🚀 Breathe.



“A good leader inspires people to have confidence in their leader, but a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves and that’s what we’re talking about here with the power of rule #1… it’s actually great news for the team and it’s great news for the leader, it’s the foundation of all things.”

In this episode

Do you know the two rules of leadership? 

It’s not about you & it’s only about you. 

Peter Anderton is an Executive Coach who helps directors and their teams go further and faster by creating clarity in their goals.

In this episode, Peter walks us through his two rules for leadership, and which one is most important.

Peter also explains why leaders need to inspire their teams to own projects and instill confidence within them so they can come up with solutions to problems. 

Check out the resources listed below for an opportunity to have a coffee chat with Peter!

Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the podcast with your colleagues.


Learning to influence teams


Leadership is not about you


Supermanagers vs. Everyone else


Work-life harmony


The five levels of leadership


You can’t change anybody


Crystal clear goal setting


Leadership is not easy, but it is simple



Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  00:00

 Peter, welcome to the show.

Peter Anderton  03:06

It is great to be here.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  03:07

Yeah, I’m super excited, to begin with, you. You had an extensive leadership career and you’re an NLP Master Practitioner and a chartered fellow the CIPD as well as a chartered engineer and today your director at internal alignment, I have to ask what is an NLP Master Practitioner? It sounds awesome. Anytime you have the word master in your title, I feel like that’s cool.

Peter Anderton  03:35

It’s like Six Sigma black belt isn’t it sound? So no, all it is. So the whole idea of NLP is neuro-linguistic programming and it’s just modelling what works in terms of communication and thinking. And, and there have been some really useful ideas, some really useful studies that I’ve done have come from it, that I use it on an ongoing basis in a lot of the coaching work that I do because particularly when we’re looking at change, a lot of it is driven by us subconscious thinking, you know, only a fraction of what we do is driven by our conscious thinking. So when you’re working as a coach, it’s really important to be able to deal with the subconscious stuff as well. And I find the NLP is really helpful for that.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  04:15

That’s amazing. You know, it’s interesting, like the first time I got exposed to NLP is happened to be a Tony Robbins fan. And he talks a lot about NLP. What’s involved, in Becoming a Master Practitioner? Is this like 10 years of coursework?

Peter Anderton  04:31

So it may be it’s more accessible than you might think. So there’s the first level that you come across is practitioner training, and there are all sorts of different versions of it, that take place at the practitioner training. It was an accelerated one where you had to listen to him so long ago now. I don’t know something like 70 hours of instruction before you came to the program. Oh, wow. And then but then it was a seven-day intensive something like something along those lines, then Master Practitioner, one that I did was perhaps the more traditional route where there’s a whole sequence of two-day programs that ran over. I’ve trying to think, how many do we have? It’s probably something like 24 days worth of training or something like that. So it’s not like you’ve done a degree or anything like that. But you’ve spent a considerable amount of time on it and done some project work there associated with it. But in all honesty, it was a while ago, so I forget. So, you know, if anybody’s out there quoting me on these numbers, I’m sure somebody could put me straight, but it’s a substantial amount of time, but it’s not like doing a degree.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  05:35

Yeah, that’s awesome. Yeah, no, that’s, that’s cool. It’s something that maybe I will check out at some point. But let’s talk about the early days. So you know, you coach, a lot of executives, you work with a lot of leaders. When you first started leading a team yourself, do you remember some of the early mistakes that you tended to make? 

Peter Anderton  05:57

Oh, well I can remember the two levels. So I started as I kicked off as an engineer. So as I’m a chartered engineer, as you mentioned at the outset, when I worked for it, which sadly, as a company, which exists no more, but was once a sort of a global super jet, supergiant. And I was an internal consultant working with a whole range of teams. And what I learned there, so I didn’t have any line management responsibility there. But I learned to influence teams when I had no authority over them whatsoever, to make things happen or to get things done. And that was an important part of my learning. Probably the biggest mistake I made there, and I was talking to somebody about this yesterday is that I was so desperate to get projects because if you know there’s the only thing that’s worse than too much to do is not enough to do. so desperate to get projects, I was convincing people to do projects they didn’t want to do. And actually, I’ve never forgotten that lesson. Because I wasted so much time and caused so much frustration for myself, trying to drive things that people didn’t want. I knew they would make their lives easier. I knew it would make a difference to the bottom line. But because the senior leaders weren’t that interested in them. It was a waste of time and effort. And all the time now when I’m working with senior leaders, it’s critical to make sure that whatever it is they’re driving, there is that real appetite for it within the organization. Otherwise, there’s a lot of wasted effort. But when I became a line manager, my first role was the I don’t know if you have these over in Canada, but then the first role ever had was the man who may or is the man who made many chatters. I think that’s probably a very UK brand, isn’t it? Yeah, these little ones that you haven’t heard. So they’re like, they’re like these little small cheese biscuits they have. But there you have them like like a crisp packet or a potato chip packet, I guess you guys would say over there. And I was responsible for making and making those and I the I was I had a team of about two teams of about 30 or 40 people. And I’ve never managed anybody before in my life. And it was quiet, it was quite a shift for me. And they were I had a team full of and you’d have to be in this environment to understand that. So as a team full of really hard factory women. That’s kind of how I described them. And if you go back like 2020 years ago, what used to happen in a lot of environments where if you had men swearing in front of women, they’d apologize to the women. And the environment I was in was so rough that if the women would turn around and discover I was there, they’d be apologizing to me for the way that they were talking. So it was proper rough stuff, but they were just absolutely fabulous. And the thing that I got right in the first row with many chatters was not just telling people what to do and driving the change, but engaging people in it. So that the change was where I went wrong, was when I moved on to the next line. So was I was brought in as the young hotshot it would show people how things were done. That was the initial plan to the big expectations for me. And I was put in charge of the problem line in the factory, which was the chocolate Hobnob line, which I’m guessing probably doesn’t translate to Canada either, actually, so so it’s kind of like an old biscuit with a chocolate coating on it. And the two managers before me had left both of them with nervous breakdowns. And I was young enough and are arrogant enough to think now that won’t be a problem. I’ll be absolutely fine. I can nail this sorted. And I nearly completely cracked up throughout that whole process. And the biggest mistake I made was thinking that I was the one that had to have all the answers. And I thought It all depended on me. And when I look back, you know that was for me was the ultimate failure of rule number one, which I know you’re going to talk about in a moment is I thought, it’s all about me and my ideas. It’s all about my way of doing things. It’s all about my solutions and the pressure is on this expectation. As this hotshot, who’s going to show them how things are done, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. And that was the biggest mistake possible, that I’ve ever made from a team perspective.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  10:09

Well, now we have to dig in more onto that. So, this is rule number one, because you have these two rules of leadership. And, as you mentioned, the first rule is that it’s, it’s not about you. So I’m curious, did you realize this mistake during your time on that line? So how did you turn it around? Or did it come to you much later,

Peter Anderton  10:34

much later. So, for me, that has been one of the hardest things I ever did. So at that point, in the role, I turned around to the management team and said, I can’t do this is there another role I can do? And, and whilst on one level, the engineer in me knew the facts. I’ve done all the calculations, it wasn’t a sustainable situation, they slowed the whole production line and replaced me with two people. So I felt vindicated. But the bottom line was, I had to put my hand up and say, I can’t do it. And it was probably years later, genuinely, years later, the penny finally dropped as I reflected on it, and the mistakes that had been made, so it wasn’t an immediate thing at all, wasn’t an immediate thing at all.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  11:17

Yeah. So tell us more. So this, the rule, it’s not about you. So what does that mean in practice? And like, what should people do?


It is the starting point for all things, leadership, you know, we can make the mistake that we think it’s all about our ideas, it’s all about our way of doing things. It’s all about our ego. And that’s, that’s often what happens. And that hugely gets in the way on two levels. First of all, it causes huge problems for the team. Because you get to the point that the team is like, well, there’s no point having any ideas, there’s no point trying to do anything differently because actually, all have to be done your way. And with your preferences, and they just get to the point that they stop, they stop thinking. So you end up with a scenario where you’ve just conditioned a bunch of people to wait for the next drips of wisdom to come from your mouth. And other than that, they’re not owning anything, they’re not taking a proactive approach. They’re just waiting, and you become the bottleneck for your team in that situation. But the second level, where it’s a real problem is just the massive pressure you put on yourself. When you’re in that scenario when you think when you when you don’t understand it’s not about you, you think you’ve got to have all of the answers. And the pressure that creates is there’s a lot of managers, senior managers out there under a huge amount of pressure. And much of it comes from the environment in which they find themselves. But a huge amount of it is self-generated. Because we think we’re the one that needs to have all of the answers. So in terms of how it manifests itself. There’s, you know, where do you start? Let me ask you a question, Aydin, if you reflect on managers that you’ve had in the past, okay, can you think of, say, the domain names at this stage, you could get yourself in a lot of trouble. The worst manager you’ve ever had this is somebody who sprang to mind.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  13:11

So, you know, this is interesting, this is an interesting question because I’ve had a largely entrepreneurial career where I haven’t had a lot of managers. But I’ve worked with a lot of people. So I’ll answer that question that way. 

Peter Anderton  13:26

Okay. Yeah, let’s take it from that angle. 

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  13:28

Yeah. So I mean, I think everybody’s worked in an organization where they’ve had this, like, superstar manager, or at least, you know, I’ve been fortunate to work with people like this, like, I’m talking absolute superstar, everybody will kind of want to work and learn from them. But they also because they’re so great. And they know so many things. And, you know, they’re absolute geniuses, they tend to, like really walk into meetings and suggest, you know, how things should be done. And they know everything that is wrong with whatever idea is proposed. And so, it’s, it’s a very interesting kind of scenario, because, you know, obviously, like, what an amazing, you know, asset, you know, such a person has to the organization, but it does, it can have the effect of like, making it so that people on the team don’t end up. How do I say this, even if they’re their strong performers, they might not feel smart enough or good enough to be able to perform even though they may be excellent at what they do. And should that’s a scenario that I have witnessed, and I’m curious, like, if your rule applies here, and how do you get an external party, a superstar manager to kind of, you know, understand and learn about that.

Peter Anderton  15:00

That’s where I mean, that’s what rule number one is key. And rule number two is key on that, we’ll come back to that one later, take that superstar manager because very often we find that usually people get promoted because they’re good at the job that they’re doing. Rather than because they’re brilliant with people, and they know how to lead them, and how they can make a real difference there. But take the example of the superstar, let’s call them superstar individual, they’ve got brilliant ideas, they know how stuff should be done, they tend to perhaps end up picking other people’s ideas to pieces, whether they do that, you know, inadvertently or not. And they leave people behind them feeling like they’re not very confident. And actually, I don’t get it, I’m not very good at what I’m doing. Often, managers in that situation can be micromanagers can be a real problem. And then you can start, you can start to go down the list and start to say, well, actually, you know, what, the worst people I’ve ever worked with, for example, or managers have ever had, they didn’t listen, you know, they, there’s a number of things that you could work through. So it was all about their ideas, they picked other people’s ideas to pieces, they didn’t listen, they took the praise when praise was being given. But when there was blame they are very sleepy, Sheldon, it went somewhere else, you could start to write a bit of a list. And often when I’m working with a group of people, we can create our list quickly. Let’s just flip it around for a moment and think about some of the best you’ve ever worked with. So you’re recognizing that Yeah, okay. In a context, these are super individuals. What about the people that everybody wants to work with? And for where their confidence grows as a result of working with them? Are there any characteristics that come to mind for you, about these managers? Who would be well, Supermanagers? What sort of characteristics would you pick up?

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  16:42

I think one of the traits, if we’re to look at it from this lens is just, you know, this concept of like, feeling important. And feeling that you are successful in the team as in like, meaning that you feel that you are contributing, and you’re an important part of the team. If you left that team like the team would be worse off. But I mean, in a like, you feel like you’re desired and valued member of the team, and you are being successful in your role.


That’s a brilliant example. So that’s sort of the output of what the brilliant manager does. The individuals on the team, feel valued. They feel like they’re contributing, they feel like they’re there for a reason. And they’ve got meaningful work to do. What other kinds of things that they’re doing that enable the people in their team to feel that way? Is it stuff again, like, well, actually, they’re listening to them? They’re asking for their input. They’re going running with their ideas. Does that make sense? Those kinds of things come through?

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  17:44

Yeah, yeah. 100%? I think those are all Yeah, yeah, those are really important things. Because yeah, if you just walk in, and it’s a, hey, you know, this is literally, I will write out a 20 step process that you are going to follow. You know, and if you do that, you’re going to get the desired outcome. That doesn’t feel very inspiring.


Yeah, absolutely. So if you think sort of mentally about these two columns that we’ve created, like, the worst manager, it’s all about their ideas that pick other people’s ideas to pieces, they don’t listen, and it leaves people actually lacking in confidence, not feeling that they can do it, or make stuff happen without the leader, that the best ones actually, you know that people want to work for them, or they want to work with them, because they listen to them, they’ll ask for advice, they get their input, they trust people to get on with their work. And as a result, they end up feeling valued and part of the team. And a really important part of the process does meaningful work. If you start to work down those two lists and the impact that it has on the individual. What the question you first have to ask for them for the worst manager. The first question you would ask here is where is the focus of their attention? The worst manager? Is it on the people around them? Is it on the team? Or is it on themselves? Where is the worst manager focused?

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  19:02

Yeah, this is probably a spectrum, right? Like, I think everybody would have scenarios where they might operate in a certain way or not. But I think like, you know, a lot of times it might not be this like ham focused on me necessarily, but it’s like, I think it might come from a place of good intention, where it’s like, no, I’m focused on the work in the sense of like, my goal is to get to the desired outcome. And so if I’m, like participating in it, and I want the goals to be achieved, in, in this personal view, like maybe the intent is actually no, I’m just operating in the way that I believe that is going to lead us in the shortest amount of time to get to the right outcome. So I think like a lot of times it comes from a good place but but but I do think that like, you know, it’s a more short-sighted way of looking at things.

Peter Anderton  20:01

I think that’s a really powerful point, Aydin because this is never about. And I think when we were chatting earlier, this is not about our managers are terrible human beings, that’s just nonsense. You know, whatever’s happening, whether you’re a good manager or a bad manager, usually it’s coming from a positive intent. Now, I completely get that and agree with that. What I would say is though, the managers that are the poor managers, not the Supermanagers, are the ones who typically micromanage, they don’t listen, it’s about their ideas, they create an environment where their team lose confidence, the focus of those managers is on themselves. Whereas if you shift to the other spectrum, and you say, Well, what about the good managers who, listen, they seek advice, they trust people to get on and do stuff. And they’ll work with the team and collaborate with the team and make sure that they feel a valued part of their team. And they’re doing meaningful work, the focus of their attention is on the team, not on themselves. And you can very quickly start to write a list of the good and the bad if you like, you recognize that the ultimate distinction between the two is rule number one, the all of this stuff, it doesn’t matter what you write in the list of the poor managers if anybody’s listening, and watching, this just goes away and says, Well, I’m going to write this list. The worst bosses I’ve ever had isn’t stuff, okay? It’s quite cathartic to get out, you can feel a lot better when you’ve done it, do the same for the best manager. Okay, and you will find you look down that list, and you’ll realize, Oh, my goodness, the difference is rule number one. Rule number one is the connecting factor that distinguishes between the worst bosses anybody’s ever had and the best every single time. And you can relate this to all sorts of aspects, you can relate this to teachers, you can relate this to colleagues, you can probably relate this to clients, as an entrepreneur, there’s a whole range of aspects you can bring on this. But the worst ones, they’re focused on themselves. They don’t get rule number one, the best ones? They’re focused on those around them. And they do get rule number one. Does that make sense?

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  22:01

That makes a lot of sense. And you know, what’s interesting is, and I like that, it’s called rule number one. And I’ve heard of different frameworks, not in the context of management and leadership, I was once exposed to this investing philosophy, where it’s called rule number one. And then Rule number two is don’t forget rule number one, which is, I wanted to say that, you know, with rule number one, for I guess, you know, it’s not about you if we just focus on that. And rule number two was, don’t forget about rule number one, I think people would be in a really good place. Like, I think like that is you know, that’s a big jump forward. And I think that in itself would be positive. But there’s an actual Rule number two, though.

Peter Anderton  22:45

There is yeah. It is almost a disappointment isn’t there? But because you could say, I mean, there’s a, one of the versions I’ve heard of that is rule number one, don’t take yourself too seriously. Rule number two, always remember rule number one. But actually, you know, don’t take yourself too seriously fits in perfectly with rule number one, as I put it forwards as well. But yes, there is a rule number two, and I’m going to link back to something you said earlier on about, you could have these brilliant people who they’ve got all the answers, they know how to do things. They’re full of amazing ideas. But all that happens is the people that work for them end up almost losing confidence because it’s always about their ideas and their approach. There’s a video on YouTube, that’s an advert for PlayStation two. Now, I’m going to suggest is possibly one of the most powerful leadership video clips, you could ever see what it has to do with PlayStation two, I have no idea. It’s only about 40 seconds long worth checking as homework afterwards. And the way that way the whole dialogue goes. And I’ve no idea, by the way, whether this is biologically correct, I did want to try this experiment where my wife wouldn’t let me try it at home. So so I’ve been forbidden, but the dialogue goes that training flees, requires a glass jar with a lid, and the fleas are placed inside the jar and lid and the lid is placed on the jar on the left undisturbed for three days. And then after three days, when you take the lid off the jar, the fleas will not jump out of the jar. They will never jump higher than the lit and their offspring will automatically follow their example. And I just think there’s a really powerful metaphor. Now when you think about leadership, I said I can’t make the connection with PlayStation two. But when you think about leadership, in this scenario, leaders that they make a change. They try and do something different. And then they stand back and they look at the fleas and they say Well, nothing’s changed. They’re not doing anything different. And the problem in this situation is we blame the fleas because they’ve not jumped out of the job. In our reality and of course in this metaphor, who’s the lead in this metaphor when you think about leaders and their teams? Yeah, I

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  24:53

guess it’s the if you are the if you think of yourself as really the top of The hierarchy and you are the highest. And you are kind of like that. I guess in this case, like plastic ceiling, for the organization will surprise surprise, nobody’s going to jump higher.

Peter Anderton  25:13

Absolutely. And you become and it’s not, it’s not even to do with career progression. It’s just to do with, you know, it’s always about your approach and your ideas and your way of thinking, you become the bottleneck for your entire organization. Everybody reports into you become the bottleneck for the whole thing. So yeah, in the analogy, the manager is the lid. And as I say, we might change our approach, we might say, I often talk about this when I’m doing leadership development with people. So you might change your approach. And then you might say, but they’re not responding. Well, they’re just doing what they’ve been conditioned to do, sometimes by other people, because you’ve all inherited people, conditioned by others, but at the end of the day, sometimes by us, and we have to recognize that if we’ve had people working in our team for some time, and we can say, Oh, well, they were conditioned by the previous manager, you can only hold on to that excuse for so long. Because in reality, what happens in time, your team becomes a reflection of you. And we have to ask ourselves as, as managers, are we training and developing people who own what they’re doing, you know, future leaders, they don’t have to be the next chief executive, but people who own what they’re doing and whatever happens if stuff goes wrong there, they own it, they don’t just pass it up the chain saying not my problem, or, at the other end of the spectrum, we have to ask ourselves, are we training fleets. And there are too many managers out there who don’t get rule number one, who are just training fleets. There’s a lovely quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, she said that a good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader. But a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves. And that’s what we’re talking about here with the power of rule number one. And like I said, it’s great news for the team. And it’s great news for the leader, and it’s the foundation of all things. But you were asking me about Rule number two… 

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  27:04

I just have to pause there and say what a great quote. So that was from Eleanor Roosevelt? 

Peter Anderton  27:12

Yeah. when I said about the fleas piece, what we have to recognize is any manager has to recognize that in time, you know, his or her team, become a reflection of them. That’s key. And when we think about the environment we create when we think about the people around us, the second principle we need to get our heads around is the fact that we cannot change anybody else, it just can’t be done. You can’t make somebody else change, or we start to think about, well, what are my options, so I can use the old-fashioned carrot and stick, I can try and nudge them in different whatever it is. But in reality, if you want somebody to fundamentally change what they’re doing, or to give a greater level of commitment, you can’t make that happen. And when you are the kind of manager and you’re kind of person where people work with you only because they have to, because they want to get paid at the end of the day, then I mean, so, as an entrepreneur, you’ve not experienced this directly yourself. But think about people that are in your team or clients that you’ve worked with where you can see this happening elsewhere in the organization when somebody works for somebody only because they have to, how much do they give

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  28:30

The bare minimum required?

Peter Anderton  28:32

That’s what happens every time now. Now, we could argue to say, well, actually, I do this because I believe in the importance of the role, and my integrity. And that’s also true, but generally speaking, you know, if you spent a long period working for a manager, and the only reason you work for them is that it’s the job, and there’s no other reason, then you end up ultimately giving the bare minimum. That’s what it tends to boil down to.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  28:56

[AD BREAK BEGINS] Hey there. Just a quick note, before we move on to the next part, if you’re listening to this podcast, you’re probably already doing one on one meetings. But here’s the thing, we all know that one on one meetings are the most powerful, but at the same time, the most misunderstood concept and practice and management. That’s why we’ve spent over a year compiling the best information, the best expert advice into this beautifully designed 90 Plus page ebook. Now don’t worry, it’s not a single-spaced font, you know, lots of tax. There’s a lot of pictures. It’s nice, easily consumable information. We spent so much time building it. And the great news is that it’s completely free. So head on over to fellow dot app slash blog to download the Definitive Guide on one on ones. It’s there for you. We hope you enjoy it, and let us know what you think. And with that said, let’s go back to the interview. [AD BREAK ENDS].  I think you’re right. And I think like a lot of the You’re like, historically, I mean, work was was like this, right, like, if you, you know, rewind, you know, before the days of knowledge work where, you know, before knowledge work was prevalent. I mean, there was, you know, work that you had to do you did the work in the location, and then you left and you did your hours, and then you left. And I feel like it’s, it’s very interesting because like when you experience work that is not like that, you know, some of the some of these terms like work-life balance, where, where it sounds like, you just need to balance one thing versus another, they start to become a little bit less again, in my view, it’s more like work-life, Harmony versus work-life balance if you can experience. Yeah, if you can experience like that type of work, where, again, you’re not doing it because it’s a job, and you’re just doing the bare minimum to get a paycheck and then, and then leave. And by the way, there’s nothing wrong with that. I think that is certainly a way of operating. But I do think like as leaders, it is something that we can do that maybe we can make it less like that for others.

Peter Anderton  31:09

Yeah, absolutely. And I love the way you put that work-life harmony is something I’m after still there. Because I get quite frustrated when people talk about well, it’s almost like this balance between work or life. And work is a huge part of life. And I think harmony, harmony is the key phrase there. And yeah, this whole idea of the environment that we can create, I think John Maxwell’s nailed this, he talks about five levels of leadership. And he says level one leadership is where people work for you because they have to. And at that point, all you get is the minimum level two, leadership is where they work for you because they like you. And, and it’s not, you know, I’m not saying we all have to be the best buddies of the people in our team. But you know, we’ve all worked for a boss we like we’ve all worked for a boss we don’t like and there’s a difference you give more when there’s a connection. And level three leadership, where you where the people working for you give even more is where they follow you because you deliver, you’ve made a difference to the organization, you follow through on your commitments, things are better because you’re there, level four leadership is where they follow you because you’ve helped them grow. Which links beautifully back to rule number one, as well, you’ve, if you think back to throughout your life teachers, other entrepreneurs, you know, friends, relatives, whatever it is, people that you’ve worked with, there will be people that you can think of, that had a real impact on you and helped you grow. And if they picked up the phone now to say, oh, I need some help you drop everything, and you run through a brick wall for them because they helped you become the person you are today. So already, you’re getting an even deeper level of commitment. But level five leadership he talks about is where people follow you because of who you are, and what you represent. And that’s where people will work for you with blood, sweat and tears, and it’s not manipulation, you know, they’re choosing to do this, because they believe in what you believe in, and they believe in who you are. And what that does is it brings us, you know, of course, moving from one level to the next, you can’t just press a button and say, well, eight and it’s about time you move from level two to level three, please I like a bit more commitment from you. You can’t do that to them. It’s their choice to give more than the bare minimum. And that’s rule number one. It’s not about you, it’s about them. But as we work our way through these different levels, when you come to level five, you realize that well the only thing that I can change or you tell me, what’s the only thing that I can change to influence their choice to follow me.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  33:41

I mean, the only thing that’s under your full control is what you do. 

Peter Anderton  33:45

Yeah, that’s fundamental. And that’s what brings us face to face with Rule number two, because if rule number one says it’s not about you, it’s not about your ego, your ideas or your solutions or your way of doing things. Rule number two looks at this whole thing from a completely different perspective and says, you know, ultimately people will follow you because of who you are and what you represent. You can’t change anybody else’s behaviour, you can only change your own. So what that recognizes if I want a different response from other people, I’ve got to work on myself. This is why rule number two says it’s only about you. And of course, you know the to sit in a really powerful juxtaposition are two very different statements. But when we realize it’s only about us, only the only thing we can do is change our behaviour to get a different response from others. I’ll give you another quote. Here’s a favourite one of minuses Nelson Mandela, quote, I could not change others until I changed myself. That’s the essence of rule number two. If we stop waiting for everybody around us to get their act together and start cleaning up our act, that’s what leadership is all about. If we stopped waiting for, you know, our other half to get their act together and start in ourselves, though, that’s what leadership is all about these principles. They’re about who you are. So they cut across leadership into life, you could talk about these as tools of life if you like, it’s not about you. And it’s only about you. But when we bring these two things together, it creates such a powerful basis for how we lead. Everything else with it falls into place. And I hear a lot of people talking about this model of leadership and that model, and this, this skill set and this tool, and they’re all valid, but they’re all meaningless without anything to sit inside. And I would argue that all of this stuff, so So yeah, I know. So fellow is an app, isn’t it, that sort of available for managers and their teams, if you think of whatever model or skill or theory that we might be applying any scenario, that’s all software. That’s fundamentally what it is. But the two rules of leadership there, your operating system, and everything, once you’ve got the operating system, right, then you can load the software. But if you haven’t got the operating system, you’re wasting your time, and everything is just pointless. And, you can come across managers that are trying to be super. And they’re trying to apply this technique and that technique and this tool and this idea, but they just haven’t got rule number one. And rule number two, and nothing shifts, if you haven’t got those two fundamental rules.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  36:31

Yeah, I think that that’s super powerful. And I 100% agree that there is it’s almost like you have to start with these belief systems. And if you can start with that, you know, you can implement tactics and that’s fine. But if you don’t have the fundamental right beliefs from the get-go, then I mean, tactics aren’t gonna help. Maybe give you some short-term gains, but you’re always following a playbook. But if you just come from a place of just understanding some of the simple truths, I’m, I am a big believer in simple truth, I don’t think you need to know a lot of things, I think you need to know, some very few important things. And if you know those, then then you’ll be alright. This is super powerful. I think this is something that like I think people can get a lot from, I did want to ask you about one more thing, which is this concept of goal setting. And we are shifting gears a little bit. But I wanted to ask is like this is a thing that, you know, we as leaders should help with both for ourselves, obviously, rule number two, and of course, maybe eight others. Rule number one. So what are your thoughts on goal setting, and do you know why people may or may not get it right.

Peter Anderton  37:53

And it’s funny, isn’t it because if we think back to goals that many of us have set over the years and goals, the organization should set, the classic, New Year’s resolutions, isn’t it. So most of which are a dim and distant memory by the end of January, then there is a fundamental problem with goal setting as a standard practice, if you like. And the one thing we’re missing is clarity. Because too often we head off with ideas that we think we’ve got the idea, we think we know what it is, and we never really get it off the starting blocks. And one of the things that I believe passionately, is that clarity is the most powerful thing that we can have when we’re setting off. And, if you’ve got real clarity, then you’re already halfway there to achieving your goal. Where most people fall is they don’t get real clarity. Now, I ran a webinar last month called clarity is power. And if anybody wants to get in touch, we can sort out details for recording if anybody wants to see that. But we go through some fundamental questions because clarity is all about asking the right questions. Now there’s kind of three stages that you go through. The first one is to define it. And, and the questions that we look at when you’re defining it. They’re not that complicated, but too often they get skipped, you know, first one is why, why are we doing it? Why should anybody care? You know, the second one is, well, well, who, you know, who’s it for? And what’s in it for them? And the third question that goes with it. So what exactly do we want? What is our end product? What will we have in our hands at the end of it? And then the fourth question that goes with this is how we know we’ve succeeded. And that question is the one that’s perhaps missed the most is how will we know we’ve arrived when we’ve got to the endpoint, we’ve got to the destination because you’ve got to be really, really crystal clear on this and the goals that get those things right. Start to shift, but there’s, there are several questions, I would say there’s probably nine key questions, so I’ll dive through them super fast. The next question I would dive into is, where are you now compared to where you want to be? Too often, when we’re setting goals, and we’re trying to create organizational alignment, we paint this wonderful picture of where we’re going. And we think everybody should be super excited about that. And often they are, but stuff still doesn’t happen. Because we haven’t got everybody on the same page as to where we are now. It’s a bit like sat-nav, you know, I can put in my destination in sat nav. But if I can’t pick up a GPS signal and find out where I am, now, it’s not helping me can’t work out a route. So too often, when it comes to creating shifting goals, we focus on where we want to be, but we don’t get to grips and get everybody aligned and on the same page, as to where we are now. Now, when we’ve done those five key questions, there are some checks that we can run, there isn’t time for us to go into now in terms of what we’ve got. But what we then need to shift to, is to start thinking about, okay, so that the, within this stage of understanding where we are now, we, I kind of call this the debug stage, you know, get everyone on the same page and identify what’s holding you back. Because usually, whatever you’ve got in the current reality, there’s a reason you’ve got it as a positive byproduct. And until you get to grips with what, you know what the people you need to change, or you will have to give up to get what you want. When finding another way to deal with that, then it’s like driving with the brakes off, you know, you kind of want it you know, where you want to get to, but you still got the brakes on? And of course with that, and that question seven is all about understanding in advance, what are the barriers that are getting in the way and how you could work beyond that. But the last two, and I’m conscious and rattling through fast because we’re struggling for time, aren’t we? So these? the eighth question I would ask is what’s already working well, because too often people kind of rip up and start again, and think, oh, it’s all rubbish needs to start all over. And usually, what you want already exists, it might not be consistent, it might be in pockets, it might be in a different part of the organization, but get to grips with what’s already working well, because you will go far faster and far further, if you build on that, rather than just trying to start from scratch every time and constantly fixate on what you think is broken. And that’s a really important mindset to this. And that comes nicely in with rule number one. And then the last one is all about how well you know you’re making progress on a day-to-day basis? Yeah, I can set the endpoint, I can set the goal. I’ve got really clear success criteria. I’ve done all the other stuff, I’ve got really good questions in mind. But actually, what matters is what am I doing day by day by day. And it’s really about understanding the right measures to drive daily, not stuff that I can measure monthly, not stuff, I can measure quarterly. But the stuff I can effectively measure daily or weekly, allows me and the team to know, we’re doing the right stuff, we’re on this, we’re all over it. It’s happening. But the catches and we were talking about this before we started the catch with this is you can’t do that, with 1520 different goals. You know, we operate in a whirlwind where stuff going round and round and round, just keeping the shop open is a killer at types. And we need to recognize it if we’re going to dry stuff and make stuff happen. We need to focus right down on a small number of significant changes, nail those, and then move on to the next thing. Now a really common failure mode that I’m working with the senior leaders were these there, they’ve got 15 priorities. And when 15 Things are a priority, nothing is a priority. And nothing is what happens. So just just just some very quick whistlestop tour through you could spend a lot of time on they’re working through it and but they’re powerful questions worth getting to grips with but possibly my favourite one is that simple one about how will you know you’re making progress on a day to day week by week basis. And if you’ve nailed that, and linked it to all the other stuff, the progress just comes. That’s awesome.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  44:15

Those are great questions. And so these are on your website?

Peter Anderton  44:19

No, they’re not on my website. I’ve got the recording for the webinar, if you just, my email is dead easy to remember it’s Peter at Peter Anderton dot com. And somebody will pick that up and can send you the details of it. 

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  44:35

Okay so now you’re gonna get a lot of emails! Oh, well, maybe not. We will put it in the show notes but put it as like use words as opposed to that sign and try to make the spam bots not access to too easily. But you know, you and I were chatting and really enjoy this conversation and you even offer it that you might talk to a few, like, if there are some people in the audience and they want to do a coffee chat, you’d be open to getting some requests for those that you don’t have it like, you make some room open in your calendar from time to time to have some random coffee, coffee chats with Supermanagers out there.

Peter Anderton  45:21

Yeah, I’ve had some fascinating conversations, and I love doing it. So I make eight slots available a month. So they’re 45 minutes slots. And, you know, at some point, I’ve got a Calendly link for that which we could probably put in the meeting notes.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  45:35

Okay, I’m warning, you’re going to get a lot! Maybe we should throttle it a little bit. But, but no, this is awesome. I mean, I think like, I think anyone listening to this conversation will be tempted to send you a note.

Peter Anderton  45:51

No, that’d be great. I mean, okay. So what I would say about this is that in terms of the context in which to contact me would be if you’re a senior leader in an organization, that would be where it makes the most sense to have a virtual coffee.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  46:05

Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense in the show. You know, Peter, we’ve talked about so many things that we’ve served with talking about NLP, which I’m always fascinated with. And of course, the two rules. It’s, it’s, it’s not about you, and it’s only about you. And we talked about goal setting, and the nine questions that you can ask, and this has been super insightful. One of the questions that we like to ask all the guests on this show is for all the mentioned leaders constantly looking to get better at their craft. Are there any final tips, tricks or words of wisdom that you would leave them with?

Peter Anderton  46:42

Oh, you know, there are so many, I am going to limit myself to three if that’s okay. So the first one, the first one really to get your head around is the fact that leadership is not easy. But it is simple. And, you know, just strip away all the noise, and bring everything back to those two rules. That’s the first thing I would say. The second thing I would say we touched on this with the goal-setting piece. Spend more time focusing on what’s right, rather than what’s wrong and build it and extend it out. Too often, we think that it’s about fixing the wrong things, I recognize that’s a part of the role. You know, we all need to be having the tough conversations, that’s a really important part of being a super manager, but spend more time building what’s right, be the second thing I would say. And then the third thing I would say is to give yourself a break. Because there is no such thing as the perfect leader, they don’t exist. You everybody’s gonna make mistakes, everybody at some point is going to do something that’s going to cause a problem for somebody else that’s going to hurt somebody else in the organization. It happens for all of us, even the very, very best managers that will happen. And that’s where I would I kind of go down to say, look, there is no such thing as the perfect leader. But the next best thing is the leader who gets and applies. Rule number one. And rule number two,

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  48:14

Peter, this has been incredible. Thank you so much for doing this.

Peter Anderton  48:17

My pleasure. I’ve loved it. Thank you for inviting me to the ad.

Aydin Mirzaee (Fellow.app)  48:20

And that’s it for today. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of the Super manager’s podcast. You can find the show notes and transcript at WWW dot fellow dot app slash Supermanagers. If you like the content, be sure to rate review and subscribe so you can get notified when we post the next episode. And please tell your friends and fellow managers about it. It’d be awesome if you could help us spread the word about the show. See you next time.

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