Uncovering your brilliance with Leslie Fiorenzo

Leslie joins us to talk about the frustrations around poor communication, ineffective conflict management, and how to position oneself to work from strengths and passion.  Each of us has our own "superpower" to bring to our workplace.  Often these "superpowers" go unnoticed and unrecognized.  Leslie shares her mission to help female leaders uncover their brilliance, identify their strengths, and create a roadmap for change in their professional and personal lives.

Where to find Leslie:

Trancription below (may contain typos):

[00:00:00] Leslie: [00:00:00] And I really want to help people maximize their productivity and their focus and work in their area of strength, which I like to call their superpower because when we're working in our super power, it's amazing. And I know from personal experience, when I try to step out of that and do something that is not really a good fit for me, I get myself in trouble. 

Matt: [00:00:24] This week on the podcast, we're joined by Leslie . Leslie owns a coaching practice called coach with Leslie. She's, a dynamic speaker and trainer with over 30 years of experience, helping employers solve their trickiest people problems to delivers a message that focuses on helping groups, build trust, reduce conflict, and enhance workplace relationships.

I'm thrilled that today, that we're talking about her new program called uncover your brilliance, which is all about you and stepping into a place where you can find your super power. We're so glad to have you, Leslie.

Leslie, welcome it is good [00:01:00] to see you today. And I'm really excited to spend some time with you and talk through a little bit about who you are. And, so this is the managing the way podcast we are, you're with way point in, we are here today with.

 Leslie Fiorenzo I always try to say that very clearly. Leslie was a, has been a friend of mine for quite some time now. And, I guess going on three or four years, I think, through the chamber of commerce and, support in Jackson, Michigan, and her parents moved her here when she was about four years old.

And now she lives in Wyoming, Michigan with her husband, known as Butch and, their adult daughter lives three miles away, which is really cool. They get to walk every day, which 

Leslie: [00:01:41] I think is awesome. Three 

Matt: [00:01:44] Oh three to okay. Three miles away. That's right. Three, three miles away. Three tenths of a mile away.

Oh, like right down the road. 

Leslie: [00:01:50] Yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic. 

Matt: [00:01:53] and I know that you started your career, as a payroll clerk, this is fun, a fun fact. it looks like [00:02:00] your original job was located where the Amway grand Plaza is now, correct? 

Leslie: [00:02:04] Yes. Obviously they tore down the building to build the towers.

Matt: [00:02:09] Yeah, super cool. And then that kind of led you into HR and some different things and, moves just in that direction. So that's super cool. And I can't believe that. you've lived here a long time and it's really a, it's a great city. So tell me a little bit, I like to know just a little bit share with, with us a little bit about you and what got you where you are today and your career went into HR after that.

It looks like. And yeah. Share with me a little bit about your career path and how you got where you are now. 

Leslie: [00:02:39] Sure. So this will date me, but when I first, my first real job was as a payroll clerk for, F Randabel company, 10 texts corporation, and I typed. The payroll checks on a manual typewriter and to use the books, to look up the tax codes for payroll deductions.

And it was [00:03:00] well before computer and automated payroll. So it took me, most of the week to get probably a hundred checks prepared and tightened out for distribution. yeah. it's a whole different world working nowadays, especially like this was stuff of the future and the Jetsons, 

Matt: [00:03:18] That's what the Jetsons. Absolutely. 

Leslie: [00:03:20] Absolutely. Yeah. 

Matt: [00:03:23] Very cool. And so how long have you been doing what you're doing? 

Leslie: [00:03:25] I launched my own coaching practice in March. two weeks before the shutdown order came up box you're 

Matt: [00:03:34] like, that was the best decision of my life. 

Leslie: [00:03:36] It was the best decision of my life because it was a decision that had been planned.

to move forward and that they came and I just pulled the trigger. but I'd done a lot of work, for a long time, very similar work. it's just me right now. Okay. And working with leaders, Help them really be their best. So the name of my particular coaching program [00:04:00] is called uncover your brilliant.

And I really want to help people maximize their productivity and their focus and work in their area of strength, which I like to call their superpower because when we're working in our super power, it's amazing. And I know from personal experience, when I try to step out of that and do something that is not really a good fit for me, I get myself in trouble.

And I can tell you a couple of stories if you want, but I think most people can relate to that. If they've done any kind of professional development, any kind of assessment, I've worked with a number of different assessment tools over the years, U S use a couple in my practice to help people if they don't know what those are to hone in on them.

sure. Really maximize that because to me, that's what it's all about. If I can spend most of my day, 80% of my day. Working in my area of genius, I can serve so many other [00:05:00] people. This is true of anybody. And really move the ball forward as opposed to getting stuck, being anxious, being uncertain, telling myself all kinds of stories that are not true.

Yeah. 

Matt: [00:05:14] I think a lot of people can get caught up in that. so I'm curious about two things, really. one. I know your background as HR and you were there a long time. How do you go from this HR people development, people help side to your coaching practice or, you know what you're doing now?

First question. So I'll let you answer that one. And then I have a secondary question. 

Leslie: [00:05:37] it's really what I've always done, Matt. I've just done it for my employers in working with people. because if anybody listening to this podcast is in HR, that the call comes or the knock on the door comes and here's my issue.

Here's my problem. Help me solve it. And sometimes people just want to complain. Sometimes they don't want a solution. but more [00:06:00] often than not, people just are not sure what a good next step is. And I felt like I've always been really skilled at helping them uncover that next step and move forward.

Matt: [00:06:12] Fantastic. great answer. And I love the fact that you can't always solve it, right? You can't always fix the things that come into your door, which sort of leads to my second piece. And that is, so you talked a little bit about helping people uncover their super power. So let's uncover that a little bit.

Let's talk about what that might look like in a situation, for someone who doesn't have a clue. 

Leslie: [00:06:34] I like to think of it as four different. Elements if you will, or if you, I'm going to try to draw a picture in your mind. So if you think of, a vertical line and that's a pace line, and at the top of that pace is fast and the bottom is slow and we all fall somewhere along that continuum.

And it doesn't mean it's right or wrong and it doesn't mean it's better or best. We just have a preference. [00:07:00] Then you intersect that with a horizontal line that represents our focus. And some people really like to focus on the work or what I call the task, the job, and others like to focus on the people that are involved in the job.

So you end up with four quadrants. So we've got directing, connecting, supporting, and analyzing. So people who have the super power of directing are really focused on moving things forward, making decisions, rallying the troops, if you will. And getting projects accomplished. they want to know high level details and to get decisions made and make things happen.

Connectors on the other hand are again, faster paced, but they're more focused on the people's side. And so they're more interested in who I'm working with and how can we help each other? How can we, have fun? [00:08:00] but B they're enthusiastic they're cheerleaders. They can be accused. this is my super power, of not focusing on the detail.

And it's not that we can't, it's just hard. And 

Matt: [00:08:14] I think I'm a connector. I think that's me, 

 Leslie: [00:08:17] supporters on the other hand are people focused, but they're a little bit slower pace. And focus. Our supporters are really good listeners and they're able to help somebody sort things out. And they're very supportive of other people and really concerned that people are heard and that people have a voice.

And so their supporters and then analyzers, and I have calm Matt to appreciate the analyzers in my life. I know I need catalyzers as much as we are different because. Slower pace, more focused on the task. Really want to dig down into those details and sometimes have their challenges analysis [00:09:00] paralysis, because they read too much information to make a decision, but they are so powerful when it comes to that quality piece and making sure that everything is absolutely right.

before we move forward. So as you can see, if we have a team, all of those elements are important, but when it's on my own, I want to be really clear about what I do well, what my genius is, super power, strength, whatever you want to call it. And then surround myself with people who can come alongside me and help me be the best I can be.

Matt: [00:09:38] That's a really well put the surrounding part, the making sure that you're touching into everything that's out there, all of the pieces, all four quadrants to make sure that you're building a team together. 

Leslie: [00:09:47] Yes. And when we ignore one, that's where we get in trouble. So I know that for my, when I try to do things on my own or when I ignore it, I just struggle and really get myself in [00:10:00] trouble.

Matt: [00:10:00] I consider that I can see that for sure. Do would you say there's a lot of companies out there, a lot of maybe teams that are being managed that are going through the day-to-day steps of trying to do self-improvement and people development and all of those things that don't know that what pieces are missing, they don't know that they're missing a certain superpower.

Leslie: [00:10:20] Yeah. I think that's true. or they discount it because they be the leader. Knows where they're strong or feels that they're right. I think that's the other trap we get into is, and when I said there's no better, best, there's no right or wrong. I truly believe that because I need other people that don't have my strengths to help me be the best I can be, but help my team help my organization.

So if a leader ignores that they can really get themselves in trouble. And that's why people leave. When they feel ignored when they feel discounted, when they don't feel like they have [00:11:00] a voice, we lose our best talent. 

Matt: [00:11:04] Yeah. And a lot of companies are doing that right now. There are a lot of companies are losing good people, even in the market we're in now, which is crazy.

So the question secondary piece to this, which I was going to ask earlier is when in fact someone realizes they need your help. They're like, this is the help I need. How do they start? Where do they begin? 

Leslie: [00:11:24] So they can begin in a couple of places on my website. There's a link to my calendar.

And I always say, let's just schedule a conversation because it's going to be hard for me to know if I'm the right fit for you. And if you're the right fit for me, without having a conversation, Daniel and text messages are great tools, but they're terrible for conversation. And they're terrible for decisions.

Matt: [00:11:50] Yes. Yes. And they're terrible for large capital letters. so how do I know that I need, how do I know that I need your help? 

Leslie: [00:11:58] one way might [00:12:00] be on a personal level. I'll talk about as an individual leader, when I feel really frustrated or stuck. I get up in the morning and I don't get up right away.

I hit the snooze two or three times because I'm really dreading the day ahead because it's so fraught with drama and turmoil. And I just, I feel like I'm spinning my wheels. I want to, and from a leader perspective of a team, one is when people are leaving. Turnover is a big side or when I'm not hitting my, making my numbers when their metrics are being met, or if I've had to have a lot of coaching conversations about performance when people are just not performing.

And I know this environment is so challenging right now because we're trying to manage people like this, where we used to manage people face to face, and it's easy to, for a couple of things to happen. It's easy for people to get ignored. And if I feel ignored, I'm not going to do my best [00:13:00] work. If I don't feel hurt, I'm not going to be my best work.

And then it's easy to just discount and get into your own zone. And I'm really busy with my stuff. Why do I need to look at my people's stuff? if you lead a team of people, you've got to be there. You've got to be there on the front lines with them and they have to know you have their back. They have got to trust you.

And that's really when there's no trust things 

Matt: [00:13:28] fall apart. It's a huge thing. And I think people are realizing more and more that the trust factor had to be somewhat strong going into this, a working situation where we are, we're all remote now. And you really have to either build that back up if you didn't have it, or try to discover how to redo it because it's.

So difficult to connect when you're not in the same space. And, I think a lot of managers are discovering that. So that's really good information to know that if these things are happening, you [00:14:00] have these three pieces, which is you're dreading the day you're losing people or the team's not connected.

And there's no trust. It's really big to understand that maybe you need to go outside and get a source, like you to come in and help. Help them discover a few things that maybe they didn't know before. Yeah. I love that. I guess the next piece that we do here is really find out a story I want, I'd love to hear a story that you have that catapulted you or pushed you, or drove you to be in this space to want to solve some of these problems and these challenges that managers are facing.

Leslie: [00:14:34] I have a heart for that, what I call mid-level manager. And not that senior people can't use what I do because I believe they can. And not that entry-level or people without, with the responsibility of people I can work, but that mid-level manager gets suites. So they get squeezed from the leaders at the top.

They get squeezed from the people that they're leading. And sometimes they [00:15:00] just don't have a place to turn. how could I tell my boss because they're my boss and I'm certainly not going to tell my subordinate because number one, that really crosses a line and number two, I'm just a burden them with more than they need.

They don't need to be worried about me. So I want to be the space or the place. or the person that individual can use as a sounding board for their own professional development, as well as identify how we can help the team, because I have a really strong team, then I can do the things that I, that my organization needs me to do and really maximize our success.

both as a group, the group I supervise, but then the overall organization. And so can you imagine everybody, it's that whole analogy of everybody rowing in the same direction or we're all pulling forward, whatever visualization visual you want to have. [00:16:00] but it's all getting everybody in alignment.

Matt: [00:16:04] did you have a mid-level manager that kind of threw you into that, or it was a bad experience or were you a mid-level manager that struggled to make those 

Leslie: [00:16:11] things happen? Manager was probably me because I lucky, luckily, man, I worked, early in my career. I had a great boss. I'm actually, I've had several, but the first boss I had, in an HR role was really a superior and just super guy.

And then, worked for a woman. And she was great too. And then I had a terrible experience, actually got fired and escorted out of the building. You, Leslie got fired for a long 

Matt: [00:16:43] time. You're one of the nicest people I've ever 

Leslie: [00:16:45] met. so a couple of things, it was a matter of fit in one case, but the other case, it was a matter of, someone who was not willing or interested.

To listen to other people and, felt they knew it [00:17:00] all. And that, yeah, that didn't work well for me, obviously 

Matt: [00:17:03] I can imagine that. I can imagine that it's interesting to look at it from the perspective of someone who's been moved out the door to say, I know that I wasn't the right fit.

And on top of that, the manager wasn't a great fit for me either. So I think a lot of times we look at those situations and we say, I know my super power and I did a great job. I did everything I could do. My manager just didn't work with me as opposed to understanding it's it really is both sides to that coin because the relationship side of trust, is about building relationship.

And if you can't get there, then you're never going to have that connection anyway, 

Leslie: [00:17:39] and frankly, they're just some people you're just not meant to be a fit with. And the sooner you can realize that. So anybody that's in the interview process at this point in time are looking at other opportunities.

I think that's a key is really saying, can we work well together? Even though we might be opposite. So I mentioned, [00:18:00] I know I need people who are analyzers in my life because in my last role as a team leader, my, office manager. Was an amazing analyzer. And at first we were on a disconnect because of that.

And I realized quickly that, we've got to pull this together because she can be a key piece to my success. And she was, but utilizing each other's strengths and helping her understand that my style and what we both needed out of the relationship. And I know that not everybody's willing to do that.

And unfortunately, there are people who are, narcissists. and that is, a diagnosable term. I worked with enough mental health professionals in my career to know that as a diagnosis and yeah, unless they're willing to get professional help you better cut your losses and move on sooner rather than 

Matt: [00:18:50] later.

Yes, absolutely. I think it's a good story to recognize the people that you do have that you have in the past that are good and bad, right? So there's healthy people for you, [00:19:00] and there are unhealthy people for you. Or you as a worker, I have a question. You brought something up and I would just love to ask your professional opinion on this, in this environment right now, where people are looking for candidates and candidates are applying for positions.

How do you get around not being able to interview, to really sit back and go, gosh, I'd love to just show you my personality or show you something else. Besides a piece of paper, how do you help support 

Leslie: [00:19:23] those folks? I think there's two times in life when we need to advocate. And one was when we're in here in a hospital.

I won't tell that story, but the other time is when we're looking for a job. So using social media platforms specifically, LinkedIn can be one way to connect with seek to who do I know that might know that person and how can I get to them to recognize me? How can I get a conversation? How can I get a recommendation?

We know from especially business perspective, because we're both business owners, the likelihood of [00:20:00] someone doing say, Hey, you need to work with Matt or you need to work with Leslie that referral, the chances of closing that business are greater. So like when I'm applying for a job, if someone can say, Hey, I know you're looking for someone who can do this kind of work.

Have you thought about contacting? Because I know their experience. I can recommend them. And when we can have somebody personally recommend us, then we are there that much farther ahead. And right now today with social media, I use LinkedIn for business all the time. I also use Facebook. Those are my two platforms, but there's Twitter, there's Instagram, there's all kinds of ways we can connect with other people and ask for their help and, get an introduction.

Matt: [00:20:49] Good. I love it. I love it. I want to make sure that kind, as we wrap this up, you've made some really amazing points and I love the, just the aspect of what you're doing with your practice. tell me a [00:21:00] little bit more. I want to make sure that people know how to get ahold of you if they want to.

So any links, anything like that you want to share? 

Leslie: [00:21:06] So my website is coach with leslie.com. You can find me on LinkedIn. You can find me on Facebook. So they can reach out to me any of those ways. If they want to schedule a conversation there, my calendar is on my website. They want to take a look at a couple of things.

They can do that. I've got a couple of programs going on right now that people can enroll in and take advantage of some discounts. So on those are, there are, you can find in one of my events on Eventbrite, uncover your brilliance, a roadmap for making 20, 21 your best year ever. And then I've got, through inspired Academy, the three-piece and mastering the difficult conversation, and there's a 10% off through the end.

Fantastic. 

Matt: [00:21:54] You have a lot going on and I love this best year 2021 thing. go ahead and share a little bit more about that. [00:22:00] what's the idea behind that? 

Leslie: [00:22:01] it's really about creating a roadmap for success, because I feel like too many people again, if we're waking up every day, hitting that snooze dreading the day, just going through the motions, not sure.

I know 20, 20 through everybody in a tailspin, but I believe as I've talked to people that the people who had a solid plan, maybe everything that they planned on didn't come into fruition. But they had a plan and they could pivot and adjust the people who really suffered were the people who just didn't have any clue about what they wanted, where they were gone.

They was just showing up and going through life. And so my program is really about helping people create that roadmap for success. But once it's created, you have to take action. I think it was will Rogers. Who said, even though you're on the right track, you'll get run over. If you just sit there. So we can't just sit there.

We can't wish we can't hope we have to [00:23:00] take action. So I'm about is that you said earlier maximizing your productivity as well as your focus. So we're going to focus on what you want and then we're going to take action to help you get there. Okay. 

Matt: [00:23:12] And when is that? When is that conference coming up? 

Leslie: [00:23:13] that starts, it's going to be online.

It's it starts January 7th. And they can find the link to, they can search it that bright. If they want to put that at all. It'll also be put on my website so people can take advantage of it there. And if they enroll between now and December 15th, they get a free session with me and they can save, Some money on the enrollment.

That's fantastic. 

Matt: [00:23:35] Yeah. We'll definitely get that out there and make sure that it's on the podcast. I'm really appreciate your time today and I'm so grateful to you and you are such a good friend and I want to know too, do you have a wrap up like a little tidbit piece that sort of ties this thing in a nice bow and makes everybody realize that, you've got a great program and a great, 

Leslie: [00:23:53] coaching.

thanks man. I appreciate that. But the one thing that comes to mind is. We are sometimes our [00:24:00] own worst enemy. And if we can just stop and step back. So one of the things I always encouraged people to do is when you're feeling that anxious or where you're feeling stuck, or you're really uncertain, is to take a step back and do some breathing exercises and just focusing on your breath for a few minutes.

And there's a number of ways. There's a number of tools. if people want to go out on YouTube and. Google diaphragmatic breathing. That's a thing they could do, but simply breathing in the color blue and out the color red blue is as a calming effect and red can represent stress. So breathing in calm, breathing out stress, set a timer for 60 seconds or two minutes.

Really just changing your state. And help move you forward. And so you do that two or three times a day, or you do it when you're [00:25:00] feeling anxious and upset or when you're no, you're not taking action and you need to, I love 

Matt: [00:25:05] it. Thank you so much. So great to see ya. And, again, Leslie for your Enzo and she owns her company is called coaching with Leslie and the conference coming up in January 

Leslie: [00:25:17] is called.

I can cover your brilliance 

Matt: [00:25:21] and cover your brilliance. Is there next one coming up and, looking forward to seeing what that's about and hopefully it getting signed up as well. So thank you for your time. 

Leslie: [00:25:29] Thank you. 

Teams also need to get away and have time to think together and reflect together. Be able to spend just an hour to be curious about each other. -Denise Van Eck, Owner of Thought Design

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