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Leading with Positive Intent

April 05, 202447 min read

This week on The Digital Download, we welcome Nicky Russell, Chief Strategy & HR Officer at Mavik Ventures. With her extensive experience and a heartfelt commitment to authenticity, Nicky challenges the traditional paradigms by advocating for positive intent and intentional actions in all professional interactions. Nicky's insights promise to offer valuable lessons on how leaders and professionals alike can foster a more supportive, understanding, and effective workplace environment.

We’ll talk about -

*The crucial role of positive intent in leadership and its impact on organizational culture.

* Strategies for setting boundaries while maintaining openness and authenticity.

* The importance of meeting people where they are in the journey of personal and professional development.

* Tips for nurturing meaningful conversations and building genuine connections in the professional realm.

With close to 20 years in talent acquisition, Nicky has worked across various sectors, starting from customer service to becoming a leader in recruitment. Now as a Chief Strategy & HR Officer, Nicky’s role is not just strategic but also deeply involved in human resources, where leading with positive intent is crucial for fostering a productive and positive workplace culture.

We strive to make The Digital Download an interactive experience. Bring your questions. Bring your insights. Audience participation is highly encouraged!

This week we were joined by our Special Guest -

This week's Host was -

Panelists included -

Transcript of The Digital Download 2024-04-05

Rob Durant [00:00:02]:

Good morning, good afternoon, and good day wherever you may be joining us from. Welcome to another edition of the digital download, which is the longest running weekly business talk

Tracy Borreson [00:00:19]:

show on LinkedIn Live. Now globally dedicated

Rob Durant [00:00:25]:

on on the Tim and radio network. I'll get you there. I promise.

Tracy Borreson [00:00:31]:

You know the problem with that is that I feel like when I'm talking, I don't know if it's coming through at exactly the same time, and then everybody is just Live, oh, different.

Rob Durant [00:00:40]:

And you didn't even try.

Tim Hughes [00:00:44]:

Is there any second time, but

Bertrand Godillot [00:00:46]:

Next time. Next time, I promise.

Rob Durant [00:00:47]:

There you go. Alright. So today, we're leading with positive intent. We have a special guest, Nicky Russell, to help us with the discussion. Chief strategy and HR officer at Mavic Ventures. I keep wanting to call it Maverick Ventures. Mavic Ventures. Nickley's role is not just strategic, but also deeply involved in human resources, where leading with positive intent is crucial for fostering a productive and positive workplace culture.

Rob Durant [00:01:24]:

But before we bring on Nicky, let's go around the set and inter wow. Before we bring on Nicky, let's go around the set and introduce everyone. And while we're doing that, why don't you in the audience reach out to a friend, ping them, and have them join us? We strive to make the digital download an interactive experience, and audience participation is highly encouraged. Alright. So with that, introductions. Tim, would you kick us off, please?

Tim Hughes [00:01:57]:

Certainly. Welcome everybody. My name is Tim Hughes. I'm the CEO and cofounder of DLA Ignite, and, I'm famous for writing a book, Social Selling Techniques to Influence Bars and Changemakers.

Rob Durant [00:02:10]:

Thank you very much. Welcome. Thank you. Bertrand, Welcome.

Bertrand Godillot [00:02:15]:

Yes. Welcome everyone. My name is Bertrand Godillot. I am the managing partner of Odysseus and Co, And we specialize in, social selling and and and basically leveraging that, the growth that it it represents for, for companies.

Rob Durant [00:02:34]:

Excellent. Thank you very much. Tracy.

Tracy Borreson [00:02:37]:

Hello, everyone. I am Tracy Borreson, founder of TLB Coaching and Events, where we're all about the marketing side of things and how maybe social selling can help marketers, not just sellers. And that's me. I'm in Canada.

Rob Durant [00:02:54]:

Excellent. Thank you very much. Adam.

Adam Gray [00:02:58]:

Hi, everybody. I'm Adam Gray. I'm Tim's business partner and also cofounder of DLA Ignite.

Rob Durant [00:03:05]:

Thank you. And myself, I am Rob Durant, founder of Flywheel Results, a proud DLA Ignite partner. Alright. As I said, this week on the digital download, we'll speak with Nicky Russell. With more than 2 decades in the industry, Nicky advocates for positive intent and intentional actions in all professional interactions. Let's bring her on. Nicky, good morning and welcome.

Tracy Borreson [00:03:33]:

Good afternoon.

Tim Hughes [00:03:35]:

Hi, Nicky. Hi, Nicky. Welcome.

Rob Durant [00:03:38]:

Nicky, let's start by having you tell us a little bit more about yourself and how you got here.

Nicky Russell [00:03:44]:

Yeah. Thank you so much. Nicky Russell. Live am located in beautiful East Tennessee. I've been in talent acquisition for close to 20 years now. And with that, I have had the opportunity to see Rob and this group previously and was super excited just about all the authenticity that you all shared in conversation. And Rob and I connected, and I was asked to come and share a little bit about what positive intent and authentic leadership really means. So I'm excited to be here.

Nicky Russell [00:04:24]:

Thank you very much.

Rob Durant [00:04:25]:

Thank you very much. So let's start with the foundational question then. What do you mean by leading with positive intent?

Nicky Russell [00:04:35]:

Great question. So positive intent to me really is believing that individuals inherently have the best intention. Right? Their motivations, their motives, their actions are always the best of intentions. Social, also, for me, that includes not just assuming that, but also myself displaying that as well. So, being authentic and being myself at all times with other people as well.

Rob Durant [00:05:09]:

Is that just seeing the world through rose colored glasses?

Nicky Russell [00:05:13]:

No. It's not. I think, to be honest with you, like, the journey for me took a while. It's seeing the good, the bad, the ugly, having non authentic leaders throughout my career that I was placed in certain situations where I was like, yikes. This person could have done better as a leader. They could have helped me in this way or that way. And I always looked at those people and thought I wanna do better. If I get to that place and I can lead folks, I wanna make sure that I'm always positive with them, and I see those folks exactly where they're at in their journey of life.

Nicky Russell [00:05:54]:

So when I look at life, of course, I'm always trying to stay positive. It doesn't always happen. There are times where, you know, things Jensen, and it gets to the best of you. But it is Live trying to see the world in that positive lot and see that most people are actually good and genuine.

Tracy Borreson [00:06:14]:

I think there's also a, like, difference here thinking about, like, positive intent and toxic positivity because there's, I mean, there's a

Rob Durant [00:06:25]:

lot come, Tracy.

Tracy Borreson [00:06:28]:

Do it. We can do this team event, and it will be fun for everyone. Leading with positive intent in the way that Nicky outlined it, at least how I interpreted that, is that we believe that everybody has a positive intent, that everybody means to do good. Does that mean that everybody does good? No. Does that mean that we will feel happy all the time? No. But the intention is that we look at the world as if there's good things that can happen here instead of only bad things that can life because there's a lot of bad stuff that is gonna happen. But what if we had the intention of, like, being a team or coming together as a group or something, some kind of positive intent related to that negative event? I think that is where there's, like, so much power from a team perspective, from a belonging perspective, all the good stuff.

Rob Durant [00:07:38]:

So, Nicky, you heard a lot of us are, interested in social media. This panel in particular. Do you have any fit for nurturing, meaningful conversations and building genuine connections through positive intent?

Nicky Russell [00:08:01]:

Yeah. I think for me, whenever I reach out to people on LinkedIn and connect with them, whether it be somebody that I've met at a conference, somebody that I previously worked with. Of course, you have those interactions personal, but sometimes there's folks that you see on LinkedIn that you're like, oh, I really like what they're doing right now in their space, in their role, in their organization, whatever that they're doing. They seem pretty interesting to me. I'd love to get to know that person. So I think for me, even when I reach out to those individuals, it's more like, hey. I don't just wanna connect with you. I would love to connect with you.

Nicky Russell [00:08:37]:

Grab a coffee chat. Let's get to know each other. How can I help you, in your day to day or just your life? And then it's not just about that one time connection. Right? It's not let's just meet this person one time, see how we can benefit each other, and then we're done. No. It really is taking the time to reach out to that person and just saying, hey. I hope you have a great day, or, hey. Should we have a monthly check-in conversation, just a virtual coffee chat, whether it be 10 minutes, 15 minutes, but really building those relationships to where they're not just surface level.

Nicky Russell [00:09:17]:

It really is that you deeply care about individuals. And I wanna be very clear in saying that that sounds like you can just have 5,000 network connections and talk to everybody every month and interact. No. It doesn't really mean that. What it means is that I always explain to people my positive intent is that I'm here for you. So we also have to set boundaries in our journey of life, which means that if at any time you need somebody, if you need just that person to say, hey. I've had a bad day. Can we chat about this? Or, Nicky, I have a question about this.

Nicky Russell [00:09:54]:

I'm that person that it's okay to reach out to. Right? So even though we don't interact on a monthly basis or a weekly basis, I'm still here. I'm still part of your network. It is truly genuine and authentic. And I promise you whenever we see each other in real life, you will get that big Tennessee hug.

Tracy Borreson [00:10:14]:

Nicky, I always like to tell my digital friends that I am now your friendly neighborhood marketer. And if you have Live marketing questions that you're like, I heard this, but I don't know if this is really real. Like, come and ask me that because now you know somebody who you can ask. And I think it's really interesting for me because Live you said, it's not like we can have this week. I I have up to 11,000 followers on LinkedIn, and I can't have 11,000 meaningful relationships with people on a monthly basis. I can't do that. But when you open up the door to say, like, you're invited in to this. Like, I have some people who have, like, open permission to use my coffee chat link.

Tracy Borreson [00:10:58]:

Right? Like, Hughes do you wanna use this monthly? That would be great. It adds value to me. It adds value to you. Some people don't get that. Some people it's chat things. Sometimes it's in person things. And there's, like, lots of different ways that you can build a relationship with a person that doesn't necessarily have to look exactly the same. And also from an authenticity point of view, I think it's also important to note like, I've had coffee chats with people where I've been Live, I'm never gonna have another conversation with you again.

Tracy Borreson [00:11:32]:

And I think it's important to have that, permission for yourself to say Live

Bertrand Godillot [00:11:37]:

We'll do French.

Tracy Borreson [00:11:39]:

No. Actually, I get to talk very well with French people. Maybe it's my Canadianness. I'm, like, used to that. But it's, like, there's just some the people who you don't vibe with. And sometimes in the digital environment, you can't know that until you have a conversation. And I think it's also okay to Gray, maybe not I mean, I I hung up a Zoom call on someone the other day and then, like, promptly blocked them from my network. So I was like, wow.

Tracy Borreson [00:12:07]:

I don't want people to think I'm connected with you. That's bad for my reputation. That's also okay to, like, maintain our boundaries that way because this is also I mean, especially the way that a lot of us on this panel look at social media, this is my reputation. This is my reputation as a human, and I feel responsible to maintain my reputation in a specific way? And if you don't fit that, then we might not we might not be long term digital friends.

Nicky Russell [00:12:38]:

Yeah. Those are great points. And I think too, one of my favorite things about social media too, is I often hear, you know, as we're portraying ourselves on social media, when I meet somebody in real life, one of my favorite things is that I hear people say you're exactly exactly to the point as how I thought that you were because you portray yourself how you do on social media. So to me, that's really important. Like, you'll hear me say even as I speak, I I use the term folks a lot. So I type that word a lot. You know what I mean? So people get that in that true genuineness and authenticity. So it's really important to just be yourself at all times on social media and not trying to be anybody different.

Tim Hughes [00:13:23]:

We spend

Tracy Borreson [00:13:23]:

I I have a question about that. You go. Yeah. I was I was

Tim Hughes [00:13:27]:

just gonna say we we spend a lot of time kind hand selling people through the process of becoming more open and authentic.

Rob Durant [00:13:34]:

Mhmm. You

Tim Hughes [00:13:34]:

know, we've come from an era where people's lives were very compartmentalized. So, you know, here's me at home, here's me at work, here's me with my friends, and these would be different people. And and, you know, we we spend a lot of time encouraging people to share more stuff, you know, to to let me see what you do at the weekends because, actually, maybe you love the guitar as well. And then there's something we've got in common, and we can have a conversation, and and, you know, it it helps build that rapport and that relationship and help you to really get to know somebody. You know, like like you said about, you know, a big old Tennessee hug. You know, actually, you want to be in a position where the people that you are interacting with are Abbott what we see is that people have lots of barriers to overcome to behave in this authentic Gray, and some don't. Some people, they they have a very nasty habit of oversharing.

Nicky Russell [00:14:36]:

Now, you know,

Tim Hughes [00:14:36]:

you've got some awful things going on in your life at the moment, and that's it's fine to share those to get support from your network, but not every day. You know, every Gray, I don't wanna hear how awful things are. And particularly as a Brit, because, you know, in in Britain, you meet someone and say, hi. How are you? And there's only one answer. Fine. How are you? Nobody ever responds, well, actually, you know, don't mind. Abbott the moment. Yeah.

Tim Hughes [00:15:01]:

That's just not not the done thing. And and I I think that there's a balance to be struck. And how do people find that balance between authenticity and oversharing or being too personal?

Nicky Russell [00:15:14]:

Yeah. I I would have to say that social media doesn't have rules. Right? So each platform that we're on doesn't say you can say this or you can say that. So on LinkedIn, it's supposed to be a professional networking connection site that as to your point, Adam, you often see folks being authentic, sharing things about their family, and that's just the way that we get to know them on that level. I would agree. I also am not the type of person where I like to read just negative things constantly, but I also will tell you that if I see somebody that I'm connected to on LinkedIn per like, personally, like, sharing those things, that also lets me know I need to reach out to that person. And I am also the type of person that I would say, hey. This really isn't the platform to be sharing, you know, day to day, in and out, this is happening, things like that, because perception.

Nicky Russell [00:16:15]:

Right? It's the perception of how people perceive you. Social looking out in the kindness of that person to let them know that, you know, this is how you're being perceived, or you could potentially be perceived in this way. And maybe this isn't the specific platform to be sharing that information. But I don't think until there's rule set or anything like that, which I don't think there ever will be, we're gonna continue to see things like that. I think we just have to always assume positive intent and continue to shed more kindness and more authenticity for ourselves and for others to overshadow any of that negativity that we may see on there so that we're not scrolling through and filtering those things.

Tracy Borreson [00:17:03]:

That was actually my question, Nicky. Was that, like, how can we improve that with positive intent? Right? And I think, like a great example is when you actually have gotten to know someone quite well, and then they post something that is maybe you Live, oh, this seems like out of character for this person. Maybe I should check on them. And people who may not know them may not get that. Right? Like, may not have seen them. Live seen the first post that they see. And so I think positive intent from a, like, consumer perspective can be really helpful on social media. And I also think it's important for people to remember that if you don't wanna see it, then scroll past it.

Tim Hughes [00:17:47]:

Yes. Yes.

Tracy Borreson [00:17:48]:

You you don't have you don't have to read the negative Ross. I I have a friend who's been, like, in and out of the job search a lot. Right? So there's, like, excitement when he's got a job and then, like, kinda not so much when he he doesn't. And, I mean, I can understand that from a human perspective. I can understand the emotional struggle with that, but sometimes it's actually hard for me to read those Ross. And so I don't. Yeah. And I think there's a lot of, like personal curation powers that people forget that they have on social media.

Tracy Borreson [00:18:22]:

Live if that's making you feel bad, don't read it. If you feel called to check on that person, check on them and don't read their post. Right? Like, there's there's ways that we can can build our boundaries on social media. I think positive intent is a very important piece of that. Right? We don't have to come here and fight even if you read something that is anti your opinion. Are you the type of person who would come here and fight on social media about this? Oh, no? Okay. Great. You don't have to do that.

Tracy Borreson [00:18:55]:

And it doesn't mean that you have to change your perspective or they have to change their perspective. Again, I think a lot of this, when we ground it in positive intent, it gives us that perspective to to make decisions in a more, more authentic way.

Rob Durant [00:19:15]:

See where you're wrong, Tracy, is.

Tracy Borreson [00:19:18]:

Rob always tries to do this to me. Except, unfortunately, for you, Rob, I Live a positive intent, and I know that you're being the devil's advocate.

Rob Durant [00:19:26]:

As a self described LinkedIn police, it is my duty, my sworn duty to tell you that this post is not appropriate for LinkedIn. I cannot simply scroll by it without policing it. That's that's right.

Tracy Borreson [00:19:42]:

And how does that make you feel? Does it make you feel happy and empowered? It doesn't make you feel stressed out.

Rob Durant [00:19:50]:

Yeah. As I said before we came on the air, don't feed the trolls.

Tracy Borreson [00:19:55]:

I mean, this is the interesting thing about trolls, though. Trolls will find things to feed them.

Rob Durant [00:20:02]:

That's right.

Tracy Borreson [00:20:02]:

That's what trolling is.

Rob Durant [00:20:03]:

They'll never go hungry.

Tracy Borreson [00:20:05]:

And it's also, like I don't I can't remember if I've shared this instance on the show before, but I think it was, like, 2 Octobers ago. I got trolled super hard on a post that was about belonging. And I was Live, this is so weird because this post was supposed to be about, like, togetherness. And then everybody, like, took sides. And I even had people who were, like, checking on me. I did honestly, I did not handle it emotionally well. I felt like I was so confused of, like, what going on? I was trying to, like, explain myself to people for, like, 2 hours. And then finally, I just deleted the post because I was like, I'm not dealing with this.

Tracy Borreson [00:20:48]:

And then I had people who are like, oh, you should've told me. I would've come to your Live, I would've come and backed you up. And I was like, no. This was not the Ross point of this. The whole point was to talk about togetherness. That's not what happened. There was a group of people that took it in a direction it was not meant to go, and I deleted it because it's my Ross. K? And so, like, I don't that wasn't the intent.

Tracy Borreson [00:21:09]:

That is what happened. And other people decided to use it for a platform, their opinion. If they wanna use their own post as platform for their opinions, that's fine. But I deleted mine. And, honestly, I felt really terrible about the whole situation for about 48 hours. But I think it's a really great example of how we do have the power to do those things. And if it's doing something bad for our mental health, then I think people should.

Rob Durant [00:21:36]:

I want to get to some of the comments from the audience. We've had a lot of enablement, and and I apologize. We didn't mean to ignore any of it. So Mark Borreson checks in.

Tracy Borreson [00:21:56]:


Nicky Russell [00:21:57]:

Yes. So coming from, you know, we had 76 degree weather over the weekend, and my boys were out on the jet skis till we actually had snow yesterday. Anything can happen here in East Tennessee. So we just refer to it as buckle up buttercup and keep going.

Rob Durant [00:22:19]:

Couple of more, comments to share. Andrew Slesser checks in. Good morning. Good afternoon, Andrew. We're told that Andrew waves back.

Tim Hughes [00:22:31]:

Well, we can never see him, Nicky, because he's amazing.

Rob Durant [00:22:35]:

And we have

Tracy Borreson [00:22:35]:

We've never had Andrew on this show, so he can

Tim Hughes [00:22:37]:

actually He's William to come on.

Rob Durant [00:22:39]:

Not for a lack of invite. That's for sure. Yeah.

Adam Gray [00:22:41]:

He's actually he's actually gonna be on my music podcast video podcast in 2 hours.

Rob Durant [00:22:48]:

I see how it is.

Tracy Borreson [00:22:49]:

Okay. So I'll wave from him at him from the comments.

Rob Durant [00:23:02]:

What to read, how to react. No. Sorry, Will. Again, you're wrong. I am the police. It is my sworn duty to police them.

Nicky Russell [00:23:11]:

Yeah. But, I mean, he is right to a point in the sense that to validate what Tracy was saying too is that, you know, you do have the choice. You can spend time either on social media or step away from it. If it's not good for your mental health, take a break. Right? There's so many folks right now in the job market that are looking for things. And if that is their full time job is looking for a full time job, you could only imagine all the stuff that you're seeing on social media. So to be able to, like, take a break from that, pick up the phone, call your Nicky Russell or whoever that you need to, those things are important. Right? So I love that you said that, Tracy.

Nicky Russell [00:23:49]:

It is. It's it's a choice.

Rob Durant [00:23:51]:


Tracy Borreson [00:23:52]:

Also, I just can I I wanna briefly touch on this, like social health break from social media, because if I think if people take that and it's good for them, I think that's good? I also think that maybe it's a little Shorten about what social media could be for you. Right? Could social media be good for your mental health? Maybe the way it's currently curated, it's not. So you wanna take a break. Maybe you wanna Durant it in a different way. I think there's some opportunities there that potentially people are missing. Because personally, like this, there's a reason I get up at 7 o'clock in the morning to do that. You know? Right? Like, I get good vibes from it. I think people who come in the chat and watch over and over, like, they like what they're seeing.

Tracy Borreson [00:24:38]:

It helps them feel good. It makes them feel like they're with their people, and there's the opportunity to use social media for that, to create that for yourself and not just to see all these hard things about the world that make you feel like you're not good enough or things of that nature.

Rob Durant [00:24:55]:

Couple more comments I wanted to, make sure we addressed. Jamie Taylor Shorten. In the words of, colonel Sherman t Potter, he was a character in the sitcom MASH. If you ain't where you're at, then you're no place. Being your authentic self is important for sure.

Nicky Russell [00:25:17]:

Love that.

Rob Durant [00:25:17]:

Jamie goes on to say, that being said, I can see it being very important not to give away too much of yourself. The fear of someone building a parasocial relationship is very real. I wonder what Nicky has to say about that, which aligns with the question that I I have for you, Nicky. What are some strategies for setting boundaries when maintaining openness and authenticity?

Nicky Russell [00:25:45]:

Yeah. Once again, it's really about meeting people where they're at in their journey. Right? And also understanding as a person who is always leading with positive Jensen and being authentic to me is really understanding what my personal boundaries are too. So I always tell people, look. It's Live the 50 yard line. Like, I promise if you show up to that 50, I'll show up to that 50. Right? Like, you give your 50, I give my 50, but there are gonna be days where you have weaknesses and I Live to meet you at your Live. Or, you know, there's weaknesses that I may have that you're gonna have to meet me at my 25.

Nicky Russell [00:26:26]:

So that's always being, like, authentic, in that sense. So I think for me, it's really about making sure that we are always there for folks that setting those boundaries to say, look. Here's where I'm at. Here's what I need and understanding that those boundaries are important. Oftentimes, I tell my team that, you know, think of yourself like a bank. Right? You can't continue to give out to pour money out of your bank without putting money back in. So it's important to take that time to give yourself the grace to end love back so that you can give that back out to other people too.

Rob Durant [00:27:11]:

So let's talk a little bit about leadership and positive intent. Mhmm. What are the biggest challenges leaders face when trying to lead with positive intent, and how can they overcome?

Nicky Russell [00:27:25]:

It? So for leadership, it really is once again, I know I keep saying it's about meeting people in their journey where they're at. And I think it's more than just checking off the boxes of, hey. I have a diversified team or, you know, I'm having, you know, folks that I'm able to maybe put in certain positions or something like that, but it's, like, really understanding who the person is, understanding them personally, professionally, getting to know them, letting them know that here's the expectations and responsibilities of the role, understanding their weaknesses so that you can help them be able to become better. But most importantly for me, I think it's always about doing what I say that I'm gonna do. Right? And, always making sure that my actions speak louder than my words. So even though I tell you that I can do this or I can do that or I will do this or I will do that or I'm this type of person, It's those actions and how you show up to your team. So really meeting them in their journey where they're at and giving grace along the way in order to understand To me, that's really what authentic leadership is. It's understanding your people.

Tracy Borreson [00:28:57]:

No. Nicky, I had a Oh,

Rob Durant [00:28:59]:

go ahead, Tracy.

Tracy Borreson [00:29:01]:

I have a question about the relationship between positive intent and vulnerability. And maybe there's not a relationship, but more of, like, how they interact together. Because I will say in my leadership journey, there were a lot of times I felt like I could like, I had to have the answers. And so, like, if my team is freaking out, I'm not allowed to freak out because I'm supposed to be the one who's holding this together. And I think that from a mental and emotional perspective can be very hard on leaders. So while I am a 100% on the positive intent train, how do you recommend that leaders balance that with vulnerability in that, like, we're not Hughes. We don't have all the answers all the time.

Nicky Russell [00:29:48]:

So I always tell people if they ask me and I don't know the answer, I'm Live, look, I may not have the answer today, but either we can work together as a team to figure it out, or I will find that answer and bring it back. Right?

Tracy Borreson [00:30:04]:

But how do you find it, like, the the gumption, I guess, to say that? Because I think that that's really the the piece where if people think they're supposed to have the answer, but they don't have the answer

Rob Durant [00:30:16]:


Tracy Borreson [00:30:17]:

Where how is this maybe just, like, giving yourself a little bit of grace and tell and and and reinforcing the fact that I'm not supposed to have all the answers? Yes. I am leading this. Yes. I'm going to lead the charge to find the answer, but that's not immediate gratification thing.

Nicky Russell [00:30:39]:

Yeah. So I would much rather have the right answer for my team than to give the wrong answer and then fail. Sorry. Not sorry. Right? Like, so it's not instant gratification. It's more Live, I wanna make sure that I'm doing right by my people and making sure that I'm giving them the tools and the information to be successful in whatever question that they're asking. So, yes, to your point, I do think as a leader, it is giving yourself grace and understanding that early on in my career, I did have that happen. I I was Live, wait.

Nicky Russell [00:31:12]:

What? People are asking me questions, and I'm supposed to know the answers, and I don't know the answers. So do I just give them information and it and it's wrong and it backfires? No. I'm not gonna do that. I'd rather just tell people, you know, hey. I don't have the answer to that, but I will get the answer or we can problem solve it together. One of the things that I like about problem solving with my team is also the fact that they're learning and they're growing too. Right? And they're learning the strategies that I use in order to learn something or, you know, go out and problem solve situations, I do feel like it's effective to my team to allow them the opportunity to see those things. And then we often talk about it later.

Nicky Russell [00:31:56]:

I'm like, so what did you learn? This is what I learned. You know? So I think being vulnerable, it's it's been worth it for me in my experience, And that goes back to being authentic.

Rob Durant [00:32:10]:

We have some additional great comments from the audience. Bring them on screen. Riley Kirl says, glad I could catch this conversation. Interesting points. Give to others, but don't forget to fill your own bank too. Completely agree. Thank you, Riley.

Tim Hughes [00:32:27]:

Thank you.

Rob Durant [00:32:27]:

And then we have Flo Librado. The positive intention may mean assuming that each person is doing the best they can and that I am doing the best that I can. When there is a gap between what is needed and how we show up, we can use leadership skills and the leadership process to stretch potential and help one another level up to it. Great insight, Flo. Thank you. Nicky, I wanted to ask you. Sometimes as leaders, we have to have those difficult conversations. What strategies do you recommend for maintaining authenticity while managing, difficult conversation or feedback session?

Nicky Russell [00:33:14]:

So I always go into conversations understanding that there is kindness in giving constructive feedback. Right? And what I mean by that is that if I continue to let somebody do something wrong, then I'm of disservice as their leader to help them continue to fail. My goal as their leader is to help them be the best version of themselves that they can be and that they, they have all the skills and tools necessary to be successful in their role. Because it's not just about where they are today, but where they're going. And I, as their leader, should understand where they want to go. Right? They should have goals. We should have already talked about those things. So when things come up that aren't necessarily something that they wanna hear, maybe they failed or done something incorrectly, I come at that with the the pure fact of kindness.

Nicky Russell [00:34:16]:

Like, hey. We need to have a conversation about this because I want to make sure that you are successful in your role and in order to do so, we're gonna have to change these few things in order to make sure that you're at the next level of where you want to be. So let's talk about these things, and then I'll break it down to here's the things that we're supposed to do. Here's how you went about to do it. Here's some new ways. Let's talk about those new ways in which there's opportunities for process improvement. But then also, it's important to let them know that even though you make a mistake or you do something wrong, you're not gonna learn how to do this all on your own. I'm gonna make sure as your leader to make sure that you have what you need to learn those new tools or whatever it is that is the situation.

Nicky Russell [00:35:08]:

Right? So I make myself available. I pair them up with somebody else maybe that may know the answers or have the results that they need. But I do think it's important to make sure that you are giving that feedback to folks. And it's important that you do act quickly so you don't give them time to continue to do things wrong. Because as we all know, you know, things can turn into a habit. So I'm always the type of Jensen. I jump in quickly, and I try to help folks immediately. And then let them know that, you know, I'm on this journey with you.

Nicky Russell [00:35:48]:

It's not you by yourself. So I feel blessed in the sense that I learned that pretty quickly in leadership, just because once again, it goes back to I had leaders that didn't do that to me. Like, I felt berated. I felt that, you know, hey. You did something wrong. And I remember, like, ending that conversation going, oh my gosh. I'm just, like, the worst person in the world. Right? And nobody gave me the tools to help me become better.

Nicky Russell [00:36:14]:

It was just like you did this wrong. So I learned early on that I didn't want to be like that to other people. So it was important to me to change my style when I became a leader, and that's how I try to help my folks now.

Rob Durant [00:36:28]:

So whether it's in a leadership role or just in general, sometimes, positive con intent can be misconstrued. Can you give examples of of where you've experienced that and Lorena importantly, how you've handled that?

Nicky Russell [00:36:45]:

Yeah. I think it's more along the lines of when I have had somebody who has been Live, oh, this situation has happened. And for me, I'm always going into it thinking, well, they didn't mean for it to happen this way. And then there's been situations where it's Live, but wait. Did did they really mean, like and then I'm like, wait. How did this happen? Right? So I think for me specifically, situations have happened when I try to think about the positive intent of each Jensen. But then I realized that, wait, they were slacking on their role. They weren't fulfilling their duties.

Nicky Russell [00:37:29]:

Right? And then people have showed up differently. Right? In the sense of they weren't meeting me at the 50 yard line. They weren't even meeting me at the 25 yard line. They weren't giving me any effort. So when situations like that happen for me, I've always had to, like, dig in a little bit deeper to understand why. What's the situation? What's happened? Why are they not given any effort? And then try to, you know, move on from there. But most of the time for me, when I try to give positive intent and it's come off the wrong way, it's usually more of they're not showing up. And they're just, like, why are you trying to ask so many questions and trying to problem solve my situation? And I'm just trying to understand where they're at in that moment.

Nicky Russell [00:38:25]:

But there have been those times that those things have happened.

Tracy Borreson [00:38:29]:

I've had experiences where people tell me I'm micromanaging when I think I'm just trying to help. And I also think that it's again, when we think about positive intent, it also comes back to giving ourselves grace for that. Like, okay. Wow. I have no intention of micromanaging you. I was trying to help. So let's talk about what could it look like for me to actually help because this isn't I don't have to quote, unquote help this way. I Right.

Tracy Borreson [00:38:56]:

Want to be helpful, but if that's not being helpful, then I don't have to do that. And I think, again, that is a I'm not a huge fan of the word psychological safety because I think there's more to it than just Live being psychologically safe. But Live if somebody has the comfort level to respond in that way, then I think that there's, yeah, it doesn't mean that positive intent might not be misconstrued, but it means that you have the tools to have conversations and to move forward in a team conversation about, Gray. This k. Fair. This is what I was trying to do. This was misconstrued. That's our facts.

Tracy Borreson [00:39:39]:

Maybe there's not even a I mean, I'm Canadian, so I'm prone to apologize for things. But, like, I don't even think that's necessarily an apology thing. Like, this is what I meant. This is what how it felt. Gray. Let's not do that again. Let's do something different. And I think that's Live a self awareness, selling development skill that people either have or don't have as leaders, which I think from a leadership perspective, Lorena, we should talk about more as, like, the skills it takes to be a leader instead of, hey.

Tracy Borreson [00:40:12]:

You've been in this department for 10 years. So now you're ready to be the leader. Well, there might be more to it than that. But I think that ability to have that back and forth is where things will be misconstrued. Right? Like, people are different. We have different filters. We have different experiences. So there's no way to completely eliminate people interpreting things in different ways.

Tracy Borreson [00:40:36]:

There is a way to empower the conversation that comes out of a misinterpretation. So how can we also do that on the backside?

Nicky Russell [00:40:44]:

Yeah. I think building that trust and rapport is what's really important and doing it early. Right? But to your point too, I do think that when it comes to leadership, I wanna be very clear in saying that I do not think that you have to have a specific title to be a leader. I don't. I think before I even moved into a leadership role, I still was already trying to exhibit those leadership qualities to help other people because that's just who I am as a person. I'm very genuine and authentic, and I just want everybody to be better today than they were yesterday. So, I I wanna make sure that I say that because I think it's important for those that aren't just in a leadership role or that have that title to understand that they can still be a leader, and they can still, you know, have positive intent with other people to, you know, make the world a better place and make their organization better as well and create a better culture.

Rob Durant [00:41:44]:

So along those lines, what advice do you have for emerging leaders who want to adopt positive intent as a core part of their leadership style?

Nicky Russell [00:41:56]:

Yeah. My best advice would be to find you a mentor. Listen to podcast of leadership. And there's some great resources out there, some great books. I can recommend a few of those. And really just making sure that, you know, you're showing up every day. You're showing up exactly how, you know, if you wanna be a leader and you wanna put yourself out there, as I mentioned earlier, you don't have to have that title. Right? You can still be a leader.

Nicky Russell [00:42:28]:

So some of the best leaders have come out of organizations where they haven't had a title, but folks have seen that they've been exhibiting those leadership qualities. Right? So I would say if that's something that you want that you talk to somebody in your organization, and see how those conversations can get started. Abbott, definitely, find a mentor, or I'm happy for you to reach out to me. Just connect with me on LinkedIn. Happy to have a conversation too to help.

Tracy Borreson [00:42:59]:

I was gonna say LinkedIn is a great place to find mentors. Yes. It is.

Rob Durant [00:43:06]:

We've got some comments to share. We've got Will Shorten saying quite right, Nicky Russell. So much around leadership comes down to attitude and mindset. And Andrew Schlesser, comments, a leadership role mentorship were just someone that cares for the world they are in, creating a positive work environment where mistakes are not punished, fresh ideas are encouraged, and laughter is required. This allows everyone not only to relax in the workspace, it allows people to, not to take work issues home. And Will clarifies, I would recommend Durant the Ship Around by David Shorten and his take on intent based leadership. Thank you for that, Will. What I need is one more book I won't read.

Rob Durant [00:44:01]:

So, Nicky, I wanna turn to your industry for a moment. How can selling with positive intent help in attracting and retaining top talent?

Nicky Russell [00:44:13]:

So it goes back to, you know, having that culture inside of your organization. Once again, it isn't just saying something. It's really your actions. So I think that even starts from the very beginning when people are looking inside of an organization Jordan least I know if I was looking at a new organization, I would be all over LinkedIn, their social media outlets, checking out to see how their leaders show up. Is that a leader that I would wanna work for? So for me, specifically, once again, it goes back to making sure that my LinkedIn matches exactly who I am. That my Facebook, that my Twitter, my Instagram, all that is a true reflection of Nicky Russell at all times. So it's not just, you know, me being one way in my professional life and being somebody different in my personal life. Nicky Russell is Nicky Russell at all times.

Nicky Russell [00:45:12]:

So whether you see me in this setting or you see me at work or in, you know, a Chick Fil A drive through, I'm still gonna be the same. Right? So I think it's important for, you know, any organization or anybody looking to go into an organization to really check out those individuals and the leadership to make sure that, you know, that's something that you can buy into.

Rob Durant [00:45:37]:

What can be read into a lack of a social presence in that regard? Can anything be read into it?

Nicky Russell [00:45:48]:

Are you talking about personal or organizational?

Rob Durant [00:45:51]:

Well, either. As you say, if you're looking to join an organization, you know, look at the social media for that organization and the people in it. What about those that are relatively inactive? Is that telling me that they're not leading with positive intent, or or am I overthinking it?

Nicky Russell [00:46:16]:

I think you're overthinking it. I think for me, if I was having a conversation with an organization, I would be asking more questions. And I do think, you know, being that I've been in talent acquisition close to 20 years, one of the things that I will tell you is that people often get really confused about what that interview process is. It's not just for an organization to interview an employee to ask questions. It's also for the employee to ask the inner you know, to ask the employee potential employee to ask the employer questions. That's also very important. So if things to you such as social impact or environmental impact or, you know, the leadership, you can ask those questions during your interview Ross, and I highly encourage it, because you want to make sure that you know that organization prior to joining it. Right? But oftentimes people get that confused.

Nicky Russell [00:47:09]:

They're thinking it's just a one way street, and it's not. The employer employee relationship is 2 ways.

Rob Durant [00:47:17]:

We have another comment from Flo Librato saying, love that, Nicky. Integrity and congruence between who we are and how we show up everywhere in person, online, draws people to trust our leadership. People do not like leaders they cannot trust. Absolutely. Facts.

Nicky Russell [00:47:37]:

I would agree.

Tim Hughes [00:47:38]:

Great point, Flo.

Rob Durant [00:47:41]:

Is there an ROI to leading with positive intent?

Nicky Russell [00:47:47]:

I think so. I think that, you know, you take a look at, like, your attrition and retention and the ability to be able to, back to your point earlier, attract potential employees into your organization. I would hope that folks really enjoy working with me. They say that they enjoy working with me. I have a huge presence when I go out to networking events. And to the point earlier, I always hear people say, Nicky, you're exactly the same as you are in social media. And I would hope that me being Nicky Russell and always wanting the best for every single employee and everything that I'm doing inside the organization, because my goal is to make the organization the best that it can be. And part of that is leading the team to make sure that that's possible.

Nicky Russell [00:48:46]:

So, ultimately, there is an ROI in that your employees are performing at top Live. If you are giving them that authentic and that, positive intent at all time and encouraging your employees to be better and better day in and day out and being in a culture where they can, you know, have trust. They have that empowerment and autonomy to be able to work. Who wouldn't wanna work in an environment like that? So I definitely feel like there's an ROI.

Tracy Borreson [00:49:19]:

I also think that there's, like, an opportunity ROI even from an individual perspective. Ross I'm thinking about the way I approach social media. Right? Positive intent. I'm trying to connect. I believe connections solve Rob, and the more connections we make, the more problems we can solve. And that intent has led to, like, so many different like, me being able to connect these 2 people over here, and they can go over there and solve that problem. There's a lot of opportunity that gets created from positive intent. So I think while it may not have a, like, hard ROI number, there's also an ROI associated with that.

Tracy Borreson [00:50:00]:

I also think from the softer side of things, there's an energy ROI of leading with positive intent. Right? You put more positive energy out into the world, and I don't think that hurts the world at all. So even if you're looking at that from a corporate perspective and how it contributes to culture, are you looking at how that contributes to your experience on social media, or it looks like how you contribute in your community or in your household? It has a positive energetic ROI. So just to throw a little bit of woo in there.

Bertrand Godillot [00:50:35]:

Just a quick question, Nicky. Do you think it's possible at all to build a great and performing team without executive intent?

Nicky Russell [00:50:47]:

Do I think that I could build one without it?

Bertrand Godillot [00:50:49]:

Is it possible at all to build a great team and and and a and a highly performing team without a positive intent in the first place?

Nicky Russell [00:51:00]:

I I think that

Bertrand Godillot [00:51:01]:

Have you seen such teams?

Nicky Russell [00:51:03]:

I mean, I think we've all seen teams that are not being led with positive intent Borreson the team itself doesn't have positive intent. But once again, it comes back to that leadership. The leader always sets the expectations, right, of what they're looking for. And I do believe that saying that early, exhibiting that often, and also showcasing that in just your actions is what's gonna make the difference. I think that, unfortunately, for me, I've been in teams where there hasn't been positive intent, and I feel like I'm the only one there going, what what is wrong with every like, come on. Like, you know, we're on a Zoom call, and everybody's just Live, what are we talking about? And I'm like, hey. How was your day? What did you do on the week like, you know, and it it can set the tone for something different, and that's where I think that it is important that once again, going back to, if you do not have a title, you can still be a leader.

Bertrand Godillot [00:52:13]:


Nicky Russell [00:52:14]:

And even that one person can make a difference because I've seen it happen.

Bertrand Godillot [00:52:19]:

Great. Thanks.

Nicky Russell [00:52:20]:

For your

Tracy Borreson [00:52:20]:

vendetta, I'm thinking of here's another book for you, Rob, the William of teams Yeah. By Doug Smith. There's a it's it's interesting because I think in a lot of these things, people are using different language. Like, in that book, they don't specifically use the language positive intent. But when you read it, you're like, okay. Well, this is, like, all of the things that go into positive intent they're talking about in this book. And I remember reading it and thinking Live, yeah. I think about leadership a lot of times from a sporting sports team perspective.

Tracy Borreson [00:52:55]:

Right? And what does a coach do that turns a team into a high performing team versus a team that just shows up to play? And it doesn't mean you don't have skills. It doesn't mean you don't have communication, but high performing team looks different. And I, like, I I like to make bold statements. So, Bertrand, I would say that no. You can't have a really high performing team unless you have at least someone on that team who is bringing the positive intent. Does everybody have to bring it all the time? No. And I don't think that that's social, but I think you have podcast someone that is is playing that part.

Bertrand Godillot [00:53:32]:

I'm so glad we shared the same to say views.

Rob Durant [00:53:35]:

Well, on that note, Nicky, this has been great. Thank you so much, Nicky. Thank you. How can people get in touch with you?

Nicky Russell [00:53:44]:

Yeah. So you can find me on LinkedIn. I know we talked a lot about LinkedIn, so you can find me there just at backslash n backslash Nicky Russell MBA. So feel free to connect with me there. Always open for a virtual coffee chat anytime.

Rob Durant [00:54:05]:

So Excellent. Thank you so much.

Nicky Russell [00:54:08]:

Thank you.

Rob Durant [00:54:09]:

We now have a newsletter. Don't miss an episode. Get show highlights, behind the show, insights, and reminders of upcoming episodes. You can scan the QR code on screen or visit us at digital download dot live forward slash newsletter. On behalf of myself and the panelists, to our guest, Nicky, to our audience, thank you very much for being an active part of today's show, and we will see you all next time. Goodbye. Thanks, everyone.

Tim Hughes [00:54:41]:

Thanks, Nicky.

#Leadership #TalentAcquisition #PositiveIntent #BusinessStrategy #socialselling #digitalselling #LinkedInLive #Podcast

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The Digital Download is the longest running weekly business talk show on LinkedIn Live. We broadcast weekly on Fridays at 14:00 GMT/ 09:00 EST. Join us each week as we discuss the topics of the day related to digital transformation, change management, and general business items of interest. We strive to make The Digital Download an interactive experience. Audience participation is highly encouraged!

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