Your Personal Leadership Transformation: The First Steps with Miri Rodriguez, Ep #12

What do you think of when you read this term: “Leadership transformation?” Does your mind immediately go to being the tip of the spear when it comes to instigating a powerful transformation in your organization? If so, stop for a minute. Understand that cannot happen unless you – the leader – first undergoes a transformation of your own.

Miri Rodriguez is a Microsoft Storyteller, a unique role that communicates the empathetic stories of real people who are going through real things within the Microsoft team. She has a unique insight into how transformation happens – in organizations and individuals.

In this episode, Miri shares her own journey of personal transformation as a leader. It illustrates how every leader needs to undergo a process of learning about themselves as a leader, growing to be someone they actually like, and loving others as an outflow. You’ll gain much from listening to Miri’s story.

Begin your personal #leadership transformation. Here are the first steps, shared by @MiriRod on this episode of #TheDevelopmentExponent, with Bruce Holoubek of @ContractedLeadership #leader Click To Tweet

Leaders are responsible to take control of how they show up in their organizations

We all have an image of ourselves – the way we show up in the workplace, in our families, and in the world in general. But great leaders are not content to believe that they see themselves clearly or rightly. They examine what’s going on inside to ensure that what’s being expressed externally is not only authentic, but also helpful and empowering to others.

Miri opened up during our conversation to describe a season of her life when she realized that the leader who was showing up in her work engagements was not the person she wanted to be. The story of how she dug down deep is inspiring – and helpful to leaders who are eager to bring their inner and outer worlds into alignment. You’ll find many steps Miri took will be practical and relevant to your own personal leadership transformation journey.

Leadership transformation can begin by taking a look at your calendar and bank account

As you consider whether the internal you and the external you are consistent, you need to discover the places where you lie to yourself (and we all do it). Miri describes one way she was able to begin that process in her own life – by using her calendar and her bank account to assess the reality of her actions.

For example, Miri believed herself to be a fit person who works out regularly. But looking at her calendar enabled her to see inconsistency when it came to exercise. It told the true story, one she couldn’t deny. Listen to hear how Miri’s use of these two tools enabled her to begin changing who she was as a person and consequently, as a leader.

#Leadership transformation can begin by taking a look at your calendar and bank account. Great advice from @MiriRod which she shared on this episode of #TheDevelopmentExponent, with Bruce Holoubek of @ContractedLeadership #leader Click To Tweet

It is the leader’s responsibility to understand those they lead.. by being human

Much of our role as leaders is to connect with those we lead in a personal way. Of course, there are limits to what’s appropriate in that realm, but if we are not connected to those we lead on a human level, they won’t be inclined to believe that we understand them.

There are a handful of powerful ways we can do that and none of them are for the faint at heart.

Honesty. Transparency. Admission of mistakes. Telling stories of our failures and lessons learned.

Those are just examples, but powerful ones that Miri explains are door-openers, things that enable us to build mutually meaningful work engagements with those on our teams.

And here’s the main point: when we lead the way through being human with our team, our teams will return the favor. That’s how we begin to understand those we lead and work with them where they are – instead of demanding them to be in a place they are unable to reach – yet.

Empathy is becoming the driver of the powerful leaders of the future

Generational differences are front and center in the workplace these days. We often hear comments about the new attitude and approach to life and work that Millennials possess. There are generalizations there that we can take with a grain of salt, but they all point to a reality we have to face: many of those we are responsible to lead do not respond to their leaders in the same ways their parents’ generation did.

It’s not our job as leaders to deliver a verdict on whether the changes are right or wrong. It’s our job to care about those we lead, to communicate appreciation and value to them so they know that we are not only interested in outcomes they can produce, but that we are also interested in them as human beings.

Miri shares how empathy is key in those interactions. She says it’s going to be THE driver of powerful leadership moving forward and that those who learn to express it well will be the leaders of the future. Don’t miss this conversation. Miri is a passionate practitioner of personal leadership transformation who has a lot to teach us.

#Empathy is becoming the driver of the powerful #leaders of the future. Insights from @MiriRod which she shared on this episode of #TheDevelopmentExponent, with Bruce Holoubek of @ContractedLeadership #leadership Click To Tweet

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:49] Why Miri’s on this podcast and a tidal wave of renewed energy for me
  • [2:46] What is the role of “Storyteller” at Microsoft (Mary’s role)?
  • [3:51] The role development plays in creating mutually meaningful work engagements?
  • [11:01] How stories can help leaders communicate empathy alongside their strength
  • [16:51] It is a leader’s responsibility to understand their audience (those they lead)
  • [18:39] Miri’s personal transformation that led her to create a powerful curriculum
  • [27:18] How Mary uses storytelling to connect with those she leads
  • [31:01] Mary’s advice to leaders: stop lying to yourself and then be courageous

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Miri Rodriguez

Connect With Bruce

Subscribe to The Development Exponent on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher

Audio Production and Show notes by


#Leaders are responsible to take control of how they show up in their organizations. Join @MiriRod on this episode of #TheDevelopmentExponent, with Bruce Holoubek of @ContractedLeadership #leader Click To Tweet It is the #leader’s responsibility to understand those they #lead.. by being human. Learn from @MiriRod which she shared on this episode of #TheDevelopmentExponent, with Bruce Holoubek of @ContractedLeadership #leader Click To Tweet
Leveraging Leadership Disruption To Create Mutually Meaningful Work Engagements, with Coreyne Woodman-Holoubek, Ep #11
9 Traits Of Every Mutually Meaningful Work Engagement, Ep #13