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Leadership and Career Progression: A Conversation with Dan Freehling

As a podcaster, I have the privilege of engaging with some of the most insightful minds in various fields. In a recent episode, I had the pleasure of hosting Dan Freehling, a seasoned professional in the leadership development space. Our conversation revolved around leadership and career progression, with a particular focus on the millennial population.

A Journey into Leadership Development

Dan Freehling’s journey into leadership development is nothing short of inspiring. With a decade of experience under his belt, Dan has worked on various interventions such as training, organizational development, and coaching. His academic pursuits, an MBA and a Masters in Organizational Leadership, have further honed his expertise. Today, he focuses on coaching clients, helping them navigate the complex world of leadership.

Rethinking Leadership Development

During our conversation, we delved into the traditional approach to leadership development in organizations. It’s common to see high-performing individuals promoted to leadership roles without proper training or preparation. However, we emphasized the need for viewing career advancement and leadership as separate but related areas. It’s crucial to develop specific leadership skills before taking on a leadership role.

Dan echoed this perspective, highlighting the importance of understanding why someone wants to be a leader and how they are developing themselves in that role.

The Role of Coaching in Leadership Development

Dan shared his experience in helping companies with leadership development programs. He was fortunate to work in organizations that recognized the importance of leadership at all levels, not just at the executive level. Coaching played a significant role in these programs, as it allowed for personalized development and addressing specific leadership challenges.

Transformational Leadership and Shifting Expectations

Our conversation then shifted to the concept of transformational leadership. This approach moves away from a transactional approach and focuses on inspiring others. We also discussed the shifting expectations and obligations of leaders in the workplace, acknowledging that COVID-19 has acted as a reset point and tipping point for many trends that have been building for some time.

We cautioned against extreme approaches, such as the “quiet quitting” phenomenon or the “hustle and grind” mindset, and emphasized the importance of finding a balance between valuing and respecting people in the organization and working towards common goals.

Embracing Diversity in the Workplace

We also touched on the diversity in the workplace, particularly in terms of generational differences. With more generations represented in the workforce now than ever before, it’s essential to treat individuals within each generation as unique and not to stereotype or generalize.

I shared a story about how I often use a writing by Henry David Thoreau from 1863, which is often mistaken as a millennial manifesto, to illustrate that generational differences and the assertion of values have been happening for decades, if not centuries.

Forward Thinking and Preparation in Career Advancement

We discussed the importance of forward thinking and preparation in career advancement. Individuals need to have a clear understanding of their goals and how to position themselves for success. We also highlighted the importance of aligning expectations and obligations between employers and employees.

Trust and Psychological Safety in the Workplace

The conversation then shifted to the topic of trust and psychological safety in the workplace. Dan explained that psychological safety involves creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable speaking up and challenging ideas. He emphasized the importance of working with genuine and trustworthy individuals and being prepared to have difficult conversations when necessary.

The Responsibilities and Challenges of Being a Leader

Dan discussed the responsibilities and challenges of being a leader. He emphasized the importance of leaders not just focusing on the bottom line or personal gain, but also considering the well-being and development of their employees.

Millennials and Their Sense of Purpose

When asked about the prevailing theme among millennials, Frayling highlighted their strong sense of purpose. He believes that millennials are driven by a desire to make a positive impact and contribute to something greater than themselves.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, we discussed Dan’s coaching practice, Contemporary Leadership, and his book, “The Career Design Map.” The book is available on Amazon and in bookstores, and there is a free quiz that accompanies it.

I am grateful to Dan Frayling for his insights and commentary. I encourage you to check out the video version of the episode on our YouTube channel and leave feedback and suggestions for future guests. Remember, every day is a great day to make a difference.

Guest Bio:

Dan Freehling is a coach who specializes in working with today’s top rising talent. He is the founder of Contempus Leadership and the author of The Career Design Map. Dan partners directly with high-potential leaders and through forward-looking organizations seeking to develop their leadership pipeline. He holds an MA in Organizational Leadership and Learning from the George Washington University and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Visit CareerDesignMap.com to check out the book and take the free Career Design Quiz, ContempusLeadership.com to learn more about engaging Dan’s coaching services, and connect with Dan on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/danfreehling.

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