100% Jodi: How to Face Our Leadership Challenges

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What guides you as a leader when you are faced with a moral dilemma?

In this episode I’m going to call out some of the dilemmas we are faced with as leaders and some perspectives you can take to help you through them.

Hello, I’m Jodi Flynn and welcome to the Women Taking the Lead podcast. I’m an executive leadership coach, author, speaker, workshop facilitator and I have the joy to work with women leaders who want to hone the skills that will allow them to thrive in Senior Leadership. I know I’ve met a woman I would love to work with when we start having a few laughs about our tendencies toward perfectionism and people pleasing.

I had been living in Maine for the past 18 years, but I am currently in Massachusetts staying with family while I prepare to make my final move to Virginia – less than 2 weeks away!!

Thanks to the beauty of technology, I’ve been able to continue to work with women all over the world even in the midst of so much movement and transition.

I do individual coaching as well as workshops and team retreats, and I am the current President of the board for The Maine Women’s Conference.

I spend the free time I have catching up with friends and family, coordinating my move to Virginia, and finding calm by watching the Great British Baking Show.

Growing up I was taught that life brings challenges to us all, time and time again, and these challenges would call one’s character into question.

These challenges would all look different and would come at different stages in life but at their heart they would likely fall into one of the following categories:

  • You would need to decide between doing what is right but hard, and doing what is easy.


  • You would need to decide between protecting your identity and ego, or being honest.

What I’ve found is right when I think I’ve mastered my integrity and ability to always do the right thing, another situation comes along (same dilemma, new clothing) that gives me pause and I have to decide what to do.

It feels like these days there’s barely a pause before the next challenge comes.

Luckily, most situations do not require an immediate response and there’s time for reflection before acting.

But sometimes, that reflection has led to inaction or staying quiet and I’m not sure that was always the right thing to do either.

In other cases, I didn’t take time to reflect and started talking when I should have been reflecting.

Dilemma’s you may be faced with as a leader could be how to handle the situation when:

  • You’ve made a mistake.
  • You have an employee that is underperforming.
  • You have an irate customer and they are unleashing their pent-up frustrations on you.
  • Someone makes a racist or misogynistic joke in a work setting.
  • Someone makes a racist or misogynistic joke in a personal setting.
  • You are called out for making a racist comment.
  • You are criticized for your leadership.
  • You are passed over for recognition or a promotion.

What has the last year brought to your doorstep?

Hearing Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, recite her poem The Hill We Climb at the Inauguration on January 20 gave me goosebumps in a good way.

Her intention was to inspire and call us to the present moment and, in my case, her mission was accomplished.

Excerpt from Amanda Gorman’s poem, The Hill We Climb.

Here is an excerpt from her poem:

“We will not be turned around or interrupted by intimidation because we know our inaction and inertia will be the inheritance of the next generation. Our blunders become their burdens. But one thing is certain, if we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.”

Many of the problems in the world are due to inaction and inertia – ours and those who came before us. We may have inherited a problem but if we don’t act, we will pass it on as a much bigger problem to the next generation.

Last year I heard an expression, “It’s not my fault but it is my problem.”

I love this expression because it acknowledges two things:

  1. I didn’t create this situation.
  2. Even though I didn’t create this situation, it’s now my responsibility to fix it.

Sometimes we get in our heads that if we didn’t make the mess, we are absolved from cleaning it up. That thinking only leaves a mess unattended to and possibly getting worse.

Another line in that excerpt of Amanda Gorman’s poem had me pausing to digest it.

“If we merge mercy with might and might with right, then love becomes our legacy and change our children’s birthright.”

This line speaks of compassion and forgiveness. It speaks of the ability to make change and acting, not just for our own good, but for what is good for generations to come.

That’s a really lofty idea so let’s bring it down to ground level.

If, on a daily basis, we treat ourselves and others with compassion and practice forgiveness, we will empower ourselves to face challenges.

And, if we consider not just the immediate impacts of our decisions and actions, but consider the long-term consequences of our actions or inactions, we will be more empowered to do the hard things.

I’m going to address having compassion and practicing forgiveness first, and then I’m going to come back to considering the long-term consequences.

When you have compassion for yourself there’s nothing to protect. If you misspoke or did something you are not proud of you can own up to it, ask for forgiveness, forgive yourself, make amends, and move on.

With compassion you know we all make mistakes, we’re all human, and so there is nothing you did, or someone else did, that cannot be forgiven.

When faced with a dilemma of owning up to a mistake or brushing it under the carpet and hoping nobody noticed or won’t mention it, you own up to it.

I have been eating humble pie a lot lately and I’ll tell you, it’s freeing. It’s freeing to just admit I made a mistake, to admit I wish I had acted differently, to ask for forgiveness. It smooths over rough situations much more quickly than pretending it didn’t happen or denying it had an impact.

Forgiving others does more for you than it does for the other person. I could do a whole episode series on forgiveness but for the focus of this episode I’ll just say a couple of things.

Forgiving someone does not mean you can’t hold them accountable to their actions. If the situation warrants it, you have a conversation about what happened. They may also need to make amends or clean up any damage that was done.

However, by forgiving someone, you let go of resentment or the need to punish someone. Again, there are natural consequences they need to deal with but punishment is above and beyond natural consequences.

And by forgiving and letting go of resentment you free yourself up to move on. You are no longer mentally or emotionally attached to what happened. You are free of it and ready to face new challenges free of the past, fully in the present.

Now here we come back to considering the long-term consequences of our actions or inactions.

When faced with a moral dilemma you want to consider the immediate impacts of your decision. But you also want to consider what the ripple-effect will be if you take this action or do not take this action.

This long view puts things in a whole new light and can make it easier to act for your highest good and the greater good of others.

Practicing a pause before reacting will give you some time to calm down and consider what the consequences, immediate and long-term, will be before you knee-jerk react.

One thing we can do to prevent knee-jerk reactions is to do regular maintenance on the things we are tolerating. What we tolerate takes energy to keep under the surface.

When we are tolerating things, we like to pretend that they don’t really bother us but they do and it takes energy to keep up the charade.

The more we tolerate, the more energy the charade takes. This may surprise you but you can easily be tolerating hundreds of things in your life.

If you would like to find calm, ease and enjoyment in your day, while preventing any knee-jerk stress reactions, go to https://womentakingthelead.com/tolerations to find out more. This product is only $19 and has been described as life-changing by those who’ve completed it.

I’ll leave you with the last line of Amanda Gorman’s poem…

“The new dawn blooms as we free it. For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

As always, I hope this was of value to you and here’s to your success!

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