In this episode, Heather speaks with John Haynes III, Director of Corporate HR, Americas at Johnson Controls, about his leadership style, a time when he was not his best self and some tips for self-reflection. This is an engaging conversation around communication techniques and strategies for those looking for insights.

Key takeaways:

  • Do the mirror work to be self-reflective.
  • Get feedback on your leadership style from different people.
  • Don’t stop experimenting with solutions.
  • Take care of yourself first.
  • Think of your relationship with your people as an equal energy exchange.
  • We can’t use one communication strategy for everyone. Have more to choose from.

John Haynes III is a seasoned HR professional. He possesses 19+ years of experience as an accomplished Human Capital practitioner and generalist with national, international expertise spanning across different HR management areas. He demonstrated success across vital global-influencing industries and has served small, medium and large companies. He is an expert in developing and instituting strategies to drive and manage through rapid growth, business evolution, and resurgence.

Leaders of Leaders

I think everything rises and falls on leadership. When you don’t have it, the organization won’t grow, although it might be successful on some aspects. Also, you’re not engaging with the people that need to actually stay and help you.

When I was younger, I was always the kid who solves people’s problems and a go-to for folks to get advice. At that time, I just married who I was as a kid with what I wanted to do and what I was led to do professionally. From that point on, more leaders started to come to me to lead them. Now, I am known as the “Leader of Leaders,” and the “Visionary to visionaries” all because I went with how my body, mind and spirit are made with respect to people. I cannot tell you how to wire a circuit at all but I can tell you how people are wired.

Had I not gone through what I would call a tumultuous time, a time when I really thought I was lost, I wouldn't be here today. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

A Second Position

I had to figure out a totally different way to appeal and reach unto the leaders I was supporting. What was essential for me to discover was the need to back up and develop more trust with leaders while being authentic from the beginning.

I needed to develop that trust with leaders so that they know where I was coming from, are aware of my communication style and realize there’s no threat of me making decisions for them as a leader. I just had to figure out a different approach.

I realized through other incidents in my life that I had to take a second position in order to reach other leaders from where they were. That takes a level of humility and gratefulness to influence them and leverage the opportunity. I had to scale myself back a bit.

I had to be willing to give some coaching myself. I have to open myself up and say, “Hey, I know what I am doing as a leader, as a coach, and as an HR professional, but let me seek some wise counsel about how to reach these people.”

It takes a certain level of maturity not to drink your own Kool Aid in an arrogant way. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

A Child’s Mind

I don’t disengage. I reengage at a higher level, and I don’t stop knocking on that person’s door. I continue to ask them for wise counsel and advice. I ask them about the world in which they live and begin to learn, sit back, listen and wait for the opportunity to exchange. 

When you ask for feedback about what to do differently from people who may be are perceived enemies or challenges in the organization, still ask for notes from them because even if they tell you something that seems totally off-base, incorrect and you know you would not do, there are some golden nuggets you could find there to attach and implement in your life and in your leadership style to reach them and others.

I have to come to the table with the eyes and the mind of a child. Be an empty cup, ready to be filled with something new. One thing that leaders wrongfully perceive is that acting at a greater level of humility doesn’t mean you’re soft or you’re lost. It only means that you’re really working to build the relationship up to meet other leaders from where they are.


Listening is a key factor in communication. People looking for a listener can tell when others aren't listening. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

As a leader, you develop multiple methodologies to reach people. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet

Do the mirror work. Be self-reflective. #leadershipwithheart Click To Tweet


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