Hi, and a warm welcome to The Human Side of Business Podcast. I’m your host Ange MacCabe. I am pleased to introduce you to Ryan Benn, CEO and Group Publisher at
Alive Publishing Group Inc.
In this episode, Ryan dives into the strategies behind establishing effective workplace relationships and how that translates to scaling business.
Building Effective Teams
Ryan Benn: So then it's a way that makes sense for me because I think many of us would default to going out and being like, I'm going to hire the best person for that job. And then you go separately, two months later, I'm going to hire the best person for that job. I'm going to hire the best IT manager. I'm going to hire the best HR manager. I'm going to hire the best accountant that you can find. Kind of logical. It's kind of how the process is built. It's expected, right? You end up with the best in everything, and you go, none of these people want to work together. None of them are collaborative. They all have different interests. And this whole thing is breaking down.
Ange MacCabe: What drives me crazy is when people in positions of power talk about their employees, like their family, to create that psychological contract, but they don't treat them like family. Right. What you're subscribing to, or what I'm hearing from you, is that you have a community, and it feels family-orientated. Like there is authenticity in what you're saying, Ryan, which is absolutely amazing, the other piece that comes up for me is often, team members come into the workplace that they're not going to be like, I'm going to do a shit job for Ryan today. They're going to be like, I want to do the best job ever, and I don't know how to do it. So I'm going to stress myself out until I get there. As leaders, the onus is on us to be able to help mentor, not manage the work-life integration pieces. And so that when you really know your people and what motivates them. For some people, they really do need that black and white.
Work is work. Personal is personal, and I need that divide, or I can't shut off, and it stresses me out. If that's their persona, then it's leaning into them to help mentor so that it fits from a culture or company perspective.
Not Subscribing to Old School Leadership Styles
Ryan Benn: When you're aware of your blind spots and accept them or work to change them. It really helps because these are such buzzwords when I say things like transparency and authenticity. But I really believe in them from a leadership perspective. I think it's the modern world; I don't think leaders should be viewed as infallible and more knowledgeable than everybody else. I think it's such an old-school approach to leadership.
Relentlessly Self Aware
Ange MacCabe: Stepping back a little bit. You had identified early on that you were able to really go inward and identify your strengths and areas of growth, and therefore, you were able to hire for your weaknesses, and you were vulnerable about the same. That takes a bit of self-reflection and cause and effect. Ryan in the sense of being able to do this in a two-pronged step. So, one, what's going on with me internally? And then two, how do I communicate that and exhibit that to my team members so that there's actual validity behind what I'm saying versus discredit? What was your approach to that? How did you go about it?
Ryan Benn: Yeah. Super interesting. It's not easy, and for me, it probably came easier. I don't know why, nature vs. nurture, I'm not sure. But for certain, I think the skill is, I would say, relentlessly self-aware.
I like to be able to think that I can walk out of here and say, listen, you might not like it, I might not like it, but I'm this, then I can at least say, well, I want to change that, or I don't want to change that, but at least knowing that it's actually there. I think blind spots in leadership are one of the hardest things, which is not being able to step back and say, how are others viewing me?
You Can't Fake Experience
Ryan Benn: From a leadership perspective. One of the things I've realized is that in one of my coin lines, you can't fake experience. So when I was first jumping into the role, I could have energy, I could have vitality, I could have leadership skills, but I'd never been through a recession, I'd never led change, I never acquired a company, I'd never done any of these things. So first acknowledging that was a big point of personal growth for me was accepting the fact that I didn't bring that experience. How was I going to surround myself and gain that experience with having peers and leadership around me and, at the same time, just being comfortable with the fact that I could ask questions and say, I've never done this before?
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