When it comes to communicating at work, long gone are the days where leaders had to be perfectly polished, overly formal, and cold. People want authenticity from their leaders - they want to hear your unique voice and feel their unique voice is being heard too.
As leaders, we might not be aware of how we’re coming across and how that’s impacting our teams. When we become aware of this, we can make the small shifts that allow us to communicate confidently.
How do we communicate better as leaders? Can analytics help us with communication?
In this episode, communications and marketing expert, entrepreneur, and professional problem-solver, Heather Lisle shares the secret to understanding and optimizing your communication style.
Small shifts can make a huge difference when you understand how you come across. - Heather Lisle
[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Let's Fix Leadership. Welcome back friends. This is your place for cutting edge tools, exercises, best practices, and modern leadership strategies. Because when the world is changing, it's time to bring our leadership styles along for the ride. Whether you're a company leader, a corporate visionary, an entrepreneur, this show gives you new insights into the neuroscience.
[00:00:28] And the language of leadership, plus practical steps and tips to lead your teams in a powerful way. It'll also help you keep your people happy and engaged all while achieving your biggest goals. I'm your host, Jen Thornton. I'm a talent strategist, a brain based executive coach, speaker, and the founder of 304 Coaching.
[00:00:46] Now let's fix leadership. Today, I have something special for you. Our first guest is coming to talk with us today and help us understand the difference in today's communication and how we show up versus how we did in the past. So our guest today is Heather Lyle. She is a communication and marketing expert.
[00:01:09] and a professional problem solver who helps executives and business owners stand out from their competition by creating unique brand positioning based on their personality using the disc profile with 20 years of executive level experience. Heather has mastered the ability to cut through the small talk and dig deep into identifying her client's special sauce or uniqueness that sets them apart from their competition to increase leads and sales.
[00:01:37] So welcome, Heather. It is fantastic to have you here. Thank you so much. I always love talking about communication and leadership. It's one of my favorite topics, so it's going to be good today. It is going to be good. And for our listeners, Heather and I are friends. And so we'll probably just have a great conversation between two friends and everyone else is on the ride to listen with us.
[00:01:58] That's right. That's right. It's all good. That's right. So Heather, tell us about your business, what you do and how did you get into it? Oh my gosh. Well, I tell everybody I'm a communications expert. And yes, I know a lot about marketing as well too, because you have to have your message nailed. Before you spend any money, time, effort, or energy around your marketing or else it's going to fall flat.
[00:02:21] And so that's what I do. I help people be able to identify what is their specific, you know, unique brand message, you know, based on their personality type. And why that's important is, you know, I got so sick and tired of seeing on, you know, LinkedIn or on Instagram and the digital space websites.
[00:02:39] Professional services people. That's who I mostly work with. You know, all their websites look the same. I mean, the lawyers that I work with, I'm like, Oh, my gosh, can we get rid of the picture of you with your arms crossed across your chest and, you know, looking away and not even at the camera? I mean, come on, they all look the same.
[00:02:55] Surely there's something different and special about you. Right. And so asking the questions as to what makes you different. Why are you doing the things that you're doing? And then the messaging that we put out into the world needs to reflect that because that way you're, you're going to attract the right client who wants to work with you because you're different.
[00:03:15] So that's kind of how I got into it, but. You know, Stephanie, I tell everybody I spent 20 years and various leadership level roles. But before I started my own business and we moved to the Dallas area, I was chief of public affairs for a state elected official in Oklahoma. And I'd never worked in government, much less a hotbed of politics and education ever before.
[00:03:36] And I had to quickly. You know, be able to identify and understand the type of person I mean, my, my schedule is every 15 minutes or somebody new in front of me and I was having to, you know, quickly be able to identify what their needs were and what did I need to say to be able to message myself in a way that would resonate with them.
[00:03:56] And so it was, uh, it was a really interesting experience. I'm so glad I did it. And frankly, it kind of fine tune those relational and emotional intelligence skills as well, too. So. There's the long answer. No, I love it. And life does teach us a lot of lessons. And when we jump in and do something we may have never done before, I think that's, you know, that's the fun thing about life and how we learn new things and, and it leads us to a path we never knew existed.
[00:04:23] I know so many things in my life led me down a new path that I didn't even know existed. So how fun for you that it did that for you. Oh, my gosh. You know, I look back at all of the experiences that I've had and don't you just look back here. Okay. Why I didn't really understand why I was doing the thing that I was doing 20 years ago.
[00:04:43] And how is that even going to relate to this thing that I'm doing now? And now it all makes sense. You know, it's like everything happened the way that it was supposed to happen so I could help people in a unique way. So. You know, we forget that younger when we're young in our career that everything will work out.
[00:04:56] Everything will happen like it's supposed to. We just have to keep showing up. And before we hit the record button, started this Heather and I were having a conversation about you just have to show up and showing up makes such a difference in how one experiences life. Yeah. Oh, absolutely. And how many people don't show up?
[00:05:14] That's what makes you different as well, too, is that it's consistency. It's you know, you show up no matter what you show up when you don't feel 100%. You show up when no one else is showing up. And guess what? People will remember you as the person who did what you said that you're going to do and showed up regardless.
[00:05:32] Yeah, absolutely. Fantastic. Well, here at Let's Fix Leadership, we often talk about the way we've always been told it should be done and think about, well, why do we have to do it that way? Why can't we take a different approach that is more consistent with how we view and live in today's world? So when you think about that, you know, that idea of what we were all supposed to look and sound like in past generations and what it looks like today, what are your thoughts on how things are evolving?
[00:06:01] Oh, Lord, I have so many thoughts on this. You know, again, my, my background isn't, you know, professional journalism, public relations, and, and even working as chief of public affairs, giving the voice of somebody else that perfectly polished. I mean, I call it the news reporter, Heather. Look, that was what. I was supposed, I'm using air quotes for people who can't see, I was supposed to be that way, right.
[00:06:26] I was supposed to be perfectly polished and had to be so mindful of everything that I said and how I showed up and how I did it. And I can honestly say, like, as a business owner, and frankly, what I teach some of the executives that I, you know, work with right now, you know, partners and firms, it's like, we want to hear your unique voice.
[00:06:45] You know, we don't want the the perfectly polished I think went away during COVID because COVID I mean, let's be honest That's where the polish went away And their real stuff started to shine through in a very big way, right? I mean at least it did for me Yeah, I remember I told my husband, uh, you know having three kids at home during COVID the homeschool thing and It was great.
[00:07:10] And he was working from home and all of the things and I remember crying one time. I was unloading the dishwasher for the third time in one day. And I was just like,
[00:07:20] what happened to my life? Like, I used to be not this person that I am now. I mean, there was no polish, right? And so, but I think that we have been taught, especially, I mean, I'm going to be 48 on Monday, but You know, I'm in my 40s and for those Gen Xers and, you know, even some of the older millennials that have been taught like, you know, you wear the suit, you say the right thing, you, you know, you, you look like a robot, frankly.
[00:07:46] And I think that times have changed to where it's like the realness, the authenticity of who you are as a person. That's what people really want. And so from a communications perspective, how do you message that in a way that lands and resonates with your ideal client. Um, that's again, that's what I teach my people, you know, how to do that in authentic way.
[00:08:08] I mean, do we want to share everything about our lives? Probably not, but who's your ideal client and what do they need to hear that would be beneficial for them? And so that's how I feel like things have completely changed is, you know, the polished news reporter look, you know, versus the real life look and how do you message that?
[00:08:26] Yeah, it's so interesting. You use the term, um, the. Perfect polished news reporter look, um, because I remember, um, several years ago, um, my dad looked at me one day at just eating dinner and he said, when are you going to cut your hair off like newscasters?
[00:08:46] I was like, I guess I thought for me to be a professional executive female, I needed to have short hair. Um, so I was like, probably never. I enjoy my hair the way it is today. So wow. But it's interesting how society does put pressure on us to look a certain way. And everyone has a view on that. And, you know, I think that, um, as a leader today, hopefully the pressure is not as much.
[00:09:15] And we can't put pressure on other people. We have to really celebrate the unique voice that everyone has, because that is what makes them fantastic. And I love that you help people find that unique voice. Yeah, absolutely. You know, and it's all about. It was so funny. I was speaking to a large group of mostly CFOs and CRO type people yesterday, and I had the question from someone, um, you know, how do I manage, you know, this diverse group of communication, you know, skills and skill sets and personalities and, and I was just like, you know, at the end of the day, you have to meet people where they're at, not what you need, but I mean, especially with employer retention, I mean, Jenny, you know about this more than anybody, but it's like, retention is a huge issue.
[00:10:01] So what can you do as an employer, a manager of a really good team? You got to meet people where they're at, you know, period, end of story. It's not about you. It's about them, you know, and fostering that relationship to where it's, you know, you're building a foundation of trust, not just what you need. And so, and I think that has shifted too.
[00:10:21] I mean, I remember I, you know, when I first started out in my career, gosh, it's probably been 28, you know, A long time ago, let's just say, not that long ago ish, it was not that long ago, but long enough ago to where I'm like, wow, things have changed management styles have changed. I mean, it used to be top down and now I feel like it's really kind of a mix, you know, as it should be.
[00:10:44] So, um. Anyway, I, I digress, but it's just you gotta meet people where they're at when it comes to communication. You do. And I love that you bring that up. I was, um, in a coaching session recently and the, um, person I was coaching was working on, you know, some things around, um, overwhelm, competing priorities, all that stuff.
[00:11:06] And the, the individual, you know, was talking about what they were having people do. And I, so I asked the question, are they doing it for you? Or are they doing it for the progression of the enterprise? Wow. And what was the answer to that? The person said they're probably doing a lot of it for my needs, not the company's needs.
[00:11:28] And so it's interesting when we start to think about people showing up with their unique voice and having the ability to do that, they're doing it for the organization because the organization does better when everyone shows up. As themselves, and you're talking to more customers, more customers will connect because there's all these different personalities.
[00:11:48] And so in that leader in the room thinks everyone should conform. It's really conforming to their expectations, not the expectations of the company or the customer. Yeah, 100%. Absolutely. That's so interesting. And again, I mean, I go back to if you're hiring people because they have such unique skill sets and bring a diverse, um, you know, uh, skill set to the table.
[00:12:14] I mean, why would you not want to listen to them? Like what? Why would we not want to do that? I mean, anyway, it's fascinating. But yes, you got to bring it to them. You have to, and it's part of, you know, leading in a modern world. So one of the things I think is fascinating about your approach is not only do you take your own experience, your approach, but you also put a little bit of analytics behind it.
[00:12:38] So tell us about how you use analytics. to help someone understand their unique communication style. Yeah. Well, typically what I do with my clients is I use a, um, an assessment tool called the DISC. D I S C. I'm sure people have heard of, you know, the PI Index, the Myers Briggs, I mean, there's a million different assessment tools out there.
[00:12:59] And I think they're all fantastic, frankly, but I use the DISC for communication. Like what style of communicator are you? Let's talk about your ideal client. What style of communicator do you? feel like that they probably are and and how can we marry that up? So, for example, I work with a lot of accountants who on the desk, um, which D, I, S, and C stands for dominant communicators, influencer communicators, which but those are both extroverts, are dominant people, tend to be more results oriented, very Very dominant, um, you know, bottom line type people, whereas the influencer type of a personality communicator is going to be that positive, energetic, enthusiastic, still very bottom line type of a person as well, whereas our S and C types are steady relators, which are introverts, but they're people focused, and our C types are introverts, but task focused.
[00:13:51] So I tell everybody, you know, our C types, think of a typical engineer or accountant, that's a C type person for the most part. I mean, not always, right? But it's so interesting. I do work with a lot of accountants and they are the C type. They're that conscientious, that task focused, introvert, non emotional, highly analytical, very precise type of a person, which is somebody that you would want, you know, as an accountant, as an auditor or whatever, right?
[00:14:17] But here's the thing. If you're working with, and this happens all the time in this profession. So if you're a C type and you're working with a client who's C suite and they're a D type, who are the bottom line me, I don't want the story, I just want the three bullet points type of a person, you can see where the conflict might arise.
[00:14:38] Because me as the accountant working with the client who's the c sweeter who needs the, you know, the bullet point version, you know, that I, me as the accountant, I've got to understand my client that I'm working with receives information very differently than how I receive information. And so being able to have awareness as to how you communicate.
[00:15:02] And how your client communicates can alleviate a lot of tension And a lot of you know, frankly a lot a lot of time wasted Uh time with the team. I mean you're losing money if you're not paying attention You know to who you're actually talking to and how they best receive information as well, too So that's just an example of something that happens in my world a lot with the clients that I serve Is you've got to be very thoughtful as to the type of person that you're communicating with and what do they need in order to receive that information.
[00:15:37] And again, I just do it, you know, how do I do it? It's just through the disk. It's just a really easy, quick tool, um, you know, for this, you know, for this particular, you know, type of work that I do. It's just all around communication. Yes. And I lo I'm sure the, um, so I know you work with all different types, but you do a lot of work in that accounting world.
[00:15:55] I'm sure they love having all that information too, because it helps them. They do. That's just who, they're right. They want that information. Yeah. So yeah, it was this group of CFOs and chief risk officers I was talking with yesterday. It's like they wanted, I, I had three people come up to me afterwards and they were like, do you have any handouts?
[00:16:13] Do you have any of this? And I just laughed. I was like, yeah. It's all on my website. Yes, you can download it all. I'm not the type of person who's going to read 25 page handouts, but hey, the more the better for that type of person, right? Yeah, absolutely. Yes. Let's take a quick break from the conversation.
[00:16:32] Do you have new leaders on your team and you can see their potential? You can see See their runway, but you cannot figure out how to get 'em across the finish line. Reach out to 3 0 4 coaching and learn more about our brain-based competency focused executive coaching. So when you think about someone stepping in and really understanding who they are and understanding how to adapt their language, um, so that the other people are receiving their information the way they would want, what changes for them as a leader when they become more confident as a communicator?
[00:17:07] Oh, my gosh. Wow. A lot of things can change. In fact, I'll give you an example of another client that I worked with who's an accountant. Um, and she's a partner at a large firm and interestingly enough, I mean, again, she's a partner. So business development is part of that partner track, right? And, uh, she's in the private equity healthcare space, which is highly technical as well too.
[00:17:28] And this woman is really good at bringing in business. Okay. And has, and has been, and will always be, I'm sure as well too. But, okay. About a year and a half ago, I was working with her. She had, was going in for a pitch, yeah, for this private equity healthcare deal. And she brought in another couple of, you know, a partner or two with her and some subordinates and that kind of thing, um, and with this pitch.
[00:17:49] Interestingly enough, she walks in, gives the presentation or whatnot, and they find out that a day later that the CFO of this private equity healthcare company was just like, Hey, we're going to go with you all, but we don't want to work with. This partner, okay, this woman, and she was devastated. She was the one who brought the business to the table in the first place, right?
[00:18:10] And so she was like, whoa, they don't want to work with me, what's going on? And come to find out that, you know, the CFO of this, uh, you know, business was just couldn't connect well with this partner. And so she and I got to talking about it. I was like, all right, I want you to take me back to the pitch.
[00:18:28] When you walked into the room, what was going on? You know, what were you seeing? What was happening? Yeah, the first problem is she couldn't, you know, she just was like, uh, I don't, I don't know if I remember that, blah, blah, blah, you know, kind of a thing. Anyway, it was so funny. One of her, um, uh, managers that's on this project as well, too.
[00:18:49] She, who is an eye on a disc. So she's the influencer. She's the social, social talkative one. And she was like, oh, don't you remember, I, people are talking about what happened in the weekend, you know, their, you know, prior weekend and stories and all this stuff. So my part, my partner, she walked in, found the HDMI cable.
[00:19:10] That's all. She was just interested in hooking up her laptop and doing the presentation. She missed out on all of the nonverbal cues happening around her. And she didn't connect. the dots. She couldn't smile. She didn't, I mean, she didn't even think to smile. She is a C type on the desk. She just was looking for the thing that she needed to do to do the presentation and get out of there versus looking at the faces around the table and going, okay, I need to establish some relationship and rapport here.
[00:19:39] Right? So anyway, started working with her on some of those nonverbal stuff. And it was so funny about a month later. She texted me and she was like, Hey, I'm going into a pitch and I just want to let you know that I put my arms down because she always has her arms crossed across her chest like this and she was like, I put my arms down.
[00:19:55] I smiled and I had a conversation and I'm like, that is fantastic. So fast forward a year. This woman is now being considered for managing partner of her firm. She's one of two people Okay, that is a big stinking deal, right? Big, big deal. And so talk about, you know, your income is here, which don't get me wrong.
[00:20:20] She was making really good money as a partner, but managing partner, we're talking to three times the salary. So it's like these, these are small shifts. I mean, I'm talking 10% differences that you can make when you understand how you come across and you're humble enough to go, Hey, Hey, I really screw that up.
[00:20:39] I want to make it better. How do I do it? You know, I mean, your world can open up significantly, you know, as far as income and opportunities and that kind of thing. When you can just be humble enough to go, Hey, I need to make some changes. What do I need to do to make it better? Yeah, I love that story for a lot of reasons, you know, someone willing to get help, seek help, work with someone on something specific, um, willing to understand that they're already doing very well, but they may want to do better.
[00:21:09] And. It always comes back to this communication and those relationships and everything comes back to those things for sure. And I love that. So, you know, when you think about your journey, um, and we've talked a little bit about it earlier, but I'd love to know how you feel like you've evolved with your communication and how have you evolved?
[00:21:34] Yeah, you know, again, the biggest evolution for me was when I was chief of public affairs for the statewide elected official. Um, before then, I felt like Everything that I'd been doing and the perfectly polished stuff was, was working for me. And then you get into working for an elected official. I was still, I mean, I'm going to call it very polished.
[00:21:55] Don't get me wrong. But understanding and seeking to understand who the person was sitting in front of me because I was speaking to a lot of people on a daily basis. Um, and it was a little overwhelming at times. And because it's, it was a hotbed of. You know, political stuff going on as well, too. Um, they're really seeking to understand the person who was sitting across the table from me in a genuine, empathetic way.
[00:22:23] Um, I mean, I truly was just, because otherwise it'll completely burn you out. You know, but if you flip the script and look at it like, Okay, how can I help this person? How can I help this person understand what we're doing at a better level? Because maybe they have a level of understanding that's not where we are.
[00:22:40] You know, so how can we bridge that gap? Um, but that role just, it really catapulted me into a whole other level of, frankly, just my own personal development too. Like, what can I do to make myself a better messenger? Because, you know, the traditional ways of going and meeting with constituents was here's where we stand, you know, and it's, that doesn't work.
[00:23:04] It just, it just doesn't work. And so, I mean, it leaves people, you know, pissed off, upset, not wanting to talk with you. And at the end of the day, I wanted to have conversations and understand. So we could help make things better, you know, for as, you know, from a policy perspective, I mean, maybe we needed to make some shifts there, maybe people just needed to be heard, you know, at the end of the day, I mean, you probably see this all the time with your business, Jen, it's like at the day, people just want for someone to listen to them because they don't feel like they're being heard.
[00:23:39] And so, but that really does take a big shift in understanding how you are. To be able to help facilitate that, so to speak. So that was, that was a. Major shift for me, professionally and personally, too. Yeah. And I love that you bring up professionally and personally. I think that, you know, I work with people and help them think about leading in today's world and all the challenges with that and, you know, I spend more time on that individual versus the, their, you know, how they're actually leading the team.
[00:24:08] Because when we show up, when we're in a good place, when we show up asking questions with confidence, with empathy, all that's, all of those things and the leadership just comes. Oh, it does. It does. It just, it rolls up in it. And so I think that, um, it's just such a great example that you've shared with the audience today around how listening to the person talking to you makes such an impact on the situation, on them, and honestly on us as the listener.
[00:24:35] Yeah, and truly listening, you know, actively listening, putting the phone away. I was telling somebody about this just yesterday. I was like, I get so tired of meeting with people who their phones are up. I turn my phone over, you know, I mean, I do have three children. And when you have my 345 in the afternoon, I start getting kinged.
[00:24:52] Right. And so it's like, I've got to be aware of that as well, too. But for the most part, it's like, you know. Being, being an active listener, being present in those conversations and putting your own ego and motives aside and really, you know, the whole seeking to understand thing, you know, what, what's going on over here and how can we, how can we make things better?
[00:25:15] So, and that just requires intention, you know. Yeah, it does. It does. And it requires us to, um, you know, just show up as a self authoring individual. You know, the world is happening. How do I want to enter it? How do I want to be perceived? How do I want to accept it? So, so when you think about finding your unique voice in the workplace, I know that there's a thousand things you could tell someone to do.
[00:25:41] Um, but what's that one like nugget you would want to leave the listeners with today if they wanted to find? their personal voice and get comfortable using it. Yeah, you know, I use the five levels of why, and I'll just explain for those who don't know, but uh, you know, we tend to go, I'm a communications expert.
[00:26:00] Okay, well, why are you a communications expert? You know, asking the deeper questions, you know, the five levels of why. Why this? Why this? You know, getting to the root cause of Why you do what you do and what lights you up about that Um, you know, I have a lawyer that I work with. Um, And she's family lawyer and she has her own practice and that kind of thing And funny enough, I mean she was she was not divorced She didn't come from divorce, you know divorce family or anything like that.
[00:26:31] She and her husband were married for 25 years Um, he was uh, he's He died a few years ago, but nonetheless, I mean, she was, she did not come from a divorced family. So it's like, why does she want to work with divorced people, you know? And it was so interesting to hear her story of, you know, loss and grief.
[00:26:53] And it really was, she just wanted to holistically be able to help women and men. She works with probably more women than men, but, you know, help women be able to go through a divorce process with a heart of healing versus retaliation and through just because of her own grief and loss. And I'm like, beautiful.
[00:27:14] That's a beautiful story to tell and why people would want to work with her over others. Right. And so just getting down to the five levels of why, asking yourself the why five different times to really get to that root cause. And some people may already know what it is, but if you don't, you know, just really digging deep and figuring out your why really does help when it comes to your messaging and what makes you different.
[00:27:39] Right. Because we want to share the stories that will resonate with our ideal clients, you know, with our network, with our communities, um, that makes us different, that makes us special. right? Because we all have stories to share. And, um, you know, that's, I don't, that's, that's what I would say. What are your five whys?
[00:27:55] Yeah, I love that. Um, understanding your why and really why do you show up and then show up with that why front and center. That's fantastic. Yes. So if someone would want to work on their own personal communication, develop their own communication style, would love to work with you. How would someone find you?
[00:28:13] Yeah, I am on LinkedIn and Instagram primarily. More on LinkedIn than Instagram, it feels like. But, um, they can find me at Heather Lyle Co, Heather L I S L E Co, C O, um, on LinkedIn. Or just search me up, Heather Lyle. And that's where you can find me. I post tons of educational content every single day. Um, every single week.
[00:28:34] So also I have my podcast too called Game Changing Conversations, teaching you what to say and how to say it and, um, you know, bring on guests and talk through, um, you know, these conversations. These stories that happen on a weekly basis, you know, these learning moments that we can all learn from, you know, so I would encourage people to go and listen to that as well, too.
[00:28:54] But I'm on LinkedIn primarily. You can find me there. My website is heatherlyle. com as well. Wonderful. Well, we will put all that information in the show notes, too, so that people can find you and I just want to thank you for spending time with us. I know everyone learned something, was able to take something away.
[00:29:09] So thank you so much for your time. I appreciate it. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:29:17] Thanks for listening to Let's Fix Leadership. By hanging out with me today, you're already on your path. If you're looking to learn more and to see if your company is a good fit for our coaching and leadership education, then hey, visit 304 coaching. com. If you got value out of this podcast, share it with a friend and it would mean the world to me if you would leave a thoughtful review and a rating on iTunes.
[00:29:39] Thanks again for listening and I appreciate your work in fixing leadership.