Jenn Shallvey is a leadership coach and mentor. She coaches people on growing and developing their leadership skills.

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I reached out to Jen because a conversation with a franchisee made me realise that some business owners and franchisees don’t’ see themselves as leaders – but it’s absolutely critical to your business success that you recognise leadership opportunities and improve where you can!

Jenn started as an auditor before becoming a Certified Practicing Accountant then moving into HR and training & development. Armed with a undergrad degree in psychology, Jenn has worked with leaders of all types in many different organisations.

Working for some challenging leaders has given Jenn a sense of the different styles of leadership. Jenn’s advice to developing leaders is to try on a number of different styles until you find the style that most fits you. You can emulate your others in your business or mentors, but try a number of styles until you find ‘you’.

The most engaging leaders lead through passion. These leaders have found their style and they communicate their passion and their vision.

Mindfulness is an often-overlooked part of leadership. Taking the time to be present with yourself and ‘just be’ is important to get perspective. Taking this time will often serve insights from your subconscious that you didn’t know about before! Practice leadership with kindness, and a way to do this is develop the skill of being present with yourself. Take a breath or two, and pay attention to what’s going on around you without thinking about the past or the future for a moment.

I mention Tony Stubbledine on The Art of Charm podcast if you’re interested in Tony’s take on ‘Ruthless Meditation’. Your mind wanders during meditation right? That’s not because you suck at meditation – it’s because you’re human! Just practice bringing your focus back to your breath. Bringing your thoughts back to your breath while you’re meditating is one rep – doing multiple reps in a session is good!

When developing your leadership skills, ask the question, “How do you like to work?”. This will bring up insights about the ways in which they work best.

Another great question is, “How can we make this better?” In the episode with Ben Old, 19-store SUBWAY franchisee, we discussed the concept of Kaizen, or constant improvement. Jenn’s insight is to ask your employees ways of making the business better. They’re operating every day – they know!

When considering leadership, look at it as a triangle. There’s not just employee vs leader, there’s 3 people to consider – employee, leader, customer.

When inducting a new employee, know that every single behaviour is on show. It’s not just what you’re presenting, it’s how you’re presenting it and the stories you tell at lunch that show that new hire the culture of your organisation.

A great characteristic for leaders is the mindset that “I dont’ have all the answers.” This runs counter to the conventional view of a leader. Leaders need to stop and listen to their followers, and constantly learn.

Jenn advises leaders to not go it alone. Invest in getting some help with becoming a better leader – a book, a course, a podcast, a coach or a mentor.

Jenn’s piece of advice for franchisees who have promoted leaders from within the team – ie a line employee stepping up into a store manager role is to let that person know you’re available. Elizabeth Gillam echoed that sentiment in episode 24, calling it a ‘Vanilla Latte meeting’ – a meeting between owner and manager every week to check in.

The single biggest piece of advice Jenn has for leaders is to always reach out – a 5 minute phone call to check in, from a place of real concern, will develop deep connections with your staff.

Reach out to Jenn at JennShallvey.com.