Episode 10: Developing Leaders Inside And Out with Dr. Teri Baydar
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Episode 10: Developing Leaders Inside And Out with Dr. Teri Baydar
I’m very excited to speak with coach Dr. Teri Baydar, who helps leaders who are feeling stuck become leaders who can create genuine transformation by focusing first on their own personal development. Welcome, Teri. It’s a pleasure to be speaking with you. I’d start by helping you share with our audience a little bit about yourself and why it is you’re passionate about leadership.
Thank you for doing this and having me and also helping get the news out and having a voice here. I am very passionate about leadership because personal development and leadership development has been a guiding light in my life. I have a background in behavior modification and the study of the unconscious mind, but my own story has been at times difficult. I have systematically gotten better each time that I got kicked down through the process of personal development and learning to lead and love myself to the fullest. I became passionate about behavior modification early on because of some difficulties that I had in my childhood. Once I discovered that we could learn, change, be much more and that we had much more inside us to offer to the world, my whole point of view changed from being a victim of my circumstance to taking charge. I’m not always at a place of self-mastery. I don’t know that anybody is, but I’m always striving for it. I love to be on that journey with my clients.
When I’m working with clients and talking about the unconscious mind and helping to bring that more to conscious awareness, one of the things I emphasize with my clients is to become more conscious leaders of their own life. Most of us aren’t aware of the incredible impact the unconscious mind is having on our day-to-day thoughts, feelings, interactions, the patterns that we see in our day-to-day life. If you ask most people who is in charge of their life, most people would say they are, not giving much credence to the impact that their subconscious or unconscious mind plays in their life. I love what you’re doing here in terms of your own journey of becoming more aware of how your unconscious may have played a role in how to take more of a leadership role in your life and how you do that for your clients. It’s wonderful.
That’s the leverage point. We have many habits, shadow beliefs, psychological constructs and social constructs, whatever you want to call them. These subroutines and these programs that are playing out. We ended up doing things we don’t even understand why or repeating the same patterns and getting the same unfortunate results and feeling stuck. That’s where I meet my clients, in that place of stuck. I tried to help them patch and reprogram all of that from the unconscious, just getting by to the conscious, curating, creating, innovating my life, my relationships, and my career. Everything that you can possibly think of from a place of awareness. I like to go deep and not wide in my practice. I love it. I have the most amazing people.Compliance isn't always the best outcome that you want for a company, a group, or a team. Click To Tweet
One of the things I share with some of the people that I work with is that this subconscious or unconscious mind of ours is powerful, but it’s not the smart part of our mind. What happens is once it gets programmed in a way, it thinks that that’s the way life is supposed to be, even if those patterns are counterproductive to us. The way I describe it as far as the subconscious, our unconscious mind is concerned. Same is good, bad is different. That’s one of the ways I see the power of coaching is because when people are trying to break free from these stuck patterns. It seems to me that the subconscious mind has this idea that, “You can go a little outside your comfort zone.” This is the way we usually do it but try something new here. If it thinks you’re about to do something entirely different, even if that’s more constructive for you, it seems to send off this alarm. In my experience, that alarm often comes in the form of fear, doubt, guilt or insecurity.
Generally, the way I put it is if you feel something inside, you feel bad, mad or sad, that is your red flag. You need to address this because something is happening. I don’t think we’re naturally supposed to feel bad, mad or sad. Maybe it’s hardwired. We still don’t know scientifically, but there’s something in us that wants to seek homeostasis. It’s, “Crawl back into bed, don’t do anything, don’t rock the boat, don’t make any waves. Just stay where you are. Keep your head down and it’ll be okay.” That’s where we suffer the most. The fear can be debilitating if you let it take over.
In terms of trying to help people change, when that fear comes up, without the assistance of someone there like yourself to say, “We knew this was coming. We’re prepared for this.” This is the flag that your subconscious mind is putting up there, but we’re going to help you keep taking constructive steps in spite of that. That’s how a coach like yourself can move people from that stuck state to a state where they’re not only transforming themselves but bringing the people around them to a greater level of transformation.
It’s contagious. I work with people for almost two years. It’s very typical, two hours a month every fifteen days. In between, they have real-life homework to do with their careers, their relationship, with themselves. Anything from research on a subject to journaling to addressing a problem with a coworker or a boss or a subordinate or their spouse or their children. This homework shows them their limitations and where they need to go for their next step. It gets real fast. Over a period of eighteen months to two years, by taking all these consistent incremental steps of constantly shifting, the new habit becomes shifting.
What happens at the end is that they can curate new habits and beliefs and constructs that regulate them. That are consciously chosen. That is such a beautiful thing. I get excited about that. To think that you can take that much time, two hours a month, it’s nothing and have a redo in your life. It’s powerful. I did it myself and I learned a lot when I studied the unconscious mind in my early twenties. I did it for myself with people who were coaching me. I know how this works from the inside out and I know how possible it is. I get excited about this. I just can’t help it.
I appreciate your enthusiasm. I like what you’re saying about the shifting and the incremental steps. One of the things with the subconscious mind is that because it’s not the rational part of our mind, it doesn’t respond to logic and reason the way our conscious mind does. What it does respond to is experiential data. What I mean by that is when you do make a slight change and you don’t consistently follow through, your mind is recording, “I may be advocated for myself at work and it went okay.” The more you do that, even slight change that may be outside your comfort zone, the subconscious or unconscious mind is realizing that, “The world’s still okay. Everything’s working okay here.” That’s the data that then says, “Maybe it’s okay to think that you can’t speak up for yourself. You can advocate for yourself.” There, you start with the shifting more and more. One of the things you speak about in your work as a leadership coach is a difference between transformational versus transactional leadership. I was hoping you could give our readers a little bit more understanding of what you mean by that distinction.
In terms of business, we’re very accustomed to working in a transactional mode of functioning. I go to Starbucks. They give me coffee and I give them money. That’s a transaction. We think about how we can use the ability of another person to our benefit or how we can pay someone to get a service done. The whole style of transactional leadership is based on numbers, results, compliance. In transactional leadership, you will have a set of presets specs of what the result of any process in business should be. The closer you get to the result that was predetermined, the better you consider that you’re doing or the better that your boss considers that you’re doing. Bosses that leap like that is lead by compliance. That’s a slippery slope because compliance isn’t always the best outcome.
Complying to a predetermined result isn’t always the best outcome that you want for a company or for a group or for a team. It’s something we thought of before the fact. We might get information in the meantime that is going to change that which we may or may not bring into what we’re doing. Transformational relationships and leadership are all about creativity. It’s multivariable. It’s about listening much more. It’s about caring about the end result and meeting the needs of the people who are going to benefit from the end result whether it’s a product or a service, a relationship, whatever the side that you’re giving to someone. Do you give it to them and expect them to give you something back? Are you giving to them what they need in order for them to move up and move forward in their lives from a place of caring?Most leaders are not aware of the game they're in. Click To Tweet
That’s the main difference in the transactional leadership. We’ve all had these bad bosses that come down on us and are all about the numbers and the results. They don’t care how you get there, as long as you get there. The transformational boss is going to be someone who does care how you get there and might be okay with you not getting to the final result that was predetermined. He or she might be okay with you bringing on impactful information or bringing forth a new solution that might be better for everybody there because they didn’t see what you saw. The transformational leader is somebody that you want to work for. They care about the team, they listened, they have some compassion, some empathy, all that good stuff that makes you want to show up at work. The transactional ones are the bean counters that can drive us crazy. Not that we don’t have to count our beans, we all have to do that, but that’s not the end game. That’s just the score.
You mentioned empathy in terms of the transformational leader. It’s understanding the point of view, be it of the people that they’re leading or the customers who are getting the end result that they’re producing. The other word I wrote down was flexibility. You need to be on the fly, listening, being willing to change, to adapt and be it, in a company. If you’re the leader of your own household as a parent, that flexibility is also often a crucial skill to have.
In my practice, I refer to transactional and transformational with the, “Tran, tran,” so sometimes we get confused. I tend to refer to transformational leadership as parental leadership. The transactional leadership, I call it transactional. I feel you hit the nail on the head because it is very much like that. You want to raise up your team if you are transformational or a parental leader, you want to raise your people up.
The last word I had written down when you were speaking was the word engagement. I could imagine myself, if I was working for a transactional leader versus the parental or the transformational leader. In terms of my engagement in that organization or in that family. Having a leader that’s going to listen to what I have to say or take my thoughts or ideas into consideration is going to prompt me to bring much more of myself to the process than someone who’s just, “Produce these results for me.”
That’s one of the things that we’re struggling with in leadership in general in corporations. They are so large. We spent much time doing Excel sheets or whatever or processes and keeping score that we get lost. We need to find ways to consciously curate both the environment and the individuals who can be transformational leaders and set up the environment that is conducive to that. It’s a big issue in business.
The transactional leaders are discouraging people from either sharing their thoughts, ideas or their creativity be it in the company, the family and the organization and missing out on those contributions.
The transactional leader is only worried about the score. It’s like a ballgame. We absolutely love our baseball and we don’t just look at the score. That’s what the transactional leadership is. Just look at the score. Why do you need to watch the game, participate, be a fan, wear your hat or your t-shirt, paint face, cheer or do anything and be engaged and involved?
That emotional engagement.You have to start from a baseline of being totally honest with yourself and others about what you are feeling and what you are thinking. Click To Tweet
We love the game of life. We can love the game of work in the same way as a part of life. We can love the game of family as a part of life. We can love the game of friendship and relationships as part of life. Everything we do, we can still love it as part of the game. We only need to keep score every now and again to know how much money is in the bank. What are our abilities? What do we have? What can we do with the money in the bank to do our next step for what we’re doing with our lives? I tend to explain it with that metaphor of being a transactional leader is like keeping score but never going to the game.
Missing out on the whole journey there. I would imagine with more of a transformational leader, the end result often then takes care of itself if you’re bringing out the best in people.
The transformational leader, like in the ball game, that’s the coach who knows how many hours that individual batter has been practicing that particular swing or the pitcher’s been working on this particular pitch. It’s all of the training and the encouragement and the talks and the study. All of the past exercises and investment that are all coming together to that one result that ends up with that one home run. It’s not some empty home run. It’s full of all the experience of all the people that got together behind it to make it happen.
The other distinction in your work that I’ve read is the distinction between horizontal development versus vertical development. I was hoping you could help me and our audience understand the difference between those two concepts.
Just like the difference between the transactional and the transformational, it mirrors itself but on individual level. The individual develops horizontal skill sets. That could be anything from typing, using a telephone, using a computer or a process, learning a program, being disciplined, having time management or having the ability to speak clearly or even follow a recipe. Those are things that we do in our lives that are in the realm of doing. Those developmental skills are what help us get by. Those are things we need to know and learn. The vertical capabilities, which is vertical development are who you’re being while you’re doing any of those things. Vertical capabilities are generally considered things like presence, listening, empathy, emotional intelligence, creative problem solving, ideation, inspiration, leading with ease, real confidence, ability to influence, to communicate with compassion and have a vision. The vertical skill set tends to lead into right brain capacities that are very creative. We stop depending much on the left brain, which is more where we rely upon when we’re dealing with horizontal skill sets.
I’m a psychologist so I never went to business school. How much of the vertical development in a typical leaders training, be it in corporations, is spoken about or is taught?
I did go to business school. It’s not a lot. Most leaders are not aware of the game they’re in. You use a horizontal skill set. It’s like your tool belt. It’s all the things you’ve learned. You get better at it and you get better at using the hammer, the nails, the screwdriver, the wrench, the pliers, whatever you’ve got going. You’re carrying around this tool belt and you become fairly proficient at it. Then you get a promotion. Then suddenly it’s not just you, you have all these other people that you need to manage. Nowhere in business school did they teach you the science of people. You might be a fantastic coder, but nobody, even in the management classes, we don’t talk about the science of people.
Not a lot of psychology sneaking into the business schools.Emotional intelligence isn't something that you can just whip out of your pocket whenever you want to. Click To Tweet
Also, from my point of view, not a lot of science of mind, of understanding how the human mind works and how we communicate with each other and how we influence one another. That is a problem. Anybody who’s seen a Simon Sinek video probably gets a good whiff of it. He does a lot on corporations and he puts a finger on it quite well and it is a problem. Most leaders don’t understand the game that they’re in. They get stuck in that transition when they get promoted to a leadership role. Then they want to jump in every time something goes wrong and fix it. They’re like, “Use this tool.” They’re still using those horizontal tools and they’re not developing their vertical capabilities. It’s the vertical capabilities that make you a leader. It allows you to understand what this person is doing and that other person is doing simultaneously and to be able to know what you need to do to get them to do the work they need to do. Whether that involves teaching, empathy, listening, inspiring, giving them confidence, whatever that is. All of that is what makes the leader a leader. It’s a hard thing.
For many leaders this must be like trying to learn a whole different language, a whole different skill set. As a coach, if you have a leader who didn’t get a lot of these types of skills or training, can you give us some examples of ways, either some techniques or strategies that help people learn how to this a little better?
There’s a lot that a person can do. The first thing that is absolutely necessary is introspection. You have to start from a baseline of being totally honest with yourself and others about what you are feeling and what you are thinking. That’s the hardest hurdle for most leaders who are maybe VP and up that I’m working with that feel that sense of stuckness. They want to apply a horizontal tool to get rid of it. That doesn’t work. It’s about who you are being and emotional intelligence isn’t something that you can just whip out of your pocket whenever you want to. It’s a way of being. Empathy is a way of being. Creative and confidence as a way of being. The first thing to do is always start by being honest. I always do a preliminary interview to make sure that they’re ready for the journey.
With the introspection, would that be something like journaling to help gently facilitate some of that and get that started? Here you are, you go through your initial interview with someone, then what might be one of the first few steps to start an introspective process for people who aren’t used to even thinking that way?
I start out with a couple of things. Journaling, and I also teach meditation. Meditation is great and that everybody should know how to meditate. That’s my point of view. One of the best things for figuring out some of that introspection is journaling. It’s required for my clients. We always start out with the baseline. For example, I would say, “Take a piece of paper and establish your baseline. On the left side of the paper put down and finish this sentence, “I want more of in my life,” and then make big bullet points of whatever you want more of in your life. Then on the right-hand side of the paper, “I want less of in my life.” It’s quite simple and it’s more challenging than you might expect. I tell them it doesn’t have to be feasible. It doesn’t have to be realistic. It can be concrete, but it doesn’t have to be.
The point here is to establish a baseline of what you want as an individual. I know this is going to resonate with you because I know about the acorn and how you and your work use the acorn. Knowing what you want is essential to getting in touch with your evolutionary drive. Having a sense of, “I want and I can have the things I want in my life,” is very personal. You don’t have to want what someone else wants. Wanting what you want is okay and having a space to want what you want or not want what you don’t want without any influence from your upbringing or what you should do, what you shouldn’t, what people might think. Knowing that this is a safe place on this piece of paper to say, “I don’t want this and I do want that,” starts to put you on the path of thinking, “If I want it, maybe I could have it. It’s interesting, I never knew I wanted that. Maybe that’s something that I should be pursuing instead of ignoring.”
Let’s try to listen to that inkling. Where did that want come from? That innate sense of self, what is that trying to say to you?
We have much untapped wisdom and potential within us. It’s like being next to the ocean and having a little bowl of water to wet your feet. We have much untapped of potential that we’re not using. The evolutionary drive is very strong when it’s given and it’s very wise. It’s been my experience with myself and my clients that your natural individual evolutionary drive is very smart.You’re only as successful as you are self-developed. There's nothing more valuable than developing yourself. Click To Tweet
You mentioned the acorn and it’s a very similar concept to that innate sense of self. When you say it’s very smart, I say it’s your best guide to living your ideal life. The problem is most of us weren’t taught to listen to it. Instead, many of us were taught to listen to the voices that we inherit, be it, “This is what you should do, supposed to do, etc.” I love these exercises you’re suggesting. One of the words that came to mind when you’re speaking is people need to learn to give the space in their life to listen to this voice. It’s like taking the time in a quiet area to do these writing exercises. Anytime I encourage people to journal, one of the things that I do is I ask them to do it totally unedited.
Often, what I’ll do is I’ll suggest a writing exercise and I’ll say, “Just whatever comes up.” Then once you’re done writing, take a few moments to read it over so you gain whatever insights you can from it. I personally have them destroy it. One of the reasons that I do that, I know other people keep journals, but one of the things that I try to do is I want people to be able to speak as freely as possible. If people know that no one else in the world would hear this but themselves, then they may be able to be more honest, which is what you’re getting at. Be as honest as possible and listen to that genuine voice or the evolutionary drive there.
I do similar things. I give the option to destroy if they don’t. Sometimes it’s journaling and sometimes it’s letters. The famous write a letter to so and so and tell him everything you want and then you can burn it. It sounds simple, but it’s important to go back and reread them and get the insight. I’ve done it in my personal development as well. I had a bonfire. It was about a few years ago with 30 years of my personal development journals. I was like, “It’s not me anymore. None of this is me anymore.” I do believe that it’s not always necessary to hold onto these things. Part of the journey is having it to have it and experience it, to feel it, to think it and then let it go. If you haven’t had it, you can’t let it go. That was also something you’re saying, “Be free to say whatever you have to say.” Have it, have your anger, have your pain, have your fear and have whatever you’re having. Experience it, understand it, listen to it for yourself and for your own benefit moving forward and then you let it go.
I know for many, it’s counter-intuitive for people acknowledging some of these things for more of the subconscious or unconscious level. Bringing it to your conscious awareness is the way to move past it. Many people try to keep that under the surface. That is what prolongs the impact of those emotions or struggles on their lives.
The more you push up against it, the more you’re giving it energy to exist, whatever it is. If you’re able to face it and let it rise and then you find out that, “Nothing much happened here. I wasn’t struck by lightning. The world is still here and I’m okay and I’m still loved and appreciated. It was me making most of the time a big deal out of something that wasn’t that big of a deal. It was in my mind and it was in my perception.” That’s one of the tools that I work with a lot, reframing perception. Learning to understand that what you think might be might not be the whole reality of what’s happening. If you and I are looking at the statue of David and you’re standing in front of him, you’re going to see his face. I’m standing behind him. I’m going to see the back of his head. I’m not going to know what his eyes look like. That understanding is very simple to change your perspective. Change some of those ways of looking at things and ways of doing things so that you can see a little bit differently. Understand a little bit more and widen your perspective.
A lot of people don’t understand, and I’m sure you do this with your clients, is realizing when we are perceiving something, we think we’re getting fully accurate picture of what we’re perceiving. What many of us don’t realize is that perception is filtered through whatever core beliefs or ideas that I have in my subconscious mind.
I call that the operating system. It does two things. If you’re a Mac and on a PC. I’m going to perceive from one point of view, you perceive from another point of view. Either we have to translate the documents as they go back and forth because we have different operating systems. We have to have them translated and things get lost in translation or it doesn’t compute because they’ll reject your documentation. How many times have you had that? You send a document to someone and they’re like, “I can’t read it. You need to send it to me in this format.” Different operating systems. We all have individual operating systems. We all have personal codes. It’s all different
I see such an important role as a coach for yourself to be able to point that out and to help people become more aware of that and say, “Let’s think about it a little differently here.” Realizing that you can change that perception. You can change the way you’re looking at something. Oftentimes, you need another person to be able to do that because it’s much easier for someone else to have a more objective perspective on how you’re thinking because they’re not in your mind.We all have individual operating systems and we all have a personal code. Click To Tweet
Nobody does it alone. I don’t care if you’re Steve Jobs. You can’t do it on your own. The idea that we’re not interdependent and that we’re not here to help each other and to serve each other, that somehow, we are independent is silly. I breathe in the air and then I breathe it out. You breathe it in and then you breathe it out and then I bring it back in. We’re very interdependent and knowing and accepting interdependence as a fact is also another one of those points that I go over with my clients that you need to know. We all need to know that we are interdependent. Nobody does it alone. When we start to realize that we are interdependent, things like empathy and compassion start to creep in.
I love the concept of the interdependence because then we do realize that by empowering others, we’re empowering ourselves. As leaders, the more people understand that, we’ll be creating more and more leaders who can bring people around them to greater levels of development, which is what the world needs here. Teri, it’s been very much a pleasure speaking with you and I didn’t know if there was any final word of wisdom or advice you’d like to leave with our audience. I want to make sure our audience also know how to contact you best.
Let’s start with the second first, WhiteLilyCoaching.com. I also have a wonderful profile which is in www.TheCoachingConnector.com. I’d like to leave this little snippet for our audience or anybody who gets a chance to read this, that you’re only as successful as you are self-developed. There’s nothing more valuable or with more of a return on investment than developing yourself. It’s almost a linear relationship. I can’t stress that enough. Anybody who wants more living out of life, anybody who wants a better career, better relationship, it starts right in the heart and in the mind. There’s no other place to go to get it. We tend to be confused about that and we’re busy looking at all the things on the outside of us. All your success is directly linked to how much you invest in yourself. That’s it.
You think about our traditional school system like in business school, that perspective is not emphasized. I love what you’re saying here. Do the work, develop those vertical skills there, do the self-development and that’s going to make to succeed more as a leader in your personal life or your professional life. Thank you again, Teri. I appreciate you taking the time and sharing all your words of wisdom with the audience.
Thank you so much, Lisa.
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- https://TheCoachingConnector.com/directory/leadership-development-consultantcoach/ – Dr. Teri Baydar Profile
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About Dr. Teri Baydar
Dr. Teri is a leadership development consultant and coach, who works with executives, high potential employees, and high-performance individuals. She teaches emotional intelligence and intuitive intelligence, and right brain processes to think more creatively and constructively. Dr. Teri trained at the Coach Training Institute and has an MBA from HULT International Business School in London with accrued training in authentic leadership and managing complexity.
- Lentino, L.M. (2014). Constructive thinking how to grow beyond your mind. Sudbury, MA: Grow Beyond Your Mind.