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Dr. Henry Cloud on Leadership

Posted by Ronda Conger on
Dr. Henry Cloud

Dr. Henry Cloud.

Let me introduce a man with so much energy and love, Dr. Henry Cloud. He is an acclaimed leadership expert, clinical psychologist, and leadership consultant. He is a New York Times bestselling author; having written 45 books that have sold over 20 million copies. He also has an extensive executive coaching background. I recently heard him speak and loved learning from him. Read more about Dr. Cloud here.

Every human has a gift!

Dr. Cloud says, “every human has a gift to give”-- a gift to give to your company, community, family, and friends. Every human has a gift. I love that! 

That's why you're here. You are here to share your gift, not wish for someone else’s. You have amazing gifts. Do you know that?

Whenever I meet people or watch people, I often wonder if they realize how amazing they are. Or how beautiful, strong, smart, gifted, or talented they are. I wonder sometimes, do they see what I see? I hope so. 

Today, I want you to walk around and say, “every human has a gift.”  You have your gifts and when you meet and talk with people, you're gonna look at them a little bit differently today and try to find what their gift is. What makes them spectacular?

What happens is that when you interact with them, they feel energy coming from you, which makes them feel even better. It makes them feel even more amazing.

Creating or allowing.

When I heard Dr. Cloud speak it was at a leadership conference. So let's stay in that lane a little bit. I want you to think about a couple of things.

As a leader, you are either creating it or allowing it. Creating it by setting out the boundaries, the how-tos, the key areas, all those things. Or allowing it. If someone has bad behavior, it means you're allowing it. 

Think about that. What am I creating? What am I allowing? 

Is it moving the needle?

Dr. Cloud asked, “What do you need to focus on?” He answered saying, “we need to attend to what is relevant right now. We need to stop all things that are not relevant, that don’t move the needle.”

 Listen to that again. We need to attend to what is relevant and needed right here, right now. 

I know that we, as humans, get stuck in how we do things and what we're doing. When things change, you have to attend to what is relevant and needed right now. 

You have to stay agile and nimble. You have to adjust and be in the current moment. Are you in this moment, attending to all things that are relevant and needed to the current environment?

Not to the environment that was six months ago, a year ago, or two years ago. Stop all that's not relevant! If it’s not making you better, not making progress or it’s not needed, please stop it!  

Who needs 15 minutes? 

Dr. Cloud talks quite a bit about leading your team. He asked, “Who on your team needs an injection to get them back on track?”  I love this idea…do a 15-minute meeting with anyone on your team that might need it. Go to coffee, lunch, or whatever you need to help bring back anyone on your team. 

Do this for anyone in your life that you know has gone off the rails and needs to come back. You need to ask them how they are, what they need help with, and what's going on in their life. When you are a leader and you're around people, you must care. You must be observant.

At times, you're going to need to give them an injection. An injection of love, positivity, and can-do spirit. Let them know they're gonna be okay, they are gonna make it.

Look around and see who needs a 15-minute meeting from you. Maybe it's one of your kids, your husband, or your wife. There's nothing better than attention and love. 

When you do a 15-minute meeting with someone, it means you care. It means you want to  help. Who needs an injection on your team or in your life? 

When I do these blogs, I'm always trying to bring both things together. I'm trying to make sure that we understand that we have a business life but we also have family and friends. Everything that I've ever attended always relates back to both. 

Checklist anyone?

Dr. Cloud referenced a book called, “The Checklist Manifesto,” by Atul Gawande. It’s one of the best books I've ever read. Watch a short video summary here. He talks about how making checklists helps leaders operate effectively. We are huge fans of checklists here at CBH. We live and die by them.


He shared this great message about how checklists made a huge impact when hospitals started using them. When surgeons started using checklists before and during surgery, infection rates dropped significantly except for those surgeons who refused to use them. 

I use a checklist when I travel, making sure that I have everything. I don't want to miss anything and I want to be prepared. In the office, we use a checklist for every event, meeting, and grand opening.

Is there an area in your life where having a checklist would help you improve yourself? To make your team better? If you're constantly forgetting, dropping, or missing things, in my opinion, it's because you don't have a checklist in place.

What moves the needle?

What this comes down to is that your job as a leader is to move the needle. In order to move the needle, you need to have certain things in place. One of those tips and tricks would be a checklist.

Another tip would be holding individual 15-minute meetings.

Additionally, Dr. Cloud tells you that to help bring focus to your team, you should hold a 15-minute weekly or daily team meeting. Here are the three things he said you should talk about.

Share one tip on the current market, one big win, and a challenge. 

These meetings will keep your team rallied around the same thing. It’s important to have a connection and a meeting philosophy that says, I want us all talking, thinking, and focused on the same thing in order to progress.

Successful leaders do this. 

Your job as a leader is to understand what moves the needle and get rid of everything else. Does each team member know why they exist in your company, what their gift is and how they're moving the needle? That is powerful. 

Why do some leaders succeed and others don't? Dr. Cloud said it’s leaders who have focused attention who succeed. When you are distracted, you pull away and lose focus. And so does your team.

When you are focused on a certain area, department, or team member, it just gets amazing. And what happens is, is that everything else just kind of floats away.

When I look at my leadership style it includes a lot of dashboards. I get weekly updates from my team and my different departments. I do a lot of 15 minutes and it's because I'm trying to keep the focus on my team. 

Audit your leadership style and ask, “do I have enough focused attention?”  Remember it can't just be once. It needs to be every week, every month, and every year. Successful leaders have focused attention. 

Emotional climate. 

Dr. Cloud also talked about emotional climate. Our brains stop working when we yell. We distract people by making a big deal out of things that aren't important. People don't perform without a positive emotional climate. 

The better they feel, the better they perform. I'm gonna say it again. The better they feel, the better they perform.

Do a juju audit! Check yourself. What's the emotional climate? I'm super sensitive to that and I have to work on it. Sometimes I'm charging so hard and going so fast that I realize maybe I'm a little intense.


You are the steward! 

Sit down with your team and list out all the things that are being done that make you better. Things that move the needle, make money and make progress. 

Then list out all the things that don't and make a determination. Get rid of things that aren’t working. Keep things that are working. 

You are the steward over the thinking patterns of your team. If you're negative, angry, anxious, mean, or fearful, they are too.

They're feeding off of you. Truly, you are the steward over the thinking patterns of your team. You can't control them in their lives, but what you can control is when they're in your presence working around you. 

What is your energy? What is your attitude? What are your thinking patterns? Those are transferable. 

Negative thinking is powerless. It gives me hives when negative thinking happens around me because it makes us powerless. It’s a victim mentality.

You are the steward of positive thinking in your team, company, marriage, home, with your family, friends, and kids. You have the right to positive thinking. Remember that.

Optimist vs pessimist.

MetLife insurance did this huge sales agent study. They wanted to find out what would happen when they compared someone that's not very smart but is an optimist to someone that was really smart but is a pessimist. Read more about the study here.  

They found the people that technically weren't that smart, but were optimists, outsold the smart pessimist by 53%. Kicked them to the curb, and showed them how it was done. 

No one is interested in hearing what you have to say when you're a pessimist. You have to be very careful with what kind of thinking you hold and share with your whole team all day.

We need other monkey’s in the cage!

I'm a firm believer in teams. I have amazing people that hang with me every single day. My husband and I are coming up on our 28th wedding anniversary. We’ve been together for 31 years. 

Tara and Holly have been with me for 23 years. There are so many others that have been with me for many years. I'm so incredibly blessed. I firmly believe in a tribe! Other monkeys in the cage.

Dr. Cloud shared a story about a monkey and a cage. It was a scientific experiment. They put a monkey in the cage with red lights flashing, really loud yelling, and fog horns. There was a lot of stress and pressure. All this craziness was coming at this monkey in the cage.

They were testing his blood pressure and his heart rate. He was completely melting down, losing it, screaming, and yelling. He was freaking out. He couldn’t handle it. 

So the scientists opened the cage and put another monkey in the cage. Then they did the exact same thing again.

Do you know what happened? In the first monkey, his blood pressure and heart rate drop down to normal. This happens because we're meant to be in a community. We're not meant to be alone. We're here to do this journey with other people. Think about that. 

Leadership is great but you have to have people with you. You have to have other monkeys in the cage with you. 

I loved this story! I would not be able to do the things I do without the amazing humans that are in my life. Shout out to all of my people. To all of you reading my blog. I'm so thankful for all of you.

You're with me. You help me. I love that. There are all of you out there that are reading this on the same journey to learn and grow. To be better and to make a dent in this universe. Thanks for being with me. Henry Cloud, you did not disappoint. I loved every second.

Remember, I love you. Be great! Be great! Be great!




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