Leadership mindset shifts with Jodi Flynn: Ditching “busy,” protecting your focus, and leading your team

November 27, 2023

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Welcome! We're all about realistic time management designed for professional working women here in this little pocket of the internet. I'm glad you're here.

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I’m thrilled to have Jodi Flynn on the podcast. Jodi is the CEO and Founder of Women Taking the Lead, a leadership development company that works with individuals, allies, and organizations, to close the gender parity gap by attracting, developing and successfully promoting more women into senior levels of leadership. She helps organizations realize these benefits through coaching, consulting, leadership development programs and keynotes. Featured in Entrepreneur and Forbes magazines Jodi is the host of the nationally recognized Women Taking the Lead podcast, and an Amazon bestselling author with her book, Accomplished: How to Go from Dreaming to Doing.

Jodi is a Co-Founder of The Maine Women’s Conference and has spoken at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the Women in Banking Conference, Emerging Leaders Conference, and Podcast Movement.

Take the leadership inventory Jodi discusses on the podcast here: https://womentakingthelead.com/leadership-abilities-inventory/

You can find out more about Jodi at WomenTakingTheLead.com

You can also connect with Jodi on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jodiflynn

Full Transcript

Episode 31. Leadership Mindset Shifts with Jodi Flynn:

Ditching “Busy,” Protecting Your Focus, and Leading Your Team

[Upbeat Intro Music]

Kelly Nolan: Welcome to The Bright Method Podcast where we’ll discuss practical time management strategies designed for the professional working woman. I’m Kelly Nolan, a former patent litigator who now works with women to set up The Bright Method in their lives. The Bright Method is a realistic time management system that helps you manage it all, personally and professionally. Let’s get you falling asleep proud of what you got done today and calm about what’s on tap tomorrow. All right, let’s dig in!


Kelly Nolan: Hey, hey! Well, I am so excited you’re here because today we’re going to talk to Jodi Flynn. Now, I have been listening to Jodi’s podcast Women Taking The Lead for a really long time now, and I absolutely love it. She has an incredible mix of mindset strategies and practical strategies to help women who have recently gotten a promotion learn how to stabilize and take on that role with a whole lot of confidence. So before we dive into the conversation, let me tell you a little bit about Jodi.

Jodi Flynn is the CEO and founder of Women Taking The Lead, a leadership development company that works with individuals, allies, and organizations to close the gender parity gap by attracting, developing, and successfully promoting more women into senior levels of leadership. She helps organizations realize these benefits through coaching, consulting, leadership development programs, and keynotes. Featured in Entrepreneur and Forbes magazine, Jodi is the host of the nationally recognized Women Taking The Lead podcast and an Amazon best-selling author with her book Accomplished: How to Go From Dreaming to Doing. Jodi is a cofounder of The Maine Women’s Conference and has spoken at the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the Women in Banking Conference, Emerging Leaders Conference and Podcast Movement. You can find out more about Jodi at www.womentakingthelead.com. I’ll also put a lot of links of other ways you can reach out to her and follow her work in the show notes.

All right, let’s turn to the fun stuff!


Kelly Nolan: Awesome, Jodi. Well, I am so excited to have you here today. I’ve read your intro to everybody, but I would love for you to introduce yourself, so people know who you are.

Jodi Flynn: Well, first, Kelly, thank you for inviting me on The Bright Method Podcast! I’m thrilled to be here. I’ve been listening to your podcast, so I’m like, gosh, this woman has gotten such gold. So I’m honored to be here.

Kelly Nolan: Well, tell us a bit about yourself.

About Jodi – 2:20

Jodi Flynn: Okay! So I am currently living in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Although, I just came back from a conference where a common   question people were asking is, “Where are you coming from?” or “Where are you in the world?” And this is always a hard question for me to answer because I was born and raised in western Massachusetts, lived in Maine for 18 years. Now I’m in Virginia Beach but my fiancé and I are moving back to Massachusetts in 2025. So I am all over the map.

Kelly Nolan: Wow. Wow, that is exciting!

Jodi Flynn: [Laughs] I know.

Kelly Nolan: Awesome and tell us about the women that you work with.

Jodi Flynn: I work with women who are in leadership, and there’s a range. There are some people who are listening to my podcast and they’re very new to leadership, so they’re listening to just get a sense of, “What should I be paying attention to, focus on, get validation around,” some of the things that they’re getting challenged by in their new role, but I typically work with women who are in mid-level leadership, senior leadership, going into executive levels of leadership, and I help women to make that transition. With every new level of leadership, there are some things you need to let go of. There are some new things you need to take on, and if there’s nobody there to guide you through this process, and I think most people aren’t aware that there are, not only just doing things that need to change but mindset shifts that need to happen in order for you to be able to operate well at a higher level of leadership.

And so, what will typically happen is either someone from within the company, whether they’re in HR, talent development, or they’re a coach coordinator, will reach out to me to say, “We have this amazing woman. We love her. She’s going places. But she’s struggling in her role, and she could use some additional help,” or women individually reach out to me to say, “Hey, I need some development. My company’s not providing this, so could I hire you to do this work?”

Kelly Nolan: I love that support that you provide because I’ve said this before on this podcast, but coming from the legal world, you get kind of transitioned up into a senior associate partner role, and no one teaches anyone how to manage. So it’s a little bit horrifying, some of the management practices that happen. More so to your point, the feeling unsteady as a new manager, not knowing what are these skills because they are such different skills of what got you so far in your role, and then you become a leader and a manager, it’s different. The skills that you need, as you’re saying, the mindset shifts you need are very different, but no one teaches us this stuff.

Jodi Flynn: Yes, and it’s even more insidious than that, Kelly. Because often times the things that had to be successful as an individual contributor, right, and you may have been an individual contributor for a while, are the exact same things that will be detrimental to you as a leader, and as human beings, it’s really hard to make that shift of there’s this way of doing things that used to make me really successful.

Kelly Nolan: Yep.

Jodi Flynn: So if you’re not aware that these things are hurting you, why would you give them up? Why would you stop doing them? Your brain goes, “No! Keep doing this! Eventually it’ll work out, remember? It worked out for us in the past. It got you this far.” And so, sometimes we need that outside person to point out, “Hey, the way you’re approaching things or how you’re going about things is actually holding you back as a leader, and you want to shift it.” The crux of it is the mindset shift because once we make the mindset shift, it’s easier to transition but to just go from like, “Do, do, do, do this,” to “Don’t do that anymore,” that’s hard. That is hard.

Kelly Nolan: Absolutely, so along those lines, I know that you work with women on the busy-ness feeling and being too busy, and I think, obviously, what I work on in my business is so complementary to what you do because I know you focus on the mindset side of things. I think they’re both critical. They’re both critical.

Jodi Flynn: Yes.

Mindset Shifts to Get Women Out of the Busy-ness Trap – 6:42

Kelly Nolan: And so, along those lines, if you don’t mind explaining in this context what do you mean by busy and what are some strategies and mindset shifts that women can work on making to help them get out of that busy-ness trap?

Jodi Flynn: Great question. Okay, so starting from the work that you do, right, you’re helping women who’ve gotten overwhelmed to implement ways of approaching work and organizing their time and their projects and the help that they’re getting so that they feel more calm. They get it out of their head, onto the digital calendar, and then they feel a little more free. What happens is if somebody has certain mindsets, they will take that free time and they will add things to it. It’s more, more, more, more, and there’s an operating system I’ve been working with over the last year. It’s The Positive Intelligence Operating System, and within that operating system, they describe ten different saboteurs that keep us from peak performance in wellness, collectively. Oftentimes we think, “I can either be a peak performer or I can be well,” right? And this is a way of having both.

And so, we identify what are your primary saboteurs that are getting in your way, keeping you from peak performance and wellness at the same time, and what I noticed was there were particular saboteurs that caused women to stay busy even though they were implementing the best time management strategies. And those were typically the high achiever: “It’s the next thing and the next thing. I can’t be pleased with my past success because that was the past. Nor can I celebrate my current success because I’m onto the next thing. I’m more focused on what I haven’t done than on what I have done.”

And then there is a restless saboteur where it’s like the moment you’re focused on one thing, five other things jump in your head, and this saboteur tells you you need to be doing it all at once, right now, it needs to get done. It’s like FOMO falls into this, and like, “Oh, my god, I’m focusing on quality time with my family when I should be at work, and at work I’m focusing on the quality time I haven’t been having with my family.” So it’s like you can’t ever be satisfied with what you’re doing.

And then another big one is the pleaser. This is one of the saboteurs that causes us to say yes even though we don’t want to because we’re like, “Well, I want to be likable. I want people to know that I’m supporting them. I want them to know I’m a team player and make people happy and support them. And so, I say yes to things even though I know I don’t have time, and then I resent everything and everybody.”

So one of the first things we want to identify is which saboteurs play into your operating system more than the others because even if you have a locked down time management system, your saboteurs will cause you to break those rules or the guidelines that will help you have that bright life.

Kelly Nolan: Yeah.

Jodi Flynn: Being the bright woman, having the bright life, you will break those rules. And so, I would say somebody who has done your program and they’re like, “I loved all the support you gave me, but I’m finding I’m still busy,” probably one of these saboteurs is running the show.

Kelly Nolan: Ah, this is blowing my mind. No one can see me, but my eyes are like saucers because it really makes sense. I see people even when they fully understand their capacity and what something will do to their workload, sometimes they just can’t help themselves on taking more on, but the problem is is it’s because often people are really excited about the opportunities, you know?

Jodi Flynn: Yeah.

Kelly Nolan: It’s like, “I just have to take this on.”

Jodi Flynn: Yeah.

Kelly Nolan: Maybe not the people pleaser, but what you were talking about with the high achiever and onto the next thing, and truly finding joy in all of these things individually, but what happens is, as I’m sure you see, cumulatively, they’re then overworked, overcommitted, not able to enjoy all these things they wanted to enjoy. That’s such a problem. So that’s amazing.

So once people identify kind of like, “Okay, I resonate with one or two or all of those things,” then where do you go from there?

Identifying Your Top Three Saboteurs – 11:29

Jodi Flynn: Well, initially, we want to just educate. If I’m working with a woman or a group of women (because typically I take women through the Positive Intelligence Program in groups), we want to identify which saboteurs are your top three, right? There’s one that’s primary, and it’s the judge. I won’t spend a lot of time on this because we all know this character. The judge judges ourselves. It judges other people. It judges situations and events, right? It’s the inner critic. It’s where imposter syndrome comes from. It’s whatever you are, they are. It’s not good enough, and it needs to get fixed right away. So it’s, first, just educating, being aware. “What am I thinking when my saboteur’s at play? How does that make me feel, and what are some of the things that I do?”

Another thing we’re looking to do, and it’s counterintuitive to that busy feeling, is slow down, take breaks, right?

Kelly Nolan: Yeah.

Jodi Flynn: And intentionally putting breaks throughout your day because, one, you need them, right? Just for your mind to be able to function well, there is the principle of diminishing returns that the more tired you get, the less productive you are, so that’s important, but also being intentional about these breaks to slow down and typically I teach my clients how to get back in their body.

Kelly Nolan: Yeah!

Jodi Flynn: And that intercepts the saboteurs as well. So if for whatever reason the saboteur took over and we weren’t paying attention, and all of a sudden we’re in that rhythm of just go, go, go, go, go, getting back in your body will then, we call it, we stop the saboteur high jacking, right?

Kelly Nolan: Yeah.

Jodi Flynn: You intercept it, and then you get calm again. I joke with my clients, you get back into your right mind. If you have a saboteur high jacking, you are not in your right mind. You have been taken over. This helps you get back into your right mind, and you can think about, “Okay, how do I want to do the next couple or few hours so that I’m making decisions that are in alignment with what I know or what Kelly taught me, so that I’m not breaking those rules.”

And so, that’s just — oh, go ahead, Kelly. I can see you have a question.

Kelly Nolan: No, I just find it fascinating, and I see it play out in my own life, of what you were saying of also putting distance and a break between getting the option or opportunity or even your own thought of what do you want to do, getting distance between that and when you make a decision about it.

Jodi Flynn: Mm-hmm.

Kelly Nolan: It’s what you’re saying, but it makes so much sense to me that I’ve even seen it play out in my own life of if I can just slow roll my decisions a little bit more. I give my people-pleaser side of me time to chill out, and I can finesse my no in the way that works for my people pleaser but it’s still saying no, and that works for me, and I can see that of when you just want to pounce on an opportunity, just making yourself slow down to see if it really fits in your life is so valuable. I think so often, as you’re saying, we’re like go, go, go, and we think it’ll be more beneficial to just make the decision and move on, but all the points you’re saying make so much sense to me about slowing down and coming back to yourself, reminding yourself who you are and not the saboteur and them having you make that decision.

Jodi Flynn: Yes, and you will feel the difference between a day where the saboteur has been running the show and the days when you have constantly intercepted the saboteur because it’s automatic. It will happen, you just have to build the muscle to catch it when it’s happening, slow it down. And the difference between the days when you end the day either feeling a little bit dizzy or like, “What did I do today? What did I even accomplish today?” you weren’t in your right mind. Those are the days you’re not in your right mind, as opposed to the days when you end it and you’re like, “[Sigh] Okay, that was good. I got a lot done,” and now you’re ready to transition to your home life or whatever’s next, the third place maybe that you go to in your life.

Kelly Nolan: Yeah.

Jodi Flynn: And lastly, the third thing that typically I focus on around busy and mindset shifts is just asking a couple of questions, you know, to help your mind take on looking at things a little bit different. So one of them is in terms of being busy, what if instead of being helpful, because I can even think with the pleaser saboteur, what often will happen is we don’t want people to feel as busy and overwhelmed as we feel, so we will hold back giving them additional projects because we’re like, “Ugh, I remember what it was like to do that,” you know? Especially if you’ve transitioned to a new role but you’re still holding on work that you used to do, you haven’t transitioned it to the new person yet that it might be coming from a good place, right, of, “I remember being in that role. It was overwhelming. It was a lot of work. They’re not ready yet,” or “I’ll just hold onto this for a little bit longer.” If that’s you or you’ve done this before, I want you to consider maybe you’re the bottleneck, right? Maybe you’re the reason why work isn’t getting done, right, or isn’t getting done on time or isn’t getting done as well as it could be getting done. Also, are you holding that person back from realizing what they’re capable of? And also utilizing their resources.

One of the things in your system that I love so much, Kelly, is that each woman identified, “What are my resources? Where can I get help?” But if we don’t need help, we’re never gonna explore that. We’ll never truly know how many resources we have in our life. Sometimes we need to have a little bit of struggle. In this scenario, I’m imagining a leader who’s been promoted to mid-level or senior level and now they have people who are reporting up to them, but they’re still doing some of their work. Part of your role is to develop these people as future leaders who will either take over your job or go onto bigger things other places, whether it’s a different team, division, or another company or career change. Part of your role as their leader is to help them develop their leadership skills.

Kelly Nolan: Right.

Jodi Flynn: And if you’re preventing them from feeling stretched or a little bit of struggle and challenge, then you’re actually holding them back. So one of the big mindset shifts I have leaders take on, regardless of what level of leadership they’re stepping into, is you’re no longer the doer, right? The higher up you go, the more true this is. You are now focusing more on strategic work, and you are developing future leaders. That is your job. You are not the doer. You are not the fixer. You do not save the day anymore. You let your team do that and let them be capable of that, and then you can step into your best work because you don’t realize it, but you are capable of so much more than you’ve realized as well, and you’re holding yourself back from that when you’re holding onto all of the widget and do-do-do work.

Kelly Nolan: I can see what you’re saying about this mindset shift because you’re right. I’ve seen myself being a manager who’s  like, “Well, it’s too late to ask that person to do this,” or “It’s too much work, and I know they have a lot on their plate, so I’m just gonna do it myself,” and continue to do that. But if I shift to, “No, my job is to train them in a role, and one day they’re gonna go work for other people and part of my job is ensuring they have the skills and the mindset and the resources and know how to ask for resources to flourish in that perspective,” that’s a huge mindset shift on what I view as my role. That is so valuable. [Laughs]

Jodi Flynn: Right? Right, and it unlocks so much. Oftentimes when people talk about frustrations with their own manager, it’s typically like I’m not getting developed enough or they’re not giving me their time so I can learn from them, ask them questions, or get support, that sort of thing. And so, being open that your team actually wants to grow and develop and learn, right, they might hit some snags, and they might be developing some skills that, obviously, you have more skills than they do in regard to that, but this is your opportunity to teach them, and giving over some of that work is a great way to utilize that as a leadership development opportunity.

Kelly Nolan: I love it. We’re talking a lot right now about letting the workflow where it should, kind of downstream. I’d love to also talk about upstream. When you get a lot of projects thrown your way that are meant to go to your team but let’s say you know your team is overwhelmed. I’ve heard you talk on your podcast, Women Taking The Lead, that part of solid leadership is saying no.

Jodi Flynn: Yeah. 

Saying No as a Leader – 21:19

Kelly Nolan: What I find so interesting is I think a lot of us fear saying no because we think it’ll make us look weak, where I’ve heard you talk about how saying no when done well exhibits leadership and actually saying yes to everything makes you look like you’re not ready for leadership. I’d love to hear more on that because I think this is an area that you have so much more experience than I do in helping clients also really absorb that and live it out. I’d love to hear what you say on that point.

Jodi Flynn: Yes, saying yes to too many things will create frustration all around. It will be frustrating for you, right, because you’ll feel like you’re drowning and you can never get ahead and you never have time to focus on the most important things, and it will frustrate other people as well because you will not be able to hit deadlines or you’ll hit deadlines, but the work isn’t exactly what it could be, that sort of thing.

So somebody who says yes to too many things, we’ve experienced this person before outside of ourselves, where it’s just somebody who’s twirling, and they come across as scattered and unreliable, right? So if you’re saying yes to too many things, you are unconsciously sending a message that you are not ready for a promotion or a key project or anything like that. So you want to protect your energy, your sanity, and protect your best work by being very selective about what you say yes to. There are obviously nice ways to say yes.

I know, Kelly, in your system you even have a way to identify exactly what is going on and how much bandwidth I have, so you have the facts of whether or not you even have the bandwidth to say yes. So I would say start there so you’re very clear on what are the goals, what are my values, that sort of thing. All of those things, and even what am I working on right now can help you to give what I call the soft no. We’ve all heard this before where somebody says, “Hey, can you join this project or this initiative that we have going on? You’d be perfect for it.” And you say, “Oh my gosh. I’m so grateful that you thought of me. Yes, that initiative sounds amazing. I have to say no for now,” or “It’s a not yet because I have these other initiatives I’ve got to get across the finish line. But when that’s freed up, let’s talk again,” or “Keep asking,” right?

What can hold us back sometimes from saying no is the identity. I don’t want to be known as the person who’s constantly saying no or coming across like I’m not up for new opportunities. So you guard that by being very clear about why you’re saying no. If you think about it in your own organization’s senior leadership, they say no quite a bit more often than you even realize, but you’re probably very aware of when they’re saying, “That’s not where we’re putting our attention this year. That’s not where our resources are going this year.” People in senior leadership say no all the time, and they have to, and it’s to protect what is most important and what is the priority. So by saying no, guarding your time so that you’re doing your best time, what you’re actually saying is, “I have the ability to make the tough call about whether or not something is a go.”

Kelly Nolan: Yep.

Jodi Flynn: I’m telling you, your senior leaders will recognize this. Even if you have to say no to them, if you give a very clear answer on why you’re saying no, they will absorb that and take that in because they’ll be like, “Hmm, that’s something we need to remember for another day. Perhaps when we’re in those talent pipeline meetings, let’s consider this.”

Kelly Nolan: Yeah, and you’ve mentioned a couple times understanding your goals and your values to help you evaluate whether to not to say yes or no to a project. I’m curious if you don’t mind speaking to that because I hear from clients, especially they’re new leaders, and there’s a level of autonomy that they might not be used to having of, like, “I’m making these calls now,” and not maybe knowing what their parameters are and of how much leeway do they have to make the calls of what their team takes on and not. I’m just curious how you help clients filter what to say yes and what to say no to.

Filtering What to Say Yes and No To – 26:00

Jodi Flynn: Mm-hmm. It typically comes back to values and goals, and they really should be tied together, right? When done well, our goals are in alignment with what we value. So while a hyper achiever can be a saboteur, being high achiever is a strength, right? Typically, our saboteurs are our strengths that have gone into overdrive.

Kelly Nolan: Yep.

Jodi Flynn: So I have the hyper achiever as a saboteur, right? I can go from, “Yes, there are big things I want to accomplish, and I want to change the world, but my hyper achiever will be dissatisfied and just go, go, go, go, go.” So coming back, we’ve reigned in our saboteurs. We’re now sitting in our strengths, which also represent our values. I have high achievement as something that is important to me. So I not only want to help women, I want to help organizations, and I want to help society. So that’s important to me.

So when I’m setting goals, I want to set a goal that is going to be impactful and high value, right? I also very much value relationships, right? It’s not to say other people don’t, right? But we want to be very clear on what gives us the most charge, you know? That when we’re honoring this value, it makes us feel strong, empowered, and like we’re making a difference.

So for me, there’s no goal that doesn’t also involve bringing up people behind me too, right? If I’m doing well, I want to help other people do well. So my goals will always be aligned with that so that when I have to make a hard decision, right — somebody I adore and admire comes to me, and they’re like, “I want to start a nonprofit, and I would love for you to be on the board,” I would, one, be so honored that they thought of me, but I’m gonna take a hard look at what is the mission, what is the goal, what’s the impact, and will this line up with my top five values, that sort of thing.

Kelly Nolan: Yeah.

Jodi Flynn: So that I can say, if I need to, no and feel good about it, right? I can support in other ways. Maybe I can make a donation. Maybe I know somebody else in my network who would be fantastic for that board, but for me it’s a no, right? And so, then, I can say yes to the things that will get me closer to achieving my own goals and honor my values so that at the end of the day, even though I might have said no ten times today and yes once, I feel good.

Kelly Nolan: Yeah, I love that. And I think it’s just so valuable to have a framework to run these decisions through because otherwise we’re just kind of doing it in a vacuum and it’s a lot easier for those saboteurs to step in when it’s like, “Well, looking at this alone, we want to please the person,” or “This is a thing we could do so it’s high achieving,” and it’s like, well, I mean, let’s slow down. Does this really fit the framework of what we’re trying to accomplish right now? So I absolutely love that.

Jodi Flynn: Yeah, and there’s nothing wrong with having tons of opportunities, right? If you are present to the many, many opportunities around you, fantastic. That’s clear vision, right? But you want to be selective.

Another thing I want to talk about, Kelly, because we’ve talked a lot about time budgeting, is you also want to be aware of your other resources as well in terms of, say, money and other resources in your supports you have in your life because that will also inform your decisions as well. You want to make sure all of your resources are focused on the most important things in your life, so making decisions through that filter gets a lot easier to know what to say yes to and what’s a clear no.

Kelly Nolan: Oh, I love that. Well, thank you.

Switching gears, slightly, I have heard you talk on your Women Taking The Lead podcast about how leaders need to balance that approachability but also protect their time for focus, and I think particularly female leaders struggle with that. I saw an article that was like, “Are You My Momager?” where a lot of people will feel comfortable coming to the woman leader because it’s like, well, you’re woman, and you’ll understand my issues, and all that 

Jodi Flynn: Yes.

Kelly Nolan: So it’s always a tricky balance of being approachable but protecting your time to do your work as well. Do you have any recommendations on that front for women who are in that position?

Balancing Time For Your Work and Being Available to Help – 30:46

Jodi Flynn: Yes. First, I want to start off with — because another one of my missions is gender parity in organizations at every level of leadership and there is — amen and congratulations to all of us — there is clear research out there that is showing that having more women in all levels of leadership is so beneficial to companies in a lot of different areas in terms of the company’s health and wellness, financially, and also for its people. That when more women are in leadership, there is higher morale and less turnover. 

Kelly Nolan: Yeah!

Jodi Flynn: People are more satisfied and fulfilled in their roles. This doesn’t take anything away from men because, amen, men bring a lot to the table as well, and there’s a reason why I use the term parity. We need an equal number of men and women, a balance. We can never have a perfect, equal number. But we need that balance. We balance each other out. The problem that we’re facing right now is right now the scales are way more men, fewer women, and depending on what industry you’re in, these scales can be upside down as well.

So, all of that being said, we do a lot of the emotional housekeeping in an organization, right, where these safe spaces that people can come to are, and that is a beautiful thing. However, you do have to set boundaries around it because you have work that you need to do, and you need to have focused time on your work as well. Setting expectations for me is the answer to all of this. Just being clear, because if people aren’t clear on when you’re available and when you’re not available and why you’re not available and what’s the game plan, then there is just this huge opportunity for misinterpretation, misunderstanding, a lot of assumptions being made. So you just get clear.

I know, Kelly, in your system, you talk about what’s my best focused time? It’s not perfect, but when does that exist, and I put guardrails around that. Some things have to come in, but not everything. But you set the intention, and you put work into protecting that time as much as possible, and you clearly communicate it. “I’m gonna be unavailable on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00 to 11:00, because that’s when I’m gonna get my focused work done,” and it may be more. It may be less. You know what’s best for you. Everybody knows their own schedule and their own workload. And as with anything, there’s flexibility.

If you have inherited a team that has turned over, guess what? You’re gonna be the momager for a while, right? Because it’s important, that frontend, creating stability, everybody knows what they need to do, they all know how to play along well in the sandbox, expectations are clear, you’re developing them. But eventually as your team matures, they don’t need you as much, and you actually want them to, to some extent, be figuring things out on their own or collaboratively with each other but knowing that they do have dedicated time with you in case something comes up that they haven’t experienced before. And this is why having one-to-ones is so important, and Kelly, I know you’ve done an episode recently, was it Nicole Case that did that episode?

Kelly Nolan: Yes!

Jodi Flynn: Yes, which was fantastic because she did talk about the cadence and how every team is different, every industry’s different depending on how many direct reports you have. So letting people know, because people will sometimes stay calm knowing, “Okay, we’re gonna have a meeting in a couple of days,” or “This isn’t urgent, and we’re meeting next week,” or maybe it’s like, “No, I can’t wait ‘til our one-to-one. I need to ask my manager this question immediately.”

And so, the other thing I recommend is maybe you have open office hours like, “I’m going to be working. But it’s okay during this time for you to come in and interrupt me,” you know? I had that as well. I specifically put tasks during that time that were easier for me to transition in and out of, right? Some tasks take so long to focus in on and to start getting rolling. That’s not something you want to be doing during your open office hours. So, for me, it might be something like updating budget lines, right, where I’m just taking one bit of information and bringing it over here, that sort of thing. So having open office hours so in case emergency questions come up, that people will know they have your time.

So, with one-on-ones and these open office hours, it brings down your team’s stress, right, and that feeling like that have to jump out of their chair and rush to you to get their question answered because they know, “Okay, I’m gonna be able to get ahold of her or him at another time,” so that you have those boundaries around those focused times. This becomes even more urgent, and probably you’ll need even more time as you go into senior level and executive levels of leadership because you’re doing more strategic work and you’re possibly gonna be in more longer, high-level meetings, right? You’re probably gonna be attending those board meetings that happen once a month. As we know, for those of you who’ve ever had to prepare for a board meeting, you’re practically preparing for it all month long. As soon as the last one’s over, you’re starting to prepare for the next one. So you need that dedicated time to sift through data and start telling a story that you’re gonna present and practicing that presentation for the next board meeting as well.

Kelly Nolan: Well, thank you so much. I found that so illuminating because I think it’s also really freeing to think, okay, during this phase with this team, the initial phase as they’re learning to trust me, I’m learning to trust them and understand their skills and things like that, I’m going to be more available. But that’s not forever, and then you can be intentional about where your focus and time is going during that phase, again, knowing you can shift. It feels like a much scarier thing to establish if you know that you can transition it down the road as everybody finds their stability.

Jodi Flynn: Yeah. There are probably some women who are listening right now, and you might already know who you are, where you’ve realized your team has achieved trust with you and you’re just operating in old patterns.

Kelly Nolan: Yeah.

Jodi Flynn: So I say the new year is coming up. The new year is always a great time to use as a reset, right? As human beings, it is easier for us to adapt to change when there’s already some sort of change or reset going on. So if there is somebody leaving your team or somebody coming onto your team or a new year or some sort of milestone, use those as resets to look at what are the current expectations. Are there some expectations maybe I could change and communicate out and get questions on, and then we can roll into this next phase, this new level of maturity on our team.

Kelly Nolan: Oh, man. Jodi, I feel like I could keep you on this podcast all day long, and I will not. [Laughs]

Jodi Flynn: [Laughs]

Kelly Nolan: Truly, for those listening, we have barely scratched the surface of what Jodi covers and works on with clients and shares on her podcast. It’s Women Taking The Lead. Besides that podcast, which everyone should go subscribe to right away, where can people find you? Also how do people work with you? I’m sure there are people listening who are like, “She sounds like exactly what I need.” How can people start working with you?

Work With Jodi – 39:01

Jodi Flynn: Yeah, I would say the best place to find me where I hang out the most is on LinkedIn. So it’s www.linkedin.com/in/jodiflynn. You can also just put Jodi Flynn in the search bar. Because I’m so active on there, if there are other Jodi Flynns on the platform, I’m usually at the top because I am posting and commenting every day.

If you want to just get a sense of where your strengths and where your areas of opportunity in your leadership are, I have an inventory that you can take. You can go to www.womentakingthelead.com/inventory to take that. It’s 25 questions, but it takes 3 minutes. You’ll see a skill, and then you’ll just rate your own ability on that skill, and then you get a report out and then some resources that can help you start developing in the areas where you’re seeing some opportunities.

Women Taking The Lead is my hub. So my podcast is on there, other resources, and there is also a link to be able to schedule a time with me if you want to talk about working together. You may be in a place where it’s just a lot right now, and you’re post-promotion and it’s kind of like pulled the rug out from under you. Getting some coaching is super fast, can quickly start adapting to that new role. And also if you see something on the horizon where you’re like, “The next time that’s available, I want to be ready for it,” I’ve had several clients who are like, “I’m good in my current role, but I know I’m not ready for that one,” we can work together to develop the skills that will make you the perfect candidate for that role when it becomes available.

Kelly Nolan: And similar to what you were saying about the new year, I mean, for anyone who’s also been in a position for two years and you still feel like you’re struggling, I truly believe it’s never too late. So reach out to Jodi. I’m sure she can help you really kind of think through how are you gonna hit the reset and go from there. I just think that so many of us love our careers that this really sets you up to really enjoy it and feel confident in it so that you feel like you know what you’re doing.

Jodi Flynn: Yeah, and I’m taking a new group through the Positive Intelligence Program right in the beginning of January. I’m doing a webinar at the beginning of December. I think it’s December 12th, so if you want to attend that webinar and find out more about Positive Intelligence and what that program looks like, you can attend that webinar as well. And that’s just www.womentakingthelead.com/webinar

Kelly Nolan: Wonderful! And I’ll put the link to the webinar and her LinkedIn link and also that survey of your strengths and things like that, I’ll put that in there as well. That’ll all be in the show notes so you can easily find it.

Well, thank you for being here, Jodi. It is truly an honor to have you on the podcast. I’ve really been listening to your podcast for a long time, and I was always just like, man, I love this balance of mindset and practical and just you know what you’re talking about, and you work with so many women and organizations doing impressive things. So thank you for being here and taking the time!

Jodi Flynn: I love it. I’m honored as well to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me on and for those of you who are listening. It’s been such a pleasure.

Kelly Nolan: Well, thank you!

[Upbeat Outro Music]

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