Have you ever wondered how to remain grateful even when experiencing unexpected losses or hardships in your life? Would you like to learn how to lead more effectively, including how to grow and manage a large team?
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In this episode, I talk with Simple Pin Media Owner and Founder Kate Ahl, who shares how she has grown her business to over 40 team members. She gives us insight on the importance of allowing your team to make mistakes, how to stop being in control, what she remembers to avoid the comparison trap, and how she manages all her roles.
Kate also shares some of the incredible challenges she and her family have faced over the years, including her husband’s 3 job losses, her daughter’s health crisis, and their experience as a foster family. Kate gives us tips on how she has navigated this journey with gratefulness, and how she manages her roles as wife, mom, business owner, and ministry leader.
Kate’s Leadership Journey:
Kate started her leadership journey while in high school when an adult in her life called out the leadership potential in her. Through work and various roles throughout her life, she has learned that leadership is not the same as administration.
In addition to her business leadership role, she also co-leads the women’s ministry at her church and leads and thrives in her role as a mother.
How Kate defines leadership:
To Kate, leadership is all about equipping and empowering people to use their gifts. She enjoys using her leadership gift to help others find where they fit.
Kate has had many mentors in her life including her two business coaches and mastermind leader. She also values time learning from a woman at church who champions her business and reminds her to practice gratitude and choose joy.
Her goal is to remain teachable throughout her life because there is always more to know and learn.Your business is *your* business.Click To Tweet
Leading a Large Team:
How Kate grew her team
When her business was eight months old, Kate’s daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. She realized quickly that she needed someone to do her work while she was away. She didn’t want her personal life to overtake her business life and vice versa.
A week after her daughter’s diagnosis, Kate was training a friend to help her to do the work. As she built clients and added a team, she hired a coach to help her through the formal hiring process. She learned that she is good at steering the ship while others shine in their giftings, areas where Kate wasn’t as strong. Over time, she addressed the naturally-occurring needs of a team experiencing growing pains by building in layers of leadership.“You have to allow your people to make mistakes and you have to allow your people to know you have their backs.” Click To Tweet
On her team, Kate likes to say that, “We fail forward.”
How to handle mistakes
- Never assume fault on either side.
- Get the facts by asking questions.
- If you and your employee aren’t seeing eye-to-eye on an issue, coach them toward the end goal.
- If your employee isn’t listening or doesn’t show respect, then let that person go.
How Kate has let go of control in her business
At one time, Kate thought that leadership was about more control. Now she has found that leadership is very different.“Leadership is actually equipping other people.”Click To Tweet
She recommends that we ask ourselves, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Most cases are fixable if both sides are rational.
Kate reminds us that everyone wants to feel successful, and when we have all the control, we’re the only ones who feel successful and have the freedom to be creative. It’s important to also ask yourself what goal you’re trying to accomplish when you hire a new person.
The Impact of Faith & Giving Thanks Amidst Pain
Her husband’s first job after they got married was to serve as a youth pastor. A couple years into this job, he experienced a nervous breakdown. They went through the painful process of letting go of their church and support system.
Yet they both knew that God was calling them back to ministry even though it was hard to go to church. During this time, God was teaching them about reconciliation and restoration. Kate now is the women’s ministry leader at that same church, and her husband is an elder.
Over the next several years, Kate and her family experienced several losses, including her husband losing 3 jobs, her daughter’s diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, and a foster child leaving their family.“All these things can be used for good, and God is still good.” - Kate AhlClick To Tweet
She asked God to bless her work so her husband could do what he wanted. Through this process, she learned what it meant to steward a business well while also holding it loosely. God also taught Kate how to give thanks even in pain through the support of her church family, practicing gratitude, and returning to joy.
How Kate Embraced her Wiring as a Leader:
Kate says that the Kolbe A Index has completely transformed her work because she understands how both she and her team are wired. Each person falls under one of four categories:
- Fact Finder
- Quick Start
- Follow Thru
She also recommends the book Traction.
Kate’s Everyday Life:
Kate shares thoughts on how she lives out her leadership in her everyday life.
How Kate Manages her Roles
Kate offers several best practices and strategies that work for her as she manages her roles as wife, mom, and business owner.
- Establish “hard stops,” a.k.a. specific business hours that put boundaries on when you work and when you don’t.
- Don’t check your phone (email, phone, social media) until you’re “in the office.”
- Remember that you don’t have to do everything. You can hire a housekeeper, utilize grocery pick-up services, and ask your spouse/kids to chip in.
Kate’s book + podcast recommendations:
- Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
- Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Mike Michalowicz
- Rare Leadership: 4 Uncommon Habits For Increasing Trust, Joy, and Engagement in the People You Lead by Marcus Warner and Jim Wilder
- How I Built This podcast
Connect with Kate Ahl:
Kate Ahl is the founder and CEO of Simple Pin Media, a Pinterest management agency. Her company has worked with over 600 Pinterest accounts and she manages a team of 40. In addition, she hosts the weekly Pinterest marketing show on the Simple Pin podcast. The podcast allows her to teach simple, actionable tips to those who want to DIY their Pinterest marketing.
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