My guest on this episode of The Courage of a Leader podcast is Kim-Adele Randall. Kim-Adele is an inspiring people-focused leader, consultant, author, and speaker.
In this episode, we discuss how to authentically lead through emotional challenges. We explore the importance of self-awareness, vulnerability, and compassion in leadership. Kim-Adele also shared tips on how to navigate difficult emotions, build trust with your team, and create a supportive workplace culture.
You’ll appreciate the way that she thinks about and approaches difficult situations with others. Her authenticity and practical, transformative guidance permeates this episode. I’m excited to share it with all of you.
About the Guest:
Kim-Adele Randall is a renowned business consultant, international bestselling author, inspirational keynote and TEDx speaker, and proud mum, coupling 25 years in the corporate world with lessons she has garnered throughout her journey to help others achieve sustainable transformation for professional and personal success.
She is currently writing the forthcoming book Authentic Achievements – The 7 Secrets to Building Brave Belief, Unstoppable Sales, and Turning Your Leaders Into Talent Magnets for Guaranteed Sustainable Growth, based on her experience delivering those results for organisations including Sage and Barclay’s Bank.
About the Host:
Amy L. Riley is an internationally renowned speaker, author and consultant. She has over 2 decades of experience developing leaders at all levels. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Deloitte and Barclays.
As a trusted leadership coach and consultant, Amy has worked with hundreds of leaders one-on-one, and thousands more as part of a group, to fully step into their leadership, create amazing teams and achieve extraordinary results.
Amy’s most popular keynote speeches are:
The Courage of a Leader: The Power of a Leadership Legacy
The Courage of a Leader: Create a Competitive Advantage with Sustainable, Results-Producing Cross-System Collaboration
The Courage of a Leader: Accelerate Trust with Your Team, Customers and Community
The Courage of a Leader: How to Build a Happy and Successful Hybrid Team
Her new book is a #1 international best-seller and is entitled, The Courage of a Leader: How to Inspire, Engage and Get Extraordinary Results.
Resources mentioned in the podcast
Crucial Conversations: https://cruciallearning.com/books/
The Inspire Your Team assessment (the courage assessment): https://courageofaleader.com/inspireyourteam/
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Teaser for next episode
Tune in next for How to Set Relevant Goals and Continually Create Your Legacy with my guest, Eric Larson, Tilia’s Chairman, Co-Founder and Co-CEO.
My guest on this episode of the courage of a leader podcast is Kim-Adele Randall Kim-Adele is an inspiring people focused leader, consultant, author and speaker. You'll appreciate the way she thinks about and approaches difficult situations with others. Her authenticity and practical transformative guidance permeates this episode. I'm excited to share it with all of you.Amy Riley:
Welcome to the Courage of a Leader podcast. This is where you hear real life stories of top leaders achieving extraordinary results. And you get practical advice and techniques, you can immediately apply for your own success. This is where you will get inspired. And take bold, courageous action. I'm so glad you can join us. I'm your host, Amy Riley. Now, are you ready to step into the full power of your leadership and achieve the results you care about most? Let's ignite the courage of a leader.Amy Riley:
Hi, Kim-Adele, thank you for being with me today.Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: I Amy, how are you? Yeah,Amy Riley:
doing great. And I'm excited for our conversation, the number of things that you and I could talk about leadership related, and I'm excited about the entree that we have into this conversation, we often learn a lot from the most challenging situations that we face as a leader. And you've definitely had a challenging situation when you needed to lead a redundancy or reduction in force at your organization. So you and I are going to talk about that, and extract some of the leadership lessons learned that you took away from that. So first of all, just tell us what was what was the situation? Yes,Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: it was it was it was a really interesting role. So I actually went in, it was eight days after they'd been given the largest fine in UK history from the regulator. And they were they've been putting in a V VOP, which in the UK is a regulatory restriction. They called it a voluntary variation of permissions. But it's not voluntary at all, it means you're not allowed to do some things. So they've been stopped from selling, the regulator was very frustrated with them, it was in financial services. So you have to be really clean. And at the time, we were the the organization was all over the press, and for this misalignment and the consumers, the board were very, very uncomfortable about making any staff corrupts any cost reductions. But when you're an organization that's no longer allowed to sell anything. Yeah, very quickly have to make some difficult and more challenging conversations. So I had a really interesting role in that one of the first things I had to do was convince the board that it was the right thing to burn a redundancy program. And then the second thing I had to do was run the redundancy program. And if anyone's ever had to to run a redundancy program, you Don't dabble in those lightly. You know if there's any alternative, or you do the alternative first. But I guess my number one lesson that I learned is, as a leader, our job is to save as many roles as we possibly can and generalize to many jobs possible. In that particular situation. I was in a place where the only way to save as many jobs as I could, was to cut as many jobs that were needed, because the alternative was that we would go to the wire and everybody would lose their jobs. And that's a really hard place to be. Yeah. But I think the other thing that that I kind of learned in there is as as a leader, it when you're faced with something like that, when you're faced with running a redundancy program, it's really hard for a number of reasons. One of them is there's a level of shame. There's a love game that actually you didn't lead it better lead it in such a way that this wasn't a requirement. Now there can be so many factors that are taken into moving an organization into that space. But as the leader you still feel uncomfortable. And one of the things I've therefore seen sadly I've run seven of these now for organ isolations is that because you feel a bit uncomfortable? And the other thing you know, is no one's going to be happy. I mean, nobody goes redundancy, yay. Yeah,Amy Riley:
nice. I know it's being like girl, not those staying on, right doesn't feel good for anyoneAmy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: impacts everybody. And so what tends to happen is you feel a bit guilty is a level of shame. And you know, your message isn't going to go down well. And therefore what happens is, go on the defense, because you try and protect yourself, and therefore your language, and your tone, and your whole demeanor actually makes the people feel that it's something that they've done wrong. And I think that's, I remember that standing up in front of the people on the first day and saying to them, the first thing I need you to understand is, it's not about you. Let me explain what I mean by that. It's happening to you, you are impacted, it is going to pay where we're going. But the reason I say it's not about you is it's not because you're not an amazing person. It's not because I wouldn't allow the rest of your life. It's because quite frankly, I couldn't lead us to a better outcome. And for that, I'm genuinely sorry. And the reason I need you to know it's not about you, is if not, you will carry this into your future. And you will make it about you, and it will become a self fulfilling prophecy.Amy Riley:
An important message there, Emma Tao, you've already pointed out some really critical considerations in a situation like this. I mean, first of all, I know that you focus on the importance of people, alright, then people are everything. And then you know, therefore someone might think, well then save everybody that you can. Right? Well, really saving everybody that you can does mean that you're releasing some people from their roles in order to keep it healthy, for the maximum number of people that you can. And they brought it. Yeah, you brought up a really good point about leaders who are involved in making decisions like this, or delivering messages like this, that we need to be aware of shame, or guilt or such feelings that could be impacting how we show up in our demeanor, like I've often call it our being right in our being and in our doing, like what we're saying, and are we watching our language so that it's not all on the defense and setting us up to have this positional conversation, rather than this lovely conversation that you're talking about, and this important message, and hey, this isn't about you get it, it impacts you. Right. But it's not about you, the decision wasn't made based on ABCDEFG things that you did. AndAmy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: the other thing that I think is very often short, short sighted in organizations that goes through this is if you do a residency program or a restructure is because you expect to grow again, you expect you expect to be able to be back in a position for growth,Amy Riley:
to stay healthy, right? We're doing this to stay healthy in this moment, and toAmy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: move forward. And therefore, how you can manage the downsizing impacts how you'll manage the uprising. Because if you do it badly, when you want to grow, not only were the people that work for you in the past never want to work for you again, they have told everybody else. No one, nobody else wants to work for you. So actually, at the point that you want to grow, your ability to attract talent is going to be impacted. So taking the long term view when you're having to do it restructure is so which is if I manage this well. If I treat people with kindness, with respect, and with honesty, then actually they're going to be left with a positive feeling about how the situation was resolved. I have people hug me on the stay. And I was like, Please don't hug me. It was me that did this. And then when I know but you turned up every week, every week after you went through the 90 day consultation. You turned up and you sat with us and you should listen to how we were feeling and when you took on board our message and you helped us to You had to find a way through it was a, it was a standard joke that people if they see me now from back then they were like, and then facts on my friends. And because that's what I say to them all the time. Or your friends, when you're in a situation like this, the human brain doesn't like gaps. So when there is a gap in it, create a story. Yes, make something up. Mm hmm. Always, always, always much more fascinating than the reality failures. So people wouldn't be there. And they were like, Yeah, and it's because of this, it's crystallizer. We're not there yet. Don't cross a bridge with NOC code to within a consultation. Here's where we are found to be what happens. Fats are your friend at this moment. And you talk to us, because that's going to be when we can say, we don't have that piece of information. So I can't share it with you because I don't have it. And an additional challenge that I had in the organization that that I first did this thought was we will public listed. And I challenge that that brings is as a point of law, you have to tell the market before you tell the people Oh, okay. You put your people at risk of insider trading. I'm okay. But when it breaks the law, but the law is there to protect the people, okay, be accused of insider trading, if they didn't know? Well, you've got that an additional boost, which is I'm going to tell the market at 730 in the morning. And then I'm going to tell the people that 740, Shomrei, and even even really experienced people that I was dealing with in that organization, including people in kind of like, legal or compliance type roles. So like you can you can tell me first, I can't, I can't tell any of you that there's a process and it's not because I'm being mean, or because yeah, I'm being that child that wants the last piece of the jigsaw or, and keeping you safe. Yes. And that's my job. My job is to keep you safe. And to hold your hand, as we move across the challenge and help you to the underside, wherever the back or the side ends up being whether that is still with us, or whether it's whether it's somewhere else. It's my job to keep you safe. Yeah, you grounded. And I think it was a it was a real lesson for me in seeing how people were able to adapt to that situation. And I remember, after I finished it kind of telling people what was going to happen. I had one lady at the back, who started to use an English term started effing and jeffing. So they were swearing quite a lot and pointing and, and they were saying about how they felt, whilst they can see that is how it was feel. I promise you that's not what happened. And let's talk about it. And I remember later on that, she came up to me sure that I can really sorry, so please don't apologize. I said that I delivered a really, really tough message that you have to live with. Responded emotionally to how it made you feel you were angry, and you had every right to be Annegret. You're gonna leave here today. And you've got to go home and tell your family that you know how you're going to pay the bills, you don't know what that's going to look like you don't know whether or not you're going to have a job or you're not going to have a job. I said, Yeah. can't begin to imagine one that you must be going through. Don't waste one second, worrying about the fact that you that you swore at me. So it's expected. It's not a nice message.Amy Riley:
Yeah, that's lovely. Pema Tao, you talked about the shame that the leader might feel that Oh, how did it lead us to a place where we need to do this reduction in force, have this redundancy and now you're talking about some things that you use to help them those being let go, not go into shame, right, taking that longer term view. Indexing on facts are your friends and giving the facts as soon as you can expect that there's going to be emotion and be able to be with that emotion. And I hear you expressing empathy. Oh,Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: thank you and aiming for him. Yeah, that's a great point, which is being comfortable with emotion and I remember the night before doing a different redundancy program for a different organization and I went sat with the board and they said Kim Are we ready? I suppose readies will ever gonna be why they tell me why died and when should we postpone? And then let me explain what I mean. I've talked But everything I possibly can plan for, with the exception of with tomorrow going to tell 1800 people that their job is at risk. I have no idea what's going on in all 1800 people's lives. Nor could I ever know. Yeah, I know what this piece of information when added to whatever burden they're already carrying, is going to do for them to do is hold the space for them and be there while they deal with it. I said so once we get comfortable that we're not going to have dotted every I crossed every T. And because as soon as you put people into the mix, they come with their own plot twist. So you'll be able to be comfortable with the plot twist and go okay, if this is the home that you've dealt me,Amy Riley:
I want to have some follow up questions on that Kim-Adele. But first, let me tell listeners more about you. Kim McDowell Randall is a renowned business consultant, international best selling author, inspirational keynote and TEDx speaker, and a proud mom Hublin 25 years in the corporate world with lessons she has garnered throughout her journey, Kim-Adele helps others achieve sustainable transformation for professional and personal success. She's currently writing the forthcoming book, Authentic Achievements, the Seven Secrets to Building Brave Belief, Unstoppable Sales and Turning Your Leaders into Talent Magnets for Guaranteed Sustainable Growth. And this is based on her experience delivering those kinds of results for organizations, including sage and Barclays Bank. Kim-Adele, I am glad that you're here with me today.Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: I'm delighted to be here. I always live with conversations. SoAmy Riley:
you are talking for about how we can prepare for as much as we can prepare for, right and then people are going to show up and they're going to respond how they're going to respond and talk with leaders about Q tip, quit taking it personally. Right? Like that was really great, what you said like, who knows what the burden is that they're carrying in that moment. And this is going to add something to it. And we don't know how they're going to respond? How do you hold this space? For others reactions and emotions? How do you prepare yourself for that?Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: Great question. And I love what you said it's I quit taking it personal because it's not about you. And the thing that life's taught me in general, for many things, is that people don't hurt you on purpose. The reality is that they're dealing with their own pain, and they're not really thinking about you, you become collateral damage. So when you realize that when you deliver a difficult message as a leader, their response is about how they're feeling. It's not about how they feel about you. So when we are and you know, if you've ever been in that situation where somebody has hurt you, you start telling them how you feel, and they respond with anger, because actually they're dealing with how they feels thanks very much. And you'd, you just need to back off and let them deal with it. Being in leadership is like instead of starting to justify what we're doing, so acknowledge what the what they're doing and who matter in regard, you know, I am a very proud man. And my little girl and watching lately suffers occasionally with anxiety. And I read a book on it. And it kind of resonated with me that I've been inadvertently doing this as a leader for years without realizing that that's what I was doing is when your child's upset, the our natural response is to want them to not cry, because we don't want our child to be upset. But what we inadvertently do is we belittle them right to feel it. Bessie have to just go oh my goodness, that must be scary monsters under the bed. Tell me about that. How you feeling? Okay, well, the imagine that was really scary. Yeah, you and I check into the bed together to make sure that there are no monsters. So what you've done is validate their ability to feel the way they feel. Mm hmm. Work with them to find an alternate feeling that is going to do better. And I guess that was my lesson in leadership, which is validate. I can see how that I can see how that looks. Yes, I can. If I were in your shoes, I can see how that might come out. It's a little bit line you you touched on on my TEDx one of the things I talk about in the TEDx? It actually everything that we do, see isn't wildlife polarity. So something doesn't exist unless the polar opposite exists. You can't have to write because they that's how it works. Yeah. When we think about kind of like fear and hope, the thing that we're fearful of It hasn't happened. We are agile hasn't happened yet we've imagined it. And as leaders, we're often fearful of conversations going badly, if you will, doesn't matter what it is. But we will have thought a lot about what could go wrong. But it hasn't happened yet. Yes, that's true. But what we're hopeful for, what we're hopeful for, is also imagined. Hasn't happened. Yeah, yeah. Exactly the same brain. And yet, we'll choose to believe that what we're fearful of is more likely, and what we're hopeful for. So I guess one of the things I do in preparing for being able to hold the space is, I will let myself go to what am I most fearful, okay, fearful of the fact they're gonna yell at me? Or they might hit me or get what could be any of those things? Or they're gonna get angry? What am I most hopeful for nice. And without brain? You can't trick it. You can't say I'm not gonna be fearful just gonna be over here, people. Yeah. Hello, I've got things to tell you. So what I found actually be curious. As much as whether this so what what could go wrong? Why do I think that could go wrong? That's really interesting. So what's that making me feel? And then what could go right? Why could it go? Right? What's that meant? Now what I've got is a bit of an arsenal that says, Okay, I might still have an emotion thrown at me that I have not thought of, because you have gone, ones that I have thought of, so I'm not going in there. And almost not gonna be in there naked. I'm not gonna be in there with no stink to support me, I've got some of these thoughts about I just thought that it could go on like this. And then I just thought about, and what would I do? What might remind response they? And also give yourself the give yourself permission to not know all the answers. We don't give ourselves often as leaders with it's almost that sense of fear that if I don't have an answer, then actually I'm going to lose credibility. People don't want you to necessarily always have the answer. Sometimes they just want to know that you're going to find it for them. Yeah. You're in challenging situations, being able to say, and I've done as I remember standing up at one particular place, and they were like, what's your? What's the answer to this? was only on day two. And that's I, I can give you my opinion, which I happily will share. But I can't give you the answer, because I don't know it. So what I will do is I'll share my opinion, because I'm not scared to share that. Great. I'll heavily caveat, it's my opinion. Go away, and I will find you the answer. And I'll come back andAmy Riley:
confirm that when I've gotten people. Yeah, I'llAmy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: confirm I was wrong.Amy Riley:
It wasn't unmarked. Yeah. Yeah. GettingAmy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: into that space that says we sometimes think people want the problem solved. And very often people want the problem hurt. Yeah. And as long as you read, the solution can come later. And if you try and give them an answer straight away, you're not always hearing it. And that's what they will respond back with andAmy Riley:
their hands were jumping in to give an answer. I know we've been having the conversation about what you've taken away from and learned from your experience in leading a redundancy. But I think all of what you just shared for all the leaders out there listening, any difficult conversation that you're going into, consider that their response is going to be down dealing with how they feel and we want to hold space for that, in fact, validate that because we can validate how they're feeling then they actually might be able to listen further on in the conversation. If we're in validating or immediately answering then we might shut down they're listening escalate the negative emotion that's happening. I love this manifestation pin not know all the answers right and to be able to say like here's what I know right now here's what I don't know right now. I will let you know when these when the next pieces of information are available. And I love to prep. Kim-Adele have spent some time with the worst case. If they take off their shoe and throw it at me, right I look at the worst case, but also spend some time with the hope.Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: It's it's so important because the only thing stronger than fear is hope. And so we've got to see both sides of that to go both are likely either one of them could happen. And actually, when you're dealing with a situation like the one I did, most did happen. So some people were very, very angry. Some people were very, very concerned about me. And they were like how you doing this semester? I was like, please don't worry about me. This is about you guys. And then you mentioned in another great point around conversations often from a position of, and our emotional brain, neuro scientifically proven responds 24 times faster than our thinking brain. Yes, I'm not responding to what's happening. We're responding to what we've made it mean, and so are they. But what we can get near what they mean a very often very different. And there's a great book that I highly recommend to anybody that anybody in life, if I'm on, it's not even just in leadership, it's called Crucial Conversations. And it talks about the fact that in life, and in business, there are moments when a conversation becomes crucial and what they mean that this some emotion, one or both of you is feeling fearful fearful of being made to look wrong. Fifth would be make look stupid, for being sold to doesn't matter what is visual, and they take you through five steps, and they're so invaluable in AR. So the first one is to share some vulnerability. So when you're having a conversation that you know, is going to be like that share some vulnerability, you know, sometimes. Really, I really, rather be anywhere in the world and having this conversation. And because genuinely often, it's just how I feel. Because they then know I'm not doing it. So I'm on the attack. Yeah. About It, too. So, and I'd really rather be anywhere else and having this conversation, but I need to have it because you're currently getting in your own way. And I want to see you succeed. So I've done the first bet. Yep, I don't, I'm not doing this one on the top. I'm doing it because the only person in the room. Usually that doesn't, then they're underperforming is the underperformer, everybody else talks about it is the best kept secret, as I know, because we're all too uncomfortable to tell them. So sharing that and then the third one for me, this one's always been the killer is I'm 100% committed to finding a solution that works for both of us. Yeah, the reason why that's such an invaluable statement is now whatever comes after that whatever solution you come up with, if they go, that's not gonna work me, okay? Because let's go back to our intention, our intention is to find a solution that works for both of us. So on that basis, mine didn't work, tell me yours. And then if they tell you what, it's not going to work for you, you can go, I know that we're committed to finding a solution that doesn't work that works for both of us. This one wouldn't work for me now. They were now down here, in fact, not appearing in motion, which allows us to actually find that better space, and then you start to agree on the commonalities. Parts of it, they absolutely would work for me. And those parts of it would work for you. Great. So now the problem is not this big, the problems getting smaller. But what we're also doing is we're demonstrating our commonalities as people. Yeah. Remember, we're not in conflict. And that allows us to agree the way forward. And that has worked in so many situations in my life that I always love to share with people. Because yeah, I wish I wish I'd known it sooner. Yeah. When you give somebody constructive feedback, and hopefully they'll the losers listening, well, this will resonate. The first thing people do is defend what they were trying to do. Yeah. So you end up in this ridiculous conversation where you want to tell them what they didn't do. And they defend what they were trying to do, and why Yeah. Forward. So what I've learned as a leader, again, from an equation challenges, is I start all constructive feedback with agreeing what I think they were trying to do for staff. So I'll start up Naga, I think what you were trying to do is achieve X, Y, and Zed. And I think you are trying to be whatever it is trying to be a great team member trying to achieve the goal, trying to do your part. Am I right? And they'll be like, yeah, exactly. Brilliant. That's exactly what I want you to do, which is fantastic news. Do you mind if I share with you some feedback about where you're getting in your own way? So now I'm not under attack. They know I think to do the right thing, so now on their ally to achieve the goal that we've just agreed was the right goal. Your course also listen. Yeah. I've not got to defend who I am and what I'm doing because you already understood that. I've just made a mistake and I'm here remembering that's okay. Yeah. You to think I wasn't doing the right thing. I didn't want you to think I was a bad person. I didn't want you to think I was a useless employee. Well, I don't think you made a mistake. Yeah, I think you just swapping those things round is so impactful, not only for you, but for the person that you're helping, because they're in a place where they're able to listen.Amy Riley:
Yeah, it's really great camera down, when you've got that difficult message to share. It's about them. Right and share vulnerability, right? Open yourself up, because we're going to be inviting them to be vulnerable. I love this, like, agree on what they were trying to do acknowledge their good intentions, right? And then we know we shared the intention for the conversation. 100% committed to finding a solution that works for both of us. Okay, we're both in this now. Right? It's not like positioning people against one another. We're gonna operate together and figure this out. Kim-Adele thank you for your time today, this recording has been peppered with fantastic practical advice and concepts to keep in mind as we're navigating difficult waters, which we often need to do as leaders. So thank you for sharing from your experience.Amy Riley:
Kim-Adele Randall: Oh, thank you so much for having me and for being so patient with me as I tell my story, which I hope it's been helpful,Amy Riley:
very helpful. I appreciate you. Thank you, Kim-Adele. Thank you.Amy Riley:
Thank you for listening to the Courage of a Leader podcast. If you'd like to further explore this episode's topic, please reach out to me through the courage of a leader website at www.courageofaleader.com. I'd love to hear from you. Please take the time to leave a review on iTunes. That helps us expand our reach and get more people fully stepping into their leadership potential. Until next time, be bold and be brave because you've got the Courage of a Leader.