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Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Learn from a Leader: Leading from Your Lane

There’s no one way to lead. Don’t worry about whether you’re doing it right or not. Focus on staying in the leadership lane that feels most comfortable to you and and if you're encouraging others to lead give them a comfortable space to lead.

Personally, I’ve led from the front of the room. (My 8-year-old self was frequently “volunteered” to go first at piano recitals.
 
I've led from the back of the room. (When you’re the only female in a room full of football officials, just being in the room is leadership.)
 
I’ve led when no one is watching. (By continuing to work after everyone goes home to ease the workload on a colleague.)
 
I've led when everyone is watching. (Thousands of people watch my post-game interviews after milestone games.) 
 
You can lead in a number of different ways. It starts by how you lead yourself as former NFL General Manager Randy...
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Learn from a Leader: Leadership Lessons from Improv

There’s a concept in improv comedy called “Yes, and…” It’s used to introduce new topics or scenarios. The performers agree to the premise before expanding on it.

But there’s more to it than just saying “Yes, and…” The key to making the concept work is letting go of expectations in that moment. Performers shouldn’t use “Yes, and…” to shoehorn their preconceived idea into the skit because the outcome is never very good. In fact, Jonni Ressler, improv comedian and CEO of Eleven 11 Solutions, says often it leads to confusion.

Performers need to drop their expectations of what they thought would happen on stage and be open to what is happening in the moment. And here’s where we find a business and leadership correlation. 

Leaders can create confusion when they incorrectly apply the “Yes, and…” technique. For example, let’s say you call your team together for a...

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Learn from a Leader: Own the Arena

Here’s a TV pro tip for making your eyes and your entire face look less tired – wear a dark or brightly colored shade of lipstick. The pop of color draws attention away from your eyes (and the dark circles or bags underneath them) and helps off-set a lack of sleep.

I’ve done this many times and I can tell you from personal experience it’s a small thing that makes a big difference, not only in what the audience sees, but in how I see myself that day.   

Showing up is half the battle as that quote goes, but as an on-air personality the way I show up counts. As a leader it’s not enough to show up. The way you show up is part of your brand and the message you communicate to others.

It’s up to you to own your space, or as former professional tennis player and past USTA president Katrina Adams would say “Own the Arena.” She joined the Learn from a Leader series to talk about her new book and the many leadership lessons she learned...

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Learn from a Leader: Collecting Talent vs. Building a Team

The NFL Draft isn't just about building a football team. It's talent evaluation being covered and talked about as a sports event. 

Every leader and business owner makes the same types of decisions as NFL general managers. They can also make the same types of mistakes. Here's the biggest one: acquiring talent vs. building a team.

There's  one thing that determines whether you are building a team or just acquiring talent: the job description itself. 

Former NFL GM Randy Mueller explains why that's key when evaluating talent and identifying the best fit for your team. 

Learn from a Leader is a monthly series hosted by Jen Mueller and features CEO's, visionaries, thought leaders and action takers. Join the conversation and the next Learn from a Leader session for free. 

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Learn from a Leader: Negotiating and Communicating

This is the time of year NFL free-agent deals make headlines. It's easy to look at those dollar amounts and think you'll never been in those kinds of conversations - except negotiating is a skill leaders use every day.

Creating buy-in is a form of persuasion and negotiation. Without it you won't foster the type of teamwork needed to be successful. Being a successful negotiator comes down to a few basic communication skills.

Sports agent Kelli Masters joined Learn from a Leader and shared her overall strategy for negotiating NFL contracts and it isn't about the numbers - it starts with knowing your stuff and being able to see different points of view. 

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner negotiating his own contract in 2019. Most players prefer to let their agent handle the details and have the tough conversations. Those conversations could include the employer (the team) telling an an employee (the player) he isn't as valuable or important as he thinks he is. Who wants to hear...

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Learn from a Leader: Believe in Yourself

The statement is simple, but it can be the hardest to grasp.

It can be equally difficult to differentiate between feedback and validation. Having a sounding board and getting feedback on your ideas, execution and concepts is important, but if you’re initiating those conversations to get validation you’re undermining your impact, expertise and capabilities. It’s part of the conversation I had with Elaina Herber, President and CEO of the Ascend Hospitality Group, during her Learn from a Leader session in February 2021.

That attitude of knowing what you’re capable of was on full display during the two weeks I spent at Mariners Spring Training. Not a single athlete I talked to or interviewed will entertain a conversation about their shortcomings getting in their way of their success. Every single one of them knows what they’re capable of and that’s their focus.

It doesn’t mean they’re not coachable. It doesn’t mean they’re not...

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Learn from a Leader: Building Confidence

I never thought of confidence as a skill. I assumed it was something you acquired with age, wisdom and experience. I believed that confidence was something you needed to earn either by virtue of personal accomplishments or because of a status you obtained.

I didn't know how wrong I was about all of those ideas until talking with high-performance psychologist Michael Gervais during a Learn from a Leader interview.  

"Confidence comes from one place and one place only. It's what you say to yourself." 

Mind blown. 

Confidence isn't something that just happens. It's cultivated. It's also a skill leaders need to develop. The confidence you have in yourself directly impacts how you lead others. 

Take a look at the short clip from Michael's interview for more perspective. Register for the next Learn from a Leader session to get access to the entire library of interviews. 

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Learn from a Leader Bonus Interview + Giveaway

It doesn’t matter who I talk to these days NFL athletes, venture capitalists, C-suite executives, my grandma or my best friend, the topic of mental health frequently comes up in conversations. It sounds different for everyone but most often it’s a question like “How are you handling things?”

It highlights the fact that all of us are dealing with feelings of stress, anxiety, loneliness, insecurity and fear. We’re all human.

Years ago I wrote a letter to Lisa Malosky, a sports broadcaster in Houston, professing my admiration for her work and my desire to become a sports broadcaster. I told her that I loved sports and I thought it would be so cool to talk to the athletes themselves. Her hand-written response included these words, “Athletes are people too.”

Twenty years into my sports broadcasting career I know exactly what she meant. I understand the role of empathy in seeing the human side of all people, whether I’m talking to athletes,...

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Learn from a Leader: Communication and Negotiation

Effective communicators and negotiators know their point of view isn't the only one to consider in a conversation.

It's important to communicate your value, message, solution, strategy, etc... but if you haven't considered how that fits with the objective and point of view of the other person(s) in the conversation you're talking, not communicating. 

Sports agent Kelli Masters explained how this factors into negotiating contracts for the athletes she represents. You don't need to work in sports for this message to resonate. 

If you don't consider or recognize other points of view during a conversation you're less likely to be effective in your communication tactics, as Kelli explains in the video. 

Kelli is a trailblazer in sports and she is now an author. Her first book is available for pre-order High-Impact Life: A Sports Agent's Secrets to Finding and Fulfilling a Purpose You Can't Lose. I've already ordered mine!

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Learn from a Leader: Sacred Selfishness

Self care is a popular term, but what if you take it a step further and practice "sacred selfishness?" Leaders need to place high value on taking care of themselves so they can lead others. 

And according to Jonni Ressler, CEO of Eleven 11 Solutions, it's one of the best habits you can develop as a leader.

For me, I’m selfish with the first 60-90 minutes of my day. I use that time to workout, journal, read have a cup of coffee and review my to-do list for the day. It’s the only quiet time I’m guaranteed to get every day so I make the most of it. 
 
What does sacred selfishness mean for you? 
 
Jonni joined the Learn from a Leader series earlier this year. Get access to the full interview and entire library of interviews by joining the series
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