Motivation, Leadership, and Success with Dr. Angela Crawford

For this episode, Travis Nipper welcomes in Dr. Angela Crawford of Thomas More University and Leadership Excelleration following up on her previous appearance to share her own leadership story and her research on motivation, leadership, and success.

Travis welcomes listeners to The Leading Edge Podcast and introduces Dr. Angela Crawford. (1:00)

Our host asks Dr. Crawford to outline some of her early career moments. She begins by noting that she started out at the University of Cincinnati and she speaks on her first internship experience. Right before her graduation, she worked in a rotational internship program at a bank which she set goals for herself as she navigated this new experience. She then moved up to Cleveland to run the operations center of that bank. Dr. Crawford notes the impact of the strong female leaders she had at those positions. (1:50)

While working for Fifth Third, Dr. Crawford talks about how she designed a contact center for another local bank and eventually even for a mortgage center. Eventually she was promoted to a Vice President there, and then went to pursue a different opportunity with Citi Bank. She moved to set up a customer service site and ultimately became the Senior Vice President Regional Sales Director. She goes on to talk about how that time they went through the 2008 financial crisis and how she learned to navigate very turbulent waters as a leader. (5:35)

After leaving Citi Bank, Dr. Crawford moved on to do Marketing Strategy. She went back to school again, after getting her MBA, to earn her Ph.D. at Case Western Reserve studying leadership and igniting passion in people for work. After studying work motivation theory, interviewing frontline employees, and further studies she learned that so much of it came back to leadership and organizational structure. (9:15)

At the individual level, Angela found that people want problems to solve, people to help, and they want an opportunity to prove something to themselves or others. (10:55)

Travis now asks about some of Dr. Crawford’s work at Thomas More University. She took the role of Founding Dean of the College of Business as well as a professor in strategic management of an organization and of themselves to maximize success. Angela reflects on how these lessons have affected students and how fulfilling that has been for her. (12:22)

Travis adds that if each team member is practicing this self-leadership, it can help a team to maximize its potential for success. Angela likes to help people improve this self-awareness in order to recognize diversity on the team to open up the organization to bring passionate people around you who help the organization grow. (14:50)

Dr. Crawford describes how she found what she was passionate about. Through reflection and study, she began to understand how she likes to help people, what problems she likes to solve, what she wants to prove to herself. Angela adds how she is a life-long learner and how important it is for us all to be okay with what we find about ourselves. (16:53)

Transitioning to redefining success at work, Dr. Crawford says that when people arrive at this point in their career it is hard to find the right answers. Just like organizations, we might get stuck and must step back. She says that we all have the answers within us but need someone to help pull those answers out to help get us unstuck. She says that there are three things that we can do when stuck: change the situation, change my perception, or change and grow myself. She says in order to be a leader, you must commit to growth. (19:40)

Travis asks if everyone should be a leader. Angela refers to a theory that leaders are born, and how she doesn’t believe in that, and then the theory that anyone can be made a leader, which she also doesn’t believe. She notes that it is somewhere in the middle. She defines leadership as influence, and adds that everyone should lead themselves, but everyone shouldn’t necessarily lead other people. (23:51)

Dr. Crawford refers to a book that has a cross-cultural study asking what people want in a leader. The first thing they want is honesty and trust. Next, they want someone competent. Thirdly, they want someone forward-thinking and visionary. (27:40)

Discussing cross-cultural competence, the two agree how critical it is to organizations in a global world. They discuss how diversity is a great competitive advantage. Dr. Crawford adds that a sustainable competitive advantage will make you unique and different from your competition. (29:48)

Travis concludes by asking for parting thoughts. Dr. Crawford leaves us with the thought of the power of gratitude. She urges each of us to stop and think about gratitude and to be grateful for the value that we offer to the world. (33:07)


Dr. Angela Crawford, Senior Consultant and Executive Coach, Leadership Excelleration; Dean, College of Business, Thomas More University.

Twitter: @AngelaCCrawford

Music: https://www.purple-planet.com

You can follow the podcast on Twitter at @TheLEpodcast

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