The Level Up Leader
Episode - 1

Let’s Talk About “Why” with Jen Gruber and Michael King

On today’s podcast, I am joined by one of our key stakeholders, Jen Gruber. Jen has been a valued team member and comes with tons of success in marketing. She is the head of Marketing for Sales with the Lincoln Journal Star. Please welcome Jen to the podcast.

Turnover rates are at a staggering high.  “Quiet quitting” has become a term that is globally accepted. I was told that people don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses. Is there anything we can do about this?

We decided we would. 

Welcome to the Level Up Leader Podcast.  I am your host, Michael King.  I am an executive coach and founder of Teams.Coach, LLC. I work with C-level leaders to clarify and expand the vision, elevate performance, and Level Up their Leadership. 

On today’s podcast, I am joined by one of our key stakeholders, Jen Gruber.  Jen has been a valued team member and comes with tons of success in marketing. She is the head of Marketing for Sales with the Lincoln Journal Star. Please welcome Jen to the podcast.

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Michael King 0:00
turnover rates are at a staggering high. Quiet quitting has become a term that is globally accepted. And I was always told that people don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses. Is there anything that we can do about this? Well, we decided that we would. Welcome to the level of leader podcast. I’m your host, Michael King. I’m an executive coach. I’m the founder of teams that coach and I work with sea level leaders to clarify, expand the vision, elevate performance and level up their leadership. On today’s podcast, I am joined by one of our key stakeholders, Jen Gruber. Jen has been a valued team member and comes with tons of success in the marketing world. She is the head of marketing and sales for the Lincoln drill star. So please welcome Jen Gruber to the podcast.

Welcome Jim Gruber, to the level up leader podcast. It’s great having you with us. With me today, not us. But with me today. You are a part of the team here. And, you know, I thought it would be a really cool thing for us to just kind of get down as we launched the level of leader podcast for you. And I just have a really candid conversation regarding the why behind why we’re doing the leader, the podcast, and indeed have some really cool conversations regarding just really kind of our motivations behind this and some of our core values. So how does that sound today?

Jen Gruber 1:40
Yeah, sounds good. I’m excited.

Michael King 1:43
Awesome. So when we talk level up leader podcast, you’d have chatted a little bit off off script on this. But tell me a little bit, some of the things that you’re thinking about and some of the things that are important for you, as we as we, as we navigate this, this leadership territory.

Jen Gruber 2:03
Yeah, I mean, I think, talking about just why, you know, we’re gonna get why we’re doing this, why we’ll talk about why we do what we do, and really just explore what’s going on in the industry, especially as leaders, I mean, right now, hiring is insane. Really just better, equipping ourselves and others and getting to know some really great people in the field, maybe not people that we really see there is visible. I’m excited, I’m excited to learn more, see what people are doing. You always talk about, you know, superpowers. And I’m really excited to explore some of these superpowers that are out there that I’ve, you know, I haven’t met them. So I’m excited for that.

Michael King 2:39
But you’ve been very instrumental in just kind of helping us really hone in on our core central messaging for what we do. And it’s been absolutely brilliant. I love the fact that people get to see us kind of in action all the time, you’re not gonna see a lot of things from teams not coach or even from me, as an executive coach of me trying to sell a program, you’re always gonna see me try to serve an audience. And that really is key for this, even as podcasts here is that what I’m finding is that when we talk about, like the level up leader, I really want to make sure that, that we really figure out a way to get down to, you know, some to ground roots, and find the leaders that are leading exceptionally in organizational levels. But I’ve always simply found like that the leaders that are usually the most effective within organizations, they’re not necessarily the ones that are always pushing a brand. They’re the ones that, that really understand that they have a responsibility and authority within their organization for them to be able to create great culture, make sure that the vision and the mission and the values are somehow made visible, and they’re overflowing to actually create that culture. These are gonna be leaders that are gonna have practical tips on how they can lead the best. And they have some really compelling stories that draw us into their world to help us be able to see things from their perspective. Talk to me a little bit about perspective, like, why is perspective important? Why is it important that we would kind of come down to ground level to work with some of these leaders?

Jen Gruber 4:04
I was supposed to be interviewing you, Michael King, not the other way around. My gosh.

Michael King 4:10
Well, I thought that you could speak to that. But I want to hear from you too.

Jen Gruber 4:13
Sure. Yeah. I mean, I think I had a leader tell me that, you know, perception is reality and our perception of perception. To me this one was right. But I think it’s really interesting to hear from people and how they’re viewing things. So even though I might be in the same industry, sitting in the same seat at the table as somebody, how we view everything is going to be different from small things to large things just because of life experience. Not one not one of us has the exact same experience, whether that’s professionally, personally, just holistically things. And you know, we always I tell my kids, I’m a mom of three holy cow. I have three kids now. That it’s important that we have to learn every day. You have to be the best version of yourself, which means that you’re learning something new every day, new every day. Whether that’s betting you’re better yourself bettering the people around you or bettering the community that you serve. And I think that this, this podcast really helps us do that. But specifically people that are leading others. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a manager, you can be a leader without managing people. Although typically, you might be a bit of that could be your next step. I think that’s really cool. Just watching some of these young leaders really shaped themselves into managers and the leaders of the future. Because it is important that even if you’re not managing people, and you don’t know you’re not working with somebody on that level, you’re still working with people every single day, whether it’s clients, coworkers, again, your community. And so that’s where I really, I think, I think this is going to come into play but so that going back to your perspective, it’s, it’s a better verse, it’s like leadership, politics, like hearing the other other people’s opinions, what their past was, how they came to conclusions, things that they’ve learned, that’s how we’re gonna really continuously grow ourselves bigger organizations, nothing has been more rewarding to me than watching one of my employees grow up and grow out of their position. That’s what we’re here to do. We’re, you know, we’re here to grow ourselves. But more importantly, we’re here to grow those around us. And I really think getting these perspectives is going to help me do that and be a better steward to the community, and then the company that I’m with, I mean, you know, I want you to be as best as you can and be the best I can and just watching people be successful is so fulfilling.

Michael King 6:27
That’s killer. That’s so good. Now, you kept on going back to this, this this perspective of self leader, yourself, or leaning yourself in some sort of way, you kind of ghosted it just a little bit. And I don’t want to pay attention to that. No, I think it’s really good in that leadership. With you, so. So this podcast, this will actually when I talked about level up leader podcast, the level of leader, that specific target market that person, I’m really, I’m speaking specifically to a singular person, because I do believe that every leader has a level of story, I have a level of story, you have a level of story. But there’s those moments in which we have to live in that on a day to day in order for us to have a greater impact on the organizations and the people that we get to serve. It always starts with us. So I’m glad that you mentioned it, because we’ll always have a tendency to be able to kind of steer towards that. So I’m gonna give the reins back to you here for the next 15 minutes. I want you to drill me. And yeah, just go ahead and interview me. And let’s go. And let’s see what happens. So awesome. Okay, so we mentioned a little bit why the podcasts, tell me my what, what was the inspiration? What is the core motivation of doing this podcast? Yeah, well, I mentioned a little bit of this before, but really, this comes down to is that, you know, I don’t even really want to make reference to this, because I want it to be kind of like an A time capsule a bit. But the reality is, is that we are kind of stepping out of this in COVID world. And there’s so many dynamics of our culture, and of our leadership methodologies that either have changed or need to change in order for us to be relevant moving into the future. You know, there’s a couple of things that we’ll talk about, we’ll talk about the great resignation, we’ll talk about even some self discovery things that people figured out, as they were navigating through through COVID. As far as what their own personal perspectives were on things, it’s amazing how people start to wake it up, and start to figure out what they really truly do think about things that are happening within our world and within our companies. And even within maybe even our churches, or religious circles or belief systems. It’s amazing what people actually start to realize and have this kind of this grand awakening, when all of a sudden the world quiets down for a moment, and we have enough bandwidth to actually start to truly discover what we truly believe about things. And with that, there’s this cause and effect that happens within our organizations. And we have to be able to be okay with being a little bit flexible to go. Okay, let’s go ahead and find out what is really, truly working. And let’s, let’s find the stories that are actually attached. And let’s bring some visibility to that. So I think, you know, kind of moving forward is that I want to be able to come alongside healthy leaders and give them the right platform to say, hey, what you’re doing matters, it works. And I want to be your biggest champion. But for those that are struggling out there, I want this to be a practical resource in which they’re hearing things and they’re getting resources and connections and networking, to leaders that are doing things that maybe there’s a relationship that needs to happen. And hopefully something cool happens out of that in the future.

Jen Gruber 9:31
That’s awesome. I would also challenge you, when we get to this great resignation, we say the pandemic or COVID word that we’re all kind of avoiding because I think we’ve also done enough in the last two years. But that not only did it get quieter in some senses, I think it got a lot noisier as well. Especially when you see organizations now wherever a leader might sit in the upper echelon of organization because often there’s multiple tiers, so I don’t know always not that’s all always the case of the leader has a seat at the final decision table on especially during COVID, we saw a lot of people that got laid off, we got a lot, we saw a lot of changes. And a lot of organizations, we really saw them put their money, probably not where their mouth was in the past, where you saw these CEOs picking these really large, you know, bonuses while their employees were being laid off. And so that’s another really interesting place. When we talk about that great resignation, then hope we can explore some more, because that is something that a lot of us or companies either experienced ourselves, were part of or witnessed, you know, unfortunately, through friends, family, or even, you know, maybe social media with news.

Michael King 10:39
Yeah. And so from a from a personal perspective, I think, you know, there’s there are things that that happened in which there are several people that kind of entered into the unemployment workforce, right toward people where they chose to work from home to where their world quieted down a little bit to where they can make some bigger, bigger shifts, and some bigger changes, with decisions that are gonna make for a personal future. Organizationally, I would say that we stepped into a level of chaos that we’ve never ever seen before. And that’s where, you know, these two different perspectives of like, okay, organizationally, which is even more of the why behind why we’re doing the level up leader podcast is because why we need level up leaders that are actually in enterprise space, we need to see higher levels of efficacy ever to be deployed when it comes to leadership methodologies internally, within organizations to make sure that the vision mission and values that they consistently are redefined, and that they get focused in better than they ever have before. So we can get better execution on the things that truly do matter. That in itself is enough to be able to send us home on that. That’s a big deal.

Jen Gruber 11:45
Yeah, I love it. So we were talking about organizations and leaders and efficacy and all these great things. But so what do you what are you looking at? When you’re looking at the level of leader? You kind of mentioned that?

Well, you know, we’ve, yeah, well, I think that I think the level of leader for the the level of leader podcast, no, this is for everybody. But you know, the thing is, is that if you call yourself a leader, it means that your life is somehow impacting and influencing at least one other person. It’s not just you, their self leadership and organizational leadership. So this whole thing really is like, you know, we’ve we’ve targeted, like, me being kind of a, an executive coach that focuses specifically on sea level leaders and their teams, and also the enterprise level leadership, we’re really talking about those three levels of engagement. But how can we make the biggest difference coming out of the emotional, psychological, intellectual, and even sometimes the spiritual health of a senior leader within an organization, because that stuff always flows out to be able to create culture, as much as I wish that I could tell you that everything has to do with your vision, mission and values, and those things create culture, it really comes down to more of the health of the senior leaders that are occupying those spaces, and how culture is reflected coming out of those offices. That’s a big deal. Yeah. Now that that makes sense. So I know, as a leader in, you know, my organization, other organizations, something that we’re constantly hearing across the table is how do I stay relevant? How can I? How can I be relevant now, especially when we’re talking about hybrid work environments, you have all of these new things, you kind of go back to the chaos, the chaos isn’t over. I mean, I was just reading another article about quiet quitting, which is a whole nother conversation that I hope we can get into some time. But how, as a leader, can we even begin to start be you know, being in staying relevant in, you know, in the present in the now?

Michael King 13:37
Great question. Listen, listen, listen, you know, take some time and be a strategic listener for a season and and then start to adapt, strategic listening into your, into your leadership, best practices as much as you possibly can. And then be wise with, with your strategic deployment of your leadership initiatives. I think, I don’t think actually, this is one of the things that I’ve seen burnout happen in or in sea level leaders, and people who are leading organizations, is because when you feel the pressure that you have to deliver, and when you feel the pressure that you are responsible, and you have the authority to do it, is that sometimes coming to the plate and swinging is better than nothing at all? Well, I think as long as you’re you’re coming to the plate, and you’re willing to swing, but you’re willing to actually hear what is happening in the game, before you make assumptions and that you don’t feel like you just have to perform for the sake of performing or that you just have to execute for the sake of execution. That’s what got us here. In the first place. You know, when we talk about the great resignation, is that I heard this wonderful podcast with Simon Sinek. Which by the way, you’re going to hear a lot about, like my leadership man crushes on this thing with Simon Sinek and Gary Vaynerchuk, and probably Kerry Newhall. Often I hope he’s okay. Maybe even some Rob Bell isms, I think is completely appropriate, as well. But what but he made this quote and he said this, and I love it. And I make sure that I quote him on it. But he says this, that the is that the great resignation is an indictment for for poor corporate leadership of the last two decades. And when he said that I was like, high five, that’s exactly what that is, is that this chaos that that exists right now, it exists, because there’s been this temperamental change within leaders of different generations. You know, I remember growing up with my parents coming home from work, and all they did is come home from work and talk about how bad the culture was. And then the next generation. So like, when my sister kind of like, started to get into the workforce, like, what I’ve noticed is that with hers is that she started to go in the workforce and even mean, we started going into workforce, and we would actually start talking to managers about the changes that we needed to be able to see inside. So it was, so my parents generation was, hey, let’s go home and complain about it. Our generation was, hey, we’re going to actually talk to management, and we’re going to figure out how to make this better. But this generation, this millennial generation, that’s out right now, what you refer to as the quiet quitters. That is just absolutely. That’s catastrophic to organizations. This is literally, we’re kind of just all COVID Did is push us forward about five years faster into the process. But this was going to happen no matter what it was just how fast are we going to get there. And so that’s been a that’s been a really big deal. So you know, that quote, of saying that the Greek resignation is an indictment against, you know, poor corporate culture for the last two decades. I couldn’t agree with him more. So this is where we get to help be a part of the solution on this one.

Jen Gruber 16:59
Yeah, no, that’s awesome. I love it. So we talked you kind of talked a little bit about here is the letter of leader level of leader tribe and influence the tribes around them. But can you give us a little more description on that?

Michael King 17:17
So go ahead and re ask that question. I’ll, I’ll answer that. Do you mean, ask it a specific way? What do we talk about what the question was, like? So we’ve talked a little bit about who the heroes are ungloved club leader tribe, but then we’ve also talked about influencing how to influence those tribes around you. That’s kind of the nose that I have. But I don’t know if you had a specific? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know how we would I think we kind of covered some of that question a bit. Sorry, I was lighting just really? Okay. So we talked about canon podcast, who they are, who the heroes are. Okay, I got one. Okay. Shoot, is there a good Jamie, here, I’ll do this, then you can look for the big finger to restart. Okay, so we’ve talked about the motivation behind the podcast, we’ve talked about maybe, hopefully, who we’re going to talk to you I have I have you have your man crush quotes, I have some wish lists, and we can get on here. I’d love to pick their brains on. But what are some of the things that we’re gonna learn, we’re going to have some great people, but what are some of the things that we’re going to learn, we’re going to learn about a couple of things, we’re going to learn about specific, specific strategies and specific hacks, per se, some leadership principles, that people are actually putting in play, and we’re getting significant results. So you’re always gonna hear that you’re always gonna hear like, here’s the big philosophy or the big principle that is important within our organization, you’re always going to hear a compelling story of, of that inaction. So you’ll always hear from that. But then you’re also going to hear from the leaders, maybe one of the biggest leadership struggles that we’re that we’re that they’re currently working through right now.

I think, again, my heart behind this is that it’s not only that, that we go in, and we shine the light on leaders that are there maybe not necessarily known really well, that are doing it, they’re doing a great job. But it’s also a way for you and I to be able to serve in this space. And so people can actually see some real life executive coaching in real time, to where every single guest gets gets infiltrated by a community of people that reminds us that we are not alone, that you’re not alone. We are here to see everybody win. And we want to be able to provide resources and networking in order for us to be able to do that. So that’s a big deal for me. And I think when it comes down to some of the things that you’re going to hear from me consistently, it’s going to be in these four you’re gonna hear the team’s methodology put to work like in like, you probably have never heard it before. I won’t go into that now, but you’re always going to hear are these four different outcomes to where the reason why we want to invite you into this community is because number one is because vision is always better when you invite people faded. I know that even from my own personal life and my own personal business, that you’ve had a direct impact on helping me see what the potential is, for my vision for my for my business, and what I do as an executive coach, I want people to experience that. The second one is the level of accountability. So executive coaching works when you invite people in to help you hold accountable. The third level is execution. When you invite other people into the levels of execution, the whole execution for your whole organization, it gets elevated. And that’s a really, really, really big deal. So we want to make sure that on those three things that we create a really good strong foundation that we can see people celebrate and live through that.

Jen Gruber 20:51
Yeah, I love that. I also think it’s a great platform for us to celebrate people, you and I were just at an event and you’re super generous to host this inspiring women’s event. And I think it really kind of left me out of or I took away and that left me out I took away from it is that we need to do a better job. Or I say we, I need a better job of really just celebrating some of these leaders in front of us. He kind of mentioned people that, you know, they they’re really the unsung heroes, some of them might not be as visible, you know, they’re not going to be the Steve Jobs of the world or whoever else, they probably are the people that the coworkers, the employees love, but you know, us down the street really don’t know. And I’m so excited not just to learn from them, but to celebrate them, because those are the people that are really making a difference. And those are the leaders of the world. And those are the leaders that are making the next version of leaders that our kids are going to work for so just being able to hear their story and be part of that that just I don’t know, I’m super just, I’m super jazzed.

Michael King 21:48
Well, I’m glad that you’re jazzed, Jen. That’s pretty amazing. But no, you’ve heard me say this before is that is that nothing actually moves forward in an organization unless hope and optimism exist within the core DNA of the infrastructure. So when it comes to the things that we’re about, like if hope and optimism if those things don’t exist, I can’t grow it. In fact, even in my personal one on one executive coaching times that I have with my clients, if I just go into those meetings in my sessions, eager to point out everything that the leader is doing wrong or eager to point out all the ways that the leader is failing, the leader won’t grow. It isn’t. The way that I’ve been literally programmed from from my core DNA is that I’m able to walk into rooms and immediately point out 25 things that they’re doing better than everybody else. And then point out a couple things that I feel like deserve attention to be able to say, Hey, these are the areas that need improvement. Why is that? Because when we take hope and optimism, and we put all of our emotional bandwidth, it’s that that can be really focused on acknowledging the things that we do better than anybody else. And we want to continue to grow those things, something absolutely amazing happens and the leaders, we need to celebrate leaders. And so if there’s something that we can do to make sure that hope and optimism is a part of making sure that there’s a contagious culture that exists coming on to the level of leader podcast in which we can actually help people level up. I’m all about that.

Jen Gruber 23:14
Yeah, and just being part of organizations and watching you to help leaders transform their organization to the company that nobody wanted to order for a walk into, everyone was walking out of the door to not too long, just watching that transform people like climbing in and applying for the job because they just they want to be part of that culture. I’m excited to just see more businesses transformed through this. And there’s because all of us have experienced this through COVID. We’ve all seen people hit the wall. And I’m so excited to be part of something that helps take the wall down. So I know that this is really just introduction, but I know you like actionable things. What’s one thing that we can take away from today and put into our own self leadership practice this week?

Michael King 24:02
I’m glad you asked me this question. We were I don’t know if this was something that you and I were chatted about earlier, but I was listening to a couple of podcasts and I listened to podcasts. Like nonstop. I listen to audiobooks I’m a horrible book reader by the way, but I literally I listened to Audible books, probably 20 books a month like something I retained. Well yeah, it’s and that’s one of the values that if I took away my 35 minutes into my daily are my travel schedule whatnot. I you know, I kind of question about like, Man, I want to keep growing and but I love I love your office or house further apart. No, I think I mean, I think I’m at the limit right now of where I’m at. But But think about this thought and in and I think everybody out about, you know that that could be listening to this. This is something that lands is that your level of execution and is really equated to the level of agree ability that you have within your leadership. Think about it, the the movies that you like the most are the ones in which they’re telling a story that you’re interested in the podcasts that you listen to, you listen to him because the maybe the person who’s on the podcast is saying something that feels relevant to your voice. They feel like, Ah, I can really resonate with that. Where you use sources, you know, like, is it NPR is it CNN is Fox News, you allow that certain level of influence in your life because the level of reliability that you have towards the source. And, and I think when it comes to the efficacy of leadership within an organization, I can say that, that, I find that I’m invited into circles, and I find that the leaders that have the best level of execution are always the ones that really drill down the level of agree ability within their organizations, the the level of understanding their motivations and the why they do what they do is never compromised, they make sure that the y is clearly understood.

So thank you for joining us today on the level up leader podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, consider leaving a review on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts. It helps us get the word out. And make sure to like, subscribe and follow. So that way you’ll get all of our content. I love that Jen gets my true north as a leader, she did a great job of asking me the why behind this podcast. I want this to be a community a resource and a game changer for leaders to make a bigger difference. I wanted to give a special thank you to our featured artist names without numbers for allowing us to use their music. Now we’ve decided that we only wanted to use music that I’ve actually produced in the studio for this podcast. So I think that’s pretty cool. To find out more about everything we have going on at teams that coach check us out at www dot teams tat coach and don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook group