The Communicate Influence Podcast

We explore the essential aspects of communications, marketing, and writing. Podcast interviews with thought-leaders look at important influences that shape a PR pro’s or marketer’s work and creativity for the better. Show host Sheelagh Caygill uses her experience as a journalist to ask guests probing questions, often revealing little-known tips and insights. Episodes always offer listeners solutions to common problems and actionable tips. Sometimes the topics we explore will have a less direct impact on our immediate goals, but they still matter. Episodes have delved into communicating with influence, enhancing leadership communications, and the connection between emotive content writing and poetry. Our guests, just like our listeners, are global. As much as possible, we go beyond international borders and engage in issues affecting PRs and marketers around the world. We feature trend updates, such as the growing force of artificial intelligence in communications and marketing, working on climate reality campaigns, and dedicated leadership support for reputation management and a powerful brand presence...

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episode 54: How To Be a Successful Leader. Lead Yourself Well, Adopt a Servant-Leadership Mindset


Alain Hunkins is a leadership expert who sits at the intersection of the science and the art of leadership.

He has a deep understanding of the psychology of leadership, and his new book, Cracking The Leadership Code, reveals the in valuable principles and practices that Alain has developed and refined during the 20+ years he's worked with leaders.

In this episode, you will discover Alain's gift for translating complex concepts from psychology, neuroscience, and organizational behavior into simple, practical tools that can be applied on the job.

Alain's definition of leadership is anytime any of us are trying to influence anyone to get something done. "That is leadership. And if you think about it, we're all leading ourselves every day. If the cornerstone of good leadership is connection, the first person that I need to connect with is myself."

Leadership today is in pretty poor shape. In fact, says Alain, only 23 percent of leaders are effective.

Problems Inherent In Hierarchy and Power

Says Alain: "If you look at the nature of hierarchical organizations, which most of us work in . . . it is a hierarchy for most of us. There's someone you report to. One of the challenges of hierarchy is that when people get into positions of power, power is an intoxicant.

"So, when people are in these positions of power, they're not likely to say: 'I'm in this leadership role. What my job is to do is to unlock the potential in others. And the best way to do that is to ask the people I lead - and this is a servant leadership mindset they would be having - is to ask them, What can I be doing better to serve you?'.

The key, says Alain, is that we learn to take feedback, and then we apply it. "But to take feedback, we have to be willing to be much more malleable with our egos. And for many of us, that's just that's too scary."

Seek feedback

Alain sees the solution in managers learning to stop taking feedback so personally, or as an afront to their value as a human being.

Alain says the keys are in leaders seeking feedback, coaching, and developing self-awareness.  One of my colleagues, Tasha Eurich, has this wonderful book called Insight. And she says only about 12 to 14% of the population has any real degree of self-awareness. So do things that will bump up your level of awareness so that you can be much more effective!"

Alain has worked with tens of thousands of leaders in over 25 countries, and served clients in all industries, including 42 Fortune 100 companies. He delivers dynamic keynotes, seminars, and workshops covering a variety of leadership topics including communication, teambuilding, conflict management, peak performance, motivation, and change.

Author of more than 400 articles, and been published in Fast Company, Forbes, Business Insider, Chief Executive, Chief Learning Officer, The Association for Talent Development, CEO Refresher, and the American Management Association.

With his Master’s in Fine Arts in Acting from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Professional Theater Training Program, and a BA from Amherst College, Alain also serves on the faculty of Duke Corporate Education, ranked #2 worldwide in 2019 by Financial Times on its list of customized Executive Education programs. Alain has  lectured at UNC Kenan-Flagler’s business school and Columbia University.

Discover Alain on LinkedIn or at AlainHunkins, where you can also read about his 30-day Leadership Challenge.

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 2021-05-14  36m