TLC 15 | Leadership Habits

Good leaders meet people wherever they’re at. One of their top qualities includes being accepting of all politics, religions, beliefs, cultures, and races. In today’s episode, I’m speaking with Dr. Elena Pezzini about the qualities of a good leader in our ‘new normal’.

About Dr. Elena Pezzini

TLC 15 | Leadership HabitsA native of Italy, Dr. Pezzini moved to the States to pursue her Ph.D. in Applied/Organizational Psychology. She began work as a coach and consultant for Fortune 100 companies. For Procter & Gamble, Dr. Pezzini delivered hundreds hour training program on diversity-awareness and work-from-home skills to 1000s+ employees at all organizational levels. In less than two years, department sales profits improved by 80%.

Dr Pezzini has led and mentored millions of individuals and groups to successful breakthroughs in business, relationships, prosperity and wellness.

Check out this episode if you want to learn:

  • What happens when leaders meet people where they’re at
  • How to keep going — even when there’s huge obstacles in the way
  • Why even coaches need coaches

🎧 Listen to the podcast here:

Leadership In The New Normal With Dr. Elena Pezzini

What are some themes you’ve been seeing in your work during COVID-19?

Pre-COVID, it used to be that people struggled with time. They (would) come to me because they wanted to make more money. We are somehow pushed to think that we need more money, (but our clients) realize, (through) our coaching, that what they need is to be with their loved ones, smell the roses and enjoy life. One of the great upsides of COVID is that we were forced to slow down, although that doesn’t justify the deaths.

If anything, we save commuting time now because most of us are working from home. With COVID, a lot of our clients need help in creating new systems, new structures to work from home, because all the kids are at home. They are figuring out time management so that they can still have some fun and collaborate, managing sounds and noises, managing the pets. (The pets) are also like, ‘I don’t understand what the heck is going on. Our owners are at home all the time.’ They have a little bit of anxiety about it, so we need to reassure them, too.

'Those who adapt faster are the ones getting better results.' Click To Tweet

Also, as business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, the key is not to be afraid to take risks, to adapt and to be creative. Even in our work that’s already virtual, we had to adapt to be able to serve our clients better, to take advantage of different investments. The key is not being afraid to adapt, and adapt fast, because I’m noticing that those who are adapting faster are getting better results. Those who are taking too long, it may be disastrous.

We’ve seen a huge rush for speed — but it’s also important to strike a balance, and not feel like you’ve missed your chance. How do you build resiliency with that in mind?

Nobody’s got a crystal ball or magic wand. Who knows what’s going to happen? As long as we’re not afraid to make a decision and stay in action, then the path will unveil itself. Even if it was the ‘wrong decision’, we can course correct. People who stay at home (and) don’t do anything, in my opinion, they’re losing flexibility, momentum — the creative muscle. It’s important not to be afraid. Choose one strategy, and go for it. As my grandma used to say, ‘All roads lead to Rome’. Rome is what you want. Go with your vision and the empire you want to build. There are infinite ways to get there. You’ll find yourself on the path somewhere (and) you’ll still get there.

There’s a lot of expectations along the leadership journey. How can you balance your own expectations with that of others?

I have accountability buddies (and) four coaches. I have one that helps me with my running, a couple that helped me with internet marketing. One for English-speaking countries, and one for Italian-speaking countries. I have an overall head coach that looks at different areas of life to make sure I stay on track.

I also belong to different MasterMind (groups), and I even host my own quarterly (group). We have people coming from all over the world — 100 different countries, five continents. We choose topics that people request, (like) ‘Difficult Conversations Made Easy’ — you’ll find the replay for free on my website

I surround myself with all of this, but I also believe in physical health. What gives me a lot of energy — more than I know what to do with! — is a plant-based nutrition (diet) that I’ve followed for more than half of my life. I exercise daily — I’ve had to change it a little during COVID, but where there is a will, there is a way. It keeps my energy and immune system high for myself, my beloved friends, family and clients.

You’re such an accomplished coach. Why do you have coaches yourself? 
TLC 15 | Leadership Habits

Leadership Habits: Surround yourself with like-minded and like-hearted individuals who always strive to improve themselves and help others.

There is still so much improvement that I want in this lifetime, (to) learn new skills and knowledge that I don’t have. For me, I wouldn’t see life any other way. That’s the purpose of living: always push yourself a little higher. Otherwise, life will be too boring.

What type of leadership do you think organizations need right now?

I personally think that a good leader has to stay completely neutral, (and be) accepting of all politics, religions, beliefs, cultures and races. They should meet people wherever they’re at. Veganism works for me (but) I encourage others to find out what works for them.

Sometimes it’s hard – I’ve had clients who are hunters, and my head goes up. If that’s what’s important to them, I encourage them, even if it’s hard. I encourage them to explore, get to the next level — whatever that means to them. Neutralize yourself and meet people wherever they’re at.

It seems like this also creates a non-judgemental space for dialogue.

Safety and vulnerability, that’s a must. It’s not easy to find a professional that embodies all these skills — even for us (as coaches), sometimes it’s hard. We’re humans too, we have feelings like everybody else, but we do our best. Practice makes perfect.

'The purpose of living is to always push yourself a little higher; otherwise, life will be too boring.' Click To Tweet
Coming from a different country, you’ve had to re-establish yourself. What were some of your learnings along the way?

I’ve always been a daredevil growing up. Back then, in a very all-white, all-Catholic environment, I felt suffocated. I’ve always needed diversity. Things have changed since then — I left Italy for the first time in ‘94. Now it’s much more diverse, (with) the European Union, the fall of the Berlin Wall, etc.

I had been enamoured with the United States since I was 13 years old. When I turned 20, I had saved up some money and I needed to escape. (My parents) threatened me in many ways, including disowning me and taking me off the inheritance. I went anyway, without even knowing what I was going to get into, and applied for university.

Back then, there wasn’t internet — I literally escaped from home, get on a train to Milan to the consulate (to) take the TOEFL test that measures your English.

The only college that accepted me happened to be in Kansas. I was a good student, I had straight A’s — there wasn’t anything else to do. Soon after, I moved to the coast (and) when I graduated, it was 2000, (and I was) in San Francisco. That’s when the market crashed.

It was very hard to get a permit to stay in the country. I moved to New York City, because I thought I’d get a better chance to get immigration papers (there). I went through 9/11. My roommate was killed in the towers. At some point, my visa expired. I was kicked out of the country.

There was no shortage of adventures — good or bad — but I was determined to make it happen one way or another. I’m now a dual citizen. The journey has been rocky, and the US has changed a lot from what I was fantasizing about (it) as a little girl. Italy has also changed a lot. Some changes are for the better, some changes are for the worse, but as we teach in coaching, we focus on the good part.

What kept you moving forward?

(You) and I share some of the same great global mentors (who) have taught us that no matter what, you finish what you started because otherwise, you’ll never know. Finishing something is a good leadership habit, and a good overall success habit.

I thought about quitting when it was so difficult — it would have been a very easy life (in Italy), because my parents had lined up everything for me. I needed to discover it on my own, (and) I knew no matter what, I had to keep going, and something good was going to come out of it despite the blood, sweat and tears.

TLC 15 | Leadership Habits

Leadership Habits: The whole purpose in living is to leave this earth a little better than how we found it for the generations to come.

What’s the legacy you envision yourself leaving behind?

To me, the whole purpose in living is to leave this earth a little better than how we found it for the generations to come. I manage a nonprofit that rescues (animals). That cause is very dear to my heart, (as well as) the environment. One of the reasons why my headquarters right now is in Vegas is because I have solar panels. I grow a lot of the fruits and vegetables, (and) have enough for others in case there is ever a food shortage.

I also volunteer with children as much as possible in different educational projects as well. I’ve worked with autistic kids as well, (and) as a scientist I would push myself to do more research, figuring out new mental tools.

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