3 Qualities Common To Great Leaders

May 13, 2019 Scott Miller

 

P.K.G.

Three qualities every On Leadership guest has had in common. But truly abundant from Stephanie McMahon.

Preparation. Kindness. Gratitude.

You might expect, even forgive, the Chief Brand Officer of a $1 billion company to blow off or “phone in” another annoying interview. How many hundreds of podcast, print, and digital interview requests they must get annually is certainly fatiguing.

You might even expect some demands from their team: “They’re absolutely not available for more than 10 minutes.” “We expect approval of all the questions, including the final script.” “The following eight topics are completely off limits.”

You’d certainly be prepared for some of it from the scion of an internationally famous family, raised with immense resources and access to anyone and everything. You would brace yourself for some attitude and entitlement. Accommodate it and work around it.

Not even close with Stephanie McMahon. What a complete delight and class act. This lady was the real deal, and I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing her.

Typically I write this blog on a topic of the interview—some specific area I found especially insightful or relevant. As soon as the interview ended, I knew this blog was headed in a different direction: Preparation. Kindness. Gratitude.

Preparation:

  • She was on time. Well, maybe a few minutes late—but her team continually checked in, updating our production crew literally every 90 seconds until she was on camera. She was in another meeting, and as soon as it ended, she raced to her office to join us and apologized profusely for keeping us waiting.
  • She knew exactly the nature of the interview and was well-acquainted with FranklinCovey and the On Leadership series.
  • She asked a few thoughtful questions about our brand and reach and set no boundaries for my questions.
  • Stephanie initially attempted to connect to our video interview via her tablet, but the quality was sketchy, so she proactively offered to switch to her laptop. Typically our team would suggest this after some patience, but that Stephanie offered to start over with the tech on her end spoke volumes about her own brand. This may seem like a minor and obvious accommodation, but when you’re a recognized DIVA on international television, married to one of the most famous wrestlers in the world, an officer in a global company, and the daughter of two separately and equally renowned parents—you might expect a team of people supporting your technology. Stephanie found her laptop, connected, and repositioned the camera until our production crew was satisfied.

Kindness:

  • Stephanie was beyond gracious to our own producers and hit the ground running as soon as she appeared in her office. She took feedback tips on the lighting, background, and other small nuances of her office that appeared on camera.
  • How our guests treat Amber Rackham, our show co-producer, speaks volumes about their forthcoming interview. Amber is exceptionally talented, prepared, and gracious. Some might confuse her soft style and gentle voice with shyness or passiveness. They would be unwise to do that. Stephanie passed the “Amber test,” as I call it with all A’s. Thank you, Stephanie, for that. Amber is a fifteen-year FranklinCovey associate, and we value her contribution immensely (likely more than she knows.) I bet this is exactly how Stephanie treats the countless “Ambers” at WWE and beyond.

Gratitude:

  • WWE has over one billion collective social followers. They don’t need FranklinCovey’s brand to build theirs. You’d have thought they had 10. Not 10 billion, but 10. Stephanie was genuinely invested in our newsletter’s distribution, our client base, the listener/viewers, and perhaps most interestingly, the date we’d air the interview. Let me remind you, Stephanie McMahon is the Chief Brand Officer for WWE. They have more than 500 events a year, many topping 100,000 live paying participants. And she wants to know when her interview is airing with FranklinCovey so she can help support it with her own posts.
  • When we concluded, she thanked us. Sincerely thanked our team, which spoke volumes. About her parents. The organizational culture of WWE. Her leadership style. Her own values.

I don’t mean to gush over Stephanie McMahon. I’m not easily impressed by celebrity—quickly bored really. And I’ve never watched wrestling in my life. I know her father’s voice, her mother’s politics, and that’s about it. Truth is, I knew little to nothing about her on-air character or her wrestling husband before my interview preparation. I left a huge fan, if you can’t tell by now.

More guests like Stephanie McMahon please! More humans like Stephanie McMahon please!

________________

Unconscious biases are hard to identify, much less know their true impact. Before you can take steps to operate more fairly and effectively at work, you need to get your bearings. Download our latest guide: Seven Misconceptions About Unconscious Bias. 

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott J. Miller is Executive Vice President of Business Development and Chief Marketing Officer for FranklinCovey. Scott has been with the company for 20 years, and previously served as Vice President of Business Development and Marketing. His role as EVP and Chief Marketing Officer caps 12 years on the front line, working with thousands of client facilitators across many markets and countries.

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