Today I’m talking to you about becoming an anchored leader. Before you decide to skip this episode because you think it doesn’t apply to you – you’re not a boss or a CEO, you’re not in a senior management position – know that I’m actually directly talking to you. Anchored leadership is not about having a title. It’s the ability to lead from wherever you are in whatever situation you find yourself in.

I have three example stories about how anchored leadership works and what it looks like in everyday life. These are not stories from Fortune 500 companies or about high-level executives, these are stories taken from everyday life situations. Anchored leadership is about finding a connection with other people, finding that true positive community, and bridging the reality of the situation with what you want the experience to become. That’s what my stories demonstrate. Anyone can be an anchored leader.

I’ll answer your questions about how to approach that connected leadership mindset. What if you’re not naturally an empathic person who acts with a high EQ? Anchored leadership is a skill and anyone can learn it. This is a critical skill we’re not taught in school or in our training, but it’s one that will serve us in every area of our career and life.

Key Moments

02:53 Differentiating anchored leadership from negative manipulation

10:58 Anchored leadership from a civilian in a car accident situation

20:23 Anchored leadership isn’t about titles and a 15-year-old hockey player proves it

  • It’s important to understand your own feelings in a situation so you can assess those around you
  • What tone and feeling do you want everyone to share in the situation at hand? 
  • Find a support group to help with unpacking and learning communication skills


Resources discussed in this episode:

  • Anchored Leadership Academy
  • Remember, podcast listeners can get into Anchored Leadership Academy on an early bird rate for the first 20 people to register. 40% off with coupon code ANCHOREDVIP40 at check out.


Contact Kari Lotzien | Be the Anchor: 



Kari Lotzien: [00:00:01] Welcome to Be the Anchor, the podcast. I’m your host, business and leadership coach, Kari Lotzien. When the seas of life get stormy, and they always will, it is not up to us to captain anyone else’s ship or to try to calm the waters of the ocean. It’s up to us to set our own destination for what we really want, and to learn how to navigate those waves of life together while finding that place of security and stability with others. I call this being an anchor. If you are a dreamer, a visionary, an entrepreneur, whether you have an idea, big or small, that you think might just make the world a little bit better, kinder, gentler place, you are in the right spot, my friend. We are going to talk about everything from big ideas to mindset and strategy, and sometimes just how to get through the day. I don’t want you to miss an episode, so be sure to follow and subscribe to the podcast so that we can stay connected and keep doing this journey of life together. Thanks so much!

Kari Lotzien: [00:01:10] Hello my friends, I’m so glad you’re here. Today I want to talk about anchored leadership. Now, if the first thought that comes to mind is, I don’t think this episode applies to me, I’m not in management, I’m not a boss or a CEO, I am not in a senior level position, I am talking to you. Being an anchored leader is not about having a title. It is not about being the boss, the CEO, the coach, or the person in the most senior-level position. Anchored leadership is also not about having a specific set of education or skills in management or leadership. Anchored leadership is the ability to lead from wherever you are, and I want to highlight that if you are in an entry-level position in your company, if you’re in your early 20s just starting out, or you’re in a company that maybe you’ve been there for a while, but you’re not in management, you’re not in a position of being responsible for others or a team, this episode is still for you. What anchored leadership is, is simply the ability to recognize that your actions, your behavior, the way that you connect with other people has an impact on the way that they feel and the way that they act. And as an anchored leader, we are using this skill of reading other people, assessing ourselves, knowing how we show up, knowing our subtle cues, and using them intentionally for good.

Kari Lotzien: [00:02:53] Okay, I want to address one key point, because you might be thinking right now that you have dealt with people who are aware of the impact they have on others, and they use things like threatening, manipulation, anger, frustration to influence others. I think we have all had a boss or a leader or a coach that makes you feel less than. Anchored leadership is about doing this in a place that leads us forward, and it does it from a place of connection and security and stability. The underlying theme to anchored leadership is the assumption that people are good. That we want to be in community, that we believe that there is something good that can come out of our interactions with each other. If you are using things like threatening, shame, anger or tension to influence how people perform, and they do it based out of fear that they’ll lose their job, fear of embarrassment, fear of being ashamed, that is not anchored leadership. I want to be really clear that we define the difference, anchored leadership is based from the feeling of connection that we are in this together, and it is from a place of safety, stability and connection, not a place of threatening, loss or fear.

Kari Lotzien: [00:04:31] Anchored leaders are incredible in every role in your company. If you are on a volunteer board, and whether you’ve been there for a long time or you’ve just started, using these skills will have an impact. If you are a server or in any sort of customer service position, anchored leadership will change the way that you experience the amount of joy that you feel in your position, and the amount of influence that you recognize that you have in creating your own experience. Now, this is not about persuasion or manipulation. It’s not about coercing. This is about connection. It’s about feeling this sense of true community and connection with other people. It’s a combination of recognizing and empathizing with others, whether that be your client, your team, your kids, and recognizing what you want, what you want the experience to be, what you want the story to be, and then being able to create a bridge between those two with intentionality. Let me give you an example of what this would look like. Now, every example that I’m going to share with you today is not going to be of people who are Fortune 500 company owners. It’s not about people who are building seven and eight-figure businesses. It’s not from people who hold titles of leadership. And I did that intentionally because I really want you to connect with this idea no matter where you’re at.

Kari Lotzien: [00:06:16] An experience I think a lot of us have. Being in a restaurant and being really irritated with the service. So maybe your food is taking an exceptionally long time to come out and things just aren’t coming together like you hoped they would. Maybe your meal was cold. Maybe you didn’t get the seat or the table that you wanted. Okay, so whatever it is, you’re in a restaurant and you’re just feeling that experience. But have you had the opportunity to experience an anchored leader who’s in a serving position? Now, what does this look like? It’s that person who can create a story, who comes to you, acknowledges I am so sorry your food is running late, my gosh, what can I do for you? And they might do things like strike up a conversation about how your day is going, and maybe they take up 3 or 4 minutes of that wait time in just listening and maybe joking with you, maybe talking about a hockey game or talking about the weather, or they’re talking about something that interests you. Maybe they’re asking how your day went or if you have plans for the weekend. They’re creating a connection and an experience that is guiding you towards talking about something that makes you feel lighter, makes you feel more joyful. I’m just going to acknowledge it’s hard to then flip that and go back to feeling angry and irritated and maybe complaining about how awful the service is and how long you’ve waited. This person might give you a glimpse into what’s happening in the back. So maybe they say, Oh my goodness, I’m so sorry for the wait, we had, you know, two members of our team call in sick unexpectedly today, and so therefore we’ve got a lot of new people in the kitchen. Man, they’re doing their best but I’ll get that out to you as soon as I can. Can I get you a refill on your drink? They’re not making excuses for what’s happening in the back, but what they’re doing is they’re inviting you into the story. They’re inviting you into this team experience to say, you know, I know, I can guess that you’re a naturally good person. And if you understood what was going on back there and that they are really good people trying their best, but maybe we’re busier than we expected to be or whatever that is, this server has the ability to change your story.

Kari Lotzien: [00:08:47] And instead of you leaving that evening with the feeling that your service was terrible, you felt like you paid too much for what you got and it just was not enjoyable, maybe your story changes to, Yeah, you know what, the food took a long time, but our server was just really personable, and we were able to kind of strike up a conversation. Yeah, and from what I hear, they were a bit short staffed. And, man, I know what that’s like, it seems to be something common everywhere. Now all of a sudden the story changes. This is anchored leadership. It’s recognizing that that customer might have been feeling irritated and the potential to lose a customer, not get a great tip, to have to maybe promo your meal, is the outcome that you don’t want. And they recognize that although they can’t solve the problem, they can’t go make the meal. They can’t speed things up in the kitchen. Things are what they are. They recognize by just how they show up, how they connect with someone, by empathizing with how they’re feeling and then inviting a different story or a different experience, the power of influence in changing that experience for the customer and potentially getting a repeat customer is much higher.

Kari Lotzien: [00:10:09] Another example, this one has a little bit more seriousness to it. So a couple of months ago I was leaving my home and was headed into town. Come up, I was in a rush and I was feeling a bit distracted, I knew I was running late, I come up to the corner and I come up to a fairly major accident. Immediately I decided, Okay, well, I’m obviously not going to make my appointment. I pulled over, got out, and went running over to a vehicle that had rolled, and there was a gentleman who was standing right beside that vehicle, attending to the passengers in the vehicle that were trapped at that moment. There was only about ten people that had stopped and emergency personnel were not there yet. This was, it had just happened. This person who was on site helping these passengers wasn’t wearing a uniform, had no identifying characteristics that he was the person that was leading this operation. And yet at a glance, I knew he was the person that I needed to talk to. He had become the hub of the wheel where all of these people were going to him asking questions, having quick conversations, and then leaving again. In a moment, I knew he was the anchored leader. I went over. Immediately he asked me just a few questions about my experience if I had had first aid or CPR, he sent me over and said, If you’re comfortable, there is a second vehicle. It’s on the other side of the road. I think there’s also a passenger in there that is likely injured. If you could go and just assess that situation, don’t move him, just talk with him. Come back if you need more help. Otherwise, if you could just stay with him until emergency personnel get here, that would be awesome. So clear. Now, I was not the first person there. He had said to people ahead of me, Can you go to your vehicle and get blankets and come back? He had said to other people who were upset and were feeling pretty overwhelmed, he assessed that in the moment and just sent them back to their vehicles. He asked if they had witnessed the accident and said, If you could just go back to your vehicle, you can just stay there until emergency personnel get here because they may want to talk to you, that would be the best thing you could do right now.

Kari Lotzien: [00:12:41] He was able to not only be in the situation helping the passenger who really needed him, he also had his head up and was reading multiple queues of people who had come up on this accident, assigning them really clear action items, and created a story for all of us that said, here’s what I need you to do, this is really important, and help is on the way. The way that he communicated was clear. He wasn’t yelling. He demonstrated this sense of it’s going to be okay. We’ve got this handled. In that moment he was able to be that center hub, constantly assess the situation of how everyone else was doing, and then he ended up assigning a role at the, kind of as he got enough people that were doing what they needed to do, he assigned a role to someone, If you could just, if people stop, if you could just be the one that tells them, we’re okay, help’s on the way, go ahead, you can keep going. Really phenomenal. That’s a bit of a serious situation. And what I want to acknowledge is that he was able to set the thermostat as being one of calm, in control, with clarity, in a moment where the people around him may have been feeling really overwhelmed, anxious, stressed, worried, feeling really overwhelmed or uncertain. And he was able to anchor that in a story that says, Here’s what I need you to do, here’s your role, and help is on the way. It’s going to be okay. Again, I want to come back to the fact he was not an EMT. He was not professionally trained. He was merely a civilian that happened to be one of the first people who showed up on the accident. Now, he obviously had first aid and CPR training. But I can tell you, most people who have CPR and first aid training don’t demonstrate that level of calmness and clarity in those moments. This was a different skill set. He knew what to do, but in the anchored part of that service, he knew how to execute that, he knew how to stay calm in the moment, he knew how to demonstrate and influence others based on what they were feeling in that moment and what they were available for.

Kari Lotzien: [00:15:10] So the idea with the anchored leader that I want to keep pulling back to is not only the idea that you can regulate your own emotion, your own body, I have no doubt in my mind he likely was not calm on the inside. His heart was probably racing. His breath was probably very quick. He was probably uncertain around how long emergency personnel were going to be. There was probably a lot of things happening for him internally that he was able to acknowledge but demonstrate something different that was calm and clear in the moment. He was able to connect it to a story that says, this isn’t going to last forever, and we’re going to be okay.

[00:15:58] Hi my friends, I want to interrupt for just a second and ask you a question. What would your results be at this time next year if you took time to get really clear on what you want and how to plan, and could take action to move that vision forward? You might be saying things like, okay, so I hired a bookkeeper, a social media manager. I have a virtual assistant, and I thought that delegating was supposed to give me all of my time back, but I feel like I am still in my business answering all of the questions, and I feel like I just can’t give any more. I’m not sure what to do next. This program was designed for you. In the Anchored Leadership Academy, I have given ten modules that you work through on your own to develop the skill of leading well, to take your vision from being all on your shoulders, to really taking it to a team that can implement the next level of your business with you. You’re going to learn how to hire and recruit, delegate well, provide feedback with confidence and clarity, and we’re going to have some hard conversations about where you might be getting in your own way. We are going to have ten live sessions together where you get to meet other business owners who are going through similar things that you are. This program is going to be incredible. I’d love for you to join me. Check out the link in the show notes, along with a coupon code for 40% off for my listeners only. I hope to see you there. Back to the show.

Kari Lotzien: [00:17:39] The third example I want to give you. So I want to acknowledge that it’s not always about calming and being that kind of lowering the temperature with people. Sometimes what we want to do is lighten it up. The third story I want to share with you is from, I wasn’t in the room, but it was a story that stuck with me. It’s from my son’s minor hockey days. We were going into playoffs and we’d had a pretty good year. We were coming up against a team that was really competitive with us. It was, we figured it was going to be a really exciting game. Of course, we’re hoping to come out on top, and it was close to the end of the minor hockey career for these boys, they had played together for a really long time. And of course the team, the fans, we all wanted to have this kind of like made-for-TV movie great year ending where we win the championship and everybody is thrilled. We’re going into this game, into playoffs, close to the end of the year, and about two hours before the game was starting, we find out that one of our key players, stronger players, is really sick and isn’t going to be able to make the game. One of our other really strong players was injured and unable to play, but was at the game and on the bench just to support the team. I think what had happened is with that unexpected change that happened really last minute, all of a sudden it had created kind of a cascade effect on we had to change the lines, and the plays that they had been working on in practice that week with those two key players, now had to be changed. The coach himself was feeling a little bit anxious, overwhelmed, unsure. And that anxious energy, uncertainty, frustration, whatever it was, was showing up.

Kari Lotzien: [00:19:41] First period we were not playing well, kind of as expected. Plays were not coming out as anticipated. The team just was not connecting because the lines were all mixed up. Coming out of the first period, I think we were down by 3 or 4 goals. It was not going well. You could feel it. The kids were bickering at each other. They were blaming each other. The coach was frustrated, there was a lot of, you know, hand running through the hair and a lot of sighing and head shaking. You could sense the tension that this is not the way that the story is supposed to go. Now here’s the cool part about it. They take a break during intermission, and the player that’s injured, who is one of our key players but is unable to play, puts his hand up to the coach and says, Can you give me two minutes? And keeps the coach and all of the coaching staff out of the dressing room in intermission. He walks into the dressing room and, as you can imagine, all the players are sitting around kind of bickering back and forth, and they’re upset with the way the game is going and they’re kind of blaming each other. This player walks into the dressing room and kicks the garbage can. Now, garbage can was empty, but he sends it flying across the room and hollers at the top of his lungs, You are an embarrassment! And then bursts into laughing, doubles himself over and says, I have waited my whole life for that moment. Thanks, guys. The whole team cracks up because the kid’s ridiculous and he now takes on this, like, kind of silly persona of being this, like, completely off the rails coach who’s losing his cool, and all he did was start lightning everyone up. As it turned out, now, my spouse was on the coaching staff and he said from the hallway waiting outside, thinking that we were going to come in and have a talk with these boys after a few minutes, could hear all of a sudden they’re laughing. And they moved right into now talking about what they could do, changing their plays, figuring out what had happened.

Kari Lotzien: [00:22:03] And he said, we recognized in the moment we weren’t needed. That teenage kid who had zero coaching experience in his whole life, but had been a key member of the team, he knew how his team was feeling. He knew they were frustrated. He knew that things were not playing out in the story that they had anticipated. He could see that they were turning on each other and they were frustrated. And he recognized in the moment that what they needed was not someone to put more pressure on them, and to get more upset and to point out all the mistakes they were making. They weren’t available for necessarily someone coming in and saying, okay, here’s what we’re going to do with the plays. What he recognized in the moment is they actually just needed to laugh a little bit and kind of let go of some of that tension that they were placing in the room that they were putting on each other, that was not allowing them to execute some of the things that they had known for years. The tension was impacting their performance and by introducing humor and a little bit of silliness and being over the top, he was able to lighten that whole mood. Anchored leadership. When I heard that story on the way home, which was just so fun, and I can tell you, we actually lost the game. But our team came out, the remaining two periods were so fun to watch because all of a sudden the energy of it has changed. We were in the game. It was really competitive. Now I don’t even know how the rest of the season went. But what I knew in that moment is that that kid, at 15 years old, had leadership abilities that no matter where he goes in his life, no matter what he chooses to do, he will be successful with people. Because if you have the ability to read people like that, you will go far.

Kari Lotzien: [00:23:59] Okay, now here’s what I want to point out, because some of you might be thinking right now, Okay, well, aren’t some people just like that? It’s like it’s built into them that they’re naturally really empathic with other people, and they know what to do in the moment. And it just kind of seems to flow or go easily. I will admit, yes, some people this is more of a natural skill for them. They have a higher what we would call EQ and they use it well. All right. So yeah, for some people this does come more easily. But it is a skill that you can learn. It is simple but it is not easy. I’d love to tell you that I have a three step solution on how to be more anchored in your life, and how to read other people. That’s not how it goes. I’m still figuring a lot of this out myself, but I can tell you that having a group of people who are at the same stage of business that you are, and provide a safe space for you to do some of this work in unpacking your own beliefs, reflecting on where you’re at, and then figuring out different ways to move forward is invaluable not only in your business, but in your life. And whether you do this in a group like the Anchored Leadership Academy, which I know is going to be absolutely amazing. The people that have signed up so far are top notch, incredible, beautiful, kind people and we’d love to have you there. And if you’re at a space where you just don’t feel that safety yet in a group, I encourage you to reach out to a coach or someone, myself, or someone who’s a great fit for you to start to do this work of unpacking, providing a safe place to self-reflect, and to do some of this heavy lifting when it comes to communication, because the impact that it can make is unbelievable.


Kari Lotzien: [00:25:58] Thank you so much for being here. If you haven’t liked and subscribed to the podcast yet, please do. This is how we build our community and I’m so excited to see it grow. See you next week.


Kari Lotzien: [00:26:13] Please know that this podcast is meant for entertainment purposes only. It is not a substitution for medical or professional mental health advice. If you require support, please do reach out. Thanks so much.