Becoming an Authentic Leader with Zoe Mitchell


April 11, 2022



About This Episode

What does it mean to be an authentic and inclusive leader? Voted “Most Supportive Leader” by her employees and colleagues, Zoe Mitchell shares her story and her advice for becoming an authentic and inclusive leader with host Timothy R. Clark. Here are a few takeaways from this conversation.

Look to help others succeed.
If you're leading a team ask yourself "How can I help somebody get to where they want?" or "How can I help this group of people get to what they want?". The deepest satisfaction in leadership is helping others succeed and watching it happen.

Leaders create the cultures of the team.  
If you choose to be a true leader, you have to understand your impacts, the things that you say, some things that you don't say, what you're working on and what you're doing. You are setting up a culture for your team, you control it because you're the one holding everybody accountable, including yourself.

Getting real feedback as a leader requires rewarded vulnerability.
Be vulnerable with your team to let them see that you don't always have the answers and you are open to feedback. It takes time to build the trust and transparency with your team so they feel safe to give you feedback. You build the safety and trust by rewarding the act of vulnerability that is giving feedback to someone with a title. How you respond and what you do with the feedback makes the difference.

Be vulnerable with your team.
What works is being vulnerable. So being able to be vulnerable with my team to let them see that I don't always have the answers. Sometimes I make mistakes just like you do. And so when you give feedback, it lets people know that you're talking to a human being.

Do not ignore your employees.
There's other companies that are constantly ignoring employees and it's huge consequences. There's a bigger impact or trickle down when people are ignored in an organization. It can lead to major problems, scandals, security breaches or worse.

About Zoe Mitchell
Voted “Most Supportive Leader” by her employees and colleagues, Zoe Mitchell is an award-winning Inclusive Leader with over 20 years of corporate experience building, leading, and maintaining successful high-performing diverse teams. As a former finance senior leader, she is experienced at driving business deliverables and performance metrics while building an inclusive work culture. Her results as a leader speak for themselves and she owes it all to her inclusive leadership style. 

Zoe is also the author of the book “Inclusive Leadership Now” where she takes a day in the life of a leader (or someone who wants to be) and layers in practical guidance and real examples of how to incorporate inclusion. She spends her spare time mentoring  and coaching University students and young professionals, loves traveling the world (now planning for countries 26 & 27), playing soccer, and eating foods from around the world. Did you hear her say “Ay”... well she is Canadian, so you may hear her slip in one or two of them! 

Explore The Podcast

Stage One: Inclusion Safety

In this week on the Culture by Design podcast, Tim and Junior introduce the first episode of a four-part series on The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety. This week's topic? Stage One: Inclusion Safety. In this value-packed, hour-long conversation, Tim and Junior dive deep into questions like: How does inclusion relate to diversity and equity? Is interaction the same thing as connection? And what can we do to foster inclusion safety in our cultural spheres?

Invest in Your Well-Being with Melody Wilding

In this week’s episode of the Culture by Design podcast, Timothy R. Clark is joined by Melody Wilding, author of Trust Yourself: Stop Overthinking and Channel Your Emotions for Success at Work. As an executive coach, professor of Human Behavior, licensed social worker, and Harvard Business Review contributor, Melody has lots to say about how burnout, ambition, sensitivity and empathy.

Don't Let Hierarchy Stifle Innovation

Today Tim and Junior sit down to discuss Tim’s recent Harvard Business Review article titled “Don’t Let Hierarchy Stifle Innovation.” There are a lot of concepts that Tim wasn’t able to include in his article that are discussed today, including how to improve our interactions, how to unleash bottom-up innovation and the role that hierarchy plays in innovation and execution.

Employee Engagement or Psychological Safety: Which Comes First?

Back by popular demand is another special episode talking about engagement and psychological safety. Tim and Junior talk about which is a lead measure, which is a lag measure, and which is a consequence of the other. This episode comes from a previous webinar recorded in 2021. Give it a listen:

Leaning into Self-Awareness with Caroline von Koenig

In this week’s episode of Culture by Design, Timothy R. Clark is joined by Caroline von Koenig, Fidelity International’s global Wellbeing Lead. They discuss how self-awareness, resilience, and understanding can create cultures that are healthy, inclusive and safe for all types of people. Caroline’s interests in neurodiversity and cultural identity made for a great conversation. Give it a listen:

Be a Human Leader with Lindsay Kaplan

In this week’s episode of Culture by Design, Lindsay Kaplan, head of People Development at Clif Bar joins Timothy R. Clark to talk about anxiety, vulnerability, and what it takes to be a human leader. She advocates for authenticity, empathy, and adaptability as the main characteristics of good leaders and encourages listeners to chase a growth mindset.