What Does it Take to Be a “Lovable Leader”?

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Jeff Gibbard

What’s the difference between a boss, and a leader? One has a title. And one has… something else.

Today, we sit down with Jeff Gibbard, a renowned author, strategist, and founder of The Superhero Institute, to discuss what that “something else” is, and the skills and strategies leaders can use to set – and achieve – higher goals for both themselves and their organizations.

Learn more about Jeff here: https://jeffgibbard.com/

There are a lot of management models and theories out there, and they all sound great. The problem is that they can be heavy on theory, which we don’t always know how to implement impractical terms. For example: What can you do concretely on a Tuesday afternoon to work better with your colleagues?

Seeking some tips? Check out our Management 3.0 tools and practices.

Key Points

  • Love as an umbrella term for characteristics a successful leader should embody
  • The role of Happiness in the workplace
  • Developing and strengthening your natural abilities
  • “Sitting at the same side of the table” – an exercise in validation and framework to have more successful difficult conversations


*Please note that the transcript has been automatically generated and proofread for mistakes. But remains in spoken English, and some syntax and grammar mistakes might remain.

Elisa Tuijnder: [00:00:00] What’s the difference between a boss and a leader? One has a title and one has well, something else. Today we sit down with a renowned author, strategist, and coach to discuss what that something else is and the skills and strategies leaders can use to set and achieve higher goals for both themselves and their organizations.

Before we dive in, you are listening to The Happiness At Work podcast by Management 3.0 where we are getting serious about happiness.

I’m your host, Elisa Tuijnder, happiness Enthusiast and Management 3.0 team member. In this podcast, we share insights from industry experts, influencers, and thought leaders about [00:01:00] what it takes to be happy, motivated, and productive at work, so that loving your job becomes the norm and not the exception. We’ll be publishing every fortnight on Friday, so be sure to tune in and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Our guest today is Jeff Gibbard, a strategist, coach, professional speaker, and founder of the Superhero Institute, a certification program for coaches. He also hosts several podcasts including Sharable and Rogue. And his latest book, The Lovable Leader offers a set of practical skills for leaders hoping to inspire their teams, improve their organizations, and potentially change the quote, broken culture of work.

Thank you so much for joining us, Jeff.

Jeff Gibbard: Thank you for having me. Hey,

Elisa Tuijnder: hey, we’ll get into your many projects, which we already been touched [00:02:00] upon just before coming on in just a moment. But we always start with the same question, and that is, what does happiness mean to you?

Jeff Gibbard: I think happiness is a combination of two things.

I think it’s one freedom to pursue what you’re really interested in or what matters to you. So I think freedom, and freedom from the constraints of other people’s expectations or pressures is a really big component of happiness. And then I would say that the other part of happiness for me is a lack of suffering.

I guess it’s like when you’re in the absence of the antithesis of happiness. I think that’s the other thing. So I think, so especially when we talk about work, so much of work is it’s become this meme of hating your job. Thank God it’s Friday. Oh God, it’s Monday. And I think if you’re in a position where you are suffering, either from not having enough of what you need or from being in a position where you don’t feel like you can be fully expressed, there’s gonna be an absence of happiness.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, absolutely. We need to [00:03:00] move away from that. Yes. That meme like situation. Hey, so when people look you up online, and even I can see it on the screen right now, one thing they’ll see right off the bat is the word superhero. And that’s awesome. So where does it come from? When did you start calling yourself superhero and, what does it mean to you?

Why did you start using

Jeff Gibbard: that? Yeah, so there’s a, the at almost on a marketing practical level I’ve found throughout my career. You have to stand out to get noticed. And just evidenced by the fact that we’re gonna talk about my superhero title, it worked, but for the longest time my title was The World’s Most Handsome Social Media and Content Marketing Strategist,

So I’ve always been like a flair for the different, right? But for me, superhero is a very deep and impactful meaning in terms of like how I approach my work. And I’ve been a superhero like fanatic since I was a little kid. I had Superman all over the wall. I was born the year after the first one came out, a year before the second one came out with [00:04:00] Christopher Reeves.

So I’ve been about the superhero life my entire life. And what superhero means to me is to use the powers that you have to try and make the world safer for others to make to use your powers to make the world a better place. And I think all of us have the capacity to do that. I choose to lean into that aspect of myself and to try and look for what are the different skills and abilities that I have, and how can I use those skills and abilities to make the world kinder, safer and more equitable?

That’s the mission that I’m on, and I always, anytime I’m asked about this, I always have to credit my wife because after the last phase of my career where I was very heavily involved in social media and marketing, I, I left that industry and I was trying to figure out who I wanted to be, and my wife was the one who actually said, oh, you should do something with superheroes.

And I was like, listen, what? I’m go, I’m in business. Like people don’t want to talk about superheroes. They wanna talk about, top line revenue and they want to talk about managing expenses and liability and risk. Superheroes, it’s not gonna work. I wanna [00:05:00] actually talk to a lot of speakers and authors that are friends of.

thing that kept coming up time and time again was about superpowers and being superhuman and Yeah. Being a superhero and it just, it resonates because it’s very authentic to the core of who I am. Yeah.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. And I think, sometimes not taking ourselves too serious actually really helps.

We might be talking about very serious subjects, but yeah. Giving that a bit of a spin, my title officially when the company’s conference guru and it doesn’t really, it’s fun. Hey, so you talked about what do these superhero people need, or what do these, what are these super natural abilities that these kind of leaders and people around us now need in these times of, turmoil and problems?

So what kind of challenges do you think are people experiencing and what kind of tools do they need to overcome

Jeff Gibbard: them? Yeah, so the way that I think of it is that everyone has a superpower, at least one and general. We have multiple superpowers. And back to your question about what does happiness mean?

I think it’s the [00:06:00] freedom to pursue the things that you’re good at and apply the talents and things that you, that kind of come naturally to you. So a lot of things that I do really well they seem like magic to other people, but to me they’re just very common and very easy things to do. And I think that everybody has something like that.

When I was in my mba, there were people who could do accounting and I was like, what wizardry is this that you are doing? So everyone has superpowers, things that they’re naturally gifted at, and I think when you have the ability to recognize that that’s superpowered. And when you have the ability to continually add and grow and level up and add to your potential, you become superhuman.

And then when you apply your superhuman abilities to making the world a better place, that is when you get to call yourself a superhero. Or at least I would say when other people would call you a superhero. So what we need now, in my opinion, I think what we need more is people who are nurturing their superpower for empathy and kindness.

I think the more of that we see and the more we’re gonna change so many facets of the world.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. And [00:07:00] we at Management 3.0, very much see it out as the skill to have as a leader, as a good leader. And that kind of brings me bringing to my next point, which is you just wrote a book called The Lovable Leader, which I love.

And let’s start with the title and then let’s unpack that, that empathy and then things that we just talked about a little bit further. Like you don’t often hear leaders portrayed as lovable or, those are not kind of synonyms that you would put together or words that you would put together there, but, so we’ll let you to use that, that adjective.

Jeff Gibbard: So there’s so many different converging factors that brought that on the very first of which is that it just came to me, the alliteration and the genesis of the conversation of the book. It was natural to say level glee because the way the book came about was I was talking with my wife who was new in a position of managing and I just mentioned that what she had going for her being a new manager was that even though she had never been trained in the art of management, she had never been trained in leadership. She was just [00:08:00] profoundly lovable as a starting point, just as a person. She’s very kind, she’s very generous, she’s very caring, she’s very trustworthy.

She makes people feel safe. She never wants anyone to feel alone, so she just has this way about her that makes her very lovable. So when I, when the concept came to me, it just was very natural, lovable leader. But as I moved forward and really explored it and began writing the book and thinking about it was one, I wanted it to be a bit provocative.

You’re right, people don’t think about love at work. But at the same time, doesn’t love belong everywhere in our lives. , doesn’t that make the world a better place, wherever it is. And if we really break down what love is and this was partly inspired by, when I looked at it by Brene Brown, she, she asked a question to this audience and Audiobook, the Power of Vulnerability.

And she asked how many people here talk about love at work? Or something like that? And then she said how many people think love is one of the most important things in our lives? And how much time do we spend at work? And it’s like you see the intersection of these two things and you wonder why wouldn’t we [00:09:00] care for the people that are around us. Why wouldn’t we wanna build trust? Why wouldn’t we wanna build safety? And really that’s at the end of the day, that’s all love really is. Not to diminish it, but to like really break it down what is love in our work environments, but to create environments of safety, trust and care.

Respect and kindness. Yeah. Like these are the things that create a loving environment. And I think everybody truly, if we’re gonna spend that much time at work, probably wants to love the people that they work with. Ah, I love my boss. It’s wouldn’t that be great to say I love the people I work with and the and my manager is amazing, that’s, I think what we’re all looking for.

And I think as leaders, when we step into those roles, what are we really looking for? We’re looking to do such a good job that people would follow us wherever we would go. We’re looking for people to give us the benefit of the doubt. We’re looking for people, to just want to do great things together, and that happens in environments of love.

So those are all all of the coalescing factors and things that I thought about as I came up with the title of the Lovable Leader. Absolutely.

Elisa Tuijnder: So I [00:10:00] hear as well, all of those words separately be kind and empathic, have respect. We talk a lot those a lot in creating psychological safety and, all these other aspects of leaders, but I don’t think a lot of people have put them all together to make sure to say, lovable as a, as, the umbrella term above it.

But it does make sense and it makes a lot of sense. And God, I wish we all had, our best friends at work and all these cool people. I know that’s maybe a bit of a pipe dream, but some of the parts of those would definitely be implementable.

Jeff Gibbard: I think so, so just a point on that is that, I came from a business background.

I graduated my MBA in 2008, worked at a consulting firm, did a bunch of different things. I’ve really been steeped in like the culture and language of business and I’m not opposed. Producing results and to being very like, strategic and go, I’m a strategist. So like of course I’m thinking strategically.

I love the idea of setting goals and there’s all of these factors of operating well in business. And when I look at lovable [00:11:00] leadership, all I’m saying is we can just change the flavor. We can do the same exact things, but just change the flavor. It’s that whole Machiavelli’s The Prince is better to be feared or loved.

I think loved, like hands down. You can’t be respected if you’re feared. Yeah. So if you can create environments like. Just changing a flavor of doing the exact same thing that you would be doing otherwise, you’re just adjusting the way that you interact with others and the position that you take in conversations.


Elisa Tuijnder: I really like that. Changing the flavor , I think. Good concept. Absolutely. Changing the flavor of it. So the book has been described as a practical handbook offering frameworks and skills and examples that managers can use to level up their leadership and improve their organizations.

What experiences? You just highlighted a few, but what experience and knowledge did you draw on writing it and what was the process? You just said, your wife you were like, Hey, she is a lovable leader. She is. That’s what she’s got going for her. And then how did you, where did you draw all the rest of [00:12:00] that information from?

Jeff Gibbard: Yeah, so the first thing I’ll say is that because I have ADHD and possibly a splash of autism, I have a real. I gravitate towards frameworks and sequences. I like rules, I like ways of understanding and codifying the world around me. It’s just a thing that I, so when I pick out books, the books I like to read are ones that give me very clear instructions to things as well as like clear takeaways and callbacks or wrap-ups or cheat sheets at the end.

So I want a manual to learn something. So when I set out to write my own book, I wrote a book that I would. I wrote the manager’s handbook that I wish I had when I first started. And what I realized in writing it is that what most new managers lack is not the ability to be good at their job. That’s why most managers get into their job become managers.

Yeah. It’s because they’re good at their thing and they’re like, great, you manage people now. Totally different skillsets. So I wanted to create a book for those folks [00:13:00] who have just moved into a new manager’s role and what’s the most important thing for them to learn how to manage people. And that’s why it’s a handbook is that I wanted something that was framework rich and very usable as a guide. And then I also wanted it to be very much for the new manager to consult and keep coming back to and about dealing with people. So it does have all of the aspects of leadership that you would expect outside of managing people, things like, goal setting and strategy.

And, then we move into things like conflict resolution. I’ve even got a chapter in there about self-care and looking at yourself and figuring out how to keep yourself balanced as a manager. So I really wanted it to be practical, full of takeaways and that’s how it came together as a book for new managers, cuz that’s who I really felt they, that’s where the biggest impact could be made.

Right? There’s not gonna be too many Fortune 100 CEOs, they’re gonna pick up my book because they already feel like they got what they need and they, and quite frankly, they’re probably not close enough to the people to actually [00:14:00] make that much of a difference. Yeah. Where the real difference is made is that there are hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of Monday morning standups all across this country with managers who have no flipping idea how to deal with that person who’s disengaged.

And I feel like if we can create managers who have kindness, respect, and trust as sort of their baseline operating system of how they manage people. We actually can change the entire culture of work from the bottom up because I just don’t see the ability to make a real impact by getting CEOs of Fortune 500, Fortune 100 companies to change how they do things.

That’s not really where the groundswell is gonna come from.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah I can imagine. Let alone Okay, we have that really top high c-suite. But I bet there’s a big mid ground of leaders that have been, like you said, like they were thrown into it, they were good at their jobs, like a software developer, and all of a sudden they become like a team leader and they’re managing further and they’re just like, Hey, actually I don’t know [00:15:00] what I was doing.

Or, I could really brush up the skills. So I bet there’s still also a big mid-layer of people who want to be better at this leadership and management thing. Would they be welcome? What would you say to those ?

Oh, absolutely. And trust me the Fortune 100 is certainly welcome.

Jeff Gibbard: Yeah. But when I think about who it’s written for, the tone, the voice, the examples, all of that stuff, it’s really written for people that are new managers. I think all of the lessons, and I say this at the end of the book, the dirty secret of the book is that this book is applicable in any facet of your life where you have relationships.

Any facet because the most important concepts in the book are all about how we interact with other people in a way that makes them feel safe, that makes them feel cared for, that makes them feel trusted. It makes them, build a deeper level of trust with you. Care, trust and safety are the underpinnings of, they’re the three pillars of lovable leadership.

Yeah, it’s open to everyone. And what I would say back to the point of it being very framework rich, is that there’s gonna be people who move into those roles who quite frankly aren’t [00:16:00] very empathetic as humans. They actually don’t care to, they just want people to show up and do their freaking job, right?

The book is actually really good for those people too because it’s so framework rich. If you just need a recipe for how to deal with conflict management. There’s a recipe in the book for you if you need to deal with, angry customers or disengaged teammates. There are recipes in the book for you.

So it’s like you don’t have to be a great cook if you can follow a few recipes. , the same thing is true I think of management as look, that might not be your bag. I love people. It’s natural, it’s a part of me. I want to embrace and get to know people deeply. I care about them.

That’s a thing for me. Some people it’s not, but I gave them a shortcut. To making sure that they’re at least doing the best possible version of that, that they can for themselves by just following these recipes.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah, that’s great. So we’re obviously called happiness at work and happiness has many facets and a lot all of these things that you mentioned actually feed into that.

Cuz without trust, without [00:17:00] respect, there is no happiness. Yeah. But from from your perspective off happiness and. But trying to look into happiness more overtly. What would be your favorite framework or favorite chapter in the book that pertains to that happiness at


Jeff Gibbard: So I think the most important framework in the entire book is called Sitting on the Same Side of the Table. And the reason why I think it pertains to happiness is because I think one of the fastest routes to destroying happiness at work is to invalidate people. Sitting on the same side of the table is a framework where no matter what the conversation is, you are validating the other person and looking for ways that we can work together, facing the same direction, moving in the same direction together.

It’s a way of making sure that people don’t feel alone or isolated or invalidated. And that’s true even if you think that they are wrong in whatever they did, or there’s course corrective actions. It is a soft [00:18:00] method of having a conversation. That is impactful and useful and moves things in the right direction because it doesn’t invalidate people.

So in terms of, amplifying the happiness factor, if you invalidate someone at work, the ripple effects of that can be that they then start talking to others and they start talking. Yeah. They start griping and moaning about, oh, this person said this to me, and can you believe this? And can you believe that?

And then all of a sudden you get that sort of snowball effect of one person’s unsettled or unhappy and they start poisoning the well. I, by no means do I I don’t wanna call people out in that and say it’s their fault if they’re disengaged or if they’re griping.

Some jobs absolutely suck, so it, it’s not their fault. It’s on us as leaders to make sure that people don’t feel that way, that they don’t feel that they need to complain to their coworkers. That really what you want is an atmosphere where people say, you know what? This is actually a really great place to be.

I feel supported. I feel like I can grow here. I appreciate the way that we all talk to each. [00:19:00] So there’s so many things in the sitting on the same side of the table framework that I think leads to happiness. And then I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna go through all of them at all, but there’s a framework in the book called The Eight Commitments of the Team.

And these are eight promises that we make as a team. And I think that teams that honor those eight promises, they are going to be happier teams because you’re talking about things like ownership, and you’re talking about the opportunities for growth, and you’re talking about courage and resilience and cooperation.

These are things that I think lead to happier work environments. If you don’t have those sort of boundaries in place or these agreements in place,

Elisa Tuijnder: There are a lot of management models and theories out there, and they all sound great. The problem is that there’s a lot of theory, which we don’t always know how to implement in practical terms for example. What can you do concretely on a Tuesday afternoon to work better with your [00:20:00] colleagues? So people need actionable advice, things they can start doing next week, and that’s where Management 3.0 comes in.

We have modules, practices, and membership community, and Forward conferences, everything to help you in your leadership journey and tangible results. Check it out on the management30.com website.

I like that you said, some jobs really suck. Yeah, true. But you can create an environment around it. I’ve known people that stayed at in roles because they just really loved the way the company was supporting them and their colleagues, and it was just, they said it was. Going to the pub every day because you were there just with your friends, but you were working at the same time.

And the job wasn’t particularly, great or intellectually stimulating or anything like that, but it, [00:21:00] they stayed because they just really didn’t wanna leave that company. And they might stay longer until something that opens up that might be intellectually stimulating. But they were so loyal.

They’re so loyal to that company. And that’s,

Jeff Gibbard: Yeah. They say people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers. They leave managers. Yeah. So part of the way I went about this book was I said it, you had asked earlier what are the inspirations? What did I draw on? So much of it was personal experiences, but part of it truthfully was I thought of every bad boss I ever had, and every bad job I ever had.

And then I just took all that, wrote it down, and then I said, what would the 180 of that be? Yeah. And I just, I was like, oh, that would be awesome. And then that became, A big part of the outline of how the book came together was like what are all the things that bad bosses do? Let’s just not do any of those things.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. Sometimes it’s easier to like what’s the right way forward than then? You can’t really say that, but you can say what it’s not gonna be like. So starting with that Exactly. It’s is always good. Yeah. It amongst all the praise I found for the lovable leader, I found a description of the book that referred to the quote, broken work culture or [00:22:00] broken culture of work.

How do you see that? What is broken? What do we do to fix it?

Jeff Gibbard: I think it’s a, that’s actually one of the easier, more straightforward things we have put the interests of business and profit above people, and I think the first thing we have to do is we have to make people our first priority because what are we doing all this for?

Like really, what are we doing all of this stuff for? Yeah, there are some critical businesses and essential things that we need in society. But there’s a lot of completely, fabricated businesses that don’t really add anything of true meaningful deep value to the world and to humanity.

And we have a lot of those businesses. And in those businesses we have people who are having a horrible time at work. So the broken culture of work is that we are allowing the interests of business and profit to dictate what’s important rather than the interests and the needs of people to come first.

So if we want to fix that, we have to create environments [00:23:00] where we actually acknowledge what people need. And this is something as simple as providing accommodations based upon someone’s individual needs, like being able to allow someone to work from home, let’s say. Yeah, because they have kids or because the commute’s too long or whatever.

That’s just a little thing that we have to figure out a way to put the needs of people first. And I heard it said recently about the pandemic, that what the pandemic revealed was that prior to it people had to try and make their life fit around their work. And now people have to make their work fit around their life.

Like we’re having this conversation. You see a princess castle in my background, . I’m in the corner of my living room. This is now my office. Yeah. And I got kids coming in and out and there’s all sort That’s okay. That’s the standard now. You get on Zoom calls, people’s living rooms, you see there’s chandelier in their dining room and all of a sudden you, that they’re just regular people.

Yeah. And they are all of them.

Elisa Tuijnder: We all like management 3.0 people first is [00:24:00] really our thing. And we’ve shifted into kind of calling that whole package more like agile leadership. Do you, does that term resonate with you? Because you also have, you’ve done software and you’ve done so many different things, so just wanted to take on that.


So I love the idea that

Jeff Gibbard: Agile is just short for agility. And I think when you think of it through that lens, not necessarily agile, the framework of we deliver workable software, et cetera. Exactly. When we’re not looking at through like agile methodology. Yeah, sure. Because I think in order to be good at anything, you have to be flexible.

Sure. It’s good to be. I don’t wanna say rigid, but disciplined, but it’s also good to have the ability to flex in the faces of change. And I think that’s ultimately, if you look at Agile software than it is, yeah, it was really about being able to be flexible to change. You can’t be a great leader without being flexible to change because the world is not in a static state ever. It is always in a state of change. [00:25:00] And that includes the people on your team, the external factors of competition, the market, everything, all of these things are going to be aspects of change. So yeah I think you have to be an agile leader. And when it comes to putting people first, I think there’s definitely an intersection there.

But I don’t necessarily think being an agile leader or a flexible. For me, for my taste. I don’t know if that calls out enough, how important it’s to put people first. People first.

Yes. The world, the problems don’t come at us at a waterfall structure. . Yeah. Not at all. Definitely complex. More complex than that.

Elisa Tuijnder: As a podcast host, I also can’t let ego, without briefly talking about your own work in the podcasting role. So you, like we said in the introduction, you have a few shows, including the wonderful podcasts, shareable. And there you speak actually with entrepreneurs or leaders and innovators from like a wide range of industries.

So you learned a lot about leadership as well, and obviously we love leadership and love talking about it and improving it and seeing what the future of that is. So [00:26:00] what is the main thing or what is something that stands out for you that you’ve learned from them and maybe you know, even further about yourself through doing is.

Oh, for

Jeff Gibbard: sure. Let me actually tackle the second part first because when first said, what have I learned from it? I will say that the podcast, podcasting for me has always been that was gonna sound terrible, but it’s been a very selfish endeavor in the sense that I get to talk to people and I get to learn from them, and I get to have these incredible conversations and make new friends.

That part of it has been the most rewarding for me and I think just the fact that I publish it means that the amazing things that I learned from others become public and then it becomes a benefit to others. But the truth is that it starts as a selfish endeavor. I, when I found out in 2013 that I could just call incredible people and be like, You want to talk online for an hour and they would say yes, was like, get outta here.

This, I was like, this is a hack. Like you’re telling me I [00:27:00] could get these incredible people that that I wanna learn from and they’ll talk to me for free for. No, stop it. That’s impossible. But it’s true. But here’s where that led to is that when I started sharable in 2017, I think it was 20 17, 20 16, 20 17.

I forget when I started shareable, I had this idea, I said what if at the end of the show. Swapped positions, and I let my guest become the host and I became the guest. And I still think to this day, I pioneered the concept of myself. That is great. Yeah. But what it did was it allowed my guest to ask me whatever questions they wanted.

And because of that, I’ve actually learned a tremendous amount about myself by the question that they asked. I became a guest on my own show. I actually shared the show. And so when I look back on all the things I’ve learned, partly it’s to ask things or to talk about things that I never thought to ask or talk about.

And and I’ll give you an example of a very this was a learning moment, so obviously superheroes and superpowers. It’s a thing that people ask me [00:28:00] about, right? And a friend of mine, Tony Chapman, came on, had him as a guess, and then we swapped and he asked me a question, what he thought, what I thought my superpower was.

And I have all of these ideas of what my superpowers are. And I went very literal, right? I was like I’m excellent at pitching and sales. And and, I think I, I have a lot of empathy and I’m, a good communicator, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right? And he said I’ve known you for a little while, Jeff.

I know a lot about your story. Here’s what I think your superpower is. And he dropped on me something I had never thought about, and he said it was resilience and reinvention. And I had never thought about this. So you, all the things that I have, like I’m, I consistently reinvent myself and I won’t go into the stories, but I have a number of different things that I’ve bounced back from that, that show the resilience.

And I had never thought about that until he brought that up and brought that into my world. And it wouldn’t have happened had I not created the mic swap opportunity and it wouldn’t have happened. Had I not brought on people that, that knew me. And then also, I’ve had people on that I had just met and they asked me interesting things that get me [00:29:00] thinking.

I would say the willingness to let go of the reins and give someone else control has given me the opportunity to learn about myself and explore territory I wouldn’t have otherwise.

Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. That’s amazing that, that’s really cool. You almost have a personal, or like a different psychologist every week

Yeah. As well. No, it’s awesome. It’s, and

it’s a free one again.

Jeff Gibbard: I do get asked some of the same questions over and over, but it’s cool because then I get a chance to clarify my responses and work on them. . But I do get to talk about all sorts of things from, cause I have people, like you mentioned, from all walks of life.

So like I could be talking one week about sales the next week about diversity, equity, inclusion the week after that about like starting a business or I’ve, all sorts of stuff.

Elisa Tuijnder: Hey. So on the podcast you end with a swap, but we always end with tangible practices. That’s really our thing.

We wanna have our podcast end with something our [00:30:00] listeners can try and start tomorrow. Give us some tangible practices that you like from the lovable leader, things that people can start implementing tomorrow.

Jeff Gibbard: Sure. So if we’re gonna go from the lovable leader I’ll just give away, I’ll give you, I’ll give you the big one.

So sitting on the same side of the table. I love this framework so much and similar to, I do a lot of work in like brand and messaging and as I’m doing that I often have like madlibs going through my head. So like I use different frameworks like The Red Thread by Tamson Webster or the Story Brand seven by Donald Miller, or one that I call abc.

Like I have all these different frameworks, so as I’m doing brand work, I just fill in the gaps. So I love frameworks for that reason, because you’re like, here’s my recipe. Okay, I’m gonna go. So sitting on the same side of the table is a six step recipe for having powerful conversations, for having conversations, whether it’s conflict resolution or whether it’s, working together on the next big thing.

And it goes like this. [00:31:00] You start by establishing your goals for the conversation and getting consent. That’s the first step. We’ll actually do this together, Elisa, I’d love to have a conversation with about the framework that I have called sitting on the same side of the table.

And my goal for it is I want at the end of it, for you to feel like you really get it and you can implement it and your audience can. Is it okay if we have that conversation right now? Of course. Yeah. Awesome. Love to. So now I’ve engaged you, I’ve got your consent to have the conversation. I’ve established what it’s going to be about.

So the next step in sitting on the same side of the table, and I’m actually gonna give you the next two steps. It’s listening and curiosity. So I would then shut up basically. And I would say, so when I said sitting on the same side of the. What exactly did that mean to you? What’s the first thing that kind of came to your mind?

Elisa Tuijnder: That everybody is on the same team and I I had all these things as flat hierarchy coming in and respect and those, yeah. That was where my mind was wobbling

Jeff Gibbard: off to. Got it. Have you ever had any experiences where you felt like in [00:32:00] at work or whatever, that somebody was really sitting on the same side with you?


Elisa Tuijnder: Yeah. I’ve had the other side as well, but I’ve also had people who stood by me and at difficult times at work situations, and that was great. That made me feel really good.

Jeff Gibbard: That’s outstanding. So what I’m getting from you is that as we’re gonna go through the next couple steps, you’ve already experienced it, so as I talk about it, you’re probably gonna have a good sense of what that felt like, right?

Okay, good. So the fourth step is validating. So validating rather than judging, which is I’m. Whatever your perspective is on this is not wrong. This is a key thing. You cannot make the other person wrong. So we’re having a very like, lighthearted conversation about this. But imagine we’re having a conflict resolution.

I can’t say here’s why you’re wrong about that. , like you might have said, let’s say we’re having conflict resolution y Joe was being like a total jerk and, I would’ve gotten the assignment done if it weren’t for Joe and yada, yada. I can’t say Joe was your manager and he is trying to, this and that and the other.

It’s not a point for explaining. Yeah. That’s gonna [00:33:00] stop the conversation. Yeah. All of a sudden you’re defensive. So instead I would say Hey, I completely hear that I wanna know more about your interactions with Joe and really what went on there. But I get what you’re saying is that you felt in that interaction that you weren’t being respected.

That you weren’t being heard. And I totally get that. So you’re not offering agreement, you’re not offering an argument. You are simply saying, I heard what you’re saying. So after you listened, you were curious the step after that, you have to validate and say, I understand what you’re saying.

So after you validated so now just a recap. So far we’ve established our goals and gotten consent. We’ve listened, we’ve been curious, right? So we’ve gathered information. Now we validate your perspective. So all we’ve really done here is said, here’s what I want this conversation to be, and we’ve gathered information from you of your perspective and validated it From there we wanna align our goals. So the next step is to align our goals. Hey, I get what you’re saying and we’ll go back to, I know I’m mixing examples here, but conflict resolution helps to make it more clear. Yeah. You had [00:34:00] an interaction with Joe and it wasn’t great, and I know that what you want, as much as what I want is for us to have a great relationship at work and for everyone to feel heard and respected.

So I’m getting from you is that what you want to do is be able to resolve what’s going on with Joe and make sure that sort of interaction doesn’t happen again. That you guys get on the same page. And I want for your team to be able to deliver those results in the way that you said that you were going to and everything.

So it sounds like we’re looking for the same thing, so let’s figure out how we can do that. And as you align your goals, you’re gonna start talking. This is where you start talking through solutions. , what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna talk to Joe and this and that, and then I think it’d be good for all three of us to together, blah, blah, blah, blah.

So I’ve set up a couple solutions, apply, maybe ask you if you have solutions. So I’ve aligned our goals and I’m, we’re now in solutions mode. Great. So now let’s say we’ve worked out what that is. The final step is to close the loop and closing the loop is where you go back and you summarize what we talked about and then you ask again for consent to move forward in that direction.

What we talked about is that I’m gonna talk to Joe first, [00:35:00] then we’re gonna get all of us together. In the meantime. You’re gonna work on X, Y, and Z and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Does all that still work for you? Did I miss anything? And if you’re like, no, that sounds all good. By the end of that, if you put yourself in the shoes of, you, who I’m talking to, I’ve been curious about, I, I told you what the conversation was gonna be about, and I invited you to say, I don’t wanna have this conversation now.

So you’re now a willing participant in the conversation. That’s a really important part. The consent has to be authentic. I can’t be like, do you wanna have this conversation? You’re like, no. I’m like,

yeah. Could be like, Hey, I need to work with you. Yeah,

yeah. Like now is now actually a good time, right? Like it has to be legitimate, right?

So now you’ve actually been a willing participant in this, and I’ve given you the opportunity to actually tell your side instead of just, telling you what’s up. I’ve been curious enough to actually dig in and make sure as a leader, that I understand where you’re coming from, and then after you’ve given it to me, I’ve actually validated your perspective.

Maybe I haven’t agreed with it, but I’ve at least understood it. So then now I can say, I understand your perspective. Here’s what I want. Here’s what you want. Here’s [00:36:00] how we can both try and go in the same direction and get what we both want. And then as we devise those solutions and we get to it, then you say, does that work for you?

And you say, yeah, you know what it does. We now both own what’s about to happen, what, good, bad, and different. Yeah. We both are aligned about it. The reason why this framework works so well is because it respects the other person. It also puts you on the same side of the table. It makes you looking in the same direction, going in the same way.

It’s not adversarial and I, the reason I like that metaphor of saying the same side of the table, when you’re sitting across from someone in a job interview, let’s say, think about what that feels like. It feels a good, yeah. There’s a hierarchy already. Yeah, but think about when you go out to dinner with like your bff, right?

And you’re sitting on the same side of a booth. You’re sharing fries. How’s that? Yeah, I like the metaphor because what you’re trying to do is create connection and create closeness, and create respect and openness. All of those things when they happen, when you give people the freedom to [00:37:00] not be judged, to share what their perspective is, sometimes they’ll find out for themselves, I was being a brat, so using this framework is extremely effective. I, my wife and I use it in our marriage, like there are times where like we legitimately have to sit on the same side of the table for a conversation because I’m having like an ADHD meltdown or she’s not hearing what I’ve said because one reason or another, so we have to sit down and sit on the same side table, get aligned in what we’re both trying to accomplish and move through it.

Yeah, so it’s a really useful framework. It’s very tangible. The way I tend to remember it as a framework in my head is GLC Vac. Glc. Like The Mercedes. GLC. Yeah. And back like vacuum. So that’s how I remember it. I know it’s silly, but that’s how I remember it. G goals, L listening, C, curiosity V, validate A, align, C, close the loop, gc, the I love it.

That’s how I remember it. And if I’m going into a conversation that I know its gonna be tense prior to going into it, I will take 30 seconds to a minute and I’ll. Deep breath. And I’ll think about how do I want this conversation to go? [00:38:00] How am I gonna make sure that I hit and go through all of these different pieces, do steps, and how am I gonna make sure that on the other end I walk out with both of us feeling like that was a powerful conversation.

Elisa Tuijnder: I love

it. I’m gonna start, try and start implementing this in my difficult conversations and . Yeah. All right. Hey Jeff. People listening might wanna find your book, the Lovable Leader or might just wanna get in contact with you. Where do they do that, where do they find you?

Jeff Gibbard: Yeah. Or your book. So I I created a website that is basically just a menu of options for all of my stuff.

As you mentioned, I do a lot of things. So a lot of things are under construction because I’m doing a lot of different things. But the easiest way to find me is just jgibbard.com. So that’s my first Jeff first letter, and then Gibbard, G I B a r d. So jgibbard.com. And that’s actually a menu it’ll bring you, if you wanna see my content, if you wanna buy my book, if you wanna work with me in any of my different capacity.

This has links to every single one of those things. So you can just go through the menu of options and find what you’re looking for. Get on my newsletter, which is super dope. It’s called [00:39:00] Becoming Superhuman. It’s all of the ways in which you can move towards becoming superhuman. Then yeah, the book is please buy the book and review it.

It’s always an important to get up to that a hundred review mark on Amazon. And so far we have, I think I have a 4.8 rating, which is super awesome. Awesome. Out. Like 45 reviews or something like that. So I’m feeling pretty good about it. Good. Yeah.

Elisa Tuijnder: Let’s get some more listeners to do the review,

Yeah. Let’s give them some time to read it and review it. Yeah, Jeff, do it. Thank you so much for this really enlightening conversation and I hope you. You have so many things to do. I dunno how you do it. And you’re also creating little humans and

Jeff Gibbard: yeah. Yeah. I just a little to do that.


Jeff Gibbard: didn’t do much of the work, but there’s a new human.


Elisa Tuijnder: there might be a little bit of more tune.

Jeff Gibbard: Yeah. Now there’s more work. Yeah. So

Elisa Tuijnder: good luck with that and hopefully we’ll see you again at some point in some other capacity or maybe in this same capacity if you write another book. Yeah.

Jeff Gibbard: It’d be awesome.[00:40:00]

Elisa Tuijnder: You’ve been listening to The Happiness At Work podcast by Management 3.0 where we are getting serious about happiness. Be sure to subscribe wherever you get your podcast. And if you enjoy our shows, don’t be shy. Write us a review. Share the happiness with your colleagues, family or friends. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn under Management three.

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