Conversations about Getting Real: Unlock Authentic Leadership through Listening and Curiosity

What are the triggers that make you boiling mad? Do you notice what happens to you and the voices in your head when you feel like someone doesn’t understand you or does something “against” you? Do you want people to see and appreciate you for who you really are?  

And how do we authentically become fully aware of what we deeply want and need so that we can communicate this clearly?

Mette Johansson (MBA, CSP, PCC) is a highly awarded author, speaker, and consultant. She worked in leadership roles for multinational corporations for 15 years before founding MetaMind, a training consultancy providing consulting and learning programs in the people side of leadership skills. She is the author of three Amazon bestsellers; “How to Make Yourself Promotable”, “7 Skills to Help You Climb the Career Ladder”, “MyVoice”, as well as the co-author and ideator of “Unleash Your Voice”, “Powerful Public Speaking for Every Woman”.

Mette is also the founder and relentless driver of the non-profit KeyNote – Women Speakers’ directory, with a mission to bring diversity to speaking stages around the world. Mette herself has spoken internationally on Authentic, Inspirational, and Inclusive Leadership at a wide variety of global conferences, corporations, and business schools. Her clients include Citibank, Airbnb, Microsoft, UPS, Pfizer, Capitaland, and many more. Having lived in 10 countries outside her birthplace, Denmark, Mette is a global citizen who speaks fluently in four languages and currently calls Singapore home. 

In this episode, Mette explains that when we open our curiosity switch, we elicit stories from people and engage in a discovery conversation with them which helps us get to know each other better and interact with them more. Listening is not about being able to speak perfectly but about being understood. You don’t have to fit in to be your authentic self, you just listen to yourself and just be you.

“Asking questions is so important…when you truly want to hear what’s going on and to understand what’s going on.” – Mette Johansson

Listening SUPERPOWER Notes:

00:26 – The first time Mette noticed the power of listening.

01:44 – From a shy girl to a professional speaker: “I wanted this change; I wanted to be more confident.”

03:39 – What is authentic leadership as it relates to Mette’s own journey: “Authentic leadership is very much about living according to your values.” 

07:09 – How her core value of empowerment plays into her designed life: “I want to empower others to be the best versions of themselves.”

08:57 – Who helped her listen to herself and make a change?

11:45 – What she is teaching her younger self with the lessons she learned now.

13:32 – How does asking questions calm down those triggers in you?

19:29 – What it means to turn on your “people curiosity switch”: “You simply say, I’m going to discover something interesting about at least one person in this room today.”

22:07 – People’s curiosity as a neutralizer: “You can simply be that curious mind and not come in there with any preconceived notion of what the situation has to be or what that person has to be.”

23:39 – Tips on how to listen to a larger audience and an online crowd: “It is a lot about observing the body language and it’s also about asking questions.” 

26:32 – How your voice influences the quality of listening. 

27:48 – Another good tip that helps your voice: Reading to young children at night. It’s good practice for having a much more variety of voices.”

30:00 – What is “KeyNote Women Speakers” all about?

34:51 – Advice to women with English as their second language: The key is to ensure that you are understood.

Key Takeaways:

“…traveling on my own…gave me confidence. When I could do things in different countries where I barely spoke the language, of course, I could also do these things at home.” Mette Johansson

“If you want to be an authentic leader, if you want to be authentic, feel authentic, and be perceived as authentic, the first thing is…listening to yourself. Ask yourself questions that will help you discover what is of core importance to you, your personal core values.” Mette Johansson

Being you is so much more energy creating; it gives you energy rather than draining you when you’re trying to fit in.” Mette Johansson

“When you’re asking questions to the audience, you might not wait for the audience to answer every single time. But simply by asking questions, people tend to react much more.” Mette Johansson


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