John Thalheimer, owner and founding consultant
Q: How would you describe your leadership style?
A: As a person who guides leaders and their teams to sustainable positive leadership growth, I have learned that my style of leadership needs to be adaptable to the situations. In some cases, when I am working with an "alpha leader," I need to be authoritative and direct. In other situations, when I am working with an executive who is trying to improve, I need to offer a coaching style of leadership. The key to strong leadership is the ability to adapt your style based on the situation. The most successful leaders I have worked with and admired all have this trait.
Q: How do you define success?
A: Success, for me, is when my clients are successful. Maybe that is a cliché now, but I started my career working backstage in the theater. Our goal was always to make sure that the performers had a successful show. This has carried over to my leadership development firm, where our mission is to give everyone the opportunity to succeed. As a leadership coach, I want to provide the tools and directions for organizations to be successful, but the effort has to be theirs.
Q: What's the best advice you ever received?
A: Awareness gives us choices. This advice works on all levels: intellectual, emotional and spiritual. In my leadership presentations, I discuss the importance of being aware of the impact our emotions have on our behaviors, and therefore our performance in the workplace. However, I do not think it is limited to that. A good example is the term "hangry," which essentially means that, when we are hungry, we have a greater chance of being angry and behaving badly. If we are not aware of the emotional impact of being hungry has on our behaviors, we may snap at one of our coworkers, be curt with a client or make a poor decision. When we are aware, we make better decisions, such as keeping energy bars in our desk drawers so we have something to eat if “hangry” comes to call.
Q: Describe a recent challenge and how you addressed it.
A: Starting a new business can be challenging even with an existing support network. I decided to take the plunge in a brand-new city. The good news is that Nashville is a very generous, entrepreneur-focused city. As soon as I officially started my business, I started networking with whoever had a free moment. There are so many resources for new business owners in the greater Nashville area, including the Chamber, Nashville SCORE and the Entrepreneur Center; I was able to tap into them to provide me the opportunity to be successful.