Welcome to another insightful episode of the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. In this episode, Chief Leadership Officer Scott McCarthy sits down with renowned reputation management expert, Bill Coletti, to discuss the intricacies of becoming a trusted advisor. Aspiring leaders and seasoned professionals alike will find valuable insights on building trust, developing a strong mindset, and asking thought-provoking questions. Join us as we delve into the world of leadership and learn from the experiences of Bill Coletti.

Meet Bill

Bill Coletti is a recognized authority in reputation management, crisis communications, and professional development. With an impressive list of Fortune 500 clients, including AT&T and Target, Bill has honed his expertise in navigating high-stakes situations and establishing trust with leaders. He has also served as a senior advisor to the prime minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, further solidifying his reputation in the field. As the best-selling author of “Critical Moments: The New Mindset of Reputation Management,” Bill brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.

Timestamped Overview

During this interview Bill and I discuss the following topics:

  • [00:04:20] Balancing trusted advisors, leaders, and experience.
  • [00:07:17] C-suite advisors become trusted advisors with unique mindset and behavior.
  • [00:09:53] “Traits of trusted advisors: self-awareness, grounded mindset”
  • [00:13:52] Committee members seek contributions, listen and engage.
  • [00:15:54] Inquisitive thinker toggles between roles effectively.
  • [00:20:20] Trusted advisors solicit advice, observe, and synthesize.
  • [00:25:39] Trust and service are key for advisors.
  • [00:26:42] Sought-after problem-solver wants to be Sally.
  • [00:30:03] Leaders need self-awareness, engagement, and understanding.
  • [00:35:50] Meetings sometimes make us hesitant to speak up.
  • [00:37:33] Good questions show emotional intelligence; repetition is offensive.

Guest Resources

If you are interested in learning more about Bill’s resources be sure to check out the following links:

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The following is an AI generated transcript which should be used for reference purposes only. It has not been verified or edited to reflect what was actually said in the podcast episode. 


Scott McCarthy [00:00:00]:

You on episode 226 of the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. We speak to Bill Coletti and he’s going to tell you how you can become a trusted agent within your organization. What value you can bring through this. It’s all about being trusted today. Are you ready for this? Alright, let’s do it. You welcome one, welcome all to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. A weekly podcast series dedicated to helping you hit peak performance across the three domains of leadership. Those being leading yourself, leading your team, and leading your organization.

Scott McCarthy [00:00:45]:

This podcast couples my 20 years of military experience as a Senior Canadian Army officer with world class guests to bring you the most complete podcast on leadership going. And for more, feel free to check out our website@movingforwardleadership.com. And with that, let’s get to the show. Yes, welcome one, welcome all. It is your Chief Leadership Officer, Scott McCarthy. And thanks for tuning in to the Peak Performance Leadership Podcast. It’s so great to be behind the mic, probably unbeknownst to you, but I’ve actually been away for a few weeks and so what I did was batch create a load of content for you and that’s why I’ve been away and now I’m happy to be back nonetheless, let’s move on from that, shall we? And let’s talk about today’s episode and that is becoming a trusted agent. And you’re probably wondering the heck are you talking about anyway, Scott? See, a trusted agent is someone who can go to the leaders of your organization and say, hey, this is what is going on.

Scott McCarthy [00:02:13]:

This is what needs to happen. Here are the problems that you’re not seeing right now. And as important as it is for you to know how to be one, it’s also equally important for you as a leader to understand how to employ one. I’ve done this tactic in the past and I tell you, it comes with some serious great results. You get firsthand knowledge from people from the ground level and they’ll let you know exactly how things are without the filters of the various leadership chain. And sometimes, as much as you need to trust your direct subordinates and other supervisors within the chain, they can water things down. Egos get in the way. People don’t want to be seen as incompetent or not having things together.

Scott McCarthy [00:03:18]:

But the moral of the story is that sometimes you need the ground truth. And that’s what we’re talking about today. And today we have Bill Coletti on the show. He’s a reputation management crisis, communications and professional development expert. He’s also a keynote speaker with the Wall Street Journal Risk and Compliance Panelist. He’s a best selling author of the book Critical Moments the New Mindset of Reputation Management. He’s also got more than 25 years of global experience in the field and has dealt with Fortune 500 companies, things like at and T, Target, American Airlines, Home Depot, Xerox Nuclear Energy Institute, and so on. He’s also served in the Republic of Bulgaria as a senior advisor to the prime minister there.

Scott McCarthy [00:04:20]:

So quite a vast array of experience. And one of the things that we talked about that really touched with me was how to balance use of the trusted advisors or trusted agents to make sure that you’re not overdoing it. That’s just one of the many topics we talk about, what it is, what qualities that one should possess. We talk about different leader types. We talk about how a leader of a smaller organization can use a trust advisor. Because I know there’s a lot of small business out there who are listening to this show and a whole whack of different topics, and we talk about this concept in great detail. And I bring out my own experience about this and how I’ve used this in the past, too. So be on the lookout for that.

Scott McCarthy [00:05:27]:

Anyway, folks, that’s it for the intro. So why don’t you sit back, relax, and enjoy my conversation with Bill Colletti, all about becoming a trusted agent. Bill, my friend, welcome to the show. So good to have you here, sir.

Bill Coletti [00:05:56]:

Scott, it is great to be here and having a great looking forward to a great conversation with you.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:00]:

No doubt. We’re rocking it. Before I even hit record, I actually.

Bill Coletti [00:06:03]:

Got usually the best stuff. The best stuff is before you hit record. So Seth Godin says this always hit record. As soon as you pick up the phone, hit record.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:11]:

Hit record. All right, so today we’re talking about becoming a trusted agent, which was a super interesting concept that you’re mentioning to me when we were chatting. So what the heck’s a trusted agent.

Bill Coletti [00:06:23]:

In the first a trusted advisor would be a word.

Scott McCarthy [00:06:26]:

Advisor. Sorry.

Bill Coletti [00:06:26]:

Yeah, advisor. No, it’s cool. So, Scott, I came to communications and what I do at my consulting firm through politics and ran and did political campaigns the first half of my career and now run a crisis communications firm. And so people find themselves in crisis, a corporate cris, enterprise level cris, not human, not a mental health crisis, which we have to say nowadays with all this crazy stuff going on in the world. So find themselves in a communications cris. And because of skill sets and behaviors that I’ve been able to carry, I get to walk into a situation and my experience, I get to be a trusted advisor. So I come walk in. It’s a meeting of the board of directors or the C suite.

Bill Coletti [00:07:17]:

And the C suite advisors, general counsel, head of communications, head of HR, whatever the C suite plus one cadre is. But I get to come in from the outside because I have this unique experience of having been in crisis and corporate crises a lot. And I get to step to the front of the class and be a trusted advisor. And I have gotten there and earned my space there by doing this for a long time but also with some unique mindset and behavior. And so one of the things that you and I were visiting about earlier is that how do leaders, emerging leaders that are maybe at an enterprise c suite plus one, c suite plus two, kind of out on the ring and the fringes, how do they develop less the skill sets and more the mindset and behavior in order to become a trusted advisor? How do they step into that? Obviously people with specific competencies, specific skill sets get touched by and reached out to by CEOs. But when they’ve got truly the most difficult challenges, how do you position yourself if you want to how do you position yourself to be the place that leaders go to help solve their most difficult problems? And I call those people trusted advisors.

Scott McCarthy [00:08:45]:

I love that because as leaders you can’t know everything. You can do a dang good job. You can spend time out and about talking to your people trying to get as much ground truth as possible. But you can’t know it all. And you need someone from that ground level to come and tell you exactly what’s going on because things get filtered. We were actually talking about this at work the other day and how things get filtered and you would know about this. And as it goes up through the chain, the message changes. It’s like oh this is crap.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:19]:

And then by the time the leader hears, it’s like oh it’s the best thing ever. It’s great. And it’s like wait now?

Bill Coletti [00:09:25]:

Yeah. That’s the classic children’s game of telephone. I whisper into somebody’s ear and before it goes twelve steps it’s become chicken soup on the lake with a goose. And so it doesn’t make any sense. Absolutely.

Scott McCarthy [00:09:38]:

So with this trusted advisor so what kind of qualities should we be looking for in someone? Obviously we should be picking just anyone from the organization to be that person. They should have some form of certain qualities. What would they be?

Bill Coletti [00:09:53]:

Yeah, I think that there are just like you said and I’m going to make a distinction between skill sets, which is what you talked about general competencies because you can’t be an expert in all things. And I’m going to talk more about mindset and behavior because I think that’s the true difference maker for trusted advisors. And so I’ve identified eight different traits or eight different things. But we’ll do a couple of them because I think it’s interesting is that the mindset and behavior of trusted advisors is that they know themselves. They know they don’t have to hit a home run at every bat to be successful. They know that their best wisdom that they can give a leader is based on their experience and intuition. But they have to really understand who they are and be really grounded in who they are as a leader, being really grounded in who they are as a person. And I think we all are made up of what I call parts.

Bill Coletti [00:10:50]:

We all have various parts and some research calls them parts of our personalities. Some people call them sort of our committee that operationalize in our head. So one of the first key traits that I think and mindsets that people have is they really need to understand and they need to be comfortable in their own skin. So I think that’s number one. The second is really strong EQ. The ability to sort of observe and understand what’s going on around them because particularly in cris situations when you find yourself being the person where the most difficult challenges go is to really understand. And you and I are working on a problem together, I need to know me, but I also need to be able to have an EQ and understand you in order to give really good wisdom. And then third very practical trait is asking great questions.

Bill Coletti [00:11:43]:

I think true trusted advisors ask really good questions because of exactly what you just said. That crazy game of telephone where it’s set at level one and by the time it makes it to level seven, a bad idea is now a great idea. Or the other way around, a good idea is now a bad idea. And so the ability to ask good questions really helps in what I do is really one of those mindsets and behaviors of true trusted advisors. So knowing yourself, having EQ to know others and then thirdly, being able to ask great questions. Those are three that I think are pretty important traits and characteristics of people that emerge that they can work on to become trusted advisors in their organizations.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:28]:

No, I really like those, especially the first one knowing yourself and knowing your strengths and especially knowing your weaknesses. And if I, as a leader come to someone and say, hey, I want you to do this for me, like, you know what? I am not the right person for it. Perfect. Because this can be a stressful event. Right? You’re talking about you’re taking someone typically.

Bill Coletti [00:12:47]:

That’S my context, yeah. High stressful events.

Scott McCarthy [00:12:50]:

Yes, high stressful events. Either crisis or even just the fact that you’re taking someone from quote unquote to ground level and bringing them up to the board. That could be stressful enough as it is. So you want someone who’s confident, competent, knows themselves, can stand under 2ft when they make a statement like no, this is wrong. Your decision is actually negatively impacting the organization for reasons X, Y and Z from my experience.

Bill Coletti [00:13:16]:

Yeah. And I think it’s important. And an interesting way that I think about talking about it is knowing yourself is I think about it in this context of a committee is that we have a committee inside our brains that are like any other committee. Any other committee. There are strong players that really serve well. And so think about it in the context of a PTA or a parent organization. So you have really strong fundraisers. You’ve got parents that can build great stands to sell lemonade.

Bill Coletti [00:13:52]:

You’ve got some people that can go solicit contributions from corporations. So we all have these parts, these all members of our committee that are in our heads. And for me, I’ve got a benevolent dictator part where I will listen intuitively and carefully. But I’m pretty decided I know exactly where I’m going to go in a given situation. But I’ve also got a part that’s an ambassador that wants to be engaging, hear all sides to try to broker peace between all of the different parts or between all of the different actors that are moving around me. And so I’ve done this work to identify these eight members of my committee. And just like any committee you’ve been involved in, there are some members that will never be the chairperson of the committee. So imagine any group of ten to twelve people you’ve been involved with in a committee.

Bill Coletti [00:14:46]:

There’s a couple of them that can never be the chair. They just simply don’t have the temperament, the personality or their biases just come clear. I’ve got those. I’ve got a very scared little boy that’s one of my parts that’s inside of me, that makes up my personality. He can never run the committee. The committee will run around in circles and won’t do anything because he’s scared to make a decision. And so that’s what I’m talking about. And really sort of understanding your parts as a leader because we all have those parts and they break up into three types.

Bill Coletti [00:15:21]:

And this is from research by a guy named Schwartz. You have managers, people that are truly they make really good committee chairman because they manage. You’ve got firefighters which are unique problem solvers and then you have exiles. And so my little boy is kind of an exile, important, valuable, serves me well, but can’t really run the committee because they don’t really have the skill sets that making sense.

Scott McCarthy [00:15:47]:

Absolutely. I am such a firefighter. I’ve actually been called that to my.

Bill Coletti [00:15:54]:

And then without pawn. But you probably in just a little bit of time that I’ve spent with you scott, you probably have a I don’t know what label you would put it, but a thoughtful questioner, infinitely curious, don’t jump to conclusions or if you do, you don’t share it. That’s different than your firefighter. Your firefighter probably sees a problem, solve a problem, get it done. But you probably have a thoughtful and you toggle in different work situations. You have the ability to say, okay firefighter, go ahead, I need you now show up. You probably have that what do you thoughtful questioner. I need you right now to show up.

Bill Coletti [00:16:35]:

That ability to throttle those members of your committee in real time is my hunch is probably why people reach out to you to be a trusted advisor because you’re not firefighter all the time. Because that doesn’t probably serve you well.

Scott McCarthy [00:16:51]:

You’re 100% correct, sir. This week especially, I am the latter, not the firefighter.

Bill Coletti [00:16:58]:

And I don’t know if it’s you’ll do the work, but my instinct is it’s something around thoughtful questioner, observer, kind of congeal all this different data and share a perspective, something like that. That’s a unique part that makes you a great leader. But you know, that firefighter can kick ass if need be.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:19]:

Literally, what I’m doing right now, work. That’s great.

Bill Coletti [00:17:22]:

That’s awesome.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:22]:

That’s literally what I spent today doing. The latter part, which is funny, energize.

Bill Coletti [00:17:27]:

You or deenergize you?

Scott McCarthy [00:17:31]:

That part not neither. It doesn’t drain me. Although it is a slog what we’re going through right now. Work. So that part is deenergizing a bit, but at the same time, it’s just because it’s a slog. It’s not demoralizing. When you say deenergizing to me, it’s like more demoralizing. No, it’s not, because it’s important stuff that needs to get done.

Scott McCarthy [00:17:59]:

I won’t see the fruits of the efforts. Like it’s a long term project, but I know we’re setting the foundation for something that will improve the way we operate. So it’s like, wow, that’s great. Now, that being said, the firefighting thing that energizes me, I remember actually I was on a year long course once and I was having coffee with a buddy of mine. He’s like, So how’s it going? And we’re chitchatting. I was like, Man, I just need a good fire. It’s the same thing day in, day out. I’m showing up and I’m doing this, I’m going back home, and that’s it.

Scott McCarthy [00:18:35]:

There’s no chaos. Like, any chaos.

Bill Coletti [00:18:38]:

Yeah, and that’s a part. And to become back to the advisor, to the CEO, if every time Scott, the trusted advisor showed up there was chaos, that would be bad because that as the leader that needs you to support me, you would fatigue me and that would be a bad thing. And so you knowing when you need to kick my ass, when you need to push me, when you need to let your firefighter chair the meeting is really the gifting, I think about knowing yourself, you call on the committee members as you need them.

Scott McCarthy [00:19:17]:

Yeah, no, that’s actually a great segue. As the leader who has their trusted advisor, where’s the balancing of allowing them to come in and take over a meeting or just simply having them there to provide their input or not have them around at all? How can we balance that based off of the situation that’s going on?

Bill Coletti [00:19:42]:

For the leader or for the trusted advisor?

Scott McCarthy [00:19:44]:

Maybe both. Yeah, I would say both.

Bill Coletti [00:19:47]:

So I think it is a confident leader. A confident leader. So imagine we’re in the boardroom and we’ve got a big challenge in front of us. Let’s call it a product recall. We’ve got a significant product recall. People have been injured by our product, but it’s our number one seller. But they don’t quite know about it in Europe, so let’s just stay in that context, okay? They’ll know about in Europe tomorrow morning. The leader, the boss, the leader, the CEO.

Bill Coletti [00:20:20]:

I think great ones are soliciting advice from everybody around the table and soliciting opinions and asking what people they think that they should do. I think the trusted advisor, a knows the gravity of the situation, b understands the dynamics in the room. There’s going to be a lot of people in that meeting trying to take extreme positions to show off in front of a leader. The true trusted advisor sits back, is thoughtful, and as it goes around the room really gives just clear, unvarnished perspective, but in a way that the leader can digest it. And so too many people and I’ve sat in those meetings, I say we have to recall it all, and we have to recall it all tomorrow morning and we have to do it fast. There’s lots of nuances in gray. So I think the trusted advisor is the one that sits, observes and thinks and sort of strives to be not necessarily the last person to speak, but tries to be the understanding and helping the CEO synthesize all of this crazy, chaotic information that’s happening in this crisis situation. So I think a leaders need to solicit and then trusted advisors need to be cautious and careful with using their superpower of understanding about themselves and understanding others and asking great questions.

Bill Coletti [00:21:52]:

They need to use those very carefully to give actionable, clear advice to their leader.

Scott McCarthy [00:22:02]:

It’s tough being alone. As a leader. You’re often in situations where you’re not sure where to go, you’re not sure what’s the best decision. Yet as Colin Powell once said, it’s lonely at the top. And reality is, it takes time. Sure, you can read books and listen to podcasts such as this one, but nothing beats experience. But who has time for experience when you’re at a situation right now that requires experience to lead yourself, your team, your organization through? That’s where coaching comes in. You see, coaching enables you to unlock the experience in others.

Scott McCarthy [00:22:46]:

Right here, right now, you have 20 years of military service, plus 150 plus episodes of interviews and topics and research sitting at your disposal. So what are you waiting for? Are you ready to level up your game? Become that leader that you know you’re meant to be? Are you ready to go to the next level? If so, drop me a line, Scott@movingforwardleadership.com, or swing by the website and book a discovery call through Movingforwardleadership.com Book. Let’s get you moving in the right direction. Leading better, leading more effectively today, right here, right now. Starting off with leading yourself. And then let’s focus on how you can build your high performing team to drive your organization’s output higher, faster, harder today. Not next week, not next month, but today. All right folks, that’s it.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:00]:

Now let’s get back to the show. No, that makes absolute sense, makes a lot of sense, especially us as leaders needing to solicit that advice, solicit opinions, seek input. I often say leadership often say that there’s not much that has changed in leadership. Leading is leading us human beings. We follow people. What really has changed in leadership I find is back, way back in the day it’s all about having the answers. But that’s no longer the case. Now leadership is all about asking the right questions because absolutely you have a team of experts as you said earlier.

Scott McCarthy [00:24:46]:

You can’t be the expert in everything. You have to be the expert in everything per se but not an absolute expert in everything if that makes any sense to you. You have to have an understanding of your entire team and the composition and what everyone does. But you don’t know the exact nuts and bolts of every single little thing that everyone does. Hence why we have to ask the right questions and ask the right questions to right people. So all I say is that’s my take. Now we’re talking a lot about boards and chairmans and committees and all this stuff but we do have listeners out there who are with smaller organizations. There’s some small business owners out there.

Scott McCarthy [00:25:30]:

Could they use this model within those organizations and how might they actually go about doing it?

Bill Coletti [00:25:39]:

Sure. And so I think a solopreneur or a freelancer if they are seeking trusted advisors they’re probably ad hoc friends and just kind of a collection of whatevers. But let’s say we’re at a small company of five to three to 1012 people. I believe that the CEO, the leader knows that I can trust Sally in a really difficult situation. Now Sally may or may not have the title as number 2, may or may not have the corner office but the leader knows that that’s a really important asset on my team. So both ways, even if you don’t have the title you don’t need to be given permission to be a trusted advisor. You just need to show up and be in service of your leader. And so I think that’s what’s really most important.

Bill Coletti [00:26:42]:

So in this small company a lot of people doing a lot of different things in the company with different responsibilities. But when there are difficult questions I would like to be the member of that team that the leader goes to. I want to be Sally and the person that says when the leader know this is one of our biggest challenging problems, what do you think we should do? So a leader should identify those people where am I going to go with the hardest problems? And then the team should really be conscious. We can all do our parts work. We can all get really clear about who we are. We can all get really clear about understanding others. But more importantly, the last point everybody needs to learn how to ask better and bolder questions.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:27]:

Can I throw a story at you?

Bill Coletti [00:27:29]:

Sure. Love it.

Scott McCarthy [00:27:30]:

So one of the jobs I had, I was a commander of a logistics squadron of 200 members. So one of the first things you do always is walk the ground, as we refer to it, get out and about and see your equipment, see your buildings, your troops, and all this stuff. We were pretty spread out. We were spread out across nine buildings, and I was at one of my maintenance buildings, and I ran into one of our civilian employees, and I said, hey, how’s it going? Nice to meet you. He’s like, you want to know how it’s going?

Bill Coletti [00:28:04]:


Scott McCarthy [00:28:05]:

I’m like, yeah. 45 minutes of just straight. Straight, referred to as straight rants. Just giving it to me about all the problems, all the broken promises, the lack of support, everything. In 45 minutes. I was like, holy crap. And after we left, my guys were like, sorry, sir. We should have warned you about we’ll call him Johnny.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:33]:

We should have warned you about Johnny. I said, hell no. That’s exactly what I needed. I needed to hear that right there. And you know what? Every time I saw Johnny, he would tell me straight up, he’d be like, this is what’s going on. These are the problems. Or, this is what’s hurting us right now. Or, this is what we’re hearing that’s coming down from the top from you.

Scott McCarthy [00:28:59]:

And sometimes it would be understandable, and sometimes like, what the hell is going on? No, that’s not what I said at all. So he was seriously one of my trusted advisors that I could count to get the ground truth. And let me tell you, a lot of respect for them even after 45 minutes, just given it to me.

Bill Coletti [00:29:21]:

Yeah, I mean, people that speak the truth, that’s critically important. But there are things to unpack. There is that if you were not such an enlightened leader who is actually open and wants you’ve said the ground level a couple of times. If you weren’t such an enlightened leader that really wanted to feed and understand what was going on so you could become better, because the reason you asked the question is because you wanted to learn in order to be better. You probably didn’t ask the question to be political, because that’s the right thing. You read in a book somewhere that you should ask. You probably wanted good answers. That’s great, and that’s awesome.

Bill Coletti [00:30:03]:

But not every leader has that orientation that you have. Johnny came at you like a pit bull for 45 minutes, and there’s probably an absence of self awareness, because even though you are an enlightened leader and you are an incredibly generous person, at some point, your eyes might have glanced away or looked at your watch, or you might have sort of broken the engagement. That’s where the sender and the receiver really kind of need to be on the same wavelength, and I put the burden on Johnny to understand his audience. You gifted him the grace of patience. I don’t know the person that had that job before you or the person that had that job after you would handle it the exact same way. So I hope Johnny’s learning a similar lesson of, wow, Scott really gave me a lot of latitude to do this for 45 minutes. I’m not sure the next guy will. I might need to tighten up my game a little bit.

Bill Coletti [00:31:06]:

So I think that while, yes, he’s your trusted advisor, but if there was a critical moment and you needed to make a really fast decision, maybe you make a battlefield decision. You don’t have time for Johnny to tell you everything bad about the situation. He needs to sharpen that music up a little bit to truly serve you the way you need to be served. So there’s lessons on both sides.

Scott McCarthy [00:31:29]:

I like that, actually, and I’d say even maybe in that type of scenario, eyes of leader is also onus on me to frame him. You know what I mean? Frame the question so that he doesn’t go off on all every single tangent.

Bill Coletti [00:31:46]:

He unloaded his gunny sack on you. But there’s probably three things that he mentioned that were like, yeah, those are on my list too. Let’s focus on those and let’s problem solve, as opposed to grievance number 72 that you got at that’s not really knowing your audience. But again, you probably, like I said, that enlightened leader, but I think he might be left with the impression that everybody has your affect. And my hunch is the person before and the person after might not be the same kind of leader you are.

Scott McCarthy [00:32:19]:

Yeah, absolutely. Now, you mentioned something earlier I want to boomerang back to, and that was asking bolder questions, because it kind of ties in here. So what exactly do you mean by that? How might we go about it? Why are we not doing it in the first place? Also comes to mind.

Bill Coletti [00:32:37]:

Yeah. We are scared that people will think we’re dumb is the simplest reason we don’t ask bolder questions. So, Scott, what did you mean by that? Or Scott, I’m not sure I understand. When you were standing there talking to Johnny and I asked a clarifying, I am fearful. People are fearful that you’ll think I wasn’t paying attention. You think I’m dumb. Could you explain that to me one more time? Or why are we doing it that way? And so we’re scared that’s the number one reason people don’t ask really good questions or don’t ask questions is that they don’t want to look like they’re stupid. The thing I’ve come to realize and the thing I work with, the leaders that I spend time with, is that nine out of ten times, someone else in the meeting is thinking the exact same question but is afraid to ask it.

Bill Coletti [00:33:25]:

So why are. We selling the AR 15, someone should ask that question. Why are we doing this thing? Why are we doing that? So I think fear is one thing, is that we don’t want to get called out. Two is that we are fearful that we don’t have all the information, and so we’re asking questions. And smarter people than me know more, and I’m going to be not only dumb, but I’m going to be viewed as naive. So those are two really concrete reasons. And the other way is people don’t often we’re not taught how to ask good questions. When we ask questions, they’re masked as statements.

Bill Coletti [00:34:08]:

But so to truly ask good questions is a good question, and it lives in its own right. It’s not a recommendation wrapped in a question, which is kind of passive aggressive. It’s really questions around why or what if? Or have we thought about doing it this way? And so those types of questions, I love the practice of asking five, Whys? But, man, you got to have a lot of courage to ask the third, fourth, and fifth, Why? So why are we doing that? Why is that? Well, why is that? And so it’s a pretty confident leader to do that. So those are two reasons. One, we’re scared of looking dumb. Two, we’re scared of being naive. And then, three, we’re never really taught how to be more direct and less passive aggressive with our questions.

Scott McCarthy [00:34:57]:

I’ll be sure to tell my seven and four year olds that they’re very courageous guys, and they are, why, dad?

Bill Coletti [00:35:06]:

Why is the sky blue? Or why’d that happen. And they force you to think, oh, 100%, which isn’t that what you want from your team that support you as the leader to force you to think.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:20]:

Oh, absolutely, for sure. No, I do love my boys and their questions, though, after the third, 4th, why? It does get exhausting. But no, I love because I said so.

Bill Coletti [00:35:31]:

Damn it. That’s being a boss.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:34]:

Yeah, we lead here. We don’t boss. Where was I going with that?

Bill Coletti [00:35:40]:

Or go ask your mother. That would be the one. That’s the class that’s delegation. You’re teaching delegation at that point.

Scott McCarthy [00:35:50]:

No, actually, back on topic, I like the point that you talked about that someone else is thinking it, right? And how many times have we been in that meeting and just like, why are we doing this? Or Why do they think this is a good idea? Or Why are we not doing such and such a thing, et cetera. And you’re so right. There are so many times that I’ve sat meetings and haven’t asked a question. All of sudden, A, someone throws up their hand and asks a question within 90% of what I’m thinking about. Why didn’t I have the guts to ask that? And now I get to the point where, as you’ve said, more confident myself in that. You know what, I got no issues asking the question because at least I’m asking it. And then my supervisors know that I care, because if you don’t ask the question, you just sit there and go like, okay, whatever.

Bill Coletti [00:36:52]:


Scott McCarthy [00:36:55]:

It’S like the saying, the opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. Absolutely right. And by putting your hand up and asking those difficult questions, asking, explaining what’s on your mind shows that you actually care. And I think as leaders, when we’re on the other side, when we’re on the receiving end of that, we need to drop our ego enough to realize that it’s not a challenge to us personally, per se, but rather this individual gives a shit. Enough that they’re putting themselves out there and they’re trying to make the organization, the team, a better place.

Bill Coletti [00:37:33]:

Yeah, so true, man. There’s a lot there. And so for the question, asker it’s asking good questions that are not statements masked as a question, but asking really good questions, but it’s also understanding others. That second thing that I talked about. And so in that example of where you were asking the question and people see that you demonstrate care if you didn’t have the emotional intelligence and you kept asking some version of the same really good question to prove your point, that’s an absence of emotional intelligence. That’s when it becomes, like, insulting. The first time, it’s a cool insight, the second time it’s, okay, I got your point. The third time, it’s like, insulting.

Bill Coletti [00:38:20]:

And so that’s where that EQ part comes in as well, is to be able to read the room and understand that. And it’s one thing to be bold. It’s a fine line between bold and obnoxious.

Scott McCarthy [00:38:32]:

Oh, is it ever. Bill, my friend, this has been a fantastic conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m glad we are able to get it hit record finally because this has been a long time and amazing.

Bill Coletti [00:38:47]:

We’ve been trying to connect for a.

Scott McCarthy [00:38:49]:

It’S just you’re doing great.

Bill Coletti [00:38:50]:

Doing you’re keeping yourself busy. So that’s awesome. I’m glad it did work out.

Scott McCarthy [00:38:54]:

No, absolutely. Before we wrap up, though, I got a couple last questions for you. Awesome. First one being a question I ask all the guests here at the Peak Performance Leadership podcast. And as according to you, Bill, what makes a great.

Bill Coletti [00:39:12]:

Know? There’s lots of trite answers and cliche answers. I think great leaders are curious. I think that’s just a common, common trait of people that I enjoy being led by. They’re curious. They’re also, at the same time, curious, but they’re also crystal clear on what they stand for. So I think those are two traits that I think are really critical curiosity, but also clarity around what’s the core DNA, what are the control rods? I think that really are two key traits of great leaders.

Scott McCarthy [00:39:46]:

Awesome. Love it. And a following question of the show is how can people find you? How can they follow you? Shameless plug. Have at it.

Bill Coletti [00:39:54]:

Yeah, that’s great. We’re kind of old school. Our firm is at Kith K-I-T-H kith Co. You can hit email, you can find our BIOS, learn more about what we’re there. Pretty active on Twitter, pretty active on LinkedIn, and it’s just Bill Colletti. C-O-L-E-T-T-I-I think there’s a jazz musician in Naples, Florida named Bill Colleti. That’s not me, but other than that it’s Bill Colletti and you can find me there and then I’m pretty old school and I just love great conversations with people that are curious about growth. And so if you want to have a conversation, just reach out, love to have those conversations.

Scott McCarthy [00:40:29]:

Awesome. And for you listeners always, it’s easy. Just go to Leaddumpboss.com 226-2226. Bill, my friend, thank you for taking time at your busy schedule and talk to me, but most importantly, the audience out there.

Bill Coletti [00:40:45]:

Scott, thank you. Thank you for everything that you do. You do amazing work and you’re very generous with your thoughts and your time. So thank you for that.

Scott McCarthy [00:40:52]:

Appreciate it. And that’s a wrap for this episode, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for listening, thank you for supporting the Peak Performance Leadership podcast. But you know what you could do to truly support the podcast? And no, that’s not leaving a rating and review. It’s simply helping a friend. And that is helping a friend by sharing this episode with them. If you think this would resonate with them and help them elevate their performance level, whether that’s within themselves, their teams or their organization, so do that. Help me help a friend.

Scott McCarthy [00:41:30]:

Win win all around. And hey, you look like a great friend at the same time. So just hit that little share button on your app and then feel free to fire this episode to anyone that you feel would benefit from it. Finally, there’s always more, there’s always more lessons around being the highest performing leader that you can possibly be, whether that’s for yourself, your team, or your organized nation. So why don’t you subscribe subscribe to the show via movingforwardleadership.com subscribe. Until next time. Lead. Don’t boss.

Scott McCarthy [00:42:10]:

And thanks for coming out. Take care now. Bye.