Finding the “I” in Team (feat. Jim Hotaling)

Nov 16, 2022

What skills are most important in being an effective leader? Is it the ability to inspire? 


The ability to be innovative or master strategic decision making? Jim Hotaling believes that while all these attributes matter greatly, they’re nothing without the skill of resilience. 


Jim previously served as Commander in Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, advising senior executives within the US Department of Defense. He also spent 20+ years in Special Forces, giving him a unique perspective on leadership and resilience. Now, he currently serves as the head of leadership development and assessment at N2Growth, a recruiting firm that discovers and develops innovative and resilient leaders.


The skill of resiliency, however, is often misunderstood. While some believe that being resilient is moving forward in the face of setbacks, Jim looks at it differently. He understands that to weather the pressures of leadership while optimizing your skills, you must learn to put your needs first.


“The onus is on you as a leader to effectively lead your organization and your people. To do that, you have to start with yourself.”


In this episode, Jim demystifies the idea of being selfish while sharing what it takes to build resiliency and a healthy approach to the “never quit” mentality. 



Finding the “I” in Team.


It’s often thought that the pillar of a good leader is someone with the ability to put the needs of the team before their own. But Jim Hotaling believes that neglecting your needs does nothing but hold your team back and limits your effectiveness. 


By denying the primal needs of your mind, body, and soul, you won’t have the mental, physical, or emotional strength to fulfill the duties you’ve taken on. For example, in your pursuit to be the best leader, you may regularly sacrifice sleep, downtime, or a properly balanced diet to meet your daily demands. This, in turn, can lead to drops in your performance and clarity in your actions. 


However, you strengthen your skills when you take control of how you operate as a leader by prioritizing and honoring the needs of your well-being.


This includes needs that not only make your body feel nourished and your mind clear, but also the desire to be a part of something bigger than yourself. When you do this, you develop a sound foundation for leadership that allows you to perform at your highest capacity for those around you every day. 


“As a leader, you have to be able to think clearly. And it’s these small little things [taking care of your well-being] that make a big difference in how you lead at the executive level.”


When you develop a mindset that understands the importance of your needs and how it affects your team’s ability to succeed, you take steps toward becoming resilient.


You create the mindset that not everything is unicorns and rainbows, which makes you always prepared to deal with what comes your way.



Building Resiliency


If you’ve been clocking in long hours, finding it increasingly difficult to “turn off,” and regularly putting the team before yourself, that’s a clear sign that it’s time to shake things up. It’s time to develop habits that build your skill of resilience. 


Two things you can start doing immediately to make this a reality are: 


Step #1: Take a look at your day-to-day schedule. Is there time in the morning, in-between meetings, or at the end of the day that you have to catch your breath or debrief? If not, where can you instruct your assistant to incorporate more buffers into your schedule? 


Step #2: During these buffer times, take a moment to go within. Ask yourself how you’re feeling, what you need, and what you can do to deliver (or continue delivering) your best work that day. 


Creating these habits will train your mind to work in a forward-thinking atmosphere. One that isn’t consumed by the thoughts of others or the missing answer to a problem. When you begin living within the present, you’ll build resiliency that takes you and your team well into tomorrow.



Jim also shares:


  • Ideal mantras for conscious leadership
  • Why leaders need to prioritize making space to debrief
  • The importance of not shying away from criticism



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