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Episode #3 Transcripts

Accountability + Empathy = Great Leadership

Eve Turow-Paul
Understanding that everybody makes mistakes is really important and I do see even the most embarrassing.

Jessica Grossman
I don't make mistakes.

Eve Turow-Paul
Yes, you're perfect, Jessy.

Jessica Grossman (00:19.15)
Hey, guys fam, it's your go -to leadership team coach and host, Jessie here, and I'm ready to shake things up. If you're also tired of outdated forms of authority and ready to rebel against the mediocrity of leadership we see today, you might have just found your spot. So join me in unleashing this next generation of leaders by embracing being just a bit too millennial. Let's redefine this thing together.

Jessica Grossman (00:52.622)
Welcome back to part two of our interview with Eve Turow -Paul. If you haven't caught part one, pause and head back. Now Eve, armed with her psychology degree from Amherst College and a master's from the new school, has consistently forged her unique path. Whether experimenting with recipes alongside Mark Bittman, writing books, or delivering impactful speeches, her trailblazing approach is fueled by this internal passion rather than the external expectations of those around her.

which I believe has really rooted her in this fearlessness, this mindset that leverages setbacks for growth. Today's discussion is about just that, learning from failure, a skill that Eve has honed into a superpower. But before we jump into the interview, I wanted to offer some insights into a topic that Eve and I cover at the very top of this interview.

this delicate balancing act between being an empathetic leader while also holding those around of us accountable. So what I've noticed in my role as a leadership coach and team consultant is a reoccurring theme and emerging patterns where leaders in pursuit of avoiding those authoritarian vibes of the leader they hated working for back in their 20s, they tend to start management with an overly flexible approach because they have a genuine desire to not hurt people's feelings.

and they see people as adults. And what this causes is managers to really shy away from setting and communicating clear expectations. Even though we all have expectations in our brain, right? We forget to communicate what those things are. What this reminds me of is a soccer field that we know where the boundaries are, but we don't communicate them to others. But unfortunately, this lack of

clarity often leads to confusion and complexity rather than the intended freedom, right? But what then what happens is leaders think, oh, this whole empathetic leadership thing doesn't work. And they swing to the other side of the pendulum by harping too much on accountability without empathy. So going back to the game where the manager sees the lines of the field but hasn't yet to communicate them, I just imagine kids dribbling the ball off into the forest,

Jessica Grossman (03:10.062)
with the coach running after them, screaming at them to come back, telling them that they're not following the direction back to a field that they actually never even knew existed. Or think about that cool mom, right? That tells you, oh, just go and have fun. I trust your judgment. And then when you return, you return to someone yelling at you saying, why are you home so late? Why didn't you text me? And as you can imagine, this is very disorienting and results in confusion, chaos, and demotivation. So what do we do as leaders?

The first thing we need to do is to debunk the myth that accountability and empathy are mutually exclusive. When in fact, accountability and empathy go hand in hand, research actually consistently emphasizes that effective leaders are able to seamlessly blend both elements. The second step is setting clear expectations. People do not need a cool boss, but a sturdy adult who sets clear guidelines fostering both that freedom and security. As Jaco says, discipline equals freedom.

But this isn't just about you setting your expectations. It's also about creating open dialogue and making this a shared experience and endeavor. Step three is setting strong feedback loops. It is critical that when holding people accountable and being empathetic that we provide critical feedback that holds the lines of when individuals are actually not meeting our needs or are going above and beyond our needs. But we should always do this without assuming ill intent and also

We should do this by creating an environment where improvement is encouraged. And step four is acknowledging the limits of our perspective. When we do this, step one, two, and three just feel better. Because we approach conversations, we approach people with humility. We acknowledge that our perspective is based on our experience, and thus we all hold biases and a lack of certain information. And this recognition opens the door to multiple ways of thinking and in knowing and allows us to approach a conversation.

that both holds people accountable to their behavior while also being open enough to understand someone else's point of view, the context and the emotionality behind it.

Jessica Grossman (05:16.59)
So if you're like, yes, these are great, but how do I actually put this into action? I have some scripts for you all to use. The first script is about explaining the behavior that you've noticed. So when you approach a conversation, you're gonna say, I've noticed you've, and then you can insert the behavior that you've noticed. So for example, you've missed two deadlines. Then you can explain why this behavior is important to the team or in what way did you all set expectations. So,

For an example, you might say, this is critical for the team to be able to coordinate the work. And then this is the most critical part of the whole script is that we then wanna offer an open -ended question to allow us to understand the other person's point of view. For example, we might say, can we explore what's happening here? Or can you please help me understand your viewpoint or what's going on for you on this issue?

What this reminds me of is this idea of firm empathy, which is a term coined by Kim Scott, the author of Radical Candor. And firm empathy is about caring personally about our team members while also daring to challenge them directly. So by intertwining these clear expectations and openness, leaders can then create an environment where teams not only survive, but thrive, learning and growing from their missteps. So the next time you're concerned with hurting someone's feelings,

Or you start lashing out when you feel like people aren't doing what you think they should be doing. Let's remember from empathy. But I really want you to embody is this idea that bell hooks brings, which is quote, for me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked. How do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed? End quote. So we're going to jump.

right into the episode. It might feel a little bit disorienting at first because we're leaving off right where we left off in our first episode, but you'll figure out your bearings very quickly. Enjoy. It's actually something that I think that I'm relatively good at. And then sometimes I'm like, am I being too kind to myself? Like if I'm really drained and I don't get something done or I make a mistake, I don't know. I don't know why exactly, but I have found.

Eve Turow-Paul (07:39.15)
piece with saying, you know what, Eve, you messed up and you're not going to do it again. And you really learned something from this and we're going to move forward. But most people that I work with don't have that reaction. They're it's like, you know, this is massively embarrassing. There's tears. There's a lot of self criticism. There's a sense of imposter syndrome. And I'm still trying to figure out how to navigate that for for others to help.

cultivate that, again, that kind of fine balance between like self care, giving yourself grace, self love, and still encouraging high quality work. What are some of the things that you've seen work? I mean, I think that I repeat to others what I repeat to myself when I make mistakes. I also, part of what I really love about the team that we have cultivated at Food for Climate League is that when something isn't done well, there's no finger pointing. There is.

a kind of collective call to action of like, okay, what could we have done better? How do we move forward? And for me as a leader, what I do is I position this as part of being in a startup, right, which is and that as an ethos that was started in Silicon Valley of it's prototyping and iterating and failure is just an opportunity to learn how to do something better. And so that's really how we

we frame it, if it's, you know, a mistake that's made with all of the best intentions, that's very different than a mistake that's made because you just weren't trying. And at FCL, I will say that I have never actually, never, I have in very few cases witnessed that someone has made a mistake because they just weren't trying. And, you know, and that is more of a leadership question. And, you know, the times that I have seen that then,

that person's not the right fit for our organization. But if someone's making a mistake with all of the best intentions, that's not a reason to let somebody go. That's a part of growth. That's a learning opportunity. And so it's framing it that way rather than as a failure. I love that approach. Two things that that reminds me of. One, I think of Amy Edmondson. Amy Edmondson has a really wonderful framework for mistakes and failure.

Jessica Grossman (10:03.726)
What is really effective failure and what is not good failure? Because I think it's too broad of a term. We group it as you've been. So we actually have to look at the context behind the failure. So that's a really, really great model. I'll link the article in the show notes. And I also wanted to double click on the whole idea of how do we show off for people when they do fail? And it is a really embarrassing moment for them. And I think as leaders, one of the things I see,

that they fail to do is to just be in that space with them, get on the ground with them. And it's not that you want to feel all of the things that they're feeling, right? We don't want to absorb everyone's emotions, but how do you get on the ground with that? And you might not feel that embarrassment. You might not understand what about the situation is so upsetting, but one of the things leaders miss because we're trying so hard to soothe that person in front of us.

We want them to feel better. We want them to know they're a valuable part of our team that forget to just be present with them when they're having a hard time. The ways to build confidence is mistakes and it's having that self -compassion to pick ourselves up afterwards. It's a really critical part of being able to take risk. And I, that is what you are. I think that's your superpower Eve. I really do all the things you talked about.

earlier, it's a superpower. I hear you talk about that. And that makes a lot of sense. Like I've known you my whole life. Like when you do things, I'm always like I said, what is she doing? And it's because when you make mistakes, again, you you have this confidence and you have this compassion for failing that most of us just don't have. Really unique. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Yeah, I mean, food for climate is not the first endeavor. Right before this, I had a separate concept.

a kind of retreat and spent a good amount of time working on that. And it just didn't, I don't feel like that was a waste of time. I learned a lot in that process. Did that business concept work? No. I mean, I just found the file, like my incorporation files and I was like, oh, right. I made a company that didn't go anywhere. There's parts of that work that still come up now and again.

Eve Turow -Paul (12:29.614)
the person I was collaborating with, I loved the opportunity to get to know her better. And it wasn't the right time, it wasn't the right vision for a multitude of reasons. And I think it would be really easy to just be like, oh, you know, if you screw you mess this up, because of you that this didn't happen. But I think that life is too complicated for that. And usually there isn't one one thing to blame. And

Listen, I also am in a really, really privileged position where I had the financial stability to fail. I think that's another part of this is like building the. I mean, that is not my strength. I'm the sore loser you've ever met in life. I don't, I don't lose. And part of it is because, you know, it is, it's painful. It is painful when I lose, when I make mistakes. So, Jessy, you were scary as a kid.

I'm not gonna lie, I mean around around sports in particular because of that competitive spirit but I think that then you never know that you're saying it. I don't remember ever remember you kind of pointing blame at other people it always was at yourself. And I think that that was always something that was hard to watch because I also have seen how hard that you work. And

You know, but again, it's a different thing too. And I don't know if you've done any research on this, but there's a difference between knowing what you should feel, knowing you should give yourself grace and then the actual practice of it. So I don't know if you have any recommendations of how can I help others give themselves that grace and forgive themselves and see those mistakes as actually building blocks towards a better performance in the future.

Jessica Grossman
I think for me, I mean, that's a really, really good question. As someone who is highly sensitive, which I think you both get, because I call myself the turtle, like I'm a turtle, right? Like I got the hard shell because it's protecting that. I think we're like opposite, like you, you come across, you yourself, I always admire your vulnerability. I'm a turtle. Like I, you know, I use jokes to mask any emotion and it's to protect the very sensitive inside, but it doesn't mean I don't feel the way I feel.

Jessica Grossman (14:42.862)
And one of the things that makes the difference is to connect with me emotionally in that moment. There is no appeasing or there's no silver lining or there's nothing you can say to make me feel better in that moment. So what I've learned and how to soothe myself is to accept that this, this belongs, right? Tara Brock is my favorite person to listen to. And so we just say this belongs, this belongs.

feeling lost. So it's not trying to push it away. It's not trying to change my mind. It's actually the acceptance of that state that helps me move forward. And so many times clients come to me saying, I don't want to feel this way. Help me not feel this way. The more you try to push it away, the more it's going to hurt. And yeah, when I, when I have those states, the way in which I've learned to cope with it is I tell myself this along and by seeing the

The emotions is data for me, that it's telling me something, that I am telling myself something that is part of my own intelligence of my body.

Eve Turow-Paul
It makes sense to me. Yeah, so for anyone with a little turtle out there. I mean, this is not to say that I haven't experienced moments of intense shame. I mean, like I have. I've made...

especially when I was younger and at my 20s. I think that that's really when kind of the self -criticism and intense shame came in. But I think as an organization though, as a leader of an organization, I need to frame whatever failures or mistakes we are making as learning opportunities because they really have been. I mean, the work that we're doing now is completely different than the work that we were doing before. And even for myself, I

I am writing a new business contract right now. I'm thinking to myself this morning, like, I never would have known to put X, Y, and Z clause in to the contract last year or two years ago. And I'm dealing with the consequences of that in a couple of situations. But instead of being mad at myself, I'm just like, there's no way I could have known that. I mean, maybe if I had, you know, lived a different life, but I didn't. And so I just need to accept this, but I didn't put this in the contract before, but now I've lived.

Eve Turow- Paul(17:03.758)
And I've made those mistakes. And so now I know I'm far more savvy when writing my business contracts, or I know, I know who to send it to, to have them review it. I know not to rush myself through the process because someone else has a deadline too bad. I need to go through the process myself. Um, but yeah, there's, there's so much learning along the way by making errors and, and, you know, along the way too, it's just saying, well, okay, how do I manage the errors? How do I make sure that this doesn't turn into something, you know, uh,

more significant than it is right now. 

Jessy Grossman
That is such a great piece of information, I think, for listeners to take with them in terms of this happens all the time to all of us and it is so easy to beat yourself up over not knowing the future. We don't have a magical ball as much as we would have loved to. What advice would you love to go back and give to yourself four and a half years ago?

Eve Turow-Paul
I have absolutely no idea.

Jessica Grossman (18:03.374)
I love you so much. That is awesome. I give myself. 

Eve Turow-Paul
I mean, so it goes back to the same thing of like, well, I could try to educate myself four years ago on all the things that I've learned up until now. But I also think that that learning process, that failure process is making me a stronger and better leader, is making me a better and stronger researcher. Something that I wish that I hadn't learned and understood.

bit more upfront is really just judging how to hire. Who are the right people for your team? I think that some of the best advice that I've gotten along the way is like if your gut is telling you that a person is not right for your team, you need to get over the emotion of it. There are people who I've really liked personally, like I like them as human beings, but they're not the right fit for the team for a variety of reasons. And I've often not acted because

I felt bad. They were my friends. I liked them. I didn't want to hurt anybody's feelings. And that's really been since the very beginning of the organization. And that's been a really hard thing for me to deal with because relationships are so core to, I think, the work that we do. But over time, I've learned, like, if you're really friends with that person, if you're honest with them about their own skill set, what the needs are of the organization, there's a way to move forward.

as friends and to continue supporting one another in your career journeys and to think of this as a career journey. This isn't the end of the road. And so I think that I really would have appreciated knowing a little bit more, having more encouragement on that topic in particular from the outset, because I had never built a team before. I also think that there's something about being a woman. I think there's something about being a relatively young woman, not that young anymore, but.

in not wanting to hurt somebody's feelings. I think there's like a little bit of that kind of maternal stereotypical hesitancy. I think that there's something really valuable for female leaders in this space. Maybe not even just me. I also have talked to my male friends about this and they feel the same way. So maybe it's not necessarily being a woman. This is my love language. How do you design and build a team? And I think that...

Jessica Grossman (20:21.934)
We undervalue the importance of it within the organizational space. Another thing I wanted to touch on on this, which is this idea of having difficult conversations. There's a party that thinks generationally this is something that's going to be impactful for millennial leaders. I think it's something that, and I'm still clarifying my ideas around this, but I love your input, but there's this idea, I talked to a client yesterday and.

they were concerned of overwhelming other people and people on their team. There's this sense that I have to take care of you. And I'm here to take care of people. And if we look at that too kind of directly, linearly, sometimes that stops us from making decisions that we know are right. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Yes. I mean, I can identify with that hugely. And again, it's this fine line of like, well, someone's my friend and they're going through a hard time. And...

Should I give them the benefit of the doubt because they're going through X, Y, and Z. And it's like, well, but as the executive director of this organization, like X, Y, and Z work isn't getting done either because they don't have the right skill set. And it's literally just like a matchmaking error, or they do have something else happening in their lives and they're not performing their job the way that they need to be performing it. Um, and.

I think having those kinds of difficult conversations has been one of the hardest parts for me. It's something I'm still not terribly good at and our director of operations is much better at it than I am. Which is also why I think it's great to have a partner, you know, other people in your organization who you can also talk to and go to for advice, particularly in those kinds of situations. And so I think having great sounding boards and other people you trust to go to.

Jessica Grossman
I call this section the Jolt of Insight, which I'm going to ask just some

Quick hitting question. So first things come to mind. All right, so tell me three words that you would say describe the state of mind that you've had as a leader in the last six months. 

Eve Turow-Paul
State of mind. Yes. Focused, aspirational, empathetic. 

Jessica Grossman
What is your favorite millennial quality about yourself? 

Eve Turow-Paul (22:42.99)
Oh, I actually think it is this idea that I can achieve something.

If I get the right people around me, if I get the right people around me, if I get the right advice, not anything, right? I don't think that I can achieve absolutely anything in the world, but there it is. Uh, it may be, maybe it is overconfidence, but I do believe that if you kind of put the right pieces into place, you can achieve a whole lot in this world. And I'm not afraid to step out on my own. And I'm not sure that a young woman.

of a previous generation with a background as a writer would feel comfortable starting a foundation and hiring a team and doing this work. Agreed. 

What is your favorite millennial quality about me?

I need to think about what is millennial about you. I just think of you as like the full package of Jessy. No, actually, I know. I know what it is. I love emotionally in tune you are. And I think that there are so many different kind of philosophers in this space right now of well -being and leadership. And this is a very millennial space of thinking about how to cultivate.

kind of the correct organization and play into people's emotions. And you have taken that over the last few years and done a true deep dive and cultivated it in your life. And I think that's super millennial and super awesome. 

Jessica Grossman
Yeah, of course. Let's take the research and make it all about me. Most millennial thing ever. What's one thing you want to change people's mind on? 

Eve Turow-Paul
Oh,I want people to understand that we can use food as a top solution to the climate crisis. And that that doesn't mean that you're sacrificing things. It means that we actually need to diversify what we're eating and that there's a lot of really amazing food experiences ahead for us. 

Jessica Grossman
You could offer one actionable piece of advice to our listeners. What would it be? On leadership? No, you can be on climate and food.

Eve Turow-Paul (24:53.998)
One actionable piece of advice. Well, actually, I think my actionable piece of advice.
is the same for leadership as it would be for changing your eating habits, which is one day at a time and be kind to yourself. I have a lot of people in my life right now who are watching, You Are What You Eat on Netflix, or they're watching the Blue Zones special on Netflix and they're saying, I really do need to change what it is that I'm eating for climate reasons, but also for my physical health and my mental health. And they say, but I don't know where to start. I eat meat every day. I don't know how to cook.

And again, I think this is about being empathetic, accepting the fact that, yeah, you're going to have to learn some new skills. You're going to have to try some things out. There's going to be some failures. Why don't you try to say, okay, one day a week, you're going to be plant -based and you're just going to do the research on that plant -based meal. And then you can slowly increase kind of your commitment to it as you increase your skills so that you feel confident in doing it. And that for me was.

you know, taking out red meat and then it was reducing chicken and then it was, you know, taking away some farm salmon and while I should say you're taking those things away, but in the meantime, you're learning to cook all of these new things. So I'm adding way more to my diet than I'm removing. I'd say one day at a time and it's the same thing for leadership. I think it's, you know, allowing yourself the space to fail, but also like we were saying before, you can't assume.

Oh, I really wish I would have known this. You can't know it until you live it and until you try it.

Jessica Grossman
I love that answer. Where can people find you? Where can they learn more? Where can they? Yeah, where can they learn more? By the way, thank you for using. I know that you did this on purpose, which is to use my favorite color for your bucket. 

Eve Turow-Paul
Yeah, it is your favorite color. You're just inspired by me. Yeah, you're like, oh, Jess, you'll like that. I'm going to use that one. So you can learn more about Food for Climate League at foodforclimateleague.

I know it's very long. I'm working to change it to food for climate org in the future. But food for climate league le a G you eat and find myself you and information on the book you can go to Eve Turo Paul calm Turo is T U R O W and then Paul like first name calm and yeah, we can email directly through either of those websites and you can also buy my book. through my own personal website. You can also request it from your local bookstore. 

Jessica Grossman
Lovely. And before we head off, I did want to make sure you got your certificate of participation. Woohoo! That I colored myself. As you can see, I'm highly artistic. I love the gamification of the reward system. You are now a member of the Two Millennia.

You're just too millennial. 

Eve Turow-Paul
I'm going to put it on my office wall. 

Jessica Grossman
I want to give a big thanks to Eve for kicking the podcast off with these wonderful interviews. Before we go, I wanted to drop this quote from Amy Edmondson, who's the lead research on failure and just came out with a book called Right Kind of Wrong, The Science of Feeling Well. Quote, failure can be a gift, even if it didn't feel like one at the time. Why does failure feel so bad in the moment?

Well, understanding the pain of failure involves acknowledging the emotional response that can be tied to this perceived judgment. What that mistake says about who we are as a person. And in a success driven world where there's this underlining pressure that we have to be successful and right to be worthy. Failure can be viewed as this ego threatening event, right? It activates the fear of looking bad and it triggers our amygdala, which is the threat response center in the brain. And so according to Edmondson,

This can create a flood of potential guilt and shame, which ultimately hinders the learning process. So here's the thing. We don't need to try to ignore or get rid of these truly painful feelings. What it's about, it's about acknowledging that it sucks. Naming the feeling first and letting ourselves just feel bad for a time. Because if we jump in,

and try to find that silver lining in those moments, we're not in a place of learning. And when we push our feelings away, the more the linger, whether we realize it or not. An example of this that I'll share is, you also all know that I'm a parent and I absolutely love Dr. Becky, who's a parenting expert. And she advises parents to give kids those quote unquote life lessons.

Jessica Grossman (29:39.566)
when their child is not flooded with emotions because kids can't learn in the middle of a pantrop. So as adults, even if we are better at self -regulation, I still believe if we try to jump straight into the learning, we're not going to be effective at learning anything. So just remember, give yourself the space to feel. And once you're ready, give yourself the space to reflect on what has happened.

If you want to learn more, I have actually developed a step -by -step approach on how you bounce back from failure and mistakes. This guide called the five steps for writing the failure roller coaster. It's like a precursor to how you feel well. And I've actually linked it in the show notes. So it's five steps. It's really clear. And it talks about how you move from this emotional state of shame, blame, frustration, anger, disappointment.

into a place of learning. And as a bonus, I've also added the scripts and information from the intro of the podcast on acceptance and empathy as well. So go to the show notes now and download your failure in acceptance playbook right now. And that's a wrap for today's episode of To Millennial. If you found yourself nodding along, you know the drill. Smash that subscribe button wherever you're tuning in.

And if you want a daily dose of leadership wisdom with a sidekick of quirky parent jokes, catch me on Instagram at Coach Jessie Grossman. But hey, if you're serious about leveling up yourself, your team, head over to zlncoaching .com where we have great tools, resources, and case studies that will help you unlock your potential and enhance your team's resilience and performance. Because here's the truth. When we don't invest time in building our own leadership skills,

and the skills of those around us, problems fester. We feel disconnected and it's just so hard to get work done. So if you need an executive coach, a sounding board, an offsite facilitator, a team consultant, get in touch. Thanks for hanging out with me on To Millennial. Until next time, stay curious, stay bold, and keep growing.

Jessica Grossman (31:51.759)
And before we leave, I had to pull this one up because it's just too cute. Yeah, that's my favorite photo. Who would have thought these two little cuties would be, you know, one being an amazing leader and client activist and the other one trying to start a podcast.

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