How To Become A Better Leader With Brenda Batista-Mollohan

TTD 24 | Better Leader


How can you grow and become a better leader? Dr. Patty Ann Tublin welcomes Brenda Batista-Mollohan, the President & Founder of Inspiring Company Culture. Brenda integrates her engineering education into her leadership style. The first thing you need to determine is your strength. Lead according to your natural skills. Then be humble enough to delegate tasks you’re weak at to others. Help them flourish in what they excel in. If you want more tips on becoming a better leader, this episode’s for you. Tune in!

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How To Become A Better Leader With Brenda Batista-Mollohan

I have an incredible female entrepreneur for you in this episode, but before we go any further, make sure you like, comment, share, and most importantly, subscribe to this show. Let me tell you a little bit about our guest, although her work will speak for itself. This woman is an accomplished entrepreneur, leader and management consultant. She is an engineer, so yes, she is probably one of the smartest people in the room. She is also an attorney.

She has her BS in Industrial Systems Engineering from the Ohio State University. She has her JD from Capital University Law School. She’s also a licensed IP attorney. Let’s not have me continue. Buckle up because Brenda Batista is about to take us for a ride. Welcome, Brenda. Thank you so much for taking time out of your incredibly busy day to be with us.

Thank you. Dr. Patty, I should have you introduced me all the time because that was great.

I only read your accomplishments and I barely read a tenth of them. There’s so much more for you to share with the audience. Let’s make this conversational. Tell us who you are and how you got started. You can go from back to front, from front to back, or whatever works for you, Brenda.

One of the questions I always get is, “Why all the degrees?” because that’s crazy. One is because I love to study. One of my friends said, “That’s an understatement,” but that’s true.

Brenda, nobody ever changed the world that wasn’t a little crazy.

That’s a good thing. I always loved the question, “Am I crazy?” I don’t think you want to answer that, but if you ask me if I’m as equally as crazy as you, probably. Industrial systems engineering is all about efficiency, and how we process and get the best use of our resources. I love that study and of all the engineerings, to be honest, other engineers call us imaginary engineers because we had to take things like psychology and accounting.

We had a lot of fun classes that they didn’t get to take, “You guys are imaginary.” The benefit of that is it makes us really good at understanding how people adopt and adapt to systems. Can I use it in a way that’s effective for me? That’s how I developed my time and working in management consulting is like, “I love to problem solve.”

To your point, you can have the most efficient process in the world, but if you cannot get the people to adopt it, it doesn’t matter.

Depending on what industry you’re in, sometimes that’s very critical. I’ve worked a lot in my past years in healthcare, in hospitals, and talking about getting somebody to adapt, use a system and stick to it, it is critical that you follow the process. It’s built this way for safety reasons. I need you to disrupt your process a little bit, but how do I make you okay with that?

That’s the gist of what I love to do when it comes to business and process and all that other stuff, but along the way, I learned that the engineering answer is not always the best answer. Sorry, my fellow engineers, it is true. It is not black and white. It’s all that variability and that’s where management comes up.

Thankfully, there’s a right and wrong answer when you’re sitting on the bridge. Somebody did the calculation right. You do want that. You do appreciate that. When it comes to business, not so much. It depends. We’re always working in that gray area. The reason I got my Master’s in Health Administration is I want to understand the industry better, but then understand why are people making the decisions they do? There are nuances there.

I then went to law school because the way I look at it is, “What’s the best answer for you? What’s the problem you’re trying to solve? What’s the optimal solution for you? How do we work backward into that so that we can create something that’s data-driven and that shows that it’s not my intuition that is leading me there? It is factual.”

You reverse engineer it.

It’s true reverse engineering, but from a strategy standpoint working backward. That’s what I help people do now in their businesses work that backward.

As an Industrial Engineer, a health management professional, an attorney and a management consultant, what brings you the most joy and why? There are a lot of hats you wear.

It’s always helpful to have an extra set of eyes to go, “What about this?” 

What brings me the most joy is seeing somebody “get the solution.” Meaning, I can create the answer for you, but that’s not helpful. It’s the transfer of knowledge, like get it. I was working with somebody at the end of 2021, and we were talking about how to balance his workflow because his business was growing. He kept hiring a bunch of freelancers, which there is nothing wrong with that, but it was leaving some variability. He needs something stable.

Can you say that plebeian language? He was hiring freelancers, but he needed stability.

He needed stability because his business was still growing. The great thing about freelancers is you can get them when you need them, and get rid of them when you don’t. It’s nice that way and there’s no harm or no hurt feelings.

No harm, no foul, as your attorney says.

How do you make a decision about when is the right time to bring on more people, whether they’re permanent or not? That was the gist of his problem. I was able to say, “Show me the flow of input. Show me how many customers come to you? What are they asking for? It’s very variable what they were asking for. He was doing digital marketing services. I’m like, “Great.” You do projects, websites and all these other things. How many people take the screw in the light bulb? How many people does it take to get the work all the way to completion? If you’re going to continue this growth rate, what’s it going to look like and how many people do you need to have? What I did was a very basic block scheduling type of approach.

Can you tell our readers just in case people don’t know what block scheduling is?

Basically it’s saying, “I’m going to do an allocation.” Your allocation can be wrong or it could be right. If I ask you the question, “How long does it take you to create a design for a website?” “To do the design probably takes about two hours, including the time to talk to a client.” “Does it ever go over? How much?” “Probably two and a half hours.” “We’re going to give you a block of two and a half hours to get that work done.” We give them an allocation of block schedule. Then if we say, “How many of those design sessions do you have coming in every week?” and match our demand to our supply, “We only have so many two and a half hour blocks.”

Many people are experts at doing that particular thing because that can’t be just anybody who does it. Creating those building blocks of the work that he did in the projects when I did that was the biggest a-ha. I was like, “Wait.” His comment was like, “That’s so simple. Why didn’t I think of that?” Sometimes, it takes that outside perspective to look at what we do until, “I guess I could have thought of that if I would have thought of it a long time.”

You don’t know what you don’t know.

That extra set of eyes to go, “What about this?” “That will work.” To me, the greatest reward is when somebody does that. I love working with clients because that’s what happens. I could have done it myself. That’s not the a-ha. The a-ha is like, “I get it. It’s so simple and I can continue it.” I was like, “Yes, that’s the point.” I want to help you continue it and not just be a one-time show or, worse yet, never leave your organization. Some consultants will do that. They’ll come in and they’ll never leave.

Tell us how your journey transpired. What were the influences, the personal relationships that influenced you to get to where you are now? Also, I would imagine confidence is a big factor in being successful for you. There are not too many female engineers. I don’t even think there are that many female management consultants running around. They work for themselves. What inspired, encouraged, and motivated you, all that good stuff?

What encouraged me to go into engineering at the ripe old age of six was when I made this grand decision that I was going to be an engineer. My mom is originally from Panama and we were on vacation. My parents had a friend who worked for the Panama Canal Authority and he took us on a tour of the Panama Canal. When they visit Panama, most people do that not because it’s super exciting, but it’s an engineering marvel. It’s like, “How in the heck did they cut through the land?”

My husband used to sail supertankers through the Panama Canal, and that was very skilled because of the depth and all that stuff.

It is, and you have a special captain who works for the Authority who comes and takes your ship and passes it through, so we don’t have somebody get stuck. It happened in a different canal.


TTD 24 | Better Leader
Better Leader: Work backward into your optimal solution to create something that’s data-driven.


I’ll say that people aren’t necessarily aware of when that stuff happens and the implications, and we already have a supply chain situation. When ships get stuck in the Canal, it’s not helpful.

People love to go see it because they’re like, “How does this thing work?” It’s fun to see it. It’s not that you’re going to spend the whole day there. The guy works at the Authority, so my tour included going to the control tower. This was a long time ago, so security was not an issue. We crossed the lock and went into the control tower. I got to turn all the knobs to let a ship come through. It was so impactful at the ripe old age of six. I’m like, “Oh my gosh,” and I remember having this thought, “I want to do something that is here and helps people even after I’m gone.” I had no idea why this occurred to me at age of six, but I didn’t know the word legacy.

We’re also going to call you precocious.

I was like, “That’s what I want to do. I want to create this thing and I want something that exists past me. I want to help be helpful to people. What kind of person makes these things?” It was funny because people were like, “How many times are you going to need a Panama Canal?” You’re not going to build another one, but they did. They put in a second canal. A lesson learned is to never doubt. Never listen to the haters, so to speak.

Never say never.

That’s what encouraged me. That was an early influence. I later found out that civil engineering gets extremely boring.

You said to your mom or the person who let you do the locks that this is what you want to do. Did they say, “You need to be an engineer?”

It’s like, “The engineers built that,” because part of the tour is what profession it is that builds these. “I’m going to be an engineer.” I didn’t know what type. I later found out it’s civil because of the way it’s designed. It set me on a trajectory in school, “I need to study Math because I want to be an engineer.” What is the background type of stuff? I never had a, “You can’t do that because of your girl,” or anything like that. That was never spoken in my household. It was like, “If that’s what you want to do, go for it.” We are here to support you.

Did your mom work outside the home?

They work outside the home, but they are not professionals.

What about your community? Even if the family supports a woman to do things outside the good girl norm, many times, the messages come in from the outside, in the school system and the community. How was that for you?

Family-wise, the Latino community and family totally supports. The more educated, the better because nobody can take that away from you. It’s earned. Until you literally lose your mind, it’s yours to keep.

It’s funny you say that because I remember my father before he died and he said, “Get an education. No one can ever take that away from you.”

It’s a badge of honor, but it’s not a pushy badge. It’s not set as an expectation. If I said, “We’re here to support you,” but not a push, “You must be a doctor. You must be a lawyer.” There was never any of that. “You must be the thing that fulfills you the most.”

Nobody can take your education away from you. 

Was your dad American?

He is. He was in the military. That’s how they met.

I was going to say, “That was a military marriage, it sounds like.”

It was a perfect place to train to go to Vietnam. The forest is exactly the same, so they would send the guys down there and train them. They would be prepared to do jungle fights in Vietnam. Thankfully, he didn’t have to go, but that’s how they met. Back to the school question. High school was the first time I got pushed back because I was in advanced placement for Physics, Calculus and so forth.

Is it until high school?

Middle school was fine because the gifted programs were like, “We just want you to have a robust education. We’re going to do some Art History and make you well-rounded. You just can’t be Math and Science. We’re going to do things that’ll expand your horizons. We will teach you a little bit of German.” It was fine until my junior or senior year of high school. I remember having a substitute teacher who came in for our Physics professor and he didn’t teach anything. He was literally occupying space to keep us there.

There were only 6, 7 people in the class. Two females and the rest are guys. He said, “What are you going to be because you guys are almost out of here? You are going to college, I assume, because you’re in AP Physics.” Everybody was, “Yeah.” He said, “What are you going to study?” They all came back with some version of engineering.

My friend in the class was out that day. He said, “And you?” “Yeah, engineering.” His response was like, “Really? Are you sure about that because there aren’t that many women in it?” It didn’t bother me, but somebody else said, “She already has scholarships.” This became an issue. People seem to know everybody’s business, “She has a scholarship.” He said, “Of course, she does because they have to boost up their numbers. She’ll get in, but she’s not going to finish.”

Was saying their numbers because of the Latino background? Was it being a woman? “Pick which one?”

He didn’t know the Latino part because I’m mixed. Certain people have a stereotype. It’s like, “You’re not dark enough. You couldn’t be Latina.” I’m like, “Okay. You don’t know culture anyway.” His point was because, “She’ll get it and she’s not going to finish. She got a scholarship, but the money will go back to the university because she won’t.” I was like, “You keep saying she, but I’m here.” I was like, “I can’t believe you just said that.” It was the first time I heard somebody verbalize. They may have been thinking of it, but I heard them verbalize.

They are speaking to you in the third person like you’re not even there. Where did you go with that? You hear the scuffs of this teacher, who’s pretty much a loser because he’s not teaching. He’s basically babysitting. He’s coming in and other women, other people, and other minorities would have heard that and it would have changed the course of their careers. It makes me sad to even think of it, but it would have. We’ve heard that. What did you do with that?

When somebody gives me something like that, I was like, “How dare you?” but I couldn’t confront him because he was a teacher. You still have to maintain respect. Even though you didn’t give me any, I will maintain mine with you. I’m not going after you. You bring it home and say, “Can you believe this teacher says this and that?” “What teacher?” “A substitute teacher.” “Who cares what he says? What does he know anyway?” They shrug it off.

In a way, it becomes because you are like, “I’ll show you. I’m going to make it.” When I think back to the scholarship interview, it was slightly different. It was about my standard scores. “Your Math and Science scores are average, but your Language skills are super high. Don’t you want to do English instead or Literature or something else? Why Engineering? Your score is saying that it’s going to be a struggle. It’s not going to be something that’s in your natural spot.” I remember saying, “Why should I give you money to teach me something that’s in my natural spot? Shouldn’t I give you money to teach me something that makes me better? You want me to increase my skills.”

“Should I give you money to make it easy?”


TTD 24 | Better Leader
Better Leader: You still have to maintain respect.


You’re going to give me money that I’m going to return to you, but that’s beside the point, “It was transactions for my growth, wasn’t it?” “That’s a good point.”

Was this a man or a woman that was interviewing you?

It was a panel, so it was a mixture. I remember it was also during the midterm exam. For me, it was a little distracting, but we still got it done. I didn’t have pushback again until I was in college in my freshman year.

If your Math scores were average or less than, what was the process to apply for the scholarship? My understanding with a lot of these scholarships is you need a certain level to apply. You’ve already vetted so many steps along the way.

I’ll put it this way. My verbals were that much higher that it was pulling the average way up. My ACT and PSAT scores were very high on the verbal components of it. It was so high that they were like, “Maybe you should do something different.” Do you see what I’m saying? It was like, “This is our one weakness. Pick on the weakness instead of going with the strength.” My overall scores were high enough that they were like, “We need to talk to you.” My GPA and where I ranked in the class were high.

If you’re in the 1-percentile for English and you’re in the 99-percentile for Math.

It wasn’t quite that bad. It was more like 99th for language and the 5th.

I just reversed myself. I am not an engineer.

I did get to Engineering.

That’s a five-year degree, correct?

It can be done in four if you hustle. It did take me five years. It was Physics again. I was like, “This must be a thing with Physics.” We are going into the Physics lab to do the basics. Your car is going to roll down the ramp and so forth, but it was a lab, so you need a lab partner. I was the only female in the entire class, and no one wanted to partner with me.

What happened to the other woman in your class?

She was a year behind me. She was a year younger.

Did you pursue an engineering career as well?

You never know who you’re helping but take them one step forward.

No. She became a Math teacher, which is fantastic. She’s very good.

We need good Math teachers.

She’s super strong at that. I left the characters out, so you got to fill it in. Nobody wanted to work with me in the lab and I said, “I’ve got to have a lab partner. My matchbox car rolls just like everybody else’s does.”

My brothers had the Green Hornet.

We had to put a track together, do the loop-the-loop, and see how slow or fast they go so they wouldn’t fall off the top. This is basic physics, but the way it would work with me, I was like, “You have to have a partner because it’ll take me twice as long if I have to do everything by myself.” If I have to go do it alone, fine.

An older gentleman came over. I say older gentleman, relatively speaking, because I was seventeen, anybody at that age looks old. He was probably 31 because he was married. He came over and said, “I’m going to be your partner.” I could hear the guys talking, “I’m not partnering with her.” They would even get into groups of three so they wouldn’t have to partner with me, “Because she’s going to bring my grade point down.” It was my process like, “How do you know that?”

This gentleman came over and he said, “I will partner with you.” I had seen him in class and this guy is super sharp. He knows his stuff. I was so thankful that he said, “I’ll be your partner.” I learned a lot. I said, “Thank you. I appreciate it.” He goes, “I could not go home and tell my wife what I just observed because I’d be sleeping on the couch if I did nothing.” I was like, “Thank your wife and thank you for being a gentleman. I appreciate it.” We were fine.

I have to tell you this, Brenda. I’m working with women in coaching or consulting for entrepreneurs or corporate. I’m a big one for personal responsibility. We can’t wait for the Sheryl Sandbergs of the world to change the laws to get us paid what we’re worth. We’re in charge. When the women are like, “No. This person’s terrible and so on,” I said, “Find the executives and the person who has influence and makes decisions that have daughters, preferably, all daughters.” They will see you and find a way to have them identify with you as a daughter, so to speak. Even the biggest male chauvinist pig, if you can say that now, no one wants their daughter to not have the opportunity afforded them. Find a way. Shout out to that man now.

I tell people that story and I say, “You never know who you’re helping by taking one step forward.” He did such a great job of helping me get my career started.

Do you know where he is now?

I do not know.

You should look him up. You’ll find him. I’m sure he’s on LinkedIn or something. Hopefully, he’s still alive or his wife.

There was the pushback when you talked about community pushback. I wouldn’t call those people part of my community, though. They just happened to be people around. They are naysayers.

This man, was he your lab partner throughout your program or for that course?

TTD 24 | Better Leader
Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others

Just for that course. It was pretty much for every science course, Physics, Chemistry and strength of materials. My strength of materials, I found my community at that point because we were now in our major and we became friends because we had to work on projects all the time.

Is it metallurgy? What exactly is the strength of materials?

It’s metallurgy to a certain extent because of industrial systems engineering, besides the efficiency part, it’s die casting. I want to use the Acme’s anvil as an example, where you don’t want a plastic one, but if you want to have a plastic one, how strong should it be? What mixtures should you use and the design to make it as strong as possible? We did have real engineering classes. We had to take that class.

As someone who has a Doctorate in Psychology, I hear all the soft skills jokes about psychology, but it’s your EQ. Your IQ gets you hired and your EQ gets you promoted.

My EQ has evolved from just experience but then also nurturing. That I’m a better listener and I want your opinion. I want you to be part of the solution. When you asked me what brings me joy, it’s like, “When you adopt and adapt, when I show you how.” You’re like, “I got it. Yes.” That makes me happy because I know I’ve done a good job explaining it, but it also means something to you. It’s incorporated into what you do and it might be a highly technical engineering thing that I could show you how to do, but I’m not going to name it that because I don’t want to create that block.

Again, they don’t own it. You own it and then you don’t get the buy-in. Also, you’re just checking the box. You’re not inspiring.

In order to lead people, you have to be inspiring because you want to be the person that somebody else wants to follow, “Who do I want to work with? Who doesn’t want to work for?” The examples I shared with you so far formed to get me to where I am now and what I focus on.

I’m going a little off the rails, but that’s me. I love to color outside the lines. Let’s have a conversation about leadership because the hot off the press concept of leadership is not to have my understanding, not to have people work for you or with you or to motivate you. This is from Stephen M. R. Covey’s book, Trust & Inspire. It’s to have them trust you so that you can inspire them to unlock their own potential. When you think about it from a generational perspective, anyone that works with the younger crowd will tell you they’re not motivated by money. They want to be part of something greater than themselves. They want to have an impact on the world in a way that they see, not the way you or I see it.

The only way to do that is to inspire them. I’m going to say it. As a female engineer, I suspect it’s easier for you to not have what they refer to as the command and control because, historically, we haven’t had that much. I do think our collective experience as a person influenced our leadership style. I truly do. That’s a problem with a lot of leadership and the lack thereof in the world and in companies.

There’s not a whole hell of a lot of role models out there from which to learn from. Being on the inside but on the outside looking in from the female perspective, did that play a role? Are you like, “I don’t want to go there, I’m not doing the female thing?” What’s your take on that as a leader and someone that’s so successful, clearly so bright and cares about people?

I appreciate that because I want people to feel that. When somebody works with me in whatever capacity, I want them to feel that I truly care for them and help them unlock and unleash their capacity. In order to do that, I have to understand what it is. I have to get into your, “What do you want? What excites you? What makes you grow?” It’s not about what I want. It’s what you want and let’s align them. It’s like Swiss cheese to a certain extent. Let’s align the holes in our Swiss cheese so that we can put a string in there and hang it up for later, but that’s the focus.

For me, it was this collection of once I’m in a position, I will never make somebody feel that they’re not valued here. I will never make somebody feel like you’re bringing the team down because you’re on the team because you’re just in the room. I expect you to have a certain skillset and be honest about what that is, but I am not going to make you, because you’re female or certainly I wouldn’t do because you’re female, be twice as good as a guy. I know that people are like, “That not true. Yes, it is.”

We’re not given the benefit of the doubt. If we make a mistake, “See? I told you.”

If you let it, it’ll feed into your own.

A great leader has humility. 

It blows my mind that your anatomy has anything to do with your intelligence and potential capacity. It literally blows my mind.

Also, add to that being somebody of a minority race, Latina, Black, Asian or whatever the case may be, “What are you doing here? Why are you here?” I heard somebody say, “I would hire more people of color if I could find some qualified ones.”

They don’t know how to look.

The fact that you said, “If there were qualified ones,” tells me we have some work to do. You didn’t want to hire me for that part because there’s a lot to dig out there.

I have to piggyback on that, Brenda. In business, we know that in HR, communication and marketing, the majority are female as opposed to engineering. I came across a company that was looking for a new CMO. They hired a White man. Why? They couldn’t find a qualified woman. That is impossible. It blows my mind.

It’s amazing that even to this day, there are still boy’s clubs. Are they as strong? I think it’s more subtle. It’s the part that I think is probably even more worrisome. Is it subtle? Do you know that’s a boys club type of mentality? Maybe they don’t.

It’s the unconscious bias. Go back to what you were saying about being a leader though and how that works for you and what you bring to that as an engineer. People think of engineering as you don’t fit the round peg into the square hole.

You know what’s going to work, what’s not, and your tolerances.

I can imagine the work you do and what separates you from the crowd because, in fairness, you can’t be a yin-yang and engineer. You’ve got to be smart. I’m going to piss off all the attorneys in the world. You have to know how to read, to be an attorney.

You have to learn how to read with perspective as an attorney. What am I after?

There’s a whole spectrum there. Like in teaching, there are some brilliant, talented teachers and not so much. You have to have some type of intellectual capacity to be an engineer. Most engineers have some type of intellectual gift. What is it about your leadership that has made you rise to the top? Chances are they’re smarter engineers.

It’s a part of being humble and having humility that I think a great leader has. It’s like, “There’s always somebody who can do better than I can. If I’m really good, I’ll find that person and put them in the room with me so that we make a great team,” and not be afraid of what they would bring.

That’s a sign of confidence because a good leader brings people who are smarter than them into the room. If you’re threatened by that, not so much.

As an engineer, I’ve learned that I’m strategy-focused about my leadership style. I love to work on strategy. I will get to the detail if you force me, which is the opposite of the engineer. The engineer is always on the detail and always about preciseness. They’re like, “It doesn’t always have to be so precise.” I’d rather talk about the future and what does it look like? What do we want it to be?


TTD 24 | Better Leader
Better Leader: A female leader is nurturing.


Once I had that realization a little later in my career, I was like, “That explains a lot. I shouldn’t always be the person doing the analysis. I should be the person asking the question. How do I get myself in the position so I can be the person asking good questions? I can then help fill in. What does that look like? What does the analysis look like so we can support it?

We say that’s working on your business in the entrepreneurial world, not in your business. How did you have that realization? What was that a-ha moment?

I did a leadership assessment, a tool.

What did you use?

It’s called the 5 Voices. I took it because the corporation I was part of, hired the company to bring in and look at our sales team.

Are you a trainer of it now?

I took it and I was like, “It’s going to be another one of those,” but I love taking assessments. It’s a little mini-test. I was like, “How did I score?” I love my data. That’s never going to change, but it was a great insight. It was such a big a-ha because if I had known that early in my career, I would have taken different steps with my career. I would have asked different questions, but be that as it may, I found out when I did.

Are you saying you might not have been an engineer?

Engineering is the greatest training for whatever profession you end up in, or have a little bit of engineering, a little taste. I wouldn’t have changed that. I would have changed the positions and/or companies I worked for. I would have better insight to know what I was looking for as a job. I would have established a career early on. There was more matched to my strengths and about unlocking my own potential.

Part of that is knowing yourself and to lead yourself. I’m like, “I have to lead myself.” That was the first discovery part of how do I become a better leader but then also knowing that my style is not because of the call it the degrees list that necessarily scares people, but there’s a presumption that goes with that laundry list, good and bad.

If you are reporting to me, I learned that that makes a difference in how you perceive me. There are certain things I have to work on to make people feel more comfortable. It’s like, “She already figured out the answer. Why should I tell her anything?” It’s because I want your input. I want to know what you’re thinking because if I understand your thinking pattern, it gives me insights and access to ask you a question about what motivates you. What do you want to work on? This part seems to be like pulling teeth. It shouldn’t feel that rough. It feels rough for you. Let’s change it.

You don’t want the answer as much as you want to understand the process that got them there.

So that I can help them start asking questions differently and not why do I always get this result? First of all, do you like the result? Yes. Then keep doing what you’re doing. Let’s not mess with it. It’s you like it, you love it. If you don’t like the result, now let’s talk about what can we do differently? It’s a different conversation. Instead of, “I hate this,” and then we get into that mindset. When people leave me or the organization or whatever, the job you’re leaving because you hate, you don’t replace it for another job that pays you more that you will hate in nine weeks or something.

It is what people do in intimate relationships and personal relationships if they don’t find out what’s going on. They get divorced from one spouse because they can’t stand the certain personality. Lo and behold, they married the same one, but it just doesn’t become evident 1 year or 2 years later.

Take time to be grateful for your natural skill. 

I use the same analogy, “The honeymoon period is over now.” What you thought was the grass is greener, you find out it’s actually AstroTurf. It was the reason it was green. When you first look over, you go, “That looks good,” and you jump.

I think that’s what we’re experiencing now with the whole Great Resignation, although that’s a whole other conversation. Sometimes the grass is greener because people water it. They nurture it.

That’s the part that a female leader brings is a portion of nurturing. How are you and how do you feel about your position? Do you really want to be here? They make it a safe spot to say, “I don’t want to be here if the answer’s no.” It’s okay to have that conversation, honestly, so I can help you find the next best spot for you. If it’s not with me, that’s all right. If it is with me, I’d love to keep you, but I’m not going to throw the golden handcuffs of weird off-the-cuff kind of benefits like an ice cream machine in the office space, assuming you’re in an office space.

It’s a lot of money for a miserable life. I heard an expression not that long ago that I’ve been using a lot. When you have to let somebody go, for whatever reason, even if they come to you and they’re embarrassed or upset, they’re fearful to tell you or anxious, it’s something along the lines of, “Let me provide you with a gracious exit so that you can find your greatness.”

I like the adding part because I said the beginning parts to people is we help you exit gracefully or there’s nothing bad about exiting. It’s not a bad thing to happen. Too many times, we take it that way. It’s like, “No. If it helps you get to your next level, that’s what I want.”

One of the concepts of Dan Sullivan, one of the co-founders of Strategic Coach, talks about unique ability. It’s tapping into someone’s unique ability, and because it’s easy for them, they’re good at it. It brings them joy. Although sometimes people do things that are not a unique ability, most people like to do things they’re good at. Does that play into your leadership style at all? Is that part of what you’re searching for when you ask your questions?

It is and it does. I tell people this is. There’s no such thing as work-life balance. They’re not supposed to be balanced. It’s supposed to be the 70% that brings you joy that you’re good at and love doing. It energizes you. What energizes you? What drains you? Let’s get at the heart of that to understand it because when reforming a team, I now have to find somebody who’s 70 is your 30. Now, I create this nice symbiotic relationship. It may not be what I hired you for and here’s the thing about when we hire you for skillset. I’ve hired you to do just this and then we go in with blinders on. “I just do this.”

It’s not my job.

In order to unlock your potential, what would you like your job to be? They come back with, “I want to be an executive.” We have a long way or a short way. It depends on where you are on the journey, but let’s figure out how to get you there. What do you think? Why do you want the executive job? What interests you about that? What kind of attributes excites you, energize you and draw you to it? It’s because one, we have to get you to experience this so you can get recognized for that, but then two, to make sure it’s a match because maybe you like it because it sounds glamorous. Sure it sounds glamorous, but it’s an as huge headache. Anybody who’s in the position says that.

I’m going to say there is nothing glamourous in that if you are not compensated well. It’s the real answer for most people, but as you know, managing people and leading people is quite difficult.

I will then say, “Now, we’re going to find the 30%. I’m going to ask you a question about why you keep doing that.” This is when it causes the greatest heartburn when we get out of sync. It’s like, “I’m spending 90% of my time in this negative, the stuff that drains me. I hate it.” “Great.” Let’s talk about that because we need to find out what we can delegate. This is one that people have a hard time with, “I don’t have authority to delegate.” You actually do, if you think about it.

It’s to delegate appropriately with accountability, right?

Correct, but also remember that you’re probably giving somebody a gift in your delegation. This one, for me, is one I constantly have to work on because I’m like, “I hate doing that. I wouldn’t ask somebody to do that.”

You are also telling them that you have the confidence that they can do it and grow into it.


TTD 24 | Better Leader
Better Leader: Permit yourself to delegate.


It’s that, and that’s something they actually enjoy. I say it’s a gift because it’s their 70%. Most people love to help other people. “Let me help you out with that.” “That’d be awesome.” Until we have that conversation or give ourselves permission to delegate, we will never know. We’re denying them a chance to do the gift. “I’d love to do that for you. I’d be happy to do it.” I’m good at it, by the way. It’s that kind of recognition. The other thing is, “Can we automate any of it?”

The simple one is like bill payments. You can automate it and forget about it. You can check it every once in a while because even with automation, you got to check it once in a while. Do that or do you actually need to be doing it? Can we eliminate it? Those are the greatest fines like, “Why do you do that?” “I don’t know. I’ve always done it.” “Why are you always doing it? What is it adding because you just told me it drains you?” It’s finding that. We get that down. Now, 30% drain to the 30%. I’ve had somebody ask me, “I should be maximizing the energy to 90%.” I said no because then you’re going to be like my puppy. He’s excited about everything. Everything is joyous and then there’s no thought process.

What you are describing is there’s no intentionality with that.

Everything is happenstance. When all outcomes are good, that’s great, but if it’s happenstance, accidental and that’s the other thing about leadership, I believe it should be intentional and not by accident. Once you start to get into the, “I understand my 70/30. I understand yours,” if you’re part of the team. Now, we can start creating something and then I’m purposeful because I know what kind of leader I am. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know my tendencies. I know when I’m stressed out, I’ll do this and that. “That could be bad. How do I get past things?”

Also, what happens when you create a team is you’re accessing the best of what you have access to in their unique ability. I coach and consult with tax firms, attorneys, app companies, and a lot of tech. I’m lucky I know how to turn my computer on, but I don’t need to know that. I need to know the relationship skills, the communication skills and the emotional intelligence. They need to know what they do and it’s the perfect pair. Otherwise, why would they need you if they already know what you know? We were chatting where we assumed people know what we know. They don’t.

We take it for granted because it’s our natural skill.

It energizes us.

We just do it and people are like, “First of all, how did you do that so fast? Second, what did you just do?” Because it went from 0 to 60 in a split second. People want to understand it if you break it down and slow it down. That’s the key to entrepreneurship. When you, one, take time to be grateful for your natural skill and ability and go, “That is something that a lot of people don’t know how to do. How can I break it down into frameworks that I can show others how to do?” That is management consulting too. How do I break it down so others can take it in chunk size? They can chunkify, use, and apply it to what they do.

You went into the space earlier. I want to get back to that energy. People think, “An engineer is a serious and hard science,” even though you’re an industrial engineer and you did take that fluff psychology, you are an engineer nonetheless. You did mention energy and I know early on in my career, I was not so much of an energy person. I’m an East Coaster, but especially with neuroscience and functional MRIs, we can now show you no energy type of thing. Talk a little bit about how that impacts your work as a leader.

You said, “If 70% of what you do is spent doing what you love to do, it energizes you. Let me put it this way. You’re in the room and somebody walks in. If that person is filled with energy, the party starts. They elevate the room. Debbie Downer walks in and you’re like, “I’m not going to talk to her, or I’m going to need a nap in the middle of the conversation.” How do you use that in the engineering and the very serious world of change management consulting that you do?

First of all, I call it reading the room. If I’m in there to consult with you, I can feel that energy, the Debbie Downer, the vampire that sucks all the energy.

They are energy vampires.

As well as the person that you just came in and everybody’s like, “Bill, what’s going on? What have you got happening?” To balance it out, to see how’s it going and how people respond to those polar opposites. Due to the super energized person, people are like, “What are they on?” They roll their eyes.

It’s unproductive. It’s unchanneled.

Articulate negativity in a way that helps solve the problem.

If it’s that or how are people responding to that positivity as well as the negativity and that’s the toxicity of the group because they’re starting to pull people into the gossip and all that. “Can you believe he did this and she did that?” “This product will never work.” The negativity sets off what we can accomplish because I need to understand that to get at the heart of how we’re communicating, the energized communication is, “We realize this is not perfect. We’re going to tell you straight out that it’s not, but let’s talk through that.” Invite everybody into the conversation, even the naysayers.

It’s because their manifesting, their naysaying is a worry that they are not articulating well. Let’s talk about communication. “How do I help you articulate that negativity in a way that helps us solve for it to get past it?” It’s not that everything is going to be perfect, but the person would have the energy, though, it’s not dominant, “I said, so therefore it is.” That’s not what I mean by that type of energy because you have people who will talk through the entire meeting and the rest of the people are like, “Why did we bother to show up?” Because clearly, this could have been an email or just a video. They could videotape themselves and just send it out and make us watch it. It’s not a lecture. That’s not the case.

I call that colloquially. To your point, Brenda, the naysayer is, especially with change, you always want to have the objection verbalized that perhaps people won’t. You’ve got the naysayer. They’ll verbalize the objection and then the person that’s like the squirrel on crack cocaine, you need to find a way to say, “Hold on.” As a good leader, you can channel that energy and keep them in their lane and let them go deep in that lane. One is not bringing everybody down and the other one is not monopolizing.

To balance and give people time to get to the end of their expression. This is one that, in meetings, I get quite a bit of pushback. It’s like, “Why did you let that go so long?” It’s because that person wasn’t done expressing yet. They had an idea that took them either longer than the audience would have liked for that particular whatever to get out or they just needed to say, but it wasn’t done and it wasn’t a two-sentence-type of thing.

What if they are going too long and you really do need to truncate like, “We don’t need to hear the color of the couch in the room when you sat down in the chair?” How do you manage that?

That’s when the lawyer hat comes out and then again, to the redirects. We’ll get redirected but let me ask a different question or I’ll try to move the conversation around.

Will you interrupt?


You have to sometimes.

“This is great conversation, but we need to move on.”

I am friends with a woman who is one of the greatest facilitators and moderators in the world. She travels around the world, facilitating high-level panels. I asked her about that during the panel discussion. She said, “You validate and then move on.” She said, “I would say, Brenda, that is an awesome point. Dr. Patty, what do you think?” Validate and direct to another specific because I said, “Okay.” I know I’ve done something like that, but I don’t think I would say, “Who else?” Validate what they’re saying.

You’re interrupting. They feel good. They don’t even know that you interrupted them and then asked somebody else their thoughts. We have a little bit more time. I know I’m going over, which I do all the time, so thank you. I have two questions, if I may. What is the one most important thing you learned about life that you want everybody to know? You’ve learned a lot.

I’m going to have to go back and say it’s, “Know your leadership style, even if you don’t have a leadership title.” That was such an a-ha and it also translates into family and that sort of thing because you learn about your communication style. What makes you effective? What makes you good at influence and/or bad? What’s detracting from your ability to influence? Understand your leadership style and it’s not about the title. Once I knew that and had that huge a-ha, I was like, “I’m an engineer who focuses on details, but my natural skillset isn’t a strategy. I need to shift.”

It was a huge shift for me. I was like, “Oh my gosh.” I think anything that gives you insight into your style and not to over-analyze yourself and go, “I’m horrible because.” That’s not what I mean. It’s to understand yourself better and get that EQ for yourself.


TTD 24 | Better Leader
Better Leader: Invite everybody into the conversation, even the naysayers.


It’s self-awareness. What is the last book you’ve re-read?

It’s Fix This Next by Mike Michalowicz. I’ve re-read that.

What’s that about?

It’s about a business hierarchy of needs. It’s like you take Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and apply it to business. It gives you a way to pinpoint what you should be working on in your business next. As business owners, we have a tendency to wander around putting out fires. Depending on what’s on fire now, that’s what we focus on.

We get to the end of the quarter and go, “What the heck happened to my strategic objective?” It’s still there, but my starting point or my growth over to that is still down here. What happened? I got totally, totally lost on a weird journey. It’s about how to create focus and structure into that. Get that effectively and efficiently.

How may people find out about you, Brenda? Work with you, reach out to you or follow you in a way that you’d like.

I am primarily active on LinkedIn. If you just look me up as Brenda Batista-Mollohan on LinkedIn, it’s a great way to reach out to me. If you just want to stalk me, that’s fine.

Do you accept friend invites from people that you don’t know personally?

I do. If you mentioned that you heard me here on the show, it’d be great. It was like, “That’s great. Let’s make the connection.” You can email me at [email protected]. That works too. I love to chat when folks want to follow up on different things they’ve heard or just talk about, “Tell me about that 70/30. How many reached up to 70? Either way works.”

You are such a giver. That concludes this episode. As promised, Brenda Batista did not disappoint. Please make sure you like, comment, share, and most importantly, subscribe to this show. Until next time. See you later.


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About Brenda Batista-Mollohan

Brenda is an accomplished entrepreneur, leader and management consultant. Over the past 25 years she has been at the helm of many high performing teams dedicated to a performance improvement. She is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Management Professional and 5 Voices System Trainer.

She is known for creating company culture that inspires employees to bring their best and embrace their leadership prowess. She provides just the right balance of challenge to grow with support to encourage failures.

Her accomplishments reflect her passion for bringing systems engineering solutions to individual and business problems. Over the years Brenda has managed complex, multi-million dollar client accounts, created computer simulations to predict business performance, and established scalable consulting methodology for start-ups and established businesses.

Brenda holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Systems Engineering and Master of Health Administration from the Ohio State University; Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School. She is a licensed attorney in Ohio and with the Patent & Trademark Office.

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