Becoming a Leader Worth Following – Part 2

Abraham Gin discusses the 5 circles of influence


Meghan: Welcome back everyone to another HMC Healthworks podcast. I’m Meghan Steckowski joining us again is Abraham Gin. Thanks so much for joining us again.

Abraham: Hey Meghan, so glad to be here.

Meghan: Well, last time we spoke about our larger topic, becoming a leader worth following and you how you really must know yourself to lead yourself. Today, we are going to take that awareness that self-awareness a bit further and discuss deeper levels of influence and I know you are going to share with us a great tool and insight to help us explore this great topic.

Meghan: And to kind of get us started, I want to introduce on thing that you will talk more about is thinking about our actions on a dimmer switch. That switch goes up and down and when it goes up we are being intentional with our actions and when it we go down are actions are accidental. Can you expand on that a little bit for us?

Abraham: Yeah. That dimmer switch, when that switch goes down, we say we are living a life of accidental leadership tendencies. In that you can imagine everything is dark, you are just kind of not able to see your landscape, you’re not able to see the roadmap of where you are going and I would say it is another way to say that you are just going on autopilot. That is kind of crazy. I know that sometimes people do things on Tesla and go on autopilot and you get some you know bad crashes if you just expect that it’s going to pilot on its own without any type of intentionality. People can live their life that way, right? If you live in autopilot and you keep doing the same thing and whatever trajectory you’re going, if it’s going in the wrong direction you’re going to basically crash. Then, as you put that light up, you are being more intentional you’re able to see your landscape your able to have a clear path for the future. You’re starting to see your tendencies and your patterns and be able to lead yourself into different action and be more intentional verses being reactionary or just not responsive to your landscape.

Meghan: Right, so I love how to said, on a dimmer switch as we turn up the light and we can see more clearly. I think that gives provides a nice kind of visual everyone. So, kind of keeping with the same theme right from the last time with self-awareness and being aware of our tendencies and our actions and how that really plays out at home and work. What is the tool you are going to share with us to help us examine how this influences into our lives?

Abraham: It is called the five circles of influence and it’s not like a rocket science tool. None of our leadership tools are like oh my gosh it is so complex and so hard understand. For the sake of simplicity so we can all understand and we can all share and learn from it and really because it is simple we can start to apply it to every area of our lives. But basically, you have two words, intentional and accidental and from there you have almost like a target practice kind of concentric circles that coming and getting bigger, bigger and bigger. And in the inner circle you’ll see self and then you have family, then you have team then organization and community. And really what we find is that there is an arrow that is coming from the self all the way out pointing to the community and what we find is that the intentionality needs to first start with yourself. It starts from the inside out and we really believe that as you think about becoming a leader worth following, that’s the overall theme that we are trying to become right? To become a leader worth following, for that to actual happen then we need to first start with ourself. We have all seen so many leaders in our journey where they are so awesome in the outside but all their inner circles relations with their self and with their family have gone into self-implosion and everything else falls apart and so we believe intentionality first starts with your inner circle so you can have the infrastructure to continue to maintain and sustain the outer circles and for a leader worth following to truly be someone that you want to look up to and become we need to actually be consistent congruent in every circle of our influence.

Meghan: So how do we take that very simple, easy to understand tool you just mentioned and we start with ourselves, right? We’ve got that self-awareness we are working on our tendencies and out consequences, how do we take it out to the next circle?

Abraham: You know, the reason why we say, hey first start with yourself and then it can overflow into the outer circle is I think for us to be intentional and start to take ownership of our lives to even see change if we put the ownness of change on ourselves, guess what? We are going to be able to feel more empowered and more ownership of that change and sometimes it is hard to change other people but we can change ourselves first. In that as you start to make those radical, practical action oriented intentional steps of change, let’s say for example, hey, I’ve learned to not just push people but I’ve learned to pull and listen to hear from people. If I do that for my family members, guess what?  If you can listen and respond to your family members, guess what? You can respond to other people. Sometimes the hardest people to lead can be within your family and some believe that the greatest giants can be slayed not under the world but sometimes need to be slayed by family and if you can do that, guess what? You can take on anything out there.

Meghan: I think that you that really does ring true. You know especially we because we get, I don’t want to say we get accidental with our families but it’s easy too. Especially over the past year, we’ve been inside, we’ve had the same core group of people we’ve been with for the whole past COVID experience and it’s been I would say kind of easy get. We all have our responsibilities and our tendencies and I’m sure for a lot of leaders it’s been easy to get stuck in that and not be rising up to be that intentional.

Abraham: For sure and I’ll give you a frank and transparent conversation here. Last night I had a conversation with my life and she said honey, you’re doing these projects and you’re working on stuff and different things and sometimes you bring it out into the family space and you expect that I know that you are doing something but you are not intentionally communicating that you have to work on it but that you want to be with us at the same time and so I get frustrated when you come out there thinking that it is all game for me talk to you and engage with you but you get frustrated when I talk to you that way. I don’t know what you are doing. And I realized oh my gosh, I had been accidental and had been on autopilot working from home. Bringing it in I wanted to be with family and I wasn’t being intentional and communicating with my wife. So, I imagine if you think about that and how I was accidental in that I have a natural tendency to focus and go into that work mode in a place where I don’t over communicate with those around me. That can work like in a workspace, if I translate that over, that tendency can flow even over to my team. If I’m not intentional, I could be siloed in my projects and I will not be over communicating in my relationship and naturally I expect that I stick my head to the ground and I’m only doing my part that everyone else will understand and do their part but the reality is it doesn’t happen that way, we have to over communicate and imagine all this amplified with the remote scenario that we are living in. That communication and being intentional and over communicating our intentions and the scope of work has to be emphasized in the time that we live in so that is something where I have realized wow, I’ve been accidental to my family where I need to be more intentional communication and I’m like aw.  And that also translates into my team if I’m not careful and so but guess what? As I’m learning to elevate my communication and not silo myself within my family members, guess what? It naturally ripples effect over into the other areas. But for some reason you can be awesome in the outside, over communicative on the outside but it never really trickles into your inner circles. It just doesn’t happen that way. There is this weird phenomenon when we start from the inside it does impact the outside but the outside sometimes doesn’t always translate to the inside.

Meghan: Well, thank you so much for that example. I know it was personal and I really appreciate you sharing it and it was really really easy to relate too. It just really made me think about something we talked about last time we spoke, about how continuously knowing ourselves to lead ourselves makes us have to continuously learn, refocus and come back to all of the different tools we’ve talked about. So as our family grows, we move, as we grow, as people going through life we do have to remember to come back the self-circle, the family circle and how they trickle out. Thanks for that reminder.

Abraham: I want to say I think sometimes some people are very compartmentalized and we say hey how I am within my team at work and organization is very different from my family and myself. My selfcare and my family, it’s different. But they’re like, no. Actually, we’ve known people who have you know, they have not led themselves. They’ve gone into some areas of some unhealthy habits. They maybe have health concerns because they just continue to not lead themselves. Maybe their family falls apart. Guess what? All those things impact what? Your work and it affects the way that you do your work and the quality of your work. And so, we say hey, if you want to be a leader worth following you have to be intentional all the way from the inside out and it’s hard. It’s a journey, right? When you try be intentional in certain circles of your influence guess what? Other areas become a little more accidental and so we always need to calibrate and so we it is a great tool to look at your current landscape and say hey what am I doing? Am I more accidental here? Am I more intentional here? Which circle do I need to be more intentional in at this moment so I can take it to the next level? We are not going to be always able to fully perfectly manage intentional in our life but there are certain seasons when we are able to say you know what we need to focus here and that’s where hopefully you won’t go on autopilot in the area that you really need to focus on so you will be able to be intentional.

Meghan: I love that. I mean striving to be perfectly set in each circle is really unattainable would be a full time job, right? To be 100 percent intentional in every area so yeah kind of calibrating where your focus needs to be at that moment in your life is I think a good way to go about it. Before we wrap up do have an example for us for what it would look like to be intentional in the outer circle say organization or team and less intentional in our inner circles.

Abraham: Yeah, when we work with executives leaders we often find that they may be awesome in the community. They are giving money to the community, they are volunteering, they have this awesome speak. They might be doing thing that are really to develop the community. However, maybe within their organization and team they can be totally dominating. They could be jerks.  They could be driving for performance, really pushing it and they are seeing a lot of collateral damage of people being burnt out and disengaged and so what we find is that there huge disharmony in regards to how you function and be intentional in being a liberating presence in the community or a leader worth following but in the organization you are being accidental, right? So, it is just so important as leaders, that we need to start to audit to see where are our tendencies? Where are we really focused on naturally and where are we not? And the areas we are accidental we need to then calibrate to start to make the right adjustments so we can be a leader worth following in every circle of our influence.

Meghan: Well, thank you again so much for your time. Just like last time, you have given me a lot to think about and I appreciate your insight and will look forward to talking to you soon.

Abraham: Thank Meghan, it was a pleasure.

Meghan: Thanks everyone and stay tuned for more HMC HealthWorks podcasts.