DiscoverTED Radio HourDisruptive Leadership

Disruptive Leadership

Update: 2017-06-0217
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In this hour, TED speakers talk about what it takes to become a leader and shake up the status quo. TED speakers include Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, General Stanley McChrystal, educator Bunker Roy, entrepreneur and writer Seth Godin, and leadership advocate Drew Dudley. (Original broadcast date: January 17, 2014)

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support for this podcast and the following message come from slack where work happens all over the world no more losing time context switching more than nine hundred apps seamlessly integrate with slack so that's less time jumping between tools and more time getting things done more at slack dot com Hey it's guy here just a quick note to tell you are back with a brand new episode very very soon but in the meantime take a listen to this one from archives it's called disruptive leadership and it's all about what it takes to become a leader and shake up the status quo and you hear from some incredible people including Sheryl Sandberg General Stanley McChrystal and Seth Godin This is the Head Radio Hour each week groundbreaking Ted talks the Technology Design at Stanford and Ted conferences gift of the human to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR guy rise and on the show today ideas about leadership disrupt ers the change agents the mistakes they made and the lessons they learned which brings us to the volcano a lie to ya her in Iceland ball with an unforgettable name I apply a year of all I have fat le I pronouncing that correctly the name for six days in April two thousand ten volcano as ash cloud grounded all air travel in Europe millions of people stuck on the ground including General Stanley McChrystal the top military commander in Afghanistan and his staff they were in Paris it was journalist Michael Hastings he was writing a profile of McChrystal and his Michael Hastings told NPR back then he was only supposed to be there in Paris with the general for two days but then the volcano in Iceland exploded I ended up basically chatted with them I said going back to Washington by written a plan I followed them to Berlin and then later to call so a few days turned into a month with general Kristol and his staff and during that month the group which was already tight knit probably add a little too comfortable around Hastings who later published a profile in Rolling Stone McChrystal was in Afghanistan at the time he'd emerge suddenly night we knew the guy was working on the story but it was complete surprise when it came out the tone of it I thought it would be completely positive but it wasn't um basically said that we were pushing the war in a direction that that maybe wasn't right and then it alleged discussions in my team about different people in US leadership positions in a way that you know those kinds of comments should not be make the world while Gemma crypto prepared speech to give that he's going to get unfair general McChrystal's the question about the Vice President Biden has won at that moment in the making jokes about the event by the end it was really the least of it Hastings article published in the headline The runaway General included a lot of quotes we can't repeat on the radio it was an embarrassment to the White House and made it look like the president was not the same page with them and commanding his war and so Stan McChrystal's had a choice he could fight the story or not today I accepted General Stanley McChrystal's resignation as commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan I did so with considerable regret in some ways was it was the only leadership decision of the best leadership decision you could have taken was to do what you did to leave I think it was of course I'll never know for sure I would have liked it if the president said Okay I gotta go back out continue to serve but he didn't so you know sometimes curveballs don't curve and you just move on the the the the How long does it take you to recover from that let you know when I'm completely covered the the the in some ways what happened to stand crystal is because of the way he led because for him leadership is about connection and a shared sense of mission and so that team around them while they were candid with each other and the crystal was candid with them it was like a band of brothers and one crystal spoke on the Ted stage about a year after all this happen by the way he explained that he learned this kind of leadership from watching the leaders who came before him I was raised with traditional stories of leadership Robert E Lee John Buford get a spark and I also was raised with personal examples of leadership this was my father in Vietnam and I was raised to believe that soldiers were strong and wise and brave and faithful they didn't lie cheat steal or abandon their comrades and I still believe are like that but in my first twenty five years of career I had a bunch of different experiences by one of my first tank commanders I worked in his bedtime for eighteen months the only conversation he ever had with the intent of the crust was at mile eighteen of twenty five mile road march any chewed my ass for about forty seconds and I'm not sure that was real interaction but then a couple years later when I was a company commander went out to the National Training Center we did an operation and my company's did a dawn attack you know the classic dawn attack you prepare all night moved to LA to departure I had an armored organization that point we move forward and we get wiped out I mean wiped out immediately the enemy didn't break a sweat doing it and after the battle they bring this mobile theater and they do what they call an after action review to teach you what you've done wrong sort of leadership by humiliation they put a big screen up and they take you through everything and then you didn't do this and you to do this et-cetera I walked out feeling this low is a snake's belly in a wagon ride and I saw my tank commander because I had let him down and I went up to apologize to many sets Tammy I thought you did great and in once sentence he lifted me put me back on my feet taught me that leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a factor in that moment when he sensed he either could put the knife in and really twisted that he did the exact opposite and just that gesture on his part was incredibly binding I be bound in for a test like that moment really changed him and you do you live by His example as a leader we try to everyday and of course the thing about leadership is you fail everyday you know when you start your career as a leader one of the first things you want to do is be demanding one have high standards and you would be very demanding to say that things are black or they are white if you are not on the right side of that and then you failed but you can't forget you're working with people and long term if you really trying to get the most and people to build people up not tear him down and I think that something that I learned about not just myself but other people that you're really trying to get inside someone's heart and soul and bind them to what it is you together trying to accomplish did you ever look sort of line dancing am I doing this I do this right now I'm making right decisions every day I'm sure there are leaders who see this perfect vision and they guide their organization in that direction but that was in um I was most bolster most reinforced by the understanding that where we were the status quo was failing and because it was failing I knew we had to change but then instead of trying to provide an exact path ahead from the wisdom of the great commander what I did was I tried inform engage to come and say we have to move we have to move in this general direction help me figure it out and that work very well because as people did that we refined the direction we were going and constantly shifted and it made more people the agents of change The The The The The The The you probably think that the force that I lead was all steely eyed commandos with big knuckle fist her next exotic weapons in reality much of the force I let looked exactly like you it was men women young old not just for military from different organizations many of them detail to us just a handshake and so instead of giving orders you're now building consensus in your building a sense of shared purpose probably the biggest change was understanding that the generational difference the ages have changed so much I went down to two of the With a Ranger platoon an operation in Afghanistan and on that operation a sergeant in the platoon had lost about half his arm throwing a Taliban hand grenade back at the enemy after it landed in his fire team we talked about the operation the minute the end I did what I often do with the force like that I ask Where were you and one young the back his hair stuff sold in his face is red from being in combat in the cold Afghan when he says so I was in the sixth grade and it reminded me that we're operating a force that must have shared purpose shared consciousness and yet he has different experiences many cases a different vocabulary a completely different skill set in terms of digital media that I do and many of the other senior leaders and yet we need to have that shared sense we were in a difficult operation in Afghanistan in two thousand seven and no friend of mine but I had spent many years various points in my career with Godfather to one of their kids he sent me a note just to name a nominee that had a quote from Sherman to grant that said I knew if I ever got in a tight spot that you would come if alive and having that kind of relationship for me turned out to be critical of many points in my career and I learned that you have to give that in this environment because it's tough I came to believe that a leader isn't good because they're right they're good because they're willing to learn and to trust this isn't easy stuff and it isn't always fair you get knocked down and it hurts but if you're a leader the people you've counted on to help yeah and if you're a leader the people who count on you may join your feet thank you I did what happened to you with with that article and the resignation had to change change is a leader one of the things that has done is it's it's helped me look at everybody in a slightly different light I look at everyone who's had a significant failure a significant tragedy or significant stressful event with are more understanding that I did before and more I want to say generosity but empathy idioms like you're saying you can have to go through that the tym to become a leader I think it certainly makes you better anyone who's gone through and never been scuffed up I think is going to be less of a leader the former General Stan McChrystal's his memoir is called my share of the task you can find his talk at Ted NPR dot org guy rise more destructive leadership in a moment the radio from NPR the the the O Hey Everyone Just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who helped make this podcast possible and verse to hobble contacts if you've overpaid for your contact lenses over worn them to save money contacts are for you and affordable and convenient solution couple contacts and quality the lenses directly to you so they can offer them a low price go to H U B B L U context that com and sign up and enjoy your first two weeks of lenses in for free the couple contacts and thanks also to Capital One leaves good credit score can keep your mind at peace you work hard and making smart financial decisions at every point keep your credits wrong with the otherwise absent from Capital One credit wise you can view your trans Union credit score and get alerts each time your credit is pulled and when your credit report changes in credit wise is free for everyone whether your Capital One customers or not so download the free credit lies at today to find the state credit unlike the it's the Ted Radio Hour from NPR and Guy rise and on Today show ideas about leadership leaders and instructors were you ever called Macie has slid my whole self that I was called bossy I was in all this child by organized the play of other kids my brother and sister made a joke in my wedding that I didn't really play as a child I just organized other children the the dish is Sheryl Sandberg has come a long way from showing up for executive leadership skills on the playground she is of course the CEO at Facebook and the founder of leaning Tower which is also the name of her book lean In which became an instant bestseller it's about women and the role that they should play in the workforce now Shell Sandberg me epitomized the leader right the quality wasn't exactly encouraged when she was a kid growing up I was told to put my hand to let boys care first that boys should lead and such is my Taos N M forty four years old it's happening today we now by middle school that boys are more interested in girls and leadership roles in the ass girls why a lot of the reasons come down to the call posse it's funny as I've gone around talking about lean in my truck I liked ask audience's questions I ask people please raise your hand as a boy you are ever called posse no hands go up if your girl or woman please raise your hand has a girl your ka pa see all the hymns to say when men lead they are acting in accordance with our stereotypical views of then we're fine we're comfortable we applaud it when girls lead on a playground a cop posse when women lead at the workplace they are called to a classic now the nice thing about this is if we acknowledge it we can change it to show Sandberg spent trying to open up a conversation about women and leadership the problem sand the solutions here's how she opened her Ted talk women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world the numbers tell the story quite clearly of all the people in parliament in the world thirteen percent are women in the corporate sector women at the top C level jobs board seats topped out at fifteen sixteen percent even in the nonprofit world a world we sometimes think that is being led by more women women at the top twenty percent I talk about this about keeping women in the workforce because I really think that's the answer in the high income part of our workforce in the people who end up at the top Fortune five hundred CEO jobs or the equivalent in other industries the problem that I am convinced that women are trapping house now people talk about this alot and they talk about things like flex time in mentoring programs company should have to train women I want to talk about none of that today even though that's all really important today I want to focus on what we can do as individuals one of the messages we need to tell ourselves what are the messages we tell the women that work with and for us one of the messages we tell our daughters the the the the attack in two thousand ten of us had a bunch of statistics right like thirteen percent are women parliamentarians we talked about corporate boards et-cetera How much of this has changed since you gave that talkin two thousand and ten for the most part the data is flat there are few more heads of state but it's still a tiny percentage at the numbers in corporate America are particularly flat so we don't see real growth and what's interesting is how we react to this hour in the last congressional election women talks twenty percent of the Senate seats all the headlines were even taking over the Senate women taking over the Senate I felt like calling out ever hate twenty percent is not a takeover particularly for fifty percent the population does not take over the the deep do you think of yourself as a as a disruptive person as a disruptive leader we think this goes for the fame of why she's right you say that to say is no time but knowing when we have to be leaders in our success and so I need to say yes I am trying to disrupt the status quo and I'm clear on the status quo which is complete stagnation for women achieving leadership roles is not good enough I think our companies would be better off I think our world would be better off if there are more female leaders and so I do want to disrupt that status quo for sure then you said that Blake when you're a kid everyone was trying to put your hand down and stop being bossy how did you become a leader I think one of the things I was really important in my career is I heard a speech on this really early when I was in college and into the speech I'm feeling like a fraud and I thought was the best speech I ever hurt and the woman who gave the speech talked about how men feel this way less than women and so from a very young age going into the workforce I am still confident I understood that I was sitting next to a man who probably felt more confident than I did and I needed to over cracked women systematically underestimate their own abilities many attribute their success to themselves and women attributed to other external factors if U S men why they did their job they'll say I'm awesome if you ask the obvious way why are you even asking if U S women why they did a good job but they'll say as someone help them they got lucky they worked really hard what does this matter boy it matters a lot because no one gets to the corner office by city on the side not of the table and no one gets the promotion they don't think they deserve their success or date don't even understand her and success in Daffy advice and giving when I'm not trying to tell us to change how we feel because we often can't I tell women sit at the table asked a question raise your hand and said My message to women is you don't have to feel like you one hundred percent can do just try doing it anyway and so many times to prove yourself right the I think there's a really deep irony to the fact that actions women are taking and I see this all the time with the objective of staying in the workforce actually lead to their eventually leaving here's what happens we're all busy everyone's busy a woman's busy and she starts thinking about having a child and from the moment she starts thinking about having a child she starts thinking about making room for that child how my get fit this into everything else I'm doing and literally from that moment she doesn't raise her hand anymore she doesn't look for permission she doesn't take on new projects she doesn't say me I want to do that she starts leaning back I think as a society we put more pressure on her boys to succeed can we do honor for us I know men that stay home and work in the home to support lives of three years and it's hard when I go to Me Stephanie C The father there I noticed that the other mommies don't play with him the problem because we have to make it as important a job because it's the hardest shot in the world to work inside the home for people of both genders even think abt the day in the workforce so that Mommy anything like I have so been there sitting in the corner like by myself with my son and even the moms like seeing the behind of this paradigm is idea that men leave and that that that's their natural role you're making two hugely important points one is that the stereotypes are holding them back as much as women so just as we don't expect women to be assertive in the workplace and we punish them for being if we don't expect men to be nurtures with homes and families and the date on this a super clear and any income level regardless of how active a mother as kids with more active involved fathers have better outcomes they do better educationally emotionally professionally so these stereotypes are holding men back from doing what's best for their own families the other really important point you're making is that gender bias is felt and experienced by men and women so often people think it's not bias because when a woman is disliked to work to say women don't like are also so can't be bias exactly from the stereotypes are held by men and women both men and women think girls are bossy both men and women think green or too aggressive the work said just because women feel it does not mean it's not gender biased and understand all of us and all this means me too I'm sure I do this stuff all the time still all of us are part of this problem is how we change it ever since I heard you talk about this idea of Boss ear I have banned if this were to how my kids can't call her and have two boys can call the girl's body which seems to me like a small step yes yes yes yes yes again what's something that anybody could do like now to change this so like in ten or fifteen or twenty years it isn't the case that you know we're celebrating his twenty percent of the Senate made up of women but that it's fifty percent we can understand how we discourage girls and women from eating and start encouraging them we can do that in little ways and small ways it starts with not calling your daughter Macie and then in the workplace about saying that Mormons not too aggressive the woman is leading results in a sea that all of us is we can do it today you know you made that change in your home the Mets had this happen we chose and she's the CEO of Facebook and founder of the men dot org you can see her full tock and a Q A session she did its head women by visiting the NPR dot org The The The The so bunker Roy has been cultivating leaders for decades he's a social activist from India and he says you can find amazing leaders women leaders in the most remote corners of the world and so what he does as he goes to these villages in Africa and Central American Middle East and the first to help train women to become change agents he invites them to leave their villages for six months and travel thousands of miles away in the the in the middle of the desert in Rogers thousand five hundred miles southwest of Denver sometimes it doesn't rain for five years and it stared in this tiny village in India where bunker Roy found a place he calls the barefoot College the the the the the uh the the now the women you hearing and most them can either read or write but they are learning how to become engineers and had a light up their villages back home using solar energy I mean these women from around the world are flown to the middle of the guests know where would be the easiest way to describe it and must be so disorienting for help may arrive for the first month it is disorienting to miss their family them it's the land and my biggest fears of the mobile bills this is what they might bring it to gradually adjust the the the German people say Why didn't you send people to Africa instead of being from Africa to India I said she has to come out of the environment just to come out in the situation issues challenged so we actually create an environment where people can find something good in themselves as they never taught that had and then go back to the community to come from and show what they've learned that is holy does a bone here spunk Arroyo talking about barefoot College on the Ted stage was the only college in India if you should have a fish era más to disqualify I was the only part of me don't give a certificate you US certified by the community you so you don't need a paper on the water show that you are a Ninja one lesson we learnt in India lost many I'm chain of men are restless and ambitious and all was said to lie because they want to leave the village and go to city looking for a job so he came up with a great solution train grand bus when you say I guess we should clarify cuz when you say grandmother were thinking of like a white haired old lady many serve women in their mid thirties early forties who are grandmothers simply because they had their first child and they were maybe twelve or thirteen or fourteen right grandmother is I think the idea of change agents in any traditional society community that you want to change their consider that there should be sitting in the house looking up the gadget in cooking food and maybe occasionally going to the fees they also respected natural born leaders and then the Palmetto goes into the event is selective rather than Gambia Gaza has been good so I got a politician by the news had not possible lineup the woman look how beautiful she is a view to what happens if u dun love with an Indian man of his biggest Shiite city she's happy she bring up an immobile she went like a grandmother came back tonight I walked out of the day and spoke to the whole press as if she was a veteran she handed the national press and she was a stop and no going back six months it is a busy husband also made it into the success story the mean she needs all these women need they need people to follow them right I mean they can be leaders and less and less people are willing to follow them and had me do that or they find those people but she is already proved that she has this kid was no
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Disruptive Leadership

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