046 Lead, Care, Win: How To Become a Leader Who Matters with Dan Pontefract

“Stop thinking that you have to be all powerful and mighty because you have the word “leader” in your title. Be relatable, champion their cause…just be a human. Be a human being – that is the best way in which to lead.” – Dan Pontefract

Recently I sat down with Dan Pontefract to learn more about his new book Lead, Care, Win.  With the state of the world as it is, Dan’s latest book couldn’t have come at a better time. It’s a playbook for leading in the 21st century, shattering old notions of management and highlighting examples of those who lead with heart – and how that translates to better relationships and results.

Dan is the founder and CEO of The Pontefract Group, a firm that aims to improve the state of leadership and organizational culture.  He’s the author of three books (Flat Army, The Purpose Effect, Open To Think), and is the former Chief Learning Officer at Telus.  Dan also writes for both Forbes and HBR.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How the rat race impairs your leadership ability and what to do about it
  • Nine leadership lessons to improve your ability to lead both yourself and others
  • What the 1993 Stanley Cup playoffs can teach us about ego and purpose
  • What you can do right now, today, to start becoming a more caring leader, and a lot more!

My only regret in this episode is that we didn’t have time to discuss the genius of Eddie Van Halen!

Enjoy this episode and be sure to grab a copy of Lead, Care, Win! If you find this episode valuable, please subscribe and rate us on Apple Podcasts!

Be a Relatable Leader

I believe wholeheartedly that respect, empathy, being personable, i.e. human, admitting to your mistakes, apologizing when you’ve made a mistake, and even asking for help and feedback and not pretending you know everything are fundamentally the keys to being relatable.

If leaders would just do one of those six sub-behaviors, like saying sorry, they were an arse in a meeting, or they forgot to send the email, or they were promising an introduction to a client or a partner or a VP and they failed to do so…just say sorry. Relatability is admitting that you’re fallible, and that makes you human, and thus more humane.

When you’re relatable, it’s not just the whole “putting yourself in the shoes of others” – it’s not as simple as that. It’s about thinking, feeling, and then doing. And if you can sort that three-pronged approach to empathy out, you’re a relatable leader.

Seek out and share knowledge

I think there’s a bit of a pretense that leaders tend to have.

  • When you’re the smartest person in the room, I argue you’re in the wrong room.
  • When you believe that your stuff is far more worthy to be held by your own and not to be shared, you’re unworthy of the title “leader.”
  • If you think that you shouldn’t be offering up your experiences and expertise to the team, to colleagues, to peers, being a mentor, sharing your knowledge, again, you’re unworthy of the title “leader.”

You have a responsibility to actually seek out knowledge and competence and intellect. You can’t be meek.

Marinate in the Moment

When you think about your “stay present” quotient, you believe that things are happening so fast that there’s just no time to plan. You’re addicted to back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back meetings, you don’t know how to build in “me time” into your calendars so you that you can process the data, the information, the intel and the need to get stuff done.

But equally important as a leader, when you’re not staying present, you’re not there for your people. Meaning, in a one-on-one meeting, how often does that leader get distracted because the phone buzzes and they think that that call is more important than that meeting they’re in?

My urging and yearning of leaders is to remember how important it is to be there, marinating in the moment, with either the team member or the team meeting itself, and that being “on” all the time is a ludicrous strategy.

Links and Resources

Connect with Dan: LinkedIn



Lead. Care. Win.: How to Become a Leader Who Matters by Dan Pontefract

Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization by Dan Pontefract

The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning In Yourself, Your role, and Your Organization by Dan Pontefract

Open to Think: Slow Down, Think Creatively and Make Better Decisions by Dan Pontefract