From Bad to Badass Leader with Michelle Reines

Reading Time: 12 Minutes

On this episode, Michelle Reines discusses how to go from a bad leaders to a badass leader.

After the Interview:

About Michelle Reines

Michelle Reines is a speaker, author, coach, entrepreneur, founder of MDR Coaching & Consulting, Inc., and creator of the unconventional Badass Leader brand.

Early in her leadership journey, she was an absolute ASS as a boss, oblivious to the impact she was having on people! Perhaps, like many of you, she didn’t understand how to lead. Michelle looks forward to sharing her thrills of victory & agonies of defeat, with a goal of helping you unlock the art of leading like a Badass!

Read the Transcript

Allison: Welcome back to the Deliberate Leaders podcast. I am your host and Executive Coach Allison Dunn. I am excited to share this topic today we’re talking about how to go from bad to bad as leader, and understanding the profound the profound impact an unconscious leader has on organizational health and performance.

As our guest today, we have with us Michelle Reines. She is a speaker, author, coach, entrepreneur, founder of MDR, coaching and consulting and creator of an unconventional badass leader brands. I love this self-described so early in her leadership journey. She was an absolute ass, as a boss, with us to the impact that she was having on her people. Perhaps like many of you, she didn’t understand how to lead. Michelle looks forward to sharing her thrills of victory and agony of defeat, with a goal of helping you unlock the art of leaving like a badass. Michelle, thank you so much for joining us today.

Michelle: Great to be here. Allison, thanks so much for the invitation and the opportunity. My pleasure.

Allison: I love to kick these off with a deliberate conversation. So what would be your number one leadership tip for our listeners today?

Michelle: I would say if you don’t own a leadership mirror by one, because that’s where we should spend the majority of our time is looking in the mirror because our teams are a reflection of our leadership.

The proverbial leadership mirror often I would you agree that literally a mirror sometimes is required to be able to see how you come off is that we would recommend, Oh, definitely, it will not just the actual physical mirror. I think that’s always important to practice, especially if you’re going to have a candid or challenging conversation. I think it’s good to rehearse it and or a conversation, just making sure that you’re congruent that your words and body language and tonality align with your messaging. And so I definitely would agree that it is valuable. I also think it’s valuable to constantly like call post mortem your day, and think about what worked, what didn’t work, what could you do differently? What did you learn?

Allison: Leadership mirror, that is a fantastic tip. Thank you for that one. So how so I guess like just to kind of give a baseline like I a bad leader, I can think of a lot of them. But how do you recognize if you were one?

Michelle: I would love to say that my I was intuitive enough to recognize when I was a bad one. I was 25 at the time. And unfortunately, my wake up call came in the form of a walkout. And so literally, I was oblivious because I was looking at the wrong metrics. And the metrics I was looking at were performance metrics, not the impact on human capital.

So my tip for people is to pay attention to your teams, I was paying attention to the numbers, the numbers on the reports, and that’s not sustainable, you can get great results for the short term, very quickly to create an impact. But for the long term, and for sustainability and scalability. You really need to pay attention to your people. And you need to take care of prioritizing people over performance.

Allison: There’s a lot of owners and leaders that are being forced to look at key metrics, the numbers, the finances to it. So is there a metric or two that you would suggest that a leader look at so that they are looking at the human capital side of it and which one is most effective? I would say it’s not an invitation.

Michelle: My suggestion or tip is not an invitation to not pay attention to the numbers. It’s just prioritizing people because at the end of the day, they’re the ones who are executing, and getting it done and following through processes so you can achieve those key metrics through people. And so the metrics that I look at are absenteeism, tardiness, employee conflict, customer complaints, you know, the palatable metrics that you can feel on a team and making sure that you’re keeping I call it team telemetry, you know, the same way of when you’re in hospital, and you’re connected to, you know, pulse oximeter, you’re connected to your heart monitors, and they’re monitoring your breaths per minute, you know, what are we doing to maintain and make sure that we’re monitoring the telemetry of our team, what’s our culture like? How’s our team health? I find that teams that are healthy and cohesive and collaborative and what I call Musca, tearing, there’s a it’s palpable. You can feel it. There’s a great vibe there a great customer feedback that you received both in person as well as online. And there you know, people want to look forward to getting up in them.

Allison: On anything coming to play on your team? And so what are we doing to cultivate those types of environments where people are excited whether they’re working remotely or working in person, they’re vested, you know, they see their name on the sign out front, proverbially, you know? What would? What did you need to do in order to build a badass team around you? What were the steps that you took after your workout?

Michelle: Sure. Lesson Two in the in the book, and also what I teach in my leadership programs is really all about stop, drop, take a selfie. So that was again, the first place I looked was once I realized the feedback that I received and that I was the nominator I was the problem, I needed to focus on developing myself, it goes back to you know, I’m on planes all the time. And every time I hear them stand up and say, put your oxygen mask on before helping others I always think of leadership. Because I feel like as a leader, it’s critically important that I first take care of that I have all the tools, all the necessary training all the resources, and that I have developed myself as a leader, so then I can take better care of developing my team.

Allison: Okay, fantastic. Is there a particular resource that you’ve gone through that was most pivotal for you to recognize the growth you needed?

Michelle: I would say, meant having a great mentor. That’s something that I was late in the game, because I would let my ego leave, you know, I have to act like a No at all. And when I didn’t know at all, and I really needed to tap into those resources and surround myself with people that were could outplay and outlast me. And in so that was key, and then reading and studying different resources. And then today with what we have available through podcasts and online, I mean, there’s such a wealth of information.

I would say the other tip I would give us pick your line, and then stick with that. So in the case of say badass leadership, my company and brand is unconventionally, different with intention, we intend to be different, we’re not a one size fits all. And we and I’m completely comfortable with not come from thrilled with the fact that we are unconventional and that we are different. And so really find something that aligns to who you are, and to what you want to achieve what your endgame is, find a mentor that’s already getting it done. And then align with those mentors and find resources that will help you so that you don’t become what I call a Stepford associate to where you’re just following. You’re not congruent in your behaviors in your natural style. So people don’t feel that you’re authentic as a leader. And I think that authenticity now more than ever is critically important. Not that it ever wasn’t. But definitely, in today’s corporate environment, and remote work environment, people are vested in the leader. It matters who they report to.

Allison: Absolutely. In, in looking at this interview, use some language was around creating the struggle and why that is necessary. Can you explain what you mean by that?

Michelle: Yes, creating the struggle is less than seven. And that’s the part where we get to his leaders, I just call it and I say I refer to in the book, stretch them like Gumby. So for those that know who Gumby and pokey are, and there’s a time and a place for that. And that is once you’ve established and you’ve gone through lessons one through six, right, you’ve established trust, you’ve prioritized people performance, you’ve developed your epic coaching skills, you’ve built a badass team and you’re, you’re creating a musketeer culture, and you have that in place and it is working and it is well honed, then you’re at the point where now it’s time for us to really keep our teams off balance and way outside their comfort zones and stretch them into their potential.

So it’s all about growth, knowing your team’s knowing how far you can push them to help them rise to what they didn’t even realize was possible for them individually and collectively. So creating the struggle is a good thing. And getting outside your comfort zone is exactly where growth and possibility live. It’s certainly not doing what we’ve always done. And so that’s what lesson seven is really all about.

Allison: Can you give me an example of so I, I always as a coach, say like, don’t stay stuck and don’t struggle too hard. There is help out there. So how do you guide people into pushing outside their comfort zone and actually pushing to it to a point where it is It’s difficult? It’s hard it’s a struggle, like what would that look like?

Michelle: Um, so for me as far as from a coach and well I would say from personally, you know, in being a public speaker when I first started in the speaking circuit, public speaking was my number two, my say my number one greatest fear was getting up on the stage number two was getting on a plane, right. And then to get on a plane to go get up on a stage, it’s like, that’s a double whammy. And so it was I acknowledged that that was an area of opportunity and growth for me.

So it’s the old adage of make your vision greater than your fear. So it’s really focused on you know, what great looks like and what’s beyond the fear and what’s possible for you. So I realized that in order for me to grow and scale, my business, my brands and my impact, I needed to make my vision more powerful. And so in baby steps, and again, I like I’m a huge reframe fan. So I love to take, you know, physiology and do a play on words. So, to me anxiety, fear is the same thing as excitement. And so I would rather change the language and the internal dialogue I have with my mind, my mindset and say, I’m so excited about this speak speaking, I’m just shaking, you know, I’m excited about getting on the stage I, my heart is racing, I’m my breathing as fast as same way as I would be if I was going to something that was exhilarating and fun and thrilling. And so it’s just really setting the right mindset and managing your mindset and staying focused on your end game.

Allison: Okay, good example. Thank you for that. So you also have a lesson in there about sucking it up. And so why should leaders suck it up? Suck it up, buttercup?

Michelle: Yeah, so it’s really important as a leader, you know, we’re going to have struggle, we’re going to have change, we’re going to be in crisis, it’s going to, it’s not a matter of if it’s just a matter of when, and it’s critically important for leaders to find a way to tap into and leverage resources and be able to be the strength that they need to be for their teams. And so that that requires that we suck it up, and that we don’t, you know, you know, stress ourselves, share our stories, or our stressors with our teams downward, that we reach out to mentors and peers, or superiors or outside resources, in order to get the support that we need in order to guide and navigate our team successfully through crisis or stress, or change.

And so that, you know, because when we, a lot of times, the mistakes that get made in leadership, and certainly were made in my history, was I would befriend my team, and then I would share, you know, if they were concerned, I would share my concerns. And I think as leaders, that’s a mistake, I think we need to I’m not saying and dismiss their ideas, I think we have to be empathic leaders, I think we have to be authentic leaders, and we have to authentically Get, get help. But get that in a way that’s lateral to us or reaching out to our superiors, or, as I said, People exterior to the organization. So we have to suck it up. And we have to guide our teams and be a pillar of strength for them and figure out how to meet their needs and help them navigate successfully and with compassion.

Allison: Okay, that’s, that’s a great tip. And also just emphasizes kind of almost like the next thing of how important it is to have a peer or tribe group that you can share those struggles with, and, you know, get that input from so what are you know, can you explain, what is the value of expanding your tribe?

Michelle: Wow, that was something that I wish I had learned very early on in my career, there is such a tremendous wealth of information there are relationships are so there’s such an enrichment in your leadership journey, when we can share it with our tribe, and our tribe of peers in particular, people who, as I said, surround yourself with people who outplay out with and outlast you, I’m that’s the that’s the value and I try and offer the same contributions. What can I do for my peer group? How do we create the trifecta, you when I when our clients and customers or our teams when, as opposed to playing a win lose game or worrying constantly and competing against the competition instead of again? What’s your vision? What’s the outcome? What’s this? What does success look like for you? And then who can you help and bring along what contributions can you make so that you’re truly a leader? Not just what you would want? I used to consider myself like a winner. I was winning on paper, but I wasn’t winning in in the field of play expanding my tribe. And I think that’s something that I would have loved to have learned and embraced much sooner in my career.

Allison: When did your book come out? How long has it been out?

Michelle: Um, it came out of course, right before COVID Okay, so just in time to and then I put it to rest pretty much for 2020 and just didn’t promote it and waited. So then ramped back up back in 2020, mid I should say that beginning of the second quarter really 2021.

Allison: Okay, so fantastic. So Michelle’s book is available on Amazon. It’s called from bad to badass leader. And it’s 12 leadership lessons, and you’ve shared a couple of lessons from the book today. Is there another lesson that you’d like to share that I’ve not yet touched on? As we come to close this interview?

Michelle: I would say the one lesson that I really think it’s important, especially in today’s society, where there’s so much going on, where there’s so much fear around what to say and how to say it. And so lesson nine that don’t be a kiss, I think is really an important lesson because it’s so easy to be, you know, controlled by being so paralyzed by what other people think. And so don’t be a kiss ass is really about finding your respectful voice with care, but communicating your truths and being authentic. And so that is a lesson that I think when you the whole idea of the 12 leadership lessons, it’s a story of my bumps and bruises and lessons learned.

And it’s a roadmap to help other leaders who might be in the struggle, figure out, you know, learn from my mistakes, and, you know, and figure out what they do when they put these tools together, or the steps and lessons together because they stack so the goal is less than one through 12 In order really helps you maximize yourself as a leader, tribe, tribal expansion, build a badass team around you, and then create a massive impact for scalability, yours, there’s annual organization and all the while having a lot of fun in the process. Because that to me is an absolute accelerator to all outcomes. Yeah, I completely endorse, endorse that.

Allison: That’s fantastic. What is the best way for people to connect?

Michelle: would be great. And then I’m certainly on Instagram at best leader 12 as well as Facebook best leader 12 Visit the website, we have a lot of fun things going from boot camps to retreats and we have leadership development programs throughout the country that and also in the Toronto marketplace. So we’re always here to help and we’d love to hear from you and hear your story and share your story and help in any way we possibly can.

Allison: Wonderful. Michelle, thank you so much for joining us here today. And good luck with everything that you have going on.

Michelle: Thanks Likewise. Thank you.

Transcribed by

I'm Allison Dunn,

Your Business Executive Coach

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