Being a leader isn’t always easy. You’ve got to learn how to balance the wants and needs of others with your needs. And sometimes, things happen that can cause you pain, like someone leaving your team or rumors flying behind your back. In these hard times, it can be easy to call it quits or close yourself off.
But instead of doing that – what if you just kept showing up and being vulnerable? In this episode, Kristen is talking about leading and loving and how your vulnerability might be the thing that makes you the rockstar leader you were meant to be.
Join Kristen as she goes over these points:
- Why going through the hard seasons are necessary in order to birth the new
- How to handle unintentional (and intentional) harm as a leader
- Kristen’s personal story about the most painful experience she’s had as a coach and how she overcame
- Why it’s important to allow yourself to be vulnerable with your team
Leading a team might not always be sunshine and rainbows, but it’s important to remember that the hard seasons are only temporary. Shutting yourself off and denying your team the level of caring you’re capable of could actually do more harm than you think.
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Thanks for listening! Do you have a question about network marketing? Kristen can help! Drop your question here, and she just might answer it live on the podcast: https:/Kristenboss.com/question
Connect with Kristen:
If you’re ready to learn the simple process of running your social selling business online, you have to check out Kristen’s live group coaching program! The Social Selling Academy: www.thesocialsellingacademy.com
Transcript for Episode #160: Leading and Loving
Kristen Boss (00:19): You are listening to the Kristen Boss podcast. I’m your host, Kristen Boss. As a bestselling author and performance coach, I’m on a mission to share about sustainable and purposeful approaches to both business and life. Each week I bring relevant topics that I believe are necessary to create a life of purpose, significance and meaning. Entrepreneurship is about so much more than growing your bottom line. It’s about who you are becoming in the process and building a life that is truly extraordinary. Entrepreneurship is really just the beginning.
Kristen Boss (00:57): Hey, bosses. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This week we’re going to talk more about leadership. Why? Because it’s relevant, it matters, and I know you’re going to get a lot of value from it. And apparently I like being vulnerable and just letting it all out there. So you’re going to hear more from me today about hard leadership lessons, and I want to talk specifically about leading and loving. And man, I have learned some big lessons with this. And there are going to be people that you coach, that you serve, that come to your teams, come to your business, and there are going to be some people that you truly grow to care about, to love, to take on their dreams as your own. Just the other day, I had voice messaged a bunch of my former one-on-ones just to say, Hey, I know it’s been a few years, but I’m still cheering for you.
Kristen Boss (01:50): Still so proud of you. And it was just very sweet. And the message I got back, I was like, man, this is beautiful work. There’s leading and then there’s loving. And there have been times where I have grown very close friendships with some of the clients that I have coached, and some of them will probably be lifelong friends and people I’m going to just continue to talk to. And there was something that was really painful that I had to learn with coaching. And it was when people decided to part ways and not at a time when I felt like we both decided it mutually. Like, Hey, I think you’ve got what you need here. It’s time to go. And to be honest, for a while I was in coaching circles that kind of, I would say created a high pressure environment to create a relationship with a client where they needed to need you.
Kristen Boss (02:46): And almost to create a internal belief system that without you they would fail. And with time, I saw how corrupt and unethical that was and started to work through that myself and be like, okay, how do I help someone have a lot of change, get them results in their life and not get them to be independent and resourceful and self-reliant and not believing that they need me to have success? And I had realized in certain parts of my coaching journey that there were times where I liked being needed. I liked being the savior. I liked being the one having all the answers, but that set up for an unhealthy coaching relationship. And this idea of like, well, if you don’t need me, then why are you here? Type of thing. And so there were times when it was just a client’s time to move on.
Kristen Boss (03:45): They got their lessons, they had their growth. And sometimes it was very tearful because it was just like, oh, I’m going to miss you. Mondays aren’t going to be the same. Tuesdays are Tuesdays at 10 aren’t going to be the same, and I got it. But there are those where we just lovingly part ways and love you wish you the best. And then there is, and you’re going to see a lot of parallels with this and people that come to your organization. And then there were people that had been with me where I had to realize, Ooh, this is not a good fit and I need to let them go earlier. And sometimes I would blindside them and not intentionally, but I would just send an email saying, Hey, I don’t think I’m the best coach for you. Here’s the reasons why. And it could be for they weren’t coachable.
Kristen Boss (04:33): They would just fight me. Every single session I had one client where every session I would offer something, she’d ask my strategy, I’d give it to her, and she would just fight me. She was just defensive and just, I was just like, are we going to coach or are we here to fight? And it got to the point where I noticed she wasn’t able to make any progress because literally every other week she kept changing her strategy. And I kept saying like, Hey, stay with one strategy for a long enough time to grab data. But she never did. And it’s kind of funny, I have since followed her, but eventually I was just like, I’m noticing that this coaching relationship does not serve her. It does not serve me. And I refunded her and said, Hey, I think you are best working with another coach in these areas.
Kristen Boss (05:27): Here’s what I’ve noticed. And so there are those, and then there are the ones where you get really hurt. There are the ones where maybe somebody misunderstands, maybe somebody misreads you or maybe you want to intentionally cause harm. And I have done this. And for me that has always felt absolutely devastating. There is nothing I don’t know about you, but I’m the person where if someone was to send me a text and say, we need to talk, my anxiety would go to a level 998, and it would not come down until the person would say, I’m not mad at you. Don’t worry.
Kristen Boss (06:07): And that’s just a super honest and transparent part of who I am and understanding my nervous system, my own upbringing, and at my attachment style. And so I had to learn, okay, how do I handle when I unintentionally hurt people or when people unintentionally hurt me? Or worse, what if people willfully and maliciously try to hurt me? People I have opened myself up to as a coach, people, I have trusted people. I have what I feel because a coaching relationship feels very intimate. And I am not one to hide things from my clients. If I believe it serves, I will tell my clients or my students a story of when I went through something similar to help normalize what they are feeling to help normalize the pain or the growth or whatever I’m asking them to. Or sometimes it’s to help them see what I’m asking of you.
Kristen Boss (07:04): I have done myself, and I always say this to the people I coach, I will never ask you to do something I have not yet done myself. And I say that to stay in integrity as a coach, but what happens when somebody willfully and maliciously attacks you, says things about you maligns your character, slander spreads things. And I will say that was the hardest leadership lessons. There were the ones where I unintentionally caused harm and I had to own up to it, apologize, get on a call, own it, take full responsibility. And the person would still be like, yeah, no, we’re done. And I had to respect that decision. And it would be so hard because I hate feeling misunderstood. I hate when people misinterpret me. So when people left because I was misunderstood or misinterpreted, there was nothing I could do to change their perception.
Kristen Boss (08:05): And I simply had to take ownership of what I could and own it, not give any excuses. Cause that’s what leaders do. And let them leave my sphere knowing that they might say things about me that I felt were untrue and there was literally nothing I could do about it. That was hard. That was a leadership lesson for sure. And learning to let go and make peace with myself and say, okay, that’s what that one person is going to say. But what do I have to say about myself and why does that matter? And what do I know to be true? And visiting that. And then I’m going to share a specific story without any details. I’m going to be very vague about this for confidential confidentiality reasons, but the lesson still stands because I know you will hear this story and probably think, man, that has been me, or I’m going through that right now, and maybe you need to hear.
Kristen Boss (08:56): So one of the hardest things I went through was there was a student that I was working with or whatever, and it was actually two students at the time, and something happened with student A and student B, and I did not know the actions of student A and student B held me liable for the actions of student A that I did not even know that student A did because student A had intentionally deceived me. That was, first of all, that was devastating. That was absolutely devastating because I had built such rapport, there was such trust, all those things, and that it felt like somebody had just stabbed a knife in my heart. And so there was that pain. And then the secondary pain was when student B held me liable for the actions of student A, and not just liable but believed that I had told student A to do what they did, which was just absolutely, I’m telling you, devastating.
Kristen Boss (10:03): And it was so painful. I ugly cried more times than I could count, and the decisions and the actions that student B did because they felt wronged was to seek revenge. And I was the scapegoat and I was the easiest target. And it impacted my business in a large way because suddenly I had, when you have these potentially big names or whatever with organizations and they’re believing this, suddenly I have other people thinking, Kristen Boss told student A, when we know student A works with Kristen, boss told this student to do that. And I could not, for legal and confidential reasons come out and say I wasn’t even legally allowed to defend myself, which was the hardest guys. I had to stay silent when my character was being slandered publicly. And it was so deeply, deeply painful, and it was trying to find the right words because I just want to be cautious.
Kristen Boss (11:22): But to be in a place where I could not defend my character was the most painful thing I had ever been through in my business on a relational level. Because there had been times where somebody had questioned my character and I was able to get on a call, seek clarity, communicate, and we both would end the call with mutual respect and it would be fantastic. But this was an instant. There was nothing I could say or do to fix that, that reality. And it was hard. And I remember telling my husband, and I think my therapist too at the time, I said, there’s only two instances in my life where I truly, I felt like a true, true victim to something that happened because I just, I’m somebody that doesn’t, I don’t want to live in victimhood mentality. But that for an instance was I truly felt a victim to something that I did not do.
Kristen Boss (12:19): So I was trying to wrap my mind around the be betrayal and deception from student A and the slander and the character. I don’t know what character crusade from student B. So two huge things all while in the middle of something very big happening in my business, and it had a significant impact on my business at the time, but all the, oh, guys, all of this was a catalyst for so much healing and growth and the next and the new. But there was two instances where in my life where I felt like it was a victim. That was instance one and instance two was something that happened with my daughter at a daycare center. No, she was not touched or anything like that. It was something else where we were deceived and it was really bad. It was on national news. That was the only other instance where I was, I was a victim of somebody really, it was fraud, somebody committing fraud and willfully deceiving us and us being a victim to that when my daughter was in their care.
Kristen Boss (13:34): And then the second was this instance. So you’re like, okay, why are you telling me all this? I’m telling you all this because this could easily shut you down. And I know some of you have had experiences like this with your leaders, somebody that you loved, somebody that you trusted, suddenly sabs you says something that is absolutely catastrophic to your character, something that ruins, puts your character on the line that you were unable to recover. Maybe they do something that harms or affects your paycheck on a negative level. That happened as well. And so there was such pain where I had a hard time getting out of bed. I had a hard time showing up to my business at all in that season because I was so hurt. And to be really honest, if I’m going to just be so transparent here for a very brief, for a few weeks, I seriously considered not serving the industry anymore because I’m like, this is why people don’t like this industry, this mean girl behavior, this mean girl character.
Kristen Boss (14:45): And I entertained it for a little bit, but then I was like, if I shut this and walk away the wrong p i, I’m giving all the power to the bullies. The bullies win. And I’m not okay with that. So I had to do my healing, and it brought up a lot of healing for me. I went to therapy, worked with my therapist about this, worked through a lot of, if there was abandonment issues and trauma, and it helped my therapist when she heard the story, she’s like, this is trauma. And you guys, it put me in such a state, a fight flight state. I was in it for probably 45 to 60 days. It took a real toll on my mental health, my ability to show up. But you wouldn’t know. You would not know because I was still present on my social media.
Kristen Boss (15:36): You would not know because I was still coaching my people. You would not know because I was showing up. And so here’s where I want to go with this. So I was presented with an option, do I want to shut this all down and walk away? And it was in that moment were the inception and the idea of the leadership school came up. I was like, what is needed here? What if? And I had already been thinking of potentially retiring my mastermind, and I was like, wait, hold on. And that was kind of confirmation. I was looking for confirmation that maybe it was the right move to to serve the industry on a better level. It was the most painful confirmation I could possibly have, but it was like, yep, that’s it. This is absolutely the right decision. And here’s the thing. This is where leading in love comes in.
Kristen Boss (16:23): I had this very distinct point in time. I was so hurt. I was so raw, I was so cut up. I dealt with so much anger because in my mind I was just like, I thought anger because I was also like, well, these people say they’re people of faith and this is how they act. And again, there was just wound on top of, wound on top of wound. But I was committed to working it through. I’m like, I’m going to see this through. I’m going to get healing. I’m going to take care of myself however that needs to look. And I am sure someone’s hearing this, and they’re like, man, Kristen is deeply identifying with the most horrible season of my life when I dealt with this particular leader, or this thing happened to my team, or this thing happened with my company. Maybe it’s not your team.
Kristen Boss (17:04): Maybe it’s your marriage, maybe it’s a friendship. I don’t know. So what was happening was I was getting ready to go to the last round of my mastermind event, the live event that was going to be in Denver. And I had all these women flying in from all over the country to do this, to be at this live event. And I remember thinking, I just want to keep myself at arm’s distance so that none of no one here can hurt me so that no one surprises me. I need to keep my armor up. I need to protect myself. This is all the things I was thinking. I’m like, okay, it’s okay. I’m like, I’ll mingle a little bit of cocktail hour and then I’m going to dodge up to my room. I’ll like say hi, but I’m not going to sit down and get to know them.
Kristen Boss (17:49): And I realized, and words out of my mouth, and gosh, this episode is so uncomfortable because I just feel like I’m just letting it out there, but I know this, this will be helpful to somebody. I remember saying to my therapist, I said, I’m afraid to love them. I’m afraid to open up my heart to leading them and coaching them and caring too much and getting my heart stomped on all over again of feeling like trust is lost, feeling the betrayal, feeling the deception if I let them see me, if I show up as coach and I let them see Kristen boss, that’s just too vulnerable and I don’t think I can do that. And I sat with it. I sat with it for so long, guys, and I realized here is what I realized. This is the lesson of this entire episode. I realized this.
Kristen Boss (18:36): I asked myself, but can I leave lead if I do not love? Can I lead these women? Well if I cannot love them? And I realized if I am holding them in arm’s length, then I am keeping myself from taking an active, invested interest in their growth and their transformation. Because I had been taught to stonewall yourself self off from your clients. I had a coach that told me a proximity is a privilege and don’t let people get too close, keep a far distance from your clients. And it never sat right. And I remember at a couple mastermind events, I would sit over the gals and laugh and tell funny stories and share drinks and food with them. And I would walk back to my hotel room thinking something was wrong with me because I let them see Kristen boss more than just seeing their coach.
Kristen Boss (19:32): And I remember thinking like, oh no, I’m losing all authority. I’m losing credibility. And man, nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing was further from the truth. And so I was presented with the choice of how I was going to show up with this room of women that I have been entrusted to coach and honor and care for and serve. And so I actually got myself to this place where I’m like, I could get hurt again. I could, someone in here could hurt me, but what if I trust myself to love them while I serve them? Knowing that loving them gives them the capability to potentially hurt me and also realizing like I can. And I realized I was still holding on to being a victim of what happened to me a little bit. And I realized, I have got, I’ve got to let this go.
Kristen Boss (20:27): I need to let this go. And I remember doing this really powerful exercise with my therapist, and I put my hand over my heart and did some breathing, and she walked me through saying, I wish you well. I wish you happiness. I wish you peace. I wish you blessing. And I said that over student A and student B. And I felt, wait, leave me. And it was a really powerful moment. And I told myself, I’m going to go to Denver and I’m going to let myself love, because if I let myself love these women, then I can lead them well because I lead well when I care most. And some of you have been hurt. You have been crushed. You have been betrayed. You have been deceived. Your character has been mocked, you have been slandered, and it has caused you to stone yourself, stonewall yourself from your team to close yourself off, ice them out because you were so afraid of getting hurt.
Kristen Boss (21:24): And here is what helped me. I realized that while it felt horrible, it didn’t kill me. It was absolutely horrible, but I realized I’m capable. I’m capable. I got through that pain, which means I can get through it again if necessary. I’ve got the tools, I’ve got the support. I’ve got the community. So I’m going to let myself experience the vulnerability of caring, of caring for the people I coach. Even when I just got hurt and I let myself go all in that weekend, I mean, I was in the room chatting with these girls until one in the morning. We were laughing, we were crying, we were sharing stories. I was telling them childhood stories and those things. I let them see all of me. And I got rid of the story of if they see all of me, I can’t coach them powerfully. And nothing could be further from the truth.
Kristen Boss (22:18): Because what happened was I gained more trust from them because I led from love because, and guess what? They let me lead because they felt loved and they felt loved because I let myself be seen. They got to see the other side, the non stage side of Kristen. And gosh, maybe that’s what I’m doing in this episode. Maybe you’re hearing Kristen Boss, like the person talk and not the coach, not the podcaster, not the author, not the keynote speaker. And it kind of feels like that while I’m talking about this, it feels like just me, just Kristen boss, just the mom, the wife, the friend, the person who likes murder novels and mystery novels and romcoms and my Kindle on unlimited, a cozy blanket, and my dogs and skiing, you’re hearing from this person and saying like, Hey, I know you have been hurt, but you have got to let yourself love again. You’ve got to let people in because when you let people in, you will lead so much more powerfully. And when you let people in and when they feel loved, they will trust your leadership more. And so it was a powerful moment for me. What I thought was going to break me, and it almost did it.
Kristen Boss (23:41): The voices of such a select few, such a select few almost took me out of the game. But instead of that, it was like, I’m going to go get help. I’m going to talk to a therapist. I’m going to get support. I’m going to talk to people. I’m going to take care of myself, whatever I have to do. And I think I doubled down with it. I went on an intensive retreat for two days with my therapist to work through all of it. I’m like, I am going to come out better. I’m going to come out stronger, and I’m also going to come out on top of this somehow. And this is not going to define me. And in all of that, the social song Leadership School was birthed. It was that instance. It was that horrible heartbreak, that betrayal, that hurt, that wound is when, and I was so close to saying like, I’m done with network marketing.
Kristen Boss (24:32): I’m just going to coach entrepreneurs in general. We’ll just retire this over there. And if you’re listening to this and you’re panicking, don’t worry. Don’t, don’t worry. I am here to stay. I love what I do and I love who I help. Way too dang much. And I was like, why am I giving so much power to these two voices when I literally have an inbox flooded with people telling me that their life is changing, that their marriages are better, that their businesses are better, they’re more present with their family, their businesses are thriving and flourishing, things are growing again, and they have hope and joy and excitement. Like I cannot believe I almost let two voices take me out of that. But that was the catalyst to birthing new, that was the catalyst to my next level of leadership. That was my catalyst to experiencing radical empathy for people I coached that experienced betrayal and heartache and deception and disappointment at some point in their business. So my challenge to is, will you let people in? Let yourself love? Because when you let yourself love, you will lead so much more powerfully. And when people feel loved, they will let you lead. And when you lead from love, things change.
Kristen Boss (25:40): We’ll catch you in the next episode. That’s a wrap for today’s episode. Listen, if you love what you heard here today, I would love for you to leave a real quick rating and a review. This helps the show get discovered by new people. Be sure to take a screenshot of today’s episode and shout us out on Instagram. We’ll shout you right back out. If you’d like to find additional resources or discover how to work with me, head to www.kristenboss.com.