Traits of a Great Manager (Part 1 of 2) with Heidi Craun

Jan. 28, 2020

Traits of a Great Manager (Part 1 of 2) with Heidi Craun

Traits of a Great Manager (Part 1 of 2) with Heidi Craun

We're joined by Heidi Craun, Head of Customer Advocacy at Clearcover and Co-Founder & President of Intermitten, the conference for changemakers.

Help support the show by giving us five stars and leaving a review.

Join Laura's free Habit of Courage Masterclass, kicking off on January 27th, 2020. Sign up at

Laura's talk from Intermitten:

Invite Laura to speak at your event

Connect with Laura Khalil online:

Connect with Heidi Craun:

Support the show (


spk_0:   0:00
This is brave By design Episode three on the Traits of a Great Manager Part one of two Welcome to brave by design I'm your host LL Oracle, Ill. I'm an entrepreneur, coach and speaker. I love thinking Bake. Exploring the power of personal development and sharing the best strategies from thought leaders and pioneers and business to empower ambitious women and allies to bravely rise and thrive. Let's get started. Hey, everyone, Welcome to this episode Laura Khalil. Here I am back in Detroit after a few days in Chicago. Some of you who listened to the last episode Noi was there for training and I got caught in a big old snowstorm. So, um, I got to extend my trip unexpectedly, but that was really fun because that is a city that I love. I also want to announce that I have just launched the habit of courage. Master class. It is happening this week, the week of January 27th 2020. This is a free five day training that I offer to help you develop more confidence, clarity encourage in your life. You can learn more about this. It is not too late to sign up head on over to force of bad ass Erie dot com. If you miss this training, I will have a link to it. Also on the website. You can sign up for a future one eyes, one of my clients said. When I announced this training on my Facebook page, she wrote, and she said, You have made strong impacts on my real estate investing ventures. I got my first fix and flip under way with a partner, and I'm looking at starting one or two solo projects later this month after returning from a creative financing conference in Florida. Thanks for helping me build a better foundation of belief in myself. That is what it is all about. If you want to learn how deflects that courage muscle, how to begin to develop more self worth. This training is fantastic, and it is my gift to you. You're gonna learn more about me. You're gonna learn more about the methodology I teach. And of course, there's an opportunity to invest in your future by working directly with me if you're ready to make a real big changes in your life. One of my gifts as a coach is always being able to see people very clearly and see through the stories they tell themselves to diagnose the real issue of what is holding you back. This leads to major breakthroughs, especially with the clients who are willing to do the work. I always describe coaching. I can give you the keys. I can give you the methodology, but you have to go and open the door and walk through it. So if you're willing to do that, you can learn more about working with me at force of bad ass sory dot com, or sign up for the next habit of courage Master class. All right, onto this episode. What you are about to hear is the first of a two part episode on the traits of a great manager. I had such a rich conversation with our guest that I actually created a two parter out of this because there is so much here, so much richness. I think you're really gonna enjoy the first part, and you can expect Part two available. Ah, weak from the release of this one. Enjoy. So on today's episode, we're going to talk all about the traits of a great manager and I am the grilled to bring on Heidi Krahn. She is the head of customer advocacy at Clear Cover. She's also the co founder and president of Intermittent the Conference for Change Makers. I've had the pleasure of being involved in that conference for the last three years, and most recently I gave a talk on how to respond to Microaggression, unconscious bias and minimization in the workplace. If you want to see that and all of the other wonderful talks, you can head on over to my website Horse of bad ass sory dot com. I will also put a link to the YouTube videos in the show notes for this episode. Heidi is a powerhouse. She truly walks her top around diversity equity and inclusion. And I am so thrilled Heidi to call you a friend of mine. And I'm so inspired by you because I know that you really want to help women and minorities bright, bravely rise and thrive in their careers and lives. I have seen you do it. You are amazing, Heidi. Welcome to the show.

spk_1:   4:54
Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for having me here. And that was just the kind ist introduction I have ever received. I'm going to have you just walk a few steps ahead of me everywhere I go in life.

spk_0:   5:07
Everyone hiding Heidi. Ladies and gentlemen, I'm rolling out the red carpet. Please set a tone. No, because

spk_1:   5:17
the pleasure's all mine. Laurin, you've been, um, enormous mentor to me me over the last few years. So I'm I'm so great I've been honoring.

spk_0:   5:26
Well, thank you. As I was telling her audience on the last episode, I was in Chicago last week, but I was actually speaking at your company about developing 2020 vision. And, you know, one of the things that really struck me. I know you're amazing, because I know you, but to see you in action with your team Wow. I mean, I was so impressed by you know, what I saw of your management skills? I knew we had to have you on this episode. And as I know you and I were kind of like going back and forth and talking about what we wanted to discuss. And as this all came up, I saw this quote from Diane Von Furstenberg, who is speaking in New York about the CEO of her company. Her name is Sandra Campos and uh, D b f set of her. I will do anything to help her sexy. And I read that. And I said, You know, else will do anything to help her people succeed. It is you because you have helped me enormously and we don't even work together. And just to experience that, I know that you go the extra mile for people. The fact is, many managers and many people don't so many people experience managers who completely undermine their success. So, um, I know you've experienced that I've experienced that, but that really got us talking about this episode. So, um, I wanted to keep it off by sharing some really depressing research. Let's let's let's I want let's bring everyone down and then we'll lift them. Um, how about that? So the research shows that the global workforce has over 70% of employees disengaged at work. That is absolutely terrifying. If you are a manager, if you're in a jar of urine leadership, 70% of employees globally are disengaged at work, and of those, only 4% have anything nice to say about their boss. um I have more research on this on my website. So if you want to see the sources for that Heidi, why do you think that is like, let's just start big, like, can you? Can you solve that problem for me, please?

spk_1:   7:55
Yeah. Let's talk about slave labor. No, that's that is, as you said, incredibly depressing in way worse than I would have guest. Um, and I think most of us have experienced that, um, at work I personally have primarily We're in X startups Where, um, everyone is rising and grinding, and people who are that disengaged don't usually last too long, right? But I totally get you know where this is coming from, especially as it relates to manager. And, um, I guess when I think about it, I in my experience, people leave their jobs for, like, a couple of reasons. One, Is there no longer growing, um, or their miserable at work, because they're no longer growing. Um, previously, I worked at a startup that was acquired by Expedia and the chief product officer at Expedia. John Kim taught me something really, really powerful. He's the one who taught me this. Um, when I would fly out to headquarters in Seattle. He would make time for me and have, you know, give level one on ones with me. He wasn't my manager. He was my manager, manager Um, and he flat out said to me, People leave when when they stop growing And yeah, got potential in me and went out of his way to invest in me. So he looked for opportunities within Expedia that would benefit the business and help me really expand my knowledge, my skill set in that situation. He invested in my ability to learn how to conduct usability studies and even went so far that we do Seoul, South Korea, so that I could study how other cultures were using our after that we were getting, and that was not necessary for me or my team. But it's certainly benefited everybody, and my work doing that ultimately led a dramatic increase in our Expedia at hotel booking convergence, and that was a problem that we had undiagnosed. Up until that point, we knew that problem existed, but we didn't understand why

spk_0:   10:29
that that's fascinating.

spk_1:   10:31
It is fascinating because it was it has helped me so much of my career, even though that wasn't necessarily something that I was looking to learn. Um, it was more can gentle. And, you know, he spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars of helping me learn knowing that it would pay back.

spk_0:   10:53
Let me ask you this because you said he was not your direct manager. So it's something that's so he met you. And you must have left quite an impression on him for Or had he heard of you, like, had your reputation brought him to learn about you?

spk_1:   11:14
Um, this is kind of funny talking about setting the bar low and then building back up. Don't. My manager inherited me from, uh, previous leader of our organization. And, uh, that leader told my manager as he was leaving that Heidi is my most challenging employees. And so you Yeah, you really set the bar low, Um, in and I don't I don't know how I was this person's most challenging employees because literally we never had one on ones. Um, so I don't know where that, but it kind of it kind of became like the running joke, But s

spk_0:   12:08
o that got back to you,

spk_1:   12:10
so yeah, my manager came and told me that one time on a visit. He said, You know, I was cool, that you were the most challenging of the leaders of this organization and that, like you, have impressed me the most. So then he went up to his manager instead that, like I have a high potential leader on my feet. And he was especially interested because I was I am a woman and Expedia, especially. I don't I can't speak for where it is now. But at Expedia, ljust Wolf company, there were a lot of women in leadership positions, and I think everyone was looking. They were trying to make a concerted effort to look for high potential people. Um, especially women and minorities. You invest in himself. I was really fortunate. I don't know if it if I hadn't hadn't been given such a low perception. If I would have made

spk_0:   13:14
such a high impression

spk_1:   13:15
in the either way, I'm grateful.

spk_0:   13:20
Yeah, I mean, that's sort of an interesting gift. If he had walked in and said, You know what? Heidi is such a rock star, and then the bar is set so high for you. What do you have what I mean, I know you're a rock star thing. Everyone else knows that. But it does change perceptions. And I imagine that your new manager was quite pleasantly surprised. Yeah, I

spk_1:   13:40
know. When he told me that I was like, Wow, that's a slap in the face followed by, like, a nice soothing balm.

spk_0:   13:50
Great E. I mean, I don't want to go down a rabbit hole about it, but it does make me wonder immediately when we talk about, um, a manager saying that you're like his most challenging employee. I'm like, what was so challenging? Was it because clearly we know that's not true. So I wonder what personality traits could he not stand to see in you? And I wonder if that is that you are a bold, confident, highly intelligent woman, and I and I'm I'm totally, um I don't know this person, so I'm I'm just kind of going off sort of the biases that we're all really familiar with. But it does make me wonder that Yeah,

spk_1:   14:40
um, I I would go out on a limb, go out on a limb and say that you are your guess is probably pretty accurate. The original leader was pretty inexperienced in new managing and also someone who I think was generally uncomfortable around women is like I perceived in. So they have a leader who is not who is both a woman and, um not And it our guy, I think was probably a lot for himto handle. Um, yeah, but I don't know if I'm not I you know, maybe settle that with this someday.

spk_0:   15:32
Exactly. Have are things that we take way. Don't need to do more emotional labor for this, dude. Okay, so you said the first thing is that as people leave when they stop growing, I could not agree with that. Um, more strongly, what else do you see? So

spk_1:   15:51
I know people say, um, employees quit their manager. They don't quit their jobs, equip their managers. And I think that's true. But I think we can get more specific than that. Which is to say, it's not necessarily like their managers, personality or or whatever, because I think most of us can get along with most people, right. But what that really boils down to in my mind is people leave when their manager stuff advocating for them. And, um, you said something earlier about managers like undermining their employees were in things. And I think, um, a lot of managers really struggle with letting go of the day to day tactics and focusing more on strategy, because when strategy is done, well, it's invisible, and strategy is invisible. Managers feel invisible, but one of my favorite human beings, and

spk_0:   16:51
that's really wait, Hang on a 2nd 3rd idea. That's a really interesting statement. Can you, um, expand on that a little bit? I

spk_1:   17:02
think when work gets done, when good work, it's done. People tend to for Steve that those who actually executed the work are the ones who did it all into end right, And that's usually not the case. Um, usually there is a manager or leadership that has decided that this work was the work that needed to be done and set up a environment so that it could be executed successfully. And there's a lot behind the scenes that happens to leave to the point of the execution. But people don't see what happens behind the scenes, right, And so for a manager, I think it's really hard because you're like, well, my being did this, Burke. And you know, I don't really get credit for it and often times, you know, But that's okay And what it was. Excuse me. What I was going to say is, um, one of my former colleague, Kerstin much. Nick, um, you was out of previous part of with me. And he's just incredible since that give people, um, she wants phrase this in the best way. A manager's job is to make their team look good. So that's how I think about it. If if a team is doing a great job, that means that their manager has advocated for them and help them accomplish big things. And, um, it's from a management when you transition from an individual contributor claim management role. Yeah, I think there's a hard adjustment sometimes, too. Not necessarily be able to sti like a tangible product of what you did. Okay, um, so adjusting do a different kind of gratification is a hard adjustment for a lot of people.

spk_0:   19:10
It also seems like a, um sort of, uh, learning how to pacify the ego a little bit. You know, when you're not the one who's necessarily doing the work, but you're actually helping enable the smooth running of the machine. Or if the people who want to speak a little more mainly about it, who are doing this incredible work. And yeah, you're you're an integral part of that process, but you're not it.

spk_1:   19:45
No, you're not. And then your job. When the team does knock it out of the park, your job is to go back and advocate for that team to keep growing and keep doing more big days. And I think that's another place where a lot of managers, Bill, um, especially as an employee, at least this is for me are typically I've been very lucky. I've been ableto work at companies where I have been either, like, really aligned with the mission of the company or really excited about my role within that company. And I think when that happens, you're really loving what you do or who you're working for. It's easy to. It's like I'm so grateful for this job and I'm still lucky. And forget that the employer employee relationship is Brad Transactional, right? It's a value extremes. Employees continually does great work. It is the manager's job to notice highlight and then advocate to give values back from the company. Do the employees and I think again, when this doesn't happen, is when people leave their managers. They're not getting enough pay. They're not getting promoted, even though they continually prove themselves or they're not being given new opportunities. Or maybe there's just inequity across the team. Great

spk_0:   21:18
on. Absolutely. I mean, boy, I think this is really hitting home for me. I'm just listening to this. I remember one of my early jobs in the tech world I was so grateful to have, because it was also right around the great recession men, you know? I mean, when a lot of us were coming up, right, and so I was thrilled to have this job. And I remember talking to my boss and he said, Laura, you're doing great work. Great work, great work for about a year. And I was like, Okay, I'm ready. I'm ready. You know, after a year for my raise, like I'm I want a title rays. I want, you know, let's talk about compensation. Um, whatever. It maybe maybe more responsibilities. And he said, Oh, no, everything's on hold. We're not doing anything. And part of that was because the company had decided to completely stop all forms of raise. At least that's what I was told, uh, because of the recession. But it had this terrible effect of really disengaging me as an employee. I felt like, Well, I've done all this work, and there's absolutely zero recognition for what I've done nothing. You know, you can't even change my title. I thought Okay, Well ah, and then it was probably Yeah, I don't know, seven or eight months after that, when I decided to leave. Mmm. Because I just You know, you just feel like what am I doing here,

spk_1:   22:52
right? Right. Because you were not seeing that value exchange.

spk_0:   22:56
I was not seeing you. And I liked it. It is a transaction. I was not seeing the value exchange for the amount of work I was putting in over the course of a year and 1/2 2 years, too. Stick around. So totally feel this. Anyway, I don't mean to interrupt you. I'll let you continue. This is amazing.

spk_1:   23:13
Oh, you are preaching to the choir on that. When I had a very similar experience early in my career. My first job outside of academia was in a tech start up. I finished graduate school kind of fell into the rule, and it was just a few months later that the great recession hit. And in that year, I was, I think one of Devon people in my industry that got a job in the state of Michigan.

spk_0:   23:45
Oh, my God.

spk_1:   23:46
And so I felt super Super Laki. Um, and I survived layoff after lay off, which again I will always be grateful for, because for me, I didn't I wasn't married. Um, I didn't have anybody else to rely on who pay my rent and health insurance. And, you know, I just had to start paying back on my student loan stuff. If I you know, I lost my job. I was gonna be in a world of hurt. Um, I have to move back in with my parents, you know? Yeah, but what? That would have looked like so very grateful for that experience. But I also worked my ass off. I kept taking on the work of those who were laid off, and that meant that I was growing and taking on new challenges. It honestly, like it was very good for me. And then it forced me to think creatively about how I could work smarter, not harder, because, you know, there were still only 24 hours in a day but making more innovative. Um, those parts were all very good learning about new products because I was taking on the responsibility of working on different teams and things like that. But I also felt so trapped because I wasn't being compensated. We're taking on the work of the employees who were laid off and while at it, you know, and I was continually told, like you I think there were some freezes on raises. Um, but then I was pulled that I wasn't receiving big promotions and raises because I didn't have the necessary years of experience for the title.

spk_0:   25:31
Oh, my gosh,

spk_1:   25:32
I really resented my lack of years of experience. Didn't stop the company from giving me responsibilities of those roles that were, um So I think in the four years I was at that company, I only received about $4000 raised When you're starting out those early years when you you know, the biggest drive in Hey, raises. And that was really frustrating as the, you know, I didn't have the opportunity to leave as quickly as you did. Somewhat envious of

spk_0:   26:06
that. I was living in the Bay Area. So you have to remember, I was just gonna

spk_1:   26:09
say the Bay Area was a different place.

spk_0:   26:12
Yeah, the recession. Never really fully. It did hit, but it did not hit in the way that the rest of the country was devastated.

spk_1:   26:19
Yeah, um, so that it's nice that you had opportunities as the economy improved across the board. I did start interviewing and was offered jobs at other companies, which, because of everything that I had done in the last four years, meant that I was receiving job offers that were $20,000 higher salary than what you know, I was earning at the time.

spk_0:   26:46
However, did you try to negotiate with them?

spk_1:   26:49
Uh, no, I just knew that my time I needed to leave.

spk_0:   26:56
Yeah, it was time.

spk_1:   26:57
Yeah, um but because those companies were compensating employees more fairly based on how they performed, um, my responsibilities and ability to learn at those companies would have actually decrease or more. I was currently so I felt like, Well, I could go there and, you know, make $20,000 more a year, but I'm not gonna learn anything. This is all stuff I've done before. So I guess that's why I say I felt trapped. I could leave, take more money, but I would stop growing. Or I could stay where Waas go to work everyday, resenting how underpaid I was. Which means he's not a great employee, right? Exactly. Um, I was miserable and, you know, I could keep learning, hoping that it would pay off. In the end, I ultimately decided on the ladder that was the right choice for me, as a young professional was a privilege to be able to make that choice because although I was just starting out and didn't have a spouse, anybody to help me pay my bills, I also didn't have a mortgage. You know, I I had most. I don't have a family that I had to provide, so that was that was a blessing. But when I did find leave, I got a 60% raise. So I guess going crucial for everything that I learned in that job, I vowed to never put employees in that thing. Age experience, things like that should never color our perceptions of the actual value that is exchanged when someone does their work. So I decided then that if I couldn't advocate for one of my employees growth, then that would mean one of two things. I either wasn't doing a good enough job as a manager, like the employee wasn't performing and I needed to address it, or my values were misaligned with the companies, and I should Mother, I could be a leader there and eat my integrity intact, and both of those things have happened. But I do truly believe that if you're not creating growth opportunities and looking for ways to advocate for your employees and make sure that they're working in an equitable environment, um, they will do their best work with. And for you,

spk_0:   29:22
you know, I want to really highlight. I mean, gosh, there were so many, um, really juicy nuggets in there. But the one thing you said that I want to highlight, especially for because maybe this hits me because when I was in my twenties, I felt that I was not old enough to be in certain roles or make a certain amount of money. I had that sort of limiting belief, right? And so you said I vowed to never put an employee in that situation where age or experience would color perceptions of their value. And what a powerful, um, way to advocate for employees and actually also help them understand their worth. What's that? You don't have to be a certain age to make a certain amount of money. Um, I learned that by the time I started my own business, but it took a long time for me to figure that one out. You know, I always thought I can't make more money than my father. Isn't that interesting?

spk_1:   30:25
That isn't your thing.

spk_0:   30:26
Yeah, I said that. And this is actually I'm just like we're basically in therapy right now. I'm just having revelations as ring all this off. I'm like, Oh, my gosh. Where is this coming from

spk_1:   30:40
gonna say that my if I didn't ice to this day, don't even know how much. Uh, my my parents may, Um but I certainly never dreamed bigger than that. You know, I never have ashamed of a life style bigger than the one that I grew up with. Um, I just dreamed to have a good life and we can be and I will be speaking for myself. I think 90% of the limitations I have experienced in my life have been self imposed. And so, having a manager or an advocate, someone, a mentor, a sponsor, someone too help pull all of these like little nuggets that people have about them. Their strengths highlight their strings, show them opportunity. Show them what could be done with those strengths is so important because not everybody has. You know, CEO parents dispense the bar really high.

spk_0:   31:48
Exactly. And, you know, I think I think a great manager is a great coach. They understand. But while, as you said, while this is a transaction while you are, you know, being employed to do certain amount of work, they're here to help you. They're not here to throw you under the bus or undermine you. And they're here to help you in ways that go beyond just the transaction off work. I mean, understanding and identifying the worth that an individual has is, uh is a beautiful thing that a manager can help us sort of dream bigger. Open her eyes is same thing a coach would do, for example.

spk_1:   32:33
Yes, Absolutely. And that's I've gotten so much out of coaching from you. For that reason, Um, I think with my team, I say it like my my job isn't to, like, hound you about. You know, setting the course is like, this is the work that you're gonna do. And I'm gonna just, like, make sure you're doing your job kind of thing, cause if I've hired, you have expected that you're just gonna do your job. If you're if you can't like them will have a conversation. But my job is the managers do figure out how to hold you accountable, do your career growth goals and figure out how to pulling you up and in getting you to the next step in your your growth. Cool. So I'm you know, that's why we brought you in the clear cover.

spk_0:   33:25
I want to thank you for joining me and remember to subscribe to your favorite app so you can stay up to date and I would love your review. If you've enjoyed this episode, please leave a review and comment on apple podcasts. You can also keep in touch with me online. You can find me on Lincoln. And I'm also on instagram at force of bad ass area. All that information will be available in the show notes until next time. Stay brave.