How to Become the Leader You Want to Be with Susan Ireland

In this week’s episode of the Leadership Habit Podcast, host Jenn DeWall, and professional coach Susan Ireland delve into the practical aspects of showing up as the leader you want to be. As leaders, we often have a vision of how everything should work, who we should be, and how to succeed. However, those visions rarely work out as planned! 

When the going gets tough, sometimes we are our own biggest obstacle to success. With her wealth of experience, Susan shares practical insights on how to overcome these challenges and show up as the best version of yourself!

Meet Susan Ireland, PCC, MSM, TILT 365

Susan Ireland is an ICF-certified professional coach, leader, dynamic speaker and podcast host who inspires enduring, transformative change. She works with leaders at all levels to enhance leadership and business acumen, encourage self-discovery, and turn challenges into positive results.

As Co-Founder of Seasons Leadership, a professional coaching and consulting services business, she works with her partner, Debbie Collard, to make leadership excellence the worldwide standard. A self-proclaimed “accidental podcast host,” Susan also launched the Seasons Leadership Podcast with Debbie, which is now in its 5th season!

Prior to her career as a coach, Susan built deep leadership experience during her 30-year career at Boeing.  Holding key business operations leadership roles such as the Director of Business Operations for the 787-9 and 787-10 Development Airplane Programs, Susan navigated the complexities of large global organizations. She played a key role on the original leadership team that built and established a new digital aviation business for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. Following her time with Boeing, Susan played a strategic role within a start-up company that developed, manufactured, and installed hydrogen systems on diesel engines. 

Susan’s expertise in steering the design, implementation, and management of business processes gives her a unique understanding of the intricate workings of businesses, from large enterprises to small start-up organizations.

Do You Know What Kind of Leader You Want to Be?

As the episode opens, Jenn and Susan discuss the different stages of life and leadership and then discuss the obstacles people face on their leadership journey.  

Susan shares, “First of all when you talk about the leader in your head, yeah, I think that it’s a really interesting thing because oftentimes people don’t even think about that. They’re just reacting or behaving like unconsciously. So it’s taking a moment first to think about who am I? What are my values? How do I want to leave? What lead, what’s important to me? And that having that self-reflection at first, I think is the foundation of everything. Because otherwise, you are groundless.

Because life in the world is pretty chaotic. And so if you don’t have that foundation, you’re just flipping from one thing to another thing to another thing. And the people around you don’t know who you are or where what you stand for. So that’s the first thing.”

If you think like, how do I show up as the leader I want to be? You need to define who that leader is, then you have a target, then you can assess yourself. Like, am I showing up the way I want to be? And if I’m not, where are those gaps, and where do I need to work?

What’s Stopping You From Becoming The Leader You Want to Be?

Later Susan and Jenn talk about one of the biggest obstacles showing up as the kind of leader you really want to be– fear.  Jenn asks Susan for her advice for someone who is being held back by fear. 

Susan explains, “So if you’re clear about who you want to be and what you want to achieve–  so you’re clear about that, and then you make a plan, I wanna do this. But you don’t execute that plan for various reasons. Mostly because of fear.

Maybe you can’t take that first step. Being aware that you are where you are gives you a choice. So then you have a conscious choice: I can do this, or I can not. It’s a choice. You’re fine either way, you know, you can say, I’m not gonna take steps toward my goal. I’m gonna stay here because I’m too afraid. But then you kinda have to live with yourself.”

Making the Choice to Show Up as the Leader You Want to Be

Later in the episode, Susan and Jenn delve into some strategies for showing up as the best version of yourself and achieving your potential as a leader. Susan shares her strategies, including: 

As the episode closes, Jenn and Susan talk about the importance of taking better care of yourself in order to become the best leader you can be. Susan explains that you can’t be your best self when you are not feeling physically and emotionally well. 

Jenn agrees, saying, “I don’t know whether people realize that. You know, I think I don’t. I talk about about burnout and resilience a lot with organizations, and I hear it from everyone. They are experiencing burnout. Healthcare, for example,  is really being challenged with that right now. And all the way down to a group of conservationists who work on protecting our lands Every industry, every single industry I’m noticing, is experiencing burnout in some way. People are tired. People are not operating from their best, most rational capacities.”

Susan adds, “Which kind of comes back to the showing up as the leader that you want to be, and how you envision this is part of it. You have to take care of yourself. Being a leader, I think I get a little bit like my emotional temperature goes up on this because leaders affect a lot of people around them just by how they show up. And it’s our responsibility to do the best we can. We can’t, we are not perfect people, but doing the best we can, taking care of ourselves and knowing our values and showing up positively have a huge impact on the world. And I don’t know why we don’t do it, but we don’t.” 

Where to Find More from Susan Ireland

Be sure to listen to the full episode to get more insights into growing as a leader and a person. If you want to find out more about Susan and her work with Seasons Leadership, you can connect with her here: 

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