Messy & Magnificent with Karlee Fain


Trying To Do It All Yourself? How smart leaders stop being the hero and start building emotional integrity with Tom Steding

Ep. 57

People see you as someone who’s got it together. You prefer to have an organized home, you strive for meaningful relationships, you’re juggling one opportunity after another around work, and care that your kids do their homework and eat their vegetables. You get all the accolades, but something in you still isn’t satisfied. 

Could having it all actually be weighing you down?

This culturally programmed notion of what success looks like is actually an antiquated idea - and it could be responsible for holding you back. The truth is that the pressure we put on ourselves to know all of the answers and be in control actually impedes our success instead of contributing to it. 

You can release that pressure valve with this simple admission: “I don’t know everything. And it’s ok!” That, my friends, is an example of radical empathy

In this episode, Karlee welcomes Tom Steding, an expert in the convergence of advanced technology and depth psychology. Tom has been the CEO of 12 high tech startups. Through those experiences, he’s learned that people can’t be managed by fancy formulas because humans just aren’t predictable. Recognizing this complexity as a part of the human element, he developed an active interest in depth psychology. This led him to apply a more empathetic model in the workplace, which ultimately helped him to build more effective, performance-driven teams.

Tom talks about the myth of the solo hero, the person who does whatever it takes to sit at the top of today’s hierarchical leadership model. These are the people in positions of authority who believe wholeheartedly in the superiority of their own capacity for decision making, the Narcissuses among us. 

The problem with that style of leadership is that it doesn’t work for thinking, feeling humans.

And, thankfully, it’s quickly becoming obsolete in favor of a new model of teamwork that’s based on emotional agility. When teams are created with our humanness in mind, and our individual psychological safety at their core, everyone on that team thrives. 

It’s time to stop being the solo hero and start recognizing the power of your lateral network.

If you’re ready to unleash your inner Athena and practice effective, empathy-driven, lateral leadership, then this episode is for you. 

Some Questions Karlee Asks:

  • How did you get from an Engineering and Management mindset to a place of being so focused on trust and teamwork? (9:26)
  • How do you delineate the difference between a real team and a fake team? (15:26)
  • How is the myth of Narcissus being played out in the boardroom? (19:47)
  • How does a person who's in that mindset start to make the shift into being even just 3% more comfortable with the unknown? (25:36)
  • What is the connection between marketing and empathy? (27:01)
  • How do we spot dysfunctional thinking? (40:46)
  • What do you mean by emotional integrity?  (44:37)
  • Why do you think some of these outdated leadership models are still happening? (48:55)

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

  • Why people and predictability aren’t compatible. (10:20)
  • The disproportionate effect of holding it in. (13:19)
  • The 3 Principles of building a safe and supportive network.  (17:51)
  • How dogmatism kills creativity. (21:29)
  • How to take the Empathy Challenge. (27:39)
  • The truly important layers within a team. (37:09)
  • The 4 Archetypal Dimensions of Mindset. (38:38)
  • How complementary twinning can resolve an impasse. (42:44)
  • Why 87% of startups risk failure. (49:31)
  • How you can be a part of the conversation. (53:52)

People Mentioned In This Episode: 

Dr. Howard Teich

Resources Mentioned In This Episode: 

Built on Trust – How to Gain Competitive Advantage in Any Organization by Thomas L. Steding

Real Teams Win: What Smart Leaders Need to Know Now About Achieving Peak Performance by Thomas L. Steding

Thirteeners: Why Only 13 Percent of Companies Successfully Execute Their Strategy--And How Yours Can Be One of Them by Daniel Prosser

Connect with Tom Steading:


Connect With Karlee: 




Messy and Magnificent is produced by the folks at Ginni Media 

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Ep. 115
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Ep. 114
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Building a Stronger Basket: How to plug up the leaks of what’s draining you and preserve more energy for the things you value.

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