What Successful Leaders Do in Challenging Times with Mike Sipple Jr.

Apr 7, 2021 | Change Management, Hot Mess Hotline Podcast, Resilience, Strategic Planning

Mike Sipple wants you to know that as a mid-level leader you are an inspiration! It might not feel that way and you’re probably thinking, but . . . .

“How can I be an inspiration as a mid-level leader?”

Here’s how: Learn by making bold decisions toward your big plans. 

As a leader, you have a vision and you make decisions based on those long-range plans. Sometimes these decisions create the outcome you planned and sometimes (okay, okay, most of the time) they don’t. Either way, you get to learn. 

So even when…

  • an ad campaign goes wrong
  • your messaging isn’t right
  • or a pandemic hits

Lead even when it sucks.

And let your support system, those 3 a.m. ride or die friends, support you. They’ll tell you when you’re right or wrong, that you aren’t stupid or crazy. Create friendships that will support you in difficult times and help you come out stronger. 

In 2020, after the pandemic hit, two-thirds of Mike’s business went away while other projects took twice as long as normal. 

Mike grieved.

He wondered “Why me? Why after 20 years in my career did I come out of a tough year in business to the best first quarter of my career in 2020 to then get hit hard by the pandemic?”

He recalls:

  • Having a keynote canceled
  • Having projects shut down
  • Worrying that cash flow was not enough

It brought Mike and his company to the moment where they needed to give their all to get out of this.

As a leader, he chose to be transparent, vulnerable, and emotional. He gave a rallying cry to his team to join him in his vision to give everything to help the company survive. 

But most of all, he was transparent with the reality of the situation. His team knew what was going on and stood beside him to make things happen.

How Mid-level Leaders can be more transparent:

  • Be honest and ask for help. Say “I’m going to be transparent and I don’t want this transparency to scare you because it’s my responsibility. I need you to be engaged but I need you to understand what is happening and check on me too so that we can get through this together and be better on the other side.” Then, share what’s actually happening (financials, proactive actions) so that your team has the visibility they need to understand how they can help.
  • Plan for the future while in the middle of a fire. Go back to the vision: why you exist, what you are doing, and why you work well together.
  • Let your team know you trust them and that they have full authority to make decisions.
  • Give them a sense of confidence that their CEO is living out the culture and cares about them beyond the work. 
  • Have the right advisors and partners.

For Mike and his team, they realized that connectivity pays off. The company is rocking and rolling again with a full pipeline.

From this experience, Mike says that, “The key to getting back up from a low is to surround yourself with people who are here for you and ready to serve!”

What should mid-level leaders know about CEOs?

  • We are the same. 
  • We have struggles.
  • We have challenges. 
  • You are not alone. No one should feel alone, there is nothing that we go through that we are the only one that has ever experienced it
  • We all have aspirations
  • And we all have to live right now for the future

Through the work that you do, be an inspiration too.

  • Inspire your entire company, not just your team.
  • Take action and set the universe in motion for other people. 
  • Don’t think that anyone is going to pull you out of this situation. You are the leader you’ve been waiting for.
  • Be more proactive and action-oriented. Shut down negativity and gossip.
  • Know the type of leader you want to be in 10 years. Then start living those behaviors today.

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As a director or mid-level leader, you need to know what's creating chaos and complexity in your team. Take the Hot Mess Quiz.

As a leader, you've felt paralyzed by where to start first with your team's and organization's problems. Do you need team building or a frank conversation? Like a Rubik's cube, one shift changes everything else, but may create more problems than it solves. Take this 3-minute quiz to find your next best step.

About Mike Sipple

Mike Sipple, Jr. is known throughout the world by family businesses for two reasons. 1st Mike owns a 3rd generational family-owned boutique executive firm; Centennial Executive Search, out of Newport, Kentucky. 2nd reason is that Mike and his father are the co-founders of a growing Global Leadership Platform, Talent Magnet Institute, utilized by organizations to invest more intentionally in their people leaders.

Mike also hosts The Talent Magnet Leadership Podcast that reaches 80 different countries, and 47,000 people, discussing how to help leaders succeed in relationships, work, community, and life. This podcast was announced as a “Can’t-Miss Podcast That Managers Need to Follow in 2021 by the Society for Human Resource Professionals.  

The Talent Magnet Institute podcast boldly tackles “real-time” the most challenging issues leaders face daily:  from optimizing teams, building inclusive and equitable cultures, and empowering others to the loneliness and fatigue unique to those at the top of the org chart.

Leaders and boards turn to Mike for his experience-based insights on hiring, succession planning, strategy alignment, creating diverse, equitable, and inclusive organizations, talent development, and how to build a ‘talent magnet’ culture. 

Mike and his wife of 17 years live in Greater Cincinnati, OH, and have three children, ages 13, 11, and 9.  On weekends the Sipple’s can be found on a basketball court or baseball field with his kids. 

“Leadership is a journey, and you don’t have to walk it alone.” ~Mike Sipple, Jr.

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