Where Are You Following More Than You Are Leading?

advisors audience business business owners ceo coach ethics feminine followers followership kris plachy leadership leadership coach personal growth personal life podcast social media social media influence society values visionary Jun 03, 2024


Are you abiding by someone else's model of success or are you forging your own path? There’s a lot of noise when it comes to what it means to be a leader and we often find ourselves following the advice of others instead of listening to our own instincts. In this episode of Leadership is Feminine, host Kris Plachy invites listeners to ask themselves where are you following instead of leading?

For many leaders, there’s a point where you start to defer to the people you bring in to your business, your queendom. And slowly, you find yourself being less of a leader and more of a follower. Kris reminds the audience that even though it’s not easy, it is important to not acquiesce to those ideas. Instead of finding someone with the answers, seek out those who ask you questions.

Kris opens up about her own personal journey with social media, revealing her struggle to find a fulfilling and authentic relationship with the platform. She describes the journey she has taken in order quiet the noise, and be able to use the platforms in a way that is aligned with her values and the type of leader she is.

She provides compelling insights into the drawbacks of mimicking someone else's "kit" or model of success instead of figuring out your own unique composition. The episode thoughtfully explores how to navigate the pressures of following the herd, asking more questions than providing answers, keeping you critically engaged. Nonetheless, Kris emphasizes that in spite of the struggles, we have the ability and indeed, the right, to carve our own path.

And so if you were to get really honest with yourself, where are you not leading? Where are you following? Where are you hoping someone else will just throw you the answer?

Key Takeaways From This Episode

  1. The Concept of Balance in Leadership: Proposal to balance masculine and feminine perspectives on leadership.

  2. Reevaluation of Social Media and its Impact: Kris shares her personal experience with social media, specifically its performative aspect.

  3. Analyzing the Influence of Others on Our Decisions: Discussion about remaining true to one's values even when they conflict with others' opinions.

  4. The ‘Kit’ Analogy and Self-Discovery: Emphasizing the importance of exploring one's own attributes instead of following others

  5. Reimagining Leadership Structures: Encouragement to pursue genuine leadership.

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Speaker: Well, hello, hello, hello, and welcome to, welcome to Leadership is Feminine. I'm having trouble with my mic today. How are you? I am so happy that you're here. I am your host, Kris Plachy, coming to you the day after we just got two new puppies, little Shih Tzu puppies. They're not quite three pounds. Their names are Gus and Dash. And Binx, who is my oldest Shih Tzu, is not having it. But nonetheless, we're gonna figure it out.

So, we actually had a pretty good first night, which is so fun. I'm recording this on Memorial Day, And we're going to just, I'm going to get this done and then we're going to go play pickleball. So welcome welcome.

One of the things that's been on my mind a lot lately is what it really means to be in your leadership truth. And I know the last couple of podcasts, right, I've been positing some questions to you. Really, which I think are symptomatic and representative of the questions I've just been asking in general about the work of being a CEO coach and a leadership coach and a leader myself and what I'm really watching, right?

We have a lot of examples in the world right now, and I'm not talking about politics. So I just want to leave that on the table. We're just watching leaders, quote unquote, I use that in big quotes in all sorts of parts of the world in all sorts of facets of leadership, whether it's corporate business-y stuff, country stuff, government stuff, family stuff, football stuff, rock star stuff, you name it. We have a lot of, a lot of headlines, a lot of, a lot of attention and a lot of fodder to evaluate, in my mind, what leadership is, and isn't and also followership.

So you know, I was even thinking to myself today, like, you know, we've always associated gullibility with a weakness, right? But I do find that I think gullibility is really when you just believe someone else's truth over your own. I think we have a problem with that. And so anyway, I'm, I'm a little bit kind of moving around because what I wrote that I wanted to talk about was really this, uh, deconstruction of leadership. And doing so through the lens of what we've believed versus what I, what I believe might be useful to start to believe and do so through the lens of what I call Leadership is Feminine, right?

And I know if you're a listener of the podcast, you know, this is true. If you, if you are new to the podcast, remember that, or please know that my intention around Leadership is Feminine is not to say everybody should swing completely over to a feminine perspective on leadership, it's that we need balance.

We have moved so far to a masculine leadership model in so many facets of our world that we just don't have balance. And so I want to pull us back in our dialogue because I don't think one is better than the other. I don't think one is right or wrong. I just think one overuse of anything is ineffective. And I don't think we have a lot of check right now on ourselves and on our leaders and on the people that we follow and on the people we expect to follow us.

And so my hope is we can, if we're in a role where we have opportunity for influence to me, that's leadership. And I believe we have a responsibility to be very aware of what we're doing through the lens of that role.

So I've thought about this in a lot of different ways. And I, I've been trying to toy with this, this one episode, or is this like a series? Does it go in order or does it even matter? And I think what I'm going to do today is I'm going to just talk about what the, the one topic that I find pretty prescient for me. And see where that leads me because I have so many different things I want to talk about. I don't, I don't like my podcast to be too long. I know you know that. So we're going to, we're going to do it that way.

So I want to talk about social media and I want to talk about leadership and social media. And I want to talk about, I have a few things I want to talk about.

So I don't know if you guys have seen, there's a new campaign. I just posted on my story. I just shared one of the versions, but I've seen several of these now. There's a new campaign. I don't know who's behind it. It's fine- sure, who knows? But it starts off with kids saying, "Hey, I think our parents were right."

And then it's like an exchange, right, with some older, sort of zenny aged kids, like 20, right ish. And the person says, "What do you mean?" And the other person says, "I think it is the phones." And then they show sort of this, the one that I just shared was like all this nature scenes and all this like beautiful ness of the world. And the message is, you know, get off your phone.

I think for any of us who I'm, you know, I've raised three kids in this genre of, of what we didn't know before we knew it. Right. Giving our kids smartphones well before we knew, before Facebook existed, before any of this stuff existed. And then what that has done, how much that has changed the world.

And the truth is we're never putting that back in the, that toothpaste doesn't go back in the, in the tube. So now that it's here, we figure out what to do with it. And what's super interesting for me, from my perspective is as a business owner who wants to have reach. I want to find my audience. Listen, I'm just like anybody else, right?

And I am a thought - I don't want to call myself leader, but I guess that we could just say I'm a thought initiator. Like I like to introduce new ideas to you and give you the opportunity to chew on them. Like, do you believe me? Do you like it? Do you not like it? I don't want you to believe me just because I have a lot of followers. I want you to believe what you believe ultimately, right? Like not, don't just believe me because you think I'm smart. Question yourself, right? So that campaign sort of triggered this.

And then I have had a love, hate, really mostly hate relationship with social media for years. I have threatened to go off of it. If you've been a long time listener, you know, I've even said it. And then I sort of re rally and I think, "No, I'm going to do it this way and I'm going to love it." And then I just never do. I never enjoy the experience. And I get a lot of feedback from a lot of people who are big on social media, who are like, "But Kris, your people want to hear from you. They want you. They want your- your audience is waiting for your message."

And I, I get it. But it's so antithetical to my values. Like, that platform, I don't care what it is, with the exception of this one, which I don't even call social media, this to me is like idea exchange, or social media is performative. This is not performative. This is you and me in a living room. Now, could social media be like this? I suppose. Could we make that argument?

I think what's hard for me about social media is it feels like junk food to me. I know when I scroll, which I do more than I want, I feel like I ate a Big Mac, like it tasted so good, and then I feel awful after I finish. And I don't want to contribute to that. Like, I have this, this ethical problem with it because I feel like if I'm on there, I'm condoning the very thing that I actually want to not do in my own life, and I don't want my kids to do.

And I don't want people that I love to do because there's so much living that needs to be done. And maybe we will eventually have a world where this is all we do is we sit and look at things on TV. I don't know. I know that Apple's visual, what is it? Virtual reality stuff they have. People are supposed to be now just walking around with goggles on even in their own home playing soccer with their kids in their house. Have you guys seen that ad? I think they took it down. It was so overwhelming. I'm like, is this who we've become?

So what does this have to do with leadership? So what, what I noticed about myself is that there's a lot of noise for someone like me to get on the band-, to get, get with it. Stop being so, you know, insecure, uncomfortable, reserved. "Why are you hiding? Why don't you show up more on social media? People want to hear from you." You know, this whole, all this message and listen, thousands of people have made so much money on social media, using social media as their platform, and I don't begrudge them at all.

But what I watch in myself is a followership that I, I feel, I feel like I should believe them over myself and I fall for it a lot. More than I wish I did. And then I go back in and then they realize, "Oh, I hate this." You know what I love? You and you and you and you and you and you and me sitting in a room somewhere on comfortable furniture with our notebooks and our beautiful pens having a rich conversation that aligns to where you are in your life, in your business. That's what I want to do.

And I know I've been able to build a very successful business and not have to have 5 million followers. And you know, what's super interesting is that I have 15 or 16 clients right now in my Sage CEO program, Sage visionary program, and not one of them is a social media influencer, and all of them are running seven and eight figure businesses. So I also have lots of evidence. Yeah. In my world that that is not necessary, but why do I bring this up? Because I think that there are edges in leadership.

So let me give you some other examples. As a leader, you will have people who are in your world, so it could be the leader that you admire. It could be a colleague who is also very successful. It could be a girlfriend who's very successful. It could be your husband who thinks you should do something to be more successful. It could be the board of directors or the, if you're not the CEO or what have you, but you're the manager or you're the, the president or you're the whatever, and you have, you have an owner, you have a founder who you work for, they will all have ideas about what you're supposed to do and why.

And I know because I coach y'all all the time when you are going against your values. I watch my own clients who have senior leaders who report to them, right? Vice presidents, directors, whatever they call them. I watch them acquiesce to what they know they want in their company because the people that work directly under them don't want them to do it.

I've said this before, right? Sometimes you have to be careful. You get so many other brains involved in your business. You wake up one day and you're like, is this my business? Oops. What happened? I watch people go on to social media and make, try and make that work and they're miserable, but they do it even though it's antithetical to their brand.

I watch people hire people, pay people lots of money, use people for their presence online for their own gain. Right? Like, Oh, if I hook up with this person, this person has a big brand. So therefore I will benefit. Maybe that's true. And if it feels good, if it aligns with your values, you get it. But I do see a lot of people who don't want that and they do it anyway.

I see a lot of founders who know things should be different in their company, but because their vice presidents or their directors don't feel comfortable with what they want, they don't do it. I see a lot of. Female founders who are running their own companies whose husbands are partners. Think they should be doing it differently and they abdicate to their husband or partner who hasn't built a seven figure business, as far as we can tell. Yet, somehow their opinion is more important. I see them do it with their family. I see all of us doing this.

So here's the thing. What does it mean to be a leader, right? If we're going to deconstruct this, and I'm using social media as my example, but I think we all have this part of our world that we are saying yes to something that is not aligned with our values, and we know it, and we're, we're following, we're not leading.

Because what is really leading leading is going first.

And here's the thing. The very first influencers, I don't even know who they were. You guys probably, somebody out here at- will. I don't even know who the very first people were who said, "Oh, look what we can do here on social media and make money."

Barring the people who created the social media, who were all kajillionaires, who, who were the first people, right? There's first people out there who were those people. They're leaders. Everybody else is just following. Mimicking. Am I right? I mean, isn't ultimately a leader being the one who goes first?

Isn't it really confusing how many people are on these platforms espousing to be leaders? How do you know who to trust? And as a leader, how much time are you spending following versus leaning? How much time are you investing in original, your own original insight, your own original direction, your own original gut, your own original North star versus believing in the North star that someone else came up with and thinks that's the way it should be.

It is easier to follow. I will say that. It's so much easier. Years ago, I did a podcast. I think I might've called it The Kit. I'm not quite sure, but I do think it was something like that. And the, the premise of the kit is that we're all born. When we're born, we're given a kit and we all have this kit and it's in this box, but there's no directions with this kit. And we don't actually even know what the kit is supposed to make. It's just a kit. But we all got one.

And so we spend so much time, a lot of us, even more so than others, walking around looking at everybody else's kit. What kind of kit did you get? Well, I don't have directions, but I like your kit. Can you teach me how to make your kit? But the problem is their kit has different stuff in it than your kit does. So for as much as we attempt to make our kit, What we have in our kit look like what they have. We can't get there because we have a different kit.

Now we can get close, but then, but then what do we do? Then we get mad at the other person whose kit we're trying to make because they didn't give us the right directions.

No, Baj. It has nothing to do with that. It has the, has everything to do with the fact that you have your own kit and you haven't done the work to explore who you are, what is in your kit. I believe that if you really want advisors in your life who are worth something, you find advisors who are willing to ask you questions, not just give you answers.

I know enhancer feels great. Listen to me. I am the first one who will call a girlfriend and say, please tell me to do. I understand that feeling of just wanting somebody to fix it. Trust me. But nobody's gonna. And as for as long as we keep just thinking, well, they have the kit and they have great, their kit looks great. I'll just buy their direction. No, you're not going to feel sated. You're not going to feel fulfilled. You're going to end up not being where you want to be at some point. You might be rich as hell, but you won't be happy.

So listen, I get it. And like I said, social media is mine. So I've decided to make this new relationship with social media, which is if I feel like it, I do it, but I'm not your girl. If you want like the curated, right. It's not going to happen for me. If I have something to say, I'll say it. If I don't, I'm not gonna. And I certainly don't think I have any interest in sharing all of my personal life with people I don't know.

I teach in my program that your world, your business is a queendom. One of the core teachings I have is that if you want to build a successful business, you need to have discernment in who you let into your queendom. If everybody is allowed in, or you are desperate to let everybody in because you don't think you are worthy of the best and the most talented and the most aligned, then you have a mess of a business. And I think the same thing is true about a life, but that's my opinion.

So I do have a, you know, I have a personal Instagram account and that's where I play with people that I know. And some of my long term clients will show up with me there and I love that. That's fine. But what I want to do in my public profile is talk about thoughts and ideas and get an initiate things into your mind that I hope will be provocative enough to make you think.

Which is part of, I think, well, maybe the problem is there's not a lot of answers, just a lot of questions. But if I'm honest about it, that's what I want to do. And so if you were to get really honest with yourself, where are you not leading? Where are you following? Where are you hoping someone else will just throw you the answer?

Someone else's kit looks better, and so you just want their directions, but yet you're standing in a leadership position in your life. And therefore, I think at the end of the day, for so many of us, that is very unsettling to simultaneously want to be a leader, but also not having the edges we need to make the decisions and do the things that nobody else is doing.

So I think I answered my question that I posited at the beginning of this episode, which is, I don't know if this is one episode or a series, because I think now I should end this one, and I'll record another one on some of the other elements I want to talk about when we're deconstructing leadership.

If you think about it, and we think about sort of the traditional masculine models of leadership, and we think about even the org charts. I've, I've talked about this before, right? A traditional org chart. Everything looks like a kingdom, right? There's someone on top, then there's people under him, literally, then there's other people under him, then there's under people until we get all the way down to the peasants, right? And society's like that too, right?

And we keep believing that that's the only society that we can have. And the people on the top fight really hard to keep their spot. Now the question is, is that just humanity? Is that just how we are as a human? I don't know the answer, y'all. All I know is it's so ineffective. Because then what we get to is where I think we're getting to, which is people on the bottom, they get very unhappy, understandably.

And then we have to go through this whole tumble again. And everybody has to fight for positioning and everybody has to fight and literally kill each other for what? To be right? To have land? I don't get it. Why do we keep buying into this model? I don't get it.

So leadership as it stands out of a masculine image and out of a masculine 10, 000 years of masculinity and leadership is to make people believe they have to be followers. That somehow a leader knows more than you. Any leader who uses people for his or her own gain is not a leader. They're a manipulator. But if you're easily manipulated, then we perpetuate the problem.

So, as a leader, I think you have to always ask yourself, am I leading? What am I following? Am I looking for the easy way? Or am I willing to ask the tough questions and find my own answers? Do I surround myself with advisors who ask me questions? Or do I just surround myself with people who give me ideas and that's all, and then I can hold them accountable if they don't work? Am I willing to go my own way?

To quote the great Fleetwood Mac, it's lonely to go your own way. It's terrifying, but it's incredibly powerful to realize you can. So more questions probably than answers today.

But as always, I love when you tune in and if you have feedback on this episode, I would love it if you would write me a review, it really does make a difference. I know you hear people say that all the time, but it does because it pushes the- Podcasts now y'all are getting like ridiculous. And so the more reviews we get, the more people will hear it. Right. And if I'm going to choose an outlet to, to connect with other people, this is my outlet.

This and my writing is what I want and where I want to spend my time. So do me a solid, if you liked it, share it, post a review, email it to someone. Don't just put it on a social media site. All right, friends, I got to go play with puppies. I'll talk to you next time.

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Go to thevisionary.ceo/catalyst. Get yourself registered. Grab the podcast link. Super easy, and please share it with women that you know that are leading in the world, because I'd love to be able to impact 20 million women. I know that when women feel more confident in who they are as leaders. It changes who they are in their lives.

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