431: #431: Growing leaders and aspiring leaders with Nate Prosser, Wawa and the Leadership Chalk Talk Podcast

Today we’re going to talk about growing current leaders and aspiring leaders into the best possible version of themselves.

To help me discuss this topic, I’d like to welcome Nate Prosser, Head of Learning, Leadership and change at Wawa and Host of the Leadership Chalk Talk Podcast.


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Building positive leadership-focused habits is crucial for creating a successful team. When leaders are self-aware and conscious of their habits, they can effectively respond to trigger points and avoid negative reactions. By cultivating positive habits, leaders can operate on autopilot, making their team feel comfortable and psychologically safe. They can also coach and develop their team members, fostering an environment where everyone feels supported and motivated. Consistently exhibiting these positive habits encourages team members to go above and beyond, resulting in a strong and cohesive team working towards shared goals. Therefore, developing positive leadership-focused habits is essential for building a successful team.

In the episode, the speaker highlights the significance of self-awareness and conscious habit-building for positive change. They mention that individuals often operate on autopilot for up to 40% of the time, similar to driving to work and realizing they don’t remember the journey due to being lost in thought. Similarly, in a leadership context, individuals may unknowingly respond habitually to certain situations.

The speaker provides an example of a leader receiving bad news. The leader’s habitual response might be to attack the person, question why they didn’t share the information earlier, or seek someone to blame. However, the speaker suggests that leaders should be aware of their habitual response and strive for a more positive approach. They encourage leaders to respond with gratitude for being informed and collaborate with the person to find a solution.

The speaker also advises aspiring leaders to be conscious of their habits and genuinely desire a leadership role. They suggest “hacking” one’s habits to make them positive. By being aware of their habits and actively working to change them, aspiring leaders can develop positive leadership-focused habits. This, in turn, creates a comfortable and psychologically safe environment for their team, fostering a willingness to go the extra mile.

Developing current and aspiring leaders is crucial for both individuals and organizations. The episode emphasizes the host’s passion for helping people reach their full potential, including developing leaders. Nate Prosser, a guest with experience in learning and leadership development, discusses the importance of nurturing leaders to become the best version of themselves.

For individuals, developing leadership skills leads to personal growth and career advancement. Aspiring leaders, particularly those early in their careers, should focus on developing the necessary skills and qualities to become effective leaders. Nate advises aspiring leaders to recognize that leadership is a distinct role and ensure they genuinely want to lead and serve others.

For organizations, developing leaders is vital for success. Nate emphasizes the significance of leaders spending time with their teams, coaching and developing them, and providing experiences and exposure to facilitate growth. This not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the overall success of the organization. Nate also highlights the importance of understanding the expectations of direct leaders regarding development. Without prioritizing development within the talent ecosystem, individuals may miss out on opportunities for growth and advancement.

In summary, nurturing current and aspiring leaders is essential for both individuals and organizations. It fosters personal growth, career advancement, and contributes to organizational success.

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