MP spoke with Sam Kabert, a successful serial entrepreneur turned spiritual seeker. Kabert is known for his ability to put together teams to execute a vision. He is the Author of the #1 Bestselling book “SOUL/Life Balance,” is the founder of SwagWorx and Clone Yourself University, and hosts the Soul Seekr Podcast. Kabert realized that despite his success, he was unhappy. This understanding catapulted him on his most recent exploration of his life’s purpose. 

He is on a mission to bridge the gap between how we conduct ourselves in business, mindful practices, and how we communicate with everyone, especially ourselves, by prioritizing psychological safety and mental health first.

What are three non-negotiable things a team leader must do for their team, and why?

1. Become a Mindful Leader

As a leader, you set the tone for how your team communicates with each other and the world. 

By choosing your words mindfully, you can create a more effective communication style that leads to better results. Plus, mindful leadership can help improve your team’s mental well-being. 

The number one way to practice mindful leadership is to put yourself first, always. 

I know, I know … this sounds counterintuitive, but stay with me here…

If you do yourself the favor of addressing your internal (and external) needs, you’ll be cleared of all the unnecessary distractions so that you can show up for your team for their highest and best good.

2. Think Before Speaking

Take a moment to consider the following six questions. Asking yourself these questions can help you effectively communicate with your team.

  1. What is my intention?
  2. Is what I’m about to say true?
  3. Is it kind?
  4. Is it necessary?
  5. Is it helpful?
  6. How will this impact others?

3. Embody Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s a superpower for creating a more collaborative team because it allows everyone to feel seen. 

Without empathy, we wouldn’t be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and understand their perspective. 

And without understanding, it’s difficult to move forward together.

Empathy is what allows us to see the humanity in others. 

It helps us connect with people on a deeper level and creates a sense of trust. 

Trust is essential for effective communication because it allows us to be vulnerable with each other. 

We need to feel safe enough to share our thoughts and feelings without judgment to communicate effectively.

Empathy is also the foundation of compassion.

How important is it for a team leader to provide feedback, how detailed and frequently should feedback be delivered, and why?

I believe in starting meetings with a WIFLE. WIFLE is an acronym that stands for What I Feel Like Expressing. 

By starting your meetings with the opportunity for others to have a moment to share what’s on their mind, you are opening up the space as a safe place to share what’s truly on your mind (and heart). 

By adopting this strategy, you will feel more comfortable sharing feedback with your team, and feedback ought to be shared as much as possible. 

If someone does a good job, tell them right away, while conversely, if there’s room for improvement, don’t let it linger… have the tough conversations; sooner rather than later.

Sam Kabert in Hawaii
Photo courtesy of Sam Kabert

How do you determine what things to delegate and the team members to delegate things to, and how has this changed over time?

Double down on your strengths and hire for your weaknesses. 

I believe in this philosophy and apply it in every aspect of my business. 

This also goes for my team. If I see someone struggling, I may find projects that fit their skillset better while giving them more work that fits their strengths.

How important is it for a team leader to communicate with their team, and how detailed should such communications be? 

I believe providing a workplace culture that encourages mindfulness and promotes its employees' mental well-being, and health is crucial. This is the number one way employees feel more valued in the workplace.

What are three communications mistakes you’ve made with teams in your charge, and how could those mistakes have been avoided?

1. Delaying the Tough Conversation

You’re making it more difficult when the time comes, and it’s a disservice to all parties involved.

2. Not Being Flexible Soon Enough

I believe in the power of trusting your intuition, and it’s crucial to be open to making changes based on each unique situation. Rather than sticking to the plan just because that was the initial plan.

3. Passive Leadership

It took me many years to understand the value of mindful leadership. 

As it’s been said, “your mess is your message.”

I’ve come a long way from being a passive leader to an intentional and mindful leader.

How have you used conflict resolution as a team leader, and what conflict resolution principles should team leaders know about, and why?

The number one tip I can offer regarding conflict resolution is non-violent communication. 

There’s a book about NVC if you’d like to learn more, but the basic understanding is to apply the platinum rule – treat others like they’d like to be treated.

Sam Kabert Podcasting
Photo courtesy of Sam Kabert

How do you approach building relationships within your team, where is the line drawn that shouldn’t be crossed, and why?

This is a case-by-case basis, and I’d recommend always being professional and not doing anything that seems to be crossing a gray area.

What are three unique team leadership mistakes you see entrepreneurs make, and how can these mistakes be avoided?

1. Passive Leadership

This is the leader that can be “toxic” or just basically aloof. The way to avoid this is to become a mindful leader.

2. Not Valuing Others’ Input

This leader pretends to value others but always dismisses their ideas. 

The way beyond this is to ask more questions when one presents ideas because oftentimes, the leader isn’t fully listening to what’s being suggested.

3. Tight Deadlines

This is a leader with unrealistic expectations regarding deadlines. 

The way past this roadblock is to understand that we are all humans, trying to do our best and that rushing others can sometimes add more anxiety and stress and decreases the quality of one’s work which all counteracts the purpose of business… to enhance others’ lives.

How do you handle resistance from your team, and why?

I ask more questions. 

My motto is to seek to understand rather than be heard, and when there’s resistance, it’s typically because someone isn’t feeling seen. 

We can feel and indeed be seen when we slow down to understand one another.

Responses provided by Sam Kabert, founder of SwagWorx and Clone Yourself University.

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