Laura Thompson (01:35):
Welcome everyone. We are so excited to have you here for this webinar on leadership and followership with Anna Apoian. My name is Laura Thompson. I am the marketing manager here at Health-e Pro, where we do menu planning and nutrient analysis software. So for the agenda for today’s webinar, little bit of housekeeping. So we are going to be recording this session. So if you have to step out or if you wanna pass it along to a colleague or a friend, this will be made available to everyone who registered. So you will be receiving an email with a link to the recording, as soon as it is available. We’re going to do introductions of our speaker today. And then the bulk of the topic today is on leadership and followership. And try saying that 10 times fast, it’s a little tricky. And then from there we will wrap up.
Laura Thompson (02:21):
So for our presenter today, I’ve been so excited about this one. I’ve gotten to know Anna a little bit over the last little bit, and I think this topic is so interesting and so fun. And she’s been so fun to talk to about it, that I’m excited for everybody to have a chance to hear about it today. She is the food service director at Norwalk La Mirada Unified School District and was named the School Nutrition Association National Director of the Year. I know I’ve been hearing about her for quite some time because we have some people on our staff who have known her for a long time. And we’re talking about the great innovative work that she does. And so it’s been really fun to hear about that and learn about that a little bit more. So with that, Anna, I’m gonna turn it over to you to get started. And we’re gonna have this dialogue about leadership and followership.
Anna Apoian (03:02):
Well, thank you so much for having me here today. It’s a pleasure and I know Laura, you wanted me to focus on leadership and I appreciate the fact that you’re gonna, let me talk about the F word. You know, we all do it, but we don’t wanna talk about it. So followership it’s a distinct and necessary skill and that leadership is not a position. It’s something that we do. It’s a behavior. And I’ve been reading this book called Leadership is Half the Story. And I started reading this because I was, I was just intrigued by this for a number of years. And I would talk to people about it, like my neighbor, he is a retired aerospace, a very big wig. And I said, you know, we really have to teach people how to follow.
Anna Apoian (03:52):
And he was just so upset with me. No, we need to teach ‘em how to lead. And then can I have so then we have to teach him how to leave. And so when my son came back from college for spring break, he brought five of his friends, and three of them are going to be officers in the Air Force. And what they said is exactly that – the first thing the Air Force did is they identified the people who have an affinity for other people. So people with a high emotional intelligence. And then once they pinpoint them, then the first thing they train ’em on is followership. They don’t teach ’em leadership until they learn how to follow. So that next slide, please. So if we don’t follow what happens, right? We get into trouble. Now this was me in Portugal.
Anna Apoian (04:40):
I recently took a vacation and of course, this is a staged picture, but I tell you that police officer really had fun doing this <laugh> but you know, we follow for, for instance, I’m a director. So people think, okay, you’re a leader all the time. No, that’s not true. This morning, I woke up and I followed the advice of the American Dental Association. And I brush my teeth and floss. Then I put on my sunscreen. I followed direction from the American Dermatology Association. I came to work. I followed the rules of the road, well most of them, I came to work on time. I’m following my job description. In fact, I came a little early. I hire people. I follow the processes that the district sets forth to hire people. I go home, I grocery shop. I stand in the right lane. If I have more than 12 items, I don’t get in that lane. So, we’re followers the majority of our day. So I actually think followership is more than 50%. I think it’s more like 80 or 90. Am I able to switch the slides too? Or? Okay.
Laura Thompson (05:46):
I’ll do it on my end.
Anna Apoian (05:47):
Okay. Okay. So I thought we could take a poll here. And so followership and leadership, it’s a synergy. So if you have a team who would be the most effective and who would finish first, all leaders, all followers or a leader with followers?
Laura Thompson (06:09):
All right. We’re starting to see some of the responses coming in. It’s always very interesting to see everybody’s thoughts. I love it. Yes. We have a few more seconds to see where we land and then we’ll show it for everyone to be able to see.
Anna Apoian (06:23):
And we were talking about this yesterday, Laura, when we talked about that old research with the 20 spaghetti strips and the marshmallow and how you put ’em in groups of four and give them 20 minutes to create the tallest structure with the marshmallow on top. And we talked about how the executives didn’t do as well. That’s right. Leaders with followers is a correct answer. The executives, if they were all together, they didn’t do as well. If you put an administrative assistant in their group, all of a sudden they did better because she could organize them. The people with MBAs, they didn’t do too well because they liked the plan, plan, plan. And by the time they put it together, if their tower didn’t work, they didn’t have any time to recreate. The people that did the best were the engineers or kindergartners and kindergartners did the best because they all just jumped in. There was no ego in play. They all just created. And if it didn’t work, they had time to make something that did work. So we need leaders and followers. Next slide.
Laura Thompson (07:27):
I just love that story. I mean, just the concept of kindergartners being the ones who kind of figured it out, the quickest, because there was no ego. And because they’re like, let’s just create something and refine, create something and refine. I just love that.
Anna Apoian (07:38):
Yes, yes. Jump right in. So I don’t know if Lynn Shavinsky is on this call, but I thought this was a good example of leadership and followership and Lynn is just one of the most wonderful people you’ve ever met. And I went on this trip to Portugal in Spain with about 40 people. And everybody on that bus is a leader. They’re a director, they’re a business person. And so it’s a fun trip to be on because they’re experienced travelers and I can just follow them. So on this one day, Lynn had organized a hike up to the mountain in Barcelona so that we could see the sunset. And so she sent a text to people and said, the sunsets at this time, we’re climbing this it’s, it’s this much long and more to come. Okay. So I’m trying to be a good follower and I’m waiting and waiting and waiting.
Anna Apoian (08:33):
And I finally text her because it’s sundown. I said, when are we going? And she says, oh my gosh, I’m so sorry. We’re already here. And so I know Lynn, as wonderful as she is, she felt so terrible about this, but the fact was, it was me the follower who did not perform well, I did not perform well in that role, because I knew I had critical thinking skills. I knew that it was getting too late to hike them out and I really should have contacted her earlier. So she didn’t forget me. And as it turned out, everybody was in the lobby except me. So anyway, I thought that was a good example of it’s not always a leader that has to take charge, right? The follower has to take responsibility as well.
Anna Apoian (09:24):
Next slide please. Okay. So here’s some typology of how you can organize followership styles and I put two different ones up here, just so you know that if you wanna do more research, there’s several out there. There’s not as many followership as there are leadership, but you can read some books on it and you can also Google and you can watch some Ted talks on it as well. But the first one that was left was resource. These are people that, well, first of all, a follower should support and challenge the leader in a positive way. I’m not saying attack, and I’m not saying, you know being grumble mumble, you know, but you challenge ’em and they bring out the best in the leader. So a person classified as “resource” does not challenge or support, but they do the work. And we love some of those people on our staff, right?
Anna Apoian (10:19):
They come in the kitchens, they do the work, they go home. Wonderful. And individualists will be a contrarian, kind of a, you could say a devil’s advocate, but maybe a little bit aggressive. And the implementer supports, but does not question. And again, these can be healthy on a team in a certain manner, but they’re not bringing it to the next level. And a partner is one that supports and challenges. So Kelly’s five followership styles. The effective one is the thinker and a doer and the conformist participates, but doesn’t really bring forward ideas. And the passive person is just no engagement. Maybe it’s their second job or something. The alienated one is one, that’s a little bitter and snipes from the sidelines, right. They don’t have the confidence to address it face to face. And the pragmatic survivor is one that has a lot of critical thinking skills and they adjust to the leadership style. So let’s do a poll if we can. So reflecting on your current job, what type of follower would character characterize you as?
Laura Thompson (11:28):
What I think is interesting too, is we’re starting to see the results coming in from this is, as you were talking about on that story might have fit a little bit under passive. And I think for me, I oftentimes think of following as entirely passive. And I love how these frameworks talk about how there are other options within followership that aren’t just passive, but you can still be supportive. You can still be contributing. And, I think that’s just an interesting dynamic that I hadn’t maybe thought of before.
Anna Apoian (11:54):
Right. It’s a responsibility. And since we follow most of our days, there’s a lot of responsibility there. Right. And then when things fall down, we can’t just blame the leader.
Laura Thompson (12:07):
I love the kind of synergistic approach of followership involving some of this contribution, some of this discussion, some of this support. I just think it’s really interesting. So, we’re still getting a couple more responses coming in and we get to, this is very interesting. Okay. So let’s share these results.
Anna Apoian (12:26):
That’s great. And I would say from a director standpoint, I mean, there’s a 80/20 rule, right? Where 80% of the people do fine and 20% have a hard time and struggle and need more guidance. So this is kind of about where it is and, and in all honesty and my department, it’s about a 90/10 rule, or even 95/5, you know, 95% are fine and, you know, 5% still need a little more attention. Sure. Very good. In the next slide. Okay. So now let’s look at Kelly’s. Kelly has two continuums, so there’s engagement and critical thinking. And so at the top, right, with the star, that would be your perfect employee, right? These are people who contribute and will challenge constructively the leader to bring out the best. Over to the far left, these are the alienated ones – something’s wrong.
Anna Apoian (13:26):
And, and in all, honesty is probably something the leader can’t fix. Right. down below it’s the passive ones. This is what we usually think of when we think of followers, like you said, passive, and just, you know, if I jump off the cliff, you’re gonna jump off the cliff. You know, we don’t want that. And then conformist, the yes people. And again, they may not contribute. So let’s do a poll using Kelly’s followership model. Would your boss not you, would your boss, consider you alienated, exemplary, passive, a conformist, or a pragmatist? Oh, the pragmatist is somebody who is a survivor. And it’s very smart. You’ll adjust to the new boss, which is smart.
Laura Thompson (14:11):
And I think this one’s an interesting one, too. It just has a different angle on it. The pragmatist, the exemplary, the passive, I think it’s just interesting how it’s got a different flavor to it. And so both of these together this one, and then the other one are just interesting of, okay, how do I see myself? And then the other question I love with this one specifically is how do you think your boss sees you? Cause those might be different things and how we present ourselves and how we’re perceived might be different.
Anna Apoian (14:38):
Laura Thompson (14:42):
Okay. We’re still getting a few more responses coming in and then we will share the results.
Anna Apoian (14:47):
And in some cases, like, let’s say you have a boss that’s a narcissistic micromanager. You may not want to be that effective employee. Right. Because they are going to be threatened by your ideas. So in that case, you may wanna be a pragmatist and say, okay, wait, I’m gonna be a passive sheep in this case, cuz I need my job and I need to pay the grocery bill. So I mean, it depends on the relationship with the boss or management
Laura Thompson (15:17):
For sure. Yeah. Just figuring out what is the right strategic move, being practical in this situation for sure.
Anna Apoian (15:22):
Mm-hmm, okay. Okay. So thanks- next slide. But it is very important to look at your behavior as others, see you, your teammates, your boss, your family. So, okay. So these are five followership. I don’t say my R’s very well. I’m sorry. So I may just say followship. These are five followship actions. They show good will, so they have good intentions. They leave the baggage at the door. So any type of relationship problems or whatever, they kinda would leave that at the door or work it out themselves. They study the boss’s leadership style and they know the agenda. They know the agenda of their boss, of the management. And in this case of the district or of the business. They build rapport and trust. And let’s take, for instance, when I came here to work at Norwalk La Mirada, my boss came in and he sat me down, he gave me two pieces of paper.
Anna Apoian (16:26):
He says, this is where we were. This is where we wanna go. This is what you do. And this is what you don’t do. And I still have the two pages in my bottom drawer. So if I feel I’m getting off track, I pick it out. And I say, okay, this is what I’m supposed to do. This is what they’re looking for. And so it helps me, it gives me guidelines and keeps me in the safe lane. And then I had, of course, if Meg’s on, I don’t know, she may be too busy, but Meg was a wonderful boss. She started my new position way back in 1993. And so there wasn’t a lot to go by, but she gave me a little posted note with three goals on it. Right. And she said, this is what I want you to do.
Anna Apoian (17:05):
And so she obviously gave me lots of room to create so that, so I knew where they were going and I had their agenda. And that’s very important to do as an employee to listen to your boss and see where you’re going. And followers are on their game and they offer objective options. And we have to remember that followership is used to evaluate for promotion. It’s how well do you get along with others? It’s not just, do you have the skills? Do you get along with others as well? And are you self-motivated? Do you train yourself? Do you learn more? Next slide. So these are five leadership actions. The leader sets the framework and again, sets the boundaries. Like I just spoke about with Meg and my current boss. And then we gather the resources and we communicate to our staff and give them some guidelines.
Anna Apoian (18:02):
We support and we eliminate any barriers. So if an employee comes and says, well, I wanna do this as you ask, but this is a barrier. And so we remove those barriers if we can, if we’re able. And we encourage creativity. Next slide. So we create the framework and now I don’t wanna read every single bullet on here, so you can read it yourself. But it says, if you see the leader creates a frame and then the follower does everything else. So if you don’t understand something, you have to reach out. You have to take responsibility for the boundaries that were given. And you may say why that’s not right. That’s a boss’s job. Well, it’s purely a matter of math. So if I have 130 team members on our team and there’s one of me or in a couple supervisors, it’s you can’t possibly, you know, do that for everybody. So it really becomes up to the follower to follow up if they don’t understand or if they missed a communication or something. So lemme just take 30 seconds. I want you all to think of a few creative ideas.
Laura Thompson (19:20):
Put ’em in the chat, too. This could be fun.
Anna Apoian (19:30):
Are people typing?
Laura Thompson (19:32):
We haven’t seen one come through yet. I think this is proving a point.
Anna Apoian (19:36):
Are there people out there?
Laura Thompson (19:38):
Anna Apoian (19:39):
I can’t see anybody. I don’t like not seeing people.
Laura Thompson (19:43):
Anna Apoian (19:45):
Okay. Now I want you to take a minute and I want you to think of a few new lunch ideas that you could use next year and type those into the chat.
Laura Thompson (19:57):
Now we’re starting to get some more chat coming through.
Anna Apoian (19:59):
Okay, okay. So the point being when a leader creates that frame, we need to be more, a little bit more specific. So that allows for creativity. So that’s my point for the leaders. Next slide.
Laura Thompson (20:15):
It’s interesting seeing too like the variety of the creative ideas. As soon as you put that framework in, they start favorite salads grab and go power packs, smoothie bowls, me tuna salad, Friday team lunch, coffee bar cook for a day roasted salmon with raspberry glaze. I want some of that one build your own pizza, Mexico taco bar. I mean, there are so many ideas that are coming through. Once you started putting a little bit of framework around that question of creativity
Anna Apoian (20:42):
And it’d be great if we could have those, I saw muffin tin and I saw a few others like, huh? That’s interesting. Yeah. I could expound on that sausage and gravy biscuit – yum. Okay. So management behavior in that book, I read by Hertz. They talk about management behavior that is favored by employees. Again, I’m not gonna read every single bullet, but the leader; they do set the vision. So as an employee, we want our leaders to set the vision. So we know where to head and of course, we always want a boss who has the skills to be in the position that they are in. And we want them to coach us and we want them to be concerned about us and, and to help in our growth. Next slide. Oh, there’s a poll.
Laura Thompson (21:32):
There’s a poll here.
Anna Apoian (21:33):
Oh, I like this one. Are you currently pleased with your manager or boss’s performance? That’s an easy one. Oh, I can’t do it. That’s not fair.
Laura Thompson (21:49):
And this one’s an interesting one too, cause I know, I forget if it was on this slide or another one, but the emotional intelligence of a boss can be so vital in how that relationship works and how the boundaries are and how the framework is. And I think that emotional intelligence is not always an easy thing to learn, but it can definitely be developed. And so both with leadership and followership, if we can all work on emotional intelligence that will help us in whatever role we need to do at that time during the day or when, in whatever job we’re in.
Anna Apoian (22:19):
Laura Thompson (22:21):
Okay. So we’re still getting a few more responses coming through and I’m gonna share this poll now.
Anna Apoian (22:33):
Okay. Ah, that’s nice.
Laura Thompson (22:35):
It’s a pretty good ratio.
Anna Apoian (22:36):
Yeah. I’m happy with that. That’s good. And for the ones who are not- I hope that’s a issue with the leader and maybe they’re maybe they’re getting ready to retire. If not, you’ve got some work to do because they’re not going away. So we have to learn to adjust to our boss. You know, do you mind if we go backwards?
Laura Thompson (22:56):
Anna Apoian (22:57):
To slide 11.
Laura Thompson (23:02):
Okay. There we go.
Anna Apoian (23:04):
Oh, okay. I’m missing the picture on it. Okay. I had put a picture on here of two of the ladies I used to work with at Hawthorne School District, Gina and Maria. And I had went over to see them during the pandemic and I just missed them so much. But when I was there, they were on the team on the front lines and after I had left, they had managed to move up to manager. So I had put that on that slide just to show again that when you’re a follower, you’re also preparing yourself to be in a position of authority or a leadership role. But I’m sorry, Gina and Maria. I wanted your beautiful picture there. Okay. But instead we have Annette and Eloisa and Socorro who are here at Norwalk La Mirada. And we’re gonna talk about whoever has the ball.
Anna Apoian (23:54):
So leadership sets the goal for the team, right? And followership is pursuit of these goals. But the issue is on the front lines during the day, anyone, whoever has the ball is in the lead, right? So it’s just like basketball or soccer. Whoever has that ball is going to make the decision of what’s gonna happen next. And this happens in the kitchens all the time. So at Morrison, Socorro is the lead manager, but I have no doubt that Eloisa with her years of experience also is confident enough to share ideas, to make that kitchen run better. And Annette will always fill in for Socorro when Socorro has to be out. So who has that ball? And if that ball comes to you, it’s our responsibility to act and to have the confidence to take the lead.
Laura Thompson (24:45):
I think that confidence part is so key and probably so hard for many when you’re in the followership role to think, okay, I have the confidence that I can put my, put my work out there or put this idea out there and move forward with it. So I think that confidence is an interesting thing to develop as well.
Anna Apoian (25:02):
And one thing that helps the team members to have the confidence to do that in our district, we have value words and we came up with them together about three years ago and our value words are safety, optimism, customer service, and communication. Those were the four most important things to us. And so what I tell the staff is if you make a decision based on one of those words, you’re in the clear, you know, you’re not going to get slapped for not following the usual procedures. Remember that time Laura, on the airplane, when the guards dragged off a man, because it was overbooked? And I mean, everybody was upset with the guards, but they were doing what they were told to do. Or during Katrina, when it took forever for people to respond and get some of those people off the rooftop, they were waiting for orders.
Anna Apoian (25:55):
We don’t want that. We don’t want our team members on the front line to get stuck in a situation that’s unusual and not know what to do. So we have those value words and I have the confidence in them that they can make a decision that will be in the best interest of the customer in the best interest of the district or the business using those value words. And in fact, it just happened recently, one of our leads, Lynette she said in some of the, I think it was taco meat, but whatever, the plastic kind of ended up cooking a little bit on the top of it. She made the decision to throw away a lot of food. That’s a big decision to make because it’s a big dollar value on that. But, she made the decision and she changed the menu and she notified her supervisor. And I was like, thank you, Lynette. I mean, that is exactly what a leader is. She had the ball, she made the decisions based on the value words. And I thanked her and I mean that’s having the ball. So I’m sure there’s many, many people out there like Lynette.
Laura Thompson (26:59):
Some awesome things coming through, chat up. I can just interject a little bit. I love this one. June said the more the employee is empowered, the more the confidence arises. Like you’re talking about with these value words, and I’m seeing some of these great leadership traits coming through that people are talking about – team player, they keep confidential your weaknesses, but they still help you grow, pitching in where needed supporting all employees crediting and celebrating individual contribution and successes. So sharing the credit.
Anna Apoian (27:28):
Laura Thompson (27:28):
Clear expectations, valuing followers, flexibility, strength, humility, supportive, and interested in my actions and my needs, organization, teamwork and experience. And I love this one. June, you are rocking it with these ideas, giving permission to fail and recover. Just don’t make the same mistake and mistakes and failures over and over again, promote a solution mindset. There’s so many great ideas here in the chat. I’m absolutely loving these favorite leadership traits. So everybody, keep pitching in and keep reviewing them, cause these are fantastic.
Anna Apoian (27:57):
And I like the solution oriented because I mean, if you go back to Kelly’s model and you have the person who’s a critical thinker, but the naysayer, right. We all identify problems. That’s just survival, right? We’re tuned in to identify problems so we can avoid them. It takes that extra critical thinking to come up with a solution. And so, for instance, if I go to my boss and I’m you know, I don’t like the way this happens and this, this, this, this, this, I presented my problem, but I just took the focus away from the problem and created a new one. So now any solution I want, isn’t gonna be there cause he’s gonna get defensive of me right away. So if I present it, you know, I’m running into this. Can you help me get over this blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Anna Apoian (28:50):
And here are some suggestions I have, then we’re still focused on the problem and I’ve already come up with several solutions. And I know my supervisory team and Alexis, they do this all the time to me, Anna, this is this, how about if we do this, this, this. So, it just speeds things up. And I also, like somebody said, flexibility. That is extremely important in the leader. Extremely important. We can’t be black and white. Yeah. Thanks. Next slide. So here are some leadership traits and what a coincidence, it’s many of the same traits. So you have your honesty, your competency, forward thinking, visionary, intelligence – high emotional intelligence, and c communication is the one that’s on both of them. And this is a picture of most of the Hawthorne staff that I left behind that I missed terribly.
Laura Thompson (29:51):
Anna Apoian (29:52):
Oh, I know here. OK. Can I share one thing about this picture? One of the persons, two of the people missing in this picture who are, you know, always still in my heart, are Phyllis Robinette and Melody Gleason, and they were a team over at HMS and Washington School, I think it was. And when I first started my directorship Phyllis said to me, Phyllis said oh, she’s very bubbly. And you know, she’s like 80 years old. Right. And she’s talking to me and then she says, oh, you’re a new director. Looks like I have to train another one. And you know what she did, she did. She did a great job. Okay. I’m sorry. Go on.
Laura Thompson (30:31):
So type in chat, what is a helpful follower trait?
Anna Apoian (30:34):
Oh, I think I already gave it away.
Laura Thompson (30:36):
Yeah. And so you may have given away some answers, but it’d be interesting too, to see what people are thinking. And I’m seeing some good stuff coming through as well. And I love this one complaining without suggestions is just whining and we don’t do that. Well, this is what makes me crazy. But open-mindedness looking for solutions, making suggestions that would improve a certain situation, asking how they can help being supportive. These are fantastic traits that are seen in fellowship.
Anna Apoian (31:03):
Excellent. Excellent. So again, I’m sorry. I jumped ahead. Yes. Communication to me is one of the biggest ones and also on followership it’s cooperative. So you may say, okay, well, I brought an idea to my boss and I brought several problems. And I brought several solutions and they didn’t take it. We also have to understand that there may be a reason why that solution wasn’t taken. So I definitely know that people above me have a bigger picture of things, right. And there’s other things on their plate and that, that may overlap with some of the issues that I’m dealing with. And so at that point, if they don’t take my ideas, I don’t give, you know, it’s, I don’t get bitter about it. I have to jump on the bandwagon and go with the flow. I have to start being cooperative.
Anna Apoian (31:51):
I can’t hold a grudge because my idea wasn’t taken. That’s not the way it works. And I think somebody had mentioned humility and that kind of comes into play there. Loyalty to our employer, whether business, whether a district, loyalty is very important in order to continue to be supportive. Communication to me is what it’s all about. And I try to do my best and, and I think we have to picture this. There’s so much information out there. So I’m the sender. I send information. Maybe I’m not speaking clearly. You know, I don’t say my R’s… lots going on. We may be in a meeting, somebody’s having side conversations. I send my message. Maybe it’s by email and it doesn’t come across. Right. Maybe it’s on a phone. In person, the message is then delivered to the receiver.
Anna Apoian (32:45):
Maybe the receiver has just received some bad news and they only read the first line or whatever. So it’s always important to check back and to say, what did you hear me say? What did you hear me say? Because not only the noise of physical noise in the environment, but also our perceptions can inhibit the intent or the exact message. So the feedback loop is very important. Taking time to listen. 50% of communication is listening. And I think it’s Sinick said we also have to hold back our opinion. We do need the confidence to share and we need to learn when to share it. So that’s key. Yeah. Yeah. So good followers make a functional team. So followership is different than teamwork. Followership is really a kind of individual thing and teamwork is when we’re all working together and there’s a flow.
Anna Apoian (33:45):
So I’m sure you’ve had this before, when you’re working with somebody you’re working on a project and all of a sudden, you know, you’ve set it aside two or three hours to really work on this one major project. You’re getting rid of all this excess noise. And you’re closing down the room and things are just flowing or you’re in the kitchen and you’re serving 500 meals and things are just happening. Problems turn into solutions because everyone’s passing the ball around. Right. And then people work together effortlessly. And we know what happens when there’s somebody on that team that’s not a good follower. Right. We know what happens. It just kind of upsets that flow. But so we wanna try to keep everyone on the same page. And again, that’s why it comes down to being a follower is a responsibility. Next slide.
Anna Apoian (34:35):
Okay. So I know you wanted me to talk about leadership, but I didn’t want to, so this is my one slide on leadership. Okay. So first of all, we all need to know what our preferred leadership style is. So for instance, I mean, I used to be something completely different, but now I’m more of a change agent, you know? So when the pandemic hit, I was fine. I’m like, okay, let’s do this, this, this, this, this, right. And then I remember being on an SNA conference call and there was another director, a very renowned director. And she said that wasn’t her style and how uncomfortable it was for her. You know? And in turn this year has been more uncomfortable for me because we’re leaning back into a new normal, and we’re getting back to procedures and it’s just a little bit more difficult for me.
Anna Apoian (35:25):
So we need to know our preferred leadership style. However, we need to know ’em all because the situation dictates what leadership style we need to use. And also the skill level of our team will dictate what leadership style we need to do as well as the business or district in which we work. I mean, in districts, we follow the master agreement. We follow the board policies, we follow USDA policies and so on. So, command and people say, oh, I would never be commanded. And well, guess what? The start of the pandemic that’s what it was. They don’t call it command central for nothing. When there’s a crisis, you go into command mode. That’s not, when you’re gonna sit around the table and say, hey, what do you think? But certainly as a pandemic went around and we were like, okay, what do we do now? And you have time to talk with your team members. That’s when they would start sharing their ideas and help us, you know, we all got through it together. So there’s all these different styles. And again, you can look up anything, some will say there’s four, some will say there’s five. Some will say there’s seven, some will say 10. So know your style and, and be aware that you may have to change it depending on the situation.
Laura Thompson (36:41):
And I think also to add to that, you might need to adapt certain styles based on certain employees that you work with. They might be like, they might respond better to this and this employee over here might respond better to this. So you need to adapt based on that situation as well
Anna Apoian (36:56):
In the next slide. So the first follower is very important, and this is a, if you can look this up after this webinar, it’s a Ted Talk by Derek Cybers. And this was actually a little video. It’s a three minute Ted Talk, you can watch or a snippet from it. But it’s this lone dancer. And the first slide. You can see this kid on the, you know, hillside acting crazy. And everybody’s just watching him for a while and then comes the first follower. And there he is. And by the end, they’re up and dancing. So it’s that first follower who kind of ascertains is this worth getting up? Is it worth me taking the chance? So again, that synergy between follower and leader, you can’t separate it. Next slide.
Anna Apoian (37:44):
So in closing, we are all followers and leaders. Followership is a responsibility. We need to know ourselves and we need to know our boss. That’s our responsibility to know our boss. And if Meg’s here, I don’t know if she is, but Meg, thank you. Because when you were my first boss, you taught me to know who I was. I don’t know if you remember this red doll. Meg had a, I’ll take a personality quiz. And I was red, but I didn’t wanna be red. I did not want to be red. I wanted to be blue like Lynn, but I was red. And so after all these years I have embraced my redness and you just have really helped me grow in my professional life and my personal life. I also had my kids take that test, so I know how to relate to them. So I suggest, you know that for people too, so know ourselves, know our boss. Lead when it’s necessary, according to the organization’s mission goals and value words, and communicate well, listen, and have the confidence to share your ideas. And that’s all I have. Thank you so much.
Laura Thompson (38:54):
Thank you so much, Anna. This was such a delightful conversation. I know I learned so much and as I’m seeing some of the comments coming through, they really liked the approach that you took to this. So thank you Anna so much for your time and for your insight and for your emotional generosity here. And thank you all who attended and who came and who shared your comments and insights in the chat. This has been an absolutely fantastic conversation and I’m so excited ee were able to have it. So thank you so much for joining us today, everyone. And we will get this recording sent out in case, if you’d like to pass it to or a colleague. And we will see you next time. Thank you.
Anna Apoian (39:28):