Success Podcast Post

Be a Leader with Libby Gill

George Grombacher June 1, 2023

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Be a Leader with Libby Gill

LifeBlood: We talked about how anyone can be a leader, the foundation that must be present for people to feel comfortable being themselves, why being a leader begins with choice, and how to get started, with Libby Gill, former corporate executive turned best-selling author, speaker, and leadership expert.    

Listen to learn why anyone at any age can become a great leader!

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Libby Gill

Libby Gill

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:01
went for this George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful Libby Gill. Livi. Are you ready to do this?

Libby Gill 0:08
I am ready, George.

Unknown Speaker 0:10
All right, let’s go.

george grombacher 0:12
Live. He is a keynote speaker and executive coach, leadership expert and a best selling author many times over, she’s getting leaders to grow their careers to adopting a lift as you climb culture, and a former career slash life. She was the Head of Communications for Sony universal Turner Broadcasting and also the brains behind the launch of the Dr. Phil Show. Libby, welcome back on the show. Tell us a little about your personal life’s more about your work, why you do what you do. Oh,

Libby Gill 0:41
hey, thank you. Well, as you said, I started out in communications. Always on the television side of the Hollywood studio world. It was wild and wacky, sometimes fun, mostly just business and corporate people assume I have all these great stories about TV, but it was just a conglomeration. And after I did that for a while, I just spent a whole career in that. But what I really loved was building people into leaders, helping them recognize their own career greatness. And I always had the biggest team of the youngest people, because we were the talent hand holder. So it was a very time and labor intensive kind of work. And it was really great fun for me to see people rise up through the ranks and just really grow and flourish. And they’re my babies are all over Hollywood still in key leadership positions. And so I took that with me when I decided on through television, it was a fun ride. I very, you know, had great times. And I started a coaching business, because frankly, I couldn’t figure out where do I go, where I can write, and speak to people and think about things and help people build their own leadership and their own career path. And I, there wasn’t a job like that. So I just kind of created one. And I never took a business class in my life, George, I was completely winging it. And thankfully, 22 years later, it worked out pretty well.

george grombacher 2:10
Well, certainly, kudos to you for being able to sit back or step back and say, you know, I want to do these things, this thing, this thing, this thing, and there’s not a box that really fits into, but I think I could just do my own thing and make that happen. And you did.

Libby Gill 2:28
Yeah. And it was it was funny, I had, I had speaking of box box to myself into that world of public relations, when I really wanted to be a creative executive, I sort of took the first job that would have me and happened to be good at it and rose up the ladder really quickly. And that was great, except I found myself being the corporate spokesperson, the you know, making other people’s thoughts, putting those out into the world. And there was a point of me that thought, well, maybe I have something to say. And it was a test of, do I or don’t die. And as soon as you become even, I’m not certainly not a celebrity, but a little bit of a public figure, you know, people are either going to throw tomatoes or applaud or do nothing at all, which is maybe the worst of the three. And I just felt like, Okay, I think I can handle that now.

george grombacher 3:19
And turns out, you’re right. Yeah,

Libby Gill 3:21
yeah. It’s been fun. And as you know, I met so many awesome people like you that just that really want to put something into the world, we are living in a troubled times and a crazy world. And for those people that just think, of course, I want to make a living, I want to do well by my family and my employees. But I want to do something that’s positive. And I really respect those people. And we need more of them. And I think, you know, folks like you that are spreading those always say you’re fighting a good fight. I think those are the people that that people look to as leaders. And I think that’s incredibly important right now.

george grombacher 3:58
I appreciate that. And I totally agree. I’m, I like, like you and so many other people are frustrated by certain things that we see going on. And it can be it’s, it’s a pull in a lower to kind of stare at those big problems and just sort of be frustrated and want to holler at the moon. The reality is that when we do the things that we have control over and do our work and impact those people that we have influence over. That’s how the problems get solved.

Libby Gill 4:32
Yeah, I am convinced that it doesn’t matter what side of the fence you’re on. But I the more I see our country at work, the more I think that the federal government may not solve our issues. So do what you can on a local level, in terms of you know, climate, homelessness, mental health, whatever those are. Yeah, exactly. Like you said, influence your world is instead of looking back and moaning about things that are legitimate, but you may not have Any controller input into

george grombacher 5:02
this idea of lift as you climb, I feel like it’s it’s, it’s very much along the lines of what we’re talking about right now. Is it a function of once I realize that I am somebody who is doing good work, and I can have an impact on others, that it’s almost a responsibility to do so?

Libby Gill 5:26
Well, I do think it’s that but I think it can come much earlier than that, it is simply the willingness to say, I’m gonna just put you on this arm and you on this arm and take you with me. And it’s it’s the old African proverb, if you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together. And it’s that idea of of support and accountability. To me, those are the most two, two most important things you can get from another person, or that you can offer to others. And we were just talking a little bit earlier about, you know, I’m a big believer in, in group support and having having other people to tell you the truth, to give you their honest feedback. They don’t have to be a million miles ahead of you. They can be just, you know, a step or two ahead, or they can be completely new, and just give you their perspective. But if you’re not willing to take that risk, and say, Hey, I’d love your input. I’d love your feedback. And I’m forever telling young leaders this, it’s like, well, I’m good. Any feedback? Well, when’s the last time you asked for it? You know, you have to manage that. You have to insist on some of those things. I once did a 360 assessment as an executive coach, I go in and do those in organizations. And one of my clients said he had not had a review, you know, the annual appraisal and seven years. I said, Well, how did you let seven years go by? You know, he seems ready to blame it on his boss, which was not untrue. But you know, what are you doing about it? Well, I didn’t really want all that feedback. Like, okay, then you’re not gonna you’re not gonna have any inkling of what the reality or the truth is.

george grombacher 7:03
Isn’t that such a human thing? Yeah.

Libby Gill 7:05
Yeah, I’d rather just duck my head under the desk and hide from it, as opposed to hear something that is potentially, you know, it’s gonna hurt my feelings, is he gonna toughen up to be ready for those things? It’s, it’s interesting, I look at this debate, and today’s something came out about trigger warnings in college. And it was a very strong pushback from a university that said, no, no, no, no, we’re not doing that we’re not doing trigger warnings. And it’s that kind of thing is that, should we? And that’s one of those other polarizing things we deal with today. Yes, you want to be sensitive to people’s feelings, and their traumas in their past. But on the other hand, do you want to say, Well, wait a minute, you’re not going to limit my free speech? And no, you have to toughen up and recognize the reality of the world. And those are the conundrums of leadership looking at that balance. It’s that art and science of where do you push and where do you pull?

george grombacher 8:04
That’s the that’s, that’s the big question, right there.

Libby Gill 8:07
Question. And I don’t think anyone can ever solve it completely, we’re all just going to continue to be works in progress. But it’s interesting what the pandemic has done in terms of making people at least have the veneer of empathy, I think people’s eyes are open to the fact that, you know, once you look into people’s kitchens, and, you know, their their home offices, whether it’s in a closet or at a mansion, and recognizing, hey, these people have lives outside what they do in their livelihood, and we’ve got to be respectful. And, and and recognize that that some of that will come into the workplace as it should.

george grombacher 8:49
So the importance of taking things head on, taking the feedback, asking for receiving it good, bad, ugly, indifferent, is a huge growth opportunity. So that’s me as an individual, and then not creating any kind of a zero gravity environment where there’s no sharp edges, where young people will never be hurt, only pretty much guarantees that they’re going to get badly hurt when the rubber meets the road in the real world.

Libby Gill 9:19
Yeah, and there’s frustration on both sides. And I have two young adult kids and two young adult step kids and, and there is that feeling of it, but we don’t want to inflame or you know, these situations are hard for young people. I think it’s probably harder today than it’s been, I don’t know, maybe ever. On the other hand, when my son was in a history class, and they were giving trigger warnings. It was a World War Two history class. I thought, really, you need a trigger warning to the Holocaust. I mean, it just it didn’t he recognized that that was sort of ironic, but it’s a it’s a tricky thing to navigate. And I think the most important thing leaders can do do is recognize there is no one size fits all that certainly their baseline things like trust and respect. And there’s this great Gallup study that says that what followers want from their leaders are, in fact, trust, stability, compassion, and hope. And that’s the one I use that a lot in the work that I do, because I write about the science of hope, which is called Hope theory all about hopefulness. And what that means. I just decided it comes from medicine, about the idea that if you are hopeful and believe that you can contribute that you’ve got agency towards outcomes, and in this case, this doctor is talking about medical outcomes, then you’re a bigger part, you play a role in your own treatment and health. And I thought, well, that sounds like the workplace to me, and people have to see a better future, you have to connect them to, this is where we’re all going. And people say those in all kinds of ways that basically mean, hey, here’s the outcome we’re driving towards. But to me, it’s I look at it through the lens of, of hope of a more positive outcome than where we are today. That’s it as as a human being on your personal life. And certainly in your professional life. Don’t we all want things to be better, and continue that growth in our in ourselves and our teams and our organizations?

Speaker 3 11:21
I think that we do, I hope, I hope so too.

george grombacher 11:28
I was reading an article in the Wall Street Journal about how a lot of schools are getting rid of homework and deadlines. And I just couldn’t disagree with that anymore. It’s kind of going to what we’re talking about. And we need to be able to establish and all agree on that this is the baseline that this is these are the fundamental truths. And every organization must have that to be able to build the trust, stability, compassion and hope. It has to have that foundation.

Libby Gill 12:01
Yeah, it but sometimes that foundation is better served being you know, a plaque in the HR hallway or the, or the kitchen in the cafeteria for the company, it which is not nearly enough, if it is not woven into everyday language into sort of the fiber of the culture, then it really doesn’t mean a lot. So an organization can have a stated truth, like, Hey, we’re in this tech company, you get all the vacation time you want. But we don’t really want you to take it because you’re going to notice if you do so it’s really about companies no matter how large they are. And of course, the bigger they are, I think the the more opportunities for them to get away from those core truths. Just have so many more layers. But yes, I think that’s those are the foundations and decide what they are. And if and where you’re willing to bend. And just like homework, okay, well, this much. And I know we’re not going to give you six hours of homework when you’re in the second grade. But yeah, you’re gonna take home a worksheet or two and fill those out. So you get in the habit of that. It’s yeah, these are, you know, and I think it probably starts that young. Where do we start with, with young people about really thinking about stepping up on being leaders, and I had the good fortune to work with ricing diversity on a program that they had started. It’s called the door Institute named after John Doerr, who was a early Google executive worked with Google and Amazon a lot of those companies in the early tech days great leader, and he donated this is all public, he donated $50 million to rice, which was his alma mater and and his wife’s, they were both engineers from there, because he felt like we need more leaders who are ready for business. And this group set up a coaching institute, not a coaching a Leadership Institute, coaching was one of the modalities, but to train and develop anybody who came in just it just self selected. I choose to be a leader, and whatever that look like, athletics, you know, running the college coffee shop in anything, and now they’ve got, I think about half the student population going through that program, and now becoming coaches themselves. So people when you offer those opportunities, and that’s pretty rare, and I came in to write a book about it with them, called Leadership reckoning, but people want those opportunities and and they first thought, Well, we really should start with the sophomore level because freshmen are going to be too overwhelmed. Nope, test that out and found out no, they were wrong. Everybody at every level from freshmen on up to graduate students, were looking for additional leadership training. So there’s such an appetite if we speak to people’s souls, I think you know, it’s the head to heart. If we can do that. That’s, that’s the most important thing we can do whether your leader in your community, your family, your kids, school doesn’t matter. But it’s purely a decision to step up and lead.

george grombacher 15:12
I think that that’s super powerful. And that so many of the students opted into this program is evidence that to what you’ve been talking about that people want to be leaders, they want to be thought of to think of themselves in that way. And they’re capable at any age 1817 2555 75, five years old, have taken on responsibility. For sure.

Libby Gill 15:42
And the fascinating thing is, the things these young people were trained on, and they weren’t corporate skills, this was not really job related. It wasn’t that sort of mentoring, self awareness and communication, and empathy. Same things I deal with, with senior executives, you know, people in the C suite, self awareness, and empathy and communication. It doesn’t change what you’re doing and how you use it changes throughout a career or a lifetime. But those those basic truths of, of goodness and kindness, and leadership, I think are relevant across the board.

george grombacher 16:21
goodness and kindness. World, all of our problems might just be solved if, if if we were a little bit kinder,

Libby Gill 16:31
I know, I know, if we could, you know, I guess this is an age old problem, may or may not ever be solved. But yeah, if everybody just it’s believed in good intent, and the other person and kindness and offer that kindness, yeah, we would have a much less cruel world. And that would be such a really beautiful thing. And I think all we can do is our part, we can do what we can do, we can role model it for others, we can teach and train in it and hope it sinks in. We can’t make anybody do it. But I think we can spread it.

george grombacher 17:12
I certainly agree. And to model it to be the living example of it, I think is a super inspiring thing. And your story, obviously, just the first chapter alone, or, or the chapter about you, being the Head of Communications for these massive organizations is incredible. And then you’ve gone on to have this separate career having this massive impact and whatever the next act might be living, maybe you’ll maybe you’ll write a novel or something like that.

Libby Gill 17:42
Oh, George, you I know. And you we can say this, I was already telling you that I just as my passion project, my new buddy in the world is begging me to do this, but I’m gonna do a project. I decided and this was a while ago, I started this novel, I took one class. In novel writing with my hubris, I thought I’m gonna start at novel for because I’ve already written 100 pages without a clue what I’m doing, and took a class and you know, I already written I’ve written my entire life, I mean, communications, public relations before coaching. So this has been part of my life for a long time. So it wasn’t the struggle. And for those who don’t want to write, I understand. But I dusted it off during COVID and then was able to sell it. So I hope I’ll have a novel out in the marketplace next year, and maybe a new career. So we’ll see where it goes. I love it.

george grombacher 18:36
Well, let me thank you so much for coming back on where can people learn more about you? How can how can organizations or event planners engage with you and bring you in to speak where can people get your books, all of it,

Libby Gill 18:47
just go to my website, Libby And if you sign up on my website, you’ll get my once in a while newsletter. But also I just started a free monthly coaching group and it’s just my way to say thank you all and I love to keep in touch and know what everybody’s doing. We meet once a month for 90 minutes and I’ve got folks from from London to I don’t know across the states and beyond. So it’s it’s great fun, and I invite anybody that wants to hop on and check it out. They’re more than welcome to and they’ll get the email if they if they sign up on my website.

george grombacher 19:21
Oh incredible. Well, if you enjoyed as much as I did show live your appreciation and share today show the friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Libby Li bb And take advantage of that incredible offer that Libby just made of joining that free monthly coaching group and take advantage of the trust and stability and compassion and hope that obviously Olivia is is fostering and nurturing within the people that she’s working with and check out her books keep an eye out for the novel sometime in the future and and if you are in need of a speaker for your next event or organization or company Obviously you’ve heard how great Libya is

Unknown Speaker 20:02
so reach out thanks again Libby

george grombacher 20:04
Thank you George and until next time remember do your part by doing your best

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