Have you had those days where you’re driving home from work late at night and you feel energized? Aaron Levy certainly has. It was in these moments he realized that he wanted to unlock and release the potential of leaders. He was working for a coaching company at the time and applied many of the tactics he taught the company’s clients to his own journey. Through this, he decided to launch Raise the Bar, a consulting practice focused on helping companies create high performing teams by building better leaders.

In episode 31 of Equal Chance To Be Unequal, my conversation with Aaron covers considerable ground as to how to develop leaders through open, honest, and direct communication. We talk about how small changes applied consistently over time make the biggest impact on our goals, how 75%-80% of human mindshare is work centric, and that workplaces suck because many managers suck. As Aaron artfully points out, being a top performing individual contributor and a leader of teams are two completely different skill sets.

Aaron shares Raise The Bar’s five core values (or team agreements) – Standing in Your Commitment, Embracing the Beginner’s Mind, Doing the Next Hard Thing, Acting with Authenticity and Humility, and Having Fun – and how he helps teams learn experientially and create tangible action for each core value. He talks about how the best leaders are authentic, humble, and vulnerable, how they’re able to uncover uncommon commonalities, and that they assume positive intent from all persons they interact with. Aaron reviews the leadership habits that great leaders actually do day to day – Motivate (listen with intention and attention), Evaluate (ask powerful how/what/why questions), Communicate (authentically, humbly, directly), and Serve (through critical conversations). As a reminder, these things are free to your organization to deploy, if you choose to train your team to use them habitually. If not, the old saying, “People don’t leave their employer, they leave their boss.” will continue to plague you.

Aaron Levy is the Founder and CEO of Raise The Bar, author of Open, Honest & Direct: a guide to unlocking your team’s potential, and host of the Open, Honest & Direct podcast. He’s Co-Director of Startup Grind Chicago, a Thrive Global contributor, an 1871 mentor, an ICF Certified Coach, and a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. For more about Aaron and his team, visit www.raisebar.co and www.openhonestanddirect.com. His social channels are www.twitter.com/raisebaraaron, www.instagram.com/raisebar.co/, www.facebook.com/RaiseTheBarCo, and www.linkedin.com/in/aelevy.

Resources Michael and Aaron discussed –

Jim Collins’ flywheel effect

Gallup’s State of the American Workplace

Brene Brown’s Netflix special, The Call to Courage

Albert Mehrabian, UCLA professor

Aaron’s eBook, Difficult Conversations

Google’s Project Aristotle