get work done and be productive. 

I know in the past that when I've worked with executives, my experience was that they don't want to be disturbed. I assumed that this would be no different, so I left. Now the next day, I was brought in for a conversation with my boss asking me why I would just take off without saying goodbye. She was very transparent with me and this is the person who taught me that common sense doesn't exist and we make assumptions rather than expectations. 

She said to me that the story she was telling herself was that I was trying to get away with being unproductive or I was trying to get away with doing something or I didn't like her, so all these things that she was telling herself. Kudos to her for being a great leader, for sitting down with me and sharing this with me and allowing me to set the record straight. We both learned something about the story I was telling myself and the story she was telling herself and then setting an expectation so moving forward when the light was on, I always said goodbye. That's just the relationship that we had. 

These happen all the time. In fact, if you're in a work environment right now, I really challenge you to think about what are things that we just assume? Sometimes ... I shouldn't even say sometimes. Most of the times the ones that really should be expectations are the things that we really truly believe are stupid and that people should just know. 

There is nothing out there that people just know unless you have some sort of certification and governing licensing body that's providing that information. If it's not taught in orientation, if it's not established by the organization, you can't just assume that people know. Reason number four is very real and alive. It's something that we're all dealing with every day. 

I'm telling you it's at the root cause of so many frustrations that you probably have as a leader, but it's also one of the hardest hurdles to get over because you don't want to accept what you really have to set expectations for. Expectation setting truly is an art. It's always amazing to me when you do exercises where you have people set expectations and how easy you can just tear them apart by twisting the story or interpreting it from the story that I tell myself, which is our perceptions. 

It's an art to do and to follow up on and help it come alive and hold people accountable to it. Not really a fun reason, but truly is a reason why leadership is an art. That is number four and I am super excited to share with you tomorrow reason number five as we close it out and then I get to leave you so that you can build up anticipation for the 10:00 am live announcement from Leadership Arts Associates. Have a great Thursday and I will talk to you tomorrow. Thanks.

43 | Leadership is Art because of the Lines

If you choose to cross a line, you should make sure that it is a meaningful cross. 


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The Transcript

Hello there, and thank you so much for joining me and The HRart of It, the place where we talk people and possibilities. My name is Samm Smeltzer, and I am so happy to be your host for this podcast, and this week, we're doing a mini-series, so it's one of our episodes broken down into five little mini snippets on five reasons why leadership is an art, and we're doing that because our parent organization, our mommy organization, Leadership Arts Associates, who is responsible for this entire podcast, is getting ready to reveal some big news on Friday, and you don't want to miss out on it, so make sure that you like our Facebook page at facebook.com/leadershipisart, and at 10am this Friday, we're going to be making a big reveal, and you want to be in the know when it happens, so make sure you like the page so that you can attend the Facebook Live announcement, and if you can't make it at 10am, at least you will have it at your fingertips or easily there in your News Feed for when lunchtime hits, and you want to find out what is going on.

We're counting down the five reasons why leadership is an art. Today is Wednesday. Happy Hump Day, right? Is the camel still cool? I don't even know if I could do a good impersonation of the camel, so I won't try, but it is Hump Day, it is Wednesday, and we are on number three, reason number three, so just a little bit of a refresher. Reason number one was you and you as the artist, you as the leadership artist. Reason number two was them, so the people that we're leading, because we're leading people, not widgets, and individuality brings beauty but also brings challenges, and reason number three today is the lines.

One of the artful skills, artful skills that you have to learn as a leader, is how to navigate the lines or know what the lines are, so what am I talking about? Well, number one, I'm talking about the political angle, so in organizations, you have to know kind of how they function, what are the lines that you're functioning within, so that you can identify when you want to cross one and when you feel like it's justified and know how to play that game so that it's balanced and you could have the most impact. On top of the lines of the organization, there's the lines of people, so there are certain lines that will cause you to break relationships very easily, and it's helpful for you to know what those are so that you really know the amount of impact and the boundaries that you're playing in.

That leads very nicely into the final type of line that you would learn about, which are your boundaries, so as a leader, it's really helpful but also healthy that you know what boundaries you have to set for yourself to ensure that you can take care of you, so there's certain things that you're going to do versus not do like what are your priorities? When does when the daycare calls for your sick child do you go versus calling around to find some other caretaker to take them? How do you know when that judgment call is there so that when you leave at the end of the day that you're happy with whatever that call was whether that's you canceled a client, or you rescheduled a client, or you left work early to go pick up your son or daughter, or if you sent somebody else to go pick them up, and you show up at home at your regular time, how are you going to feel? You have to be happy with that. 

Same thing with the lines that you learn within your organization and with your people. If you choose to cross a line, you have to make sure that it ... You should make sure that it is a meaningful cross. I think a lot of leaders don't learn the lines, so they spend a lot of time just casually crossing lines, not even realizing they're doing it, and then it totally impacts their ability when they want to be masterful about it, when they want to go ahead and create that organizational masterpiece, that they can't navigate it because they were not abusing the lines, but they were just negligent and unaware of the lines, so they don't know what relationships they broke down, or they don't know who they rubbed the wrong way, and these lines can be as big as surrounding departments and how they interact with each other to your supervisor and your supervisor's relationship with their supervisor and going up the chain that way. It could be outside vendors and those kinds of resources and the kind of lines. 

When I'm talking about on your team, I could talk about projects that they want to or when you're asking them to stay later, just how you have boundaries for yourself, every healthy individual should have boundaries for themselves as well. Now sometimes those get taken advantage of in the work environment, especially if you're dealing with my livelihood, I'm going to stay if you make me stay, or maybe you're not forcing me to stay, but you highly encourage it, I'm going to stay, because I need the money. I need the money to take care of my family or everything else is null and void, and it takes a lot to hit a limit where I'm going to just walk.

With that being said, how more impactful could you be if you knew what their boundaries were, if you could align with their boundaries? A lot of this is just increasing your own awareness, your personal awareness, about what is happening around you. What are the dynamics that are at play, because it's when we have that awareness that we can really then structure a strategy that makes sense for you and all the players that are involved.

That's reason number three is the lines, which is an art in itself to uncover all those things, and tomorrow on Thursday, we're going to give you reason number four. We are so close, so close, to getting to reason number five and our live Facebook announcement, so make sure you don't miss out. Make sure you like the Facebook page, and I will talk to you tomorrow. See ya.  

42 | Leadership is Art because of Them

Individuality that we all have is exactly what causes us to bring so much value to organizations, but with that incredible value, that incredible beauty of our own individual uniqueness comes this other piece which is the fun fact that it presents a lot of challenges.


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The Transcript

Hello, hello. Thank you so much for listening to the official Leadership Arts podcast, also known as The Heart of It. The place where we talk people and possibilities. I am so happy to be here as your host, my name is Samm Smeltzer and yeah let's get right to it.

This week we are doing a very special series in conjunction with our parent organization which is Leadership Arts Associates as they are getting ready to announce very exciting news on Friday at 10 a.m. via Facebook live, so if you haven't please make sure you go onto Facebook and find our page, Leadership Arts Associates. You can also find it using the URL Facebook.com/leadershipisart and then don't miss it on Friday for the live announcement. If you miss the live announcement it will still be there on the Facebook page so that you can all check it out.

As we are counting down to Friday, this Tuesday we are going through the five reasons why leadership is an art. Yesterday we talked about reason number one, which is you, you being the artist, you being the leader and the steps that you have to go through, that are necessary for you to lead successfully and really thrive in that position. So reason number two is them. One of the beautiful things about leadership is that we don't lead widgets, we lead people. When it comes to people, what really makes them valuable which makes them the greatest asset in our organization is the fact that we're all individuals. Individuality that we all have is exactly what causes us to bring so much value to organizations, but with that incredible value, that incredible beauty of our own individual uniqueness comes this other piece which is the fun fact that it presents a lot of challenges.

You know, as leaders one of our main goals is trying to bring people together, inspire people to work together, to achieve great things that we cannot achieve by ourselves. Yet, when we do that our differences become so loud and what are the commonalities that we try to find to sync us all together become harder to find, and it really becomes an art for us as leaders to figure out those similarities and that common ground to unite us so that our differences become those strengths that they're meant to be, the reason why we're all brought together in the first place, and then we can achieve greatness.

Through this art of trying to discover this common ground, it really comes through trying to have this better understanding, a clearer understanding of each other. When you're looking at the people around you or the people that make up your organization, the people you're leading or the people that you want to inspire and have a difference with, you're trying to get to know them on a whole other level. Similar to the level that you had to know yourself so that you can have this kind of impact. You're learning how every single one of them ticks, and it's when you build those relationships, when you get to that level that you start to really master this leadership skill set at an art level. You get to take it to a whole another playing field and do some incredible, amazing things, and those things that we want to leave in our leadership legacy, they're achieved because we take the time to make the connection.

Not just the connection to the common similarity or vision that brings us all together, but taking the time to make the connection with each individual person that makes up this group that we are leading, because it's with each of them that we're empowered to do great things. That is reason number two as we're moving through one, two, three, four, five. Reason number one is you and reason number two is them. Tomorrow, we will be revealing reason number three, so you know, in the future with The Heart of It we're going to have challenges at the end of every episode. 

My challenge really this week to you is have you listen to the next one and think about how do these speak to you? Does this speak to you as the leader that you are, whether you have a formal title or if you just have a stirring inside to really have an impact in people's lives, you know, that is what Leadership Arts Associates was created for, is for you. That's why leadership is an art, so until tomorrow have a great Tuesday and I'll talk to you soon. Bye.

41 | Leadership is Art because of YOU


Faking it till you make it does not work in Leadership.


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The Transcript 

Hello. You're listening to The HRart of It, the place where we talk people and possibility. My name is Samm Smeltzer, and I am so excited to be your host, and thank you for joining me this week as we kick off the new podcast but also continue to give you the ultimate sneak peek into what is happening at Leadership Arts Associates, and if you remember on Friday, I let you in. This week we're talking about how leadership is an art. Leadership is art, and I'm going to reveal the five reasons why all this week, every day at 8am, new reason dropping. That's right. So exciting! You are pumped, I know it, so I'm not going to hold back anymore. Let's just get into reason number one.

Reason number one why leadership is an art is that you need to know yourself, so talking about you and talking about artists, talking about what you want to create, if you don't know who you are and the legacy that you want to leave behind, you can't lead, or not at least successfully. Now sometimes, this getting to know you does not end in these picture perfect, I want to inspire and motivate the world outcomes. I've had a lot of clients that I've worked with where they think that's where they need to get to, and we have to have a very realistic conversation about that that's not what you want. There's other things that you want more. You care about your people, but you're not looking to be the ultimate influence and impact and motivator and inspiring them. You're looking to do that in other parts of your life, and there's nothing wrong with that, but you have to at least know that about yourself. Otherwise, you're just kind of faking it, and this faking it till you make it does not work in leadership.

Now if you think about artists, and what I think is really cool, is artists are always trying to express themselves through their art, whether it's a performing artist, whether it's a painter, whether it's a sculptor, it's all a sense of expression, and it's those kinds of expression that we need to do for our own personal and professional growth, whether it's through self-reflective cycles, whether it is through self-reflection through abstract discussion, we're doing all that to figure out who we really are. We need to express ourself to get very clear about what we want and what we need to do.
Now this thought is so strong for me, because I've created an entire signature program that's had very high levels of success called The Art of Leadership Ideologies, which is basically an entire process that walks you through getting very crystal clear about why you do what you do every single day as a leader, and why you even want to be a leader, and so basically when you get clear about what your leadership ideology is, we can go back from there and basically fully understand what your attitude is every day and why it is that way and the attitude that generates, not the reactions, generates the actions, then forms your results, but that all comes from being very clear about who you really, and it is truly an art to master and go through the levels of expression that is necessary to learn enough about yourself.

That is reason number one coming at ya. We're keeping it brief this week, because I'm blasting ya, breaking up this five reasons into five mini episodes, so tomorrow, I will be revealing reason number two as to why leadership is an art, and we'll be continuing the countdown and getting closer to this grand reveal with what has been happening at Leadership Arts Associates and what we will be sharing with you on Friday, so until tomorrow morning, have a great day, a great Monday. Happy Monday. Don't you just love Mondays? I know I love Mondays. All right. Thanks for listening to The HRart of It, and I will talk to you tomorrow. See ya!