Inspired Leadership Through Employee Enrichment with Tony Martignetti

Tony Martignetti is a leadership advisor, entrepreneur, idea generator, and people connector. He brings together practical experience, formal training, and extreme curiosity, to elevate leaders and equip them with the tools to navigate through change and unlock their true potential.

Before becoming a leadership development consultant, he was a finance and strategy executive with experience working with some of the world's leading life sciences companies. Along his journey, he also managed small businesses and ran a financial consulting company. Tony is the host of The Virtual Campfire podcast and the author of the soon to be released, "Climbing the Right Mountain: Navigating the Journey to An Inspired Life."

Inside This Episode

  • How Do We Know If We’re Climbing The Right Mountain?
  • The Power Of Navigational Conversations
  • Identifying Guideposts On Your Leadership Journey
  • The Role Of Emotional Intelligence In Leadership
  • How To Embrace Your Past
  • Use Struggle To Create Strength
  • Don’t Just Engage, Enrich Your Employees
  • How To Evaluate Your Leadership Footprint
  • How the Ripple Effect Shapes Culture






Subscribe for More Key Conversations for Leaders

John Ryan
You're listening to key conversations for leaders. This is episode number 57. Hey e veryone and welcome to key conversations for leaders. I'm your host, John Ryan, and today with a very special guest, Tony Martignetti. Tony is a leadership advisor, entrepreneur, idea generator and people connector. He brings together practical experience formal training and extreme curiosity to elevate leaders and equip them with the tools to navigate through change and unlock their true potential. Before becoming a leadership development consultant. He was a finance and strategy executive with experience working with some of the world's leading sciences, Life Sciences companies, and a Longest Journey. He also managed small businesses and ran a financial consulting company. Tony is the host of the virtual campfire podcast, and the author of the now released climbing the right mountain, navigating the journey to an inspired life. Welcome to the show. Tony, great to have you here.

Tony Martignetti 0:54
Thank you so much. I'm so thrilled to be here. I wanted to ask you, you know, first of all, what is it inspired life mean to you?

Tony Martignetti 1:03
I love this question. Because it's something that, you know, it has to be defined for each person on their own terms, really. But for me, personally, I like to think of it as this way that it's like it's living a life with intention, where you are aligned with who you want to be, and where you are connected with your soul's purpose, which I know probably will lose people on that souls purpose, because this may not be resonating with a lot of people. But I think it's true that when you're inspired, you're connected with your soul. And when people are doing that, in this place of being inspired, you're fulfilled, and you're driven by impact and legacy. Two things I think are so important right now.

John Ryan 1:46
I love that. So if we to understand something, sometimes we can look at like what it is not, you know, I think of someone who is not living an inspired life, that they're kind of going through the day to day, the ritual routines, and they're not being pulled in a specific direction. Would you agree with that assessment as well?

Tony Martignetti 2:06
Absolutely. It's funny, I'll just say one thing about this, which is interesting is that like, often times, I'll ask people questions like, what is it about next week, or today that, uh, that you're excited about. And if if people look at me with like a blank stare, and they say like, nothing, then I think it's time to start really questioning how you're designing your life. Because there has to be something you're excited about, there has to be something that you're looking forward to. Because you're the person who's choosing the life you live, there are things that you're not going to love. Sure, we all do things we don't love. But ultimately, there has to be something that drives you. So I think that's one of the parts of designing a life that's inspired is that you create things that drive you forward that make you want to come alive.

John Ryan 3:00
So in terms of like the timeline, right, we can look at the past, we can look at the present, what's going on, and we're gonna be in the future. How much balance would you say you would for someone who's living inspired life and kind of balancing the present needs and being pulled towards this positive, exciting future? Is there any type of ideal mix that you would put your two cents towards?

Tony Martignetti 3:22
It's a great question. And honestly, I think there's a, it's got to be a really good balance between all three, because one of the things that people do, they often they often run from their past. And I actually say you need to embrace your past. You know, one of the things that I often did when I first even got into coaching, too, is I started to say, like, I, I want to get so far away from my past life, that I only ever look at it. But then I started to realize, well, there's power in all that there's a power in really kind of embracing the wounds and the things that I've learned, and using that as strengths to move forward. And so I often say that's the first thing I want people to do is to look at the inventories of, you know, where you're coming from, so that you can know how you use that as strengths move from. So I would say 33% should be spent in the past. And 33% should be you know, designing your and envisioning your future. But you have to act in the present. So the other part of it is really saying, What can I do now? And how can I be happy now, in this very moment, so that I not only thinking about the future, and only thinking about, you know, I'll be happy when I get to that point. Instead, how can I be happy right now in this moment, who I am.

John Ryan 4:47
I love the equity of having the context of where we came from the triumphs and the tragedies and the wounds and the excitement but also being here president in cycling through those in different based on what got going on? Yeah. Does the the past and form I guess, you know, one of the questions that the subtitle of your book is about climbing the right mountain, right. So how do we, how do we know if we're climbing the right mountain?

Tony Martignetti 5:12
I love this question too. And so it's funny, you know, I get this question all the time. And it's, you know, you're climbing the right mountain, when you're at this place where you're finding fulfillment in that journey, and you're feeling as though you're waking up every day, and realizing that the growth that you're experiencing makes you feel fulfilled, that you're not dreading the, you know, the going into work, and you're having those moments where you're saying, like, oh, gosh, like, I'll wait, when I get to that role. When I get to that next place, that's when I will feel like I'm at the, you know, I'll be happy then. So you're climbing the right mountain, when you're finding that mix of, Okay, I can find the fulfillment in the struggle that I'm going through. And I know that that's struggle is part of the growth process.

John Ryan 6:08
So it's almost the present and the future coming together. So I'm not putting my happiness into the future. And I'm embracing the struggle if it's okay to say that, not that we want it, but it's part of that growth process. And we recognize it. So we enjoy. Do we enjoy that part as well?

Tony Martignetti 6:27
Yeah, absolutely. I think that's really what I've often found is that, you know, when I was struggling with my mountain, I was always thinking about like, this element of like, Oh, you know, I'll suffer, suffer, suffer and continue to struggle. And even though didn't, you know, I had set a path that was not my own, really, I didn't know that. But I was setting a path towards something that was designed by an external world. And I kept on driving myself down this path. And I think a lot of us do, we have this external marker of what success looks like. And when I reframed that and started thinking, gosh, climbing the right mountain, is when I decided that this is the path that I want. And I'm making steps that, that put me in trajectory of the thing that I want to create. And so the struggle, although there are challenges, and it's not all, you know, beautiful, there, it's all about being aligned with the thing that I truly want to create.

John Ryan 7:37
It makes a lot of sense comes to values, making the choice about where you want to be in the future, accepting the present, it's all part of the path type of thing. Once you have that outcome, you know, you're in the right mountain, you're on that path, a term that you've used in doing some research, the navigational conversation conversations, I was wonder if you could define those and tell us a bit about where those pieces come into play.

Tony Martignetti 8:02
Yeah, it's funny, but navigational conversations is that it comes from this place of like, helping leaders become coaches of other people, to help them be to not necessarily solve other people's problems, but to help them to solve the to help the layout the path for others, the guideposts, if you will, to know that there's, we're building capacity for other people to create what they want, and not tell them. This is what you need to do to get to where you want to go. Instead saying, Well tell me what is it you want? And how can I help you to enable that it's creating that path for people and giving them the capacity to to make the thing that they want on their journey possible. And I think a lot of leaders, they don't focus on the term often is employee engagement, right. But I think what we need to be thinking about is employee enrichment, and navigational conversations are about creating employee enrichment. I want to help you through these conversations, to become this person you want to be through conversations that are not just, you know, clearing, you know, getting you through this next hurdle, but it's about getting you to where you want to go.

John Ryan 9:23
I love that distinction between employee engagement and employee enrichment. And the picture that comes to mind and tell me if this is matching up, what is in yours is engagement is like pulling people in Come on, let's let's do this. Versus enrichment is providing opportunities for people to self discover, what are they passionate about? Here's the guideposts. How are we going to measure our success in terms of challenges and successes? It's a totally different model, if I'm understanding you correctly.

Tony Martignetti 9:51
Yeah, I think very fundamentally, I think of it this way, leaving people better than you found them. You know, people feeling as though they can You know, come to work. And it's not just about collecting a paycheck, it's about feeling that that person that is my leader in this organization in general, they see something in me and why but by the time that I leave, if I do leave, because I may not want to, then I'm gonna be a better person for it.

John Ryan 10:21
If you do leave, I love that. Because if you create a nurturing, Enriching environment, challenging growth, impact all of those things you may not want to, and that would be a different trend from what we've seen in the marketplace as a place for sure. Yeah, I'm sorry, it started off now. So do you believe that anyone can learn to become a leader?

Tony Martignetti 10:44
Absolutely. And I think one of the things that is so true about leadership is that it starts with yourself, you know, it's a mindset shift. When you come from a leadership mindset, it starts by thinking, How am I leading my life? How am I creating that self leadership that allows me to become the person who I'm meant to be? And when I start doing that, you know, as a person, then you can connect with? How can I become the leader of my own contribution in the world? And how does that contribution help others? And how do they connect with that contribution, and then that starts to ripple out from there and becomes a bigger thing. And that's how you become a leader of people, by really connecting with the reasons why you're doing what you do, and getting people to enlist and enroll in what you're trying to do. Sometimes the leadership at leader as a title, it's, I just think that that's kind of no longer applies. I mean, we shouldn't be thinking that it's just a title, you're only truly leading if you are choosing to adopt that men, the mindset of a leader.

John Ryan 11:56
You taught just a moment ago about impact on other people. And I know that one of the guideposts cuz what I love about what you shared so far is the same process that you do for yourself to make sure you're finding the right mountain is the same exact process you're doing to help other leaders find their own, that manage themselves leaving themselves, how do we evaluate our own footprints? I know, that's one of the guideposts that you talk about in your book, of course.

Tony Martignetti 12:19
Yeah, yeah. And so the foot, you know, valuing your footprint, which is one of the guideposts which I'm, you know, one of my favorite ones to show, it's, it has a lot to do with this, this, the ripple effects really, where, you know, your, your ripple that you put out there, whatever you put into the world, one of my favorite quotes is, like, what you put out is what you get back. So if you want to put out something that is, you know, very dictatorship very much like, do this, do it my way. And if it's not my way, then it's the highway, then people will kind of take that, and they'll, they'll operate in a way that says, Okay, well, if he's going to be that way, I'm going to be the same with my people. And that's the ripple effect we're creating, if it's, you know, we'll do whatever it takes to get the job done. And even if that means that we have to, you know, burn bridges and you know, cut corners, then that's what they'll do the people who around you will they follow your example. And so ultimately, this, the footprint you create, is that ripple effect. So if you want it to be a good footprint, think about what it is that you're doing, what is the thing that you're creating? How can you have a positive footprint? And how can you have a negative? And how is your footprint being negative to other people? Because everything matters?

John Ryan 13:44
Is it safe to say that you one of the ways you can evaluate your own footprint is by looking at the the people that you lead into work with as a reflection of what you're putting out there?

Tony Martignetti 13:56
Yeah, yeah. And it's not just the people that you that you work for that work for you. But it's also the stakeholders around you, you know, when you start to treat others, like whether it be your family members, your, you know, the investors, the the people in your community that you're touching, they're all going affected by how you show up. And sometimes it's little ways. So it's really important to be deep down at your core, understand what you stand for, and how you want to show up as as a person, and as a leader, that ultimately makes a big difference, because everything that you do has even small little effects on people, and that has a, you know, ripples beyond that. So ultimately think about how you're showing up to that, you know, client meeting, because if you're telling them that you don't really care about the details, then what happens is they start to say, Okay, well, this person doesn't really care about me. And ultimately, that's where this ripple effect starts to come into play. And you start losing claims. You know, it's those little things.

John Ryan 15:04
So big picture, we have to make sure that we have the right mountain, we never want to go. We're fulfilled in the process. When we also, like you mentioned very early on our conversation about being who we want to be, what are the values? What are the behaviors that we want to exhibit and role models so that we show up from a principle perspective, rather than just responding to, to the moment it sounds like, because I know you have some experience and training in emotional intelligence, as well imagine that's a probably a big passion of yours, that we have to understand our impact on the people in developed that is, how important you feel emotional intelligence is in terms of leadership responsibilities.

Tony Martignetti 15:42
Yeah, I mean, emotions are like the underlying current of everything that's happening in the world really. And you know, you can't ignore them at your peril. Ultimately, what I found is that more and more, we're coming, becoming aware of the fact that leaders who don't become in tune with their own emotions and the emotions of others are missing a lot of what's happening in in the workplace. And so when you become aware of these things, these you know, underlying currents that are happening, the emotions, and you can react to them in a positive way, which creates a different environment for people to show up, and then create their own way of sharing who they are, people show up more, more fully more, their best self shows up. And so I think that's where emotional intelligence becomes like the amplifier of people's full potential. By you being fully aware, other people become fully aware, and then we have a better workplace environment.

John Ryan 16:44
And this goes back to the idea, the same thing about you have to learn to lead yourself first. So managing your own emotions, I imagine getting clarity on that, and then also extending outward to those that you're all the stakeholders that you deal with at all levels. Absolutely.

Tony Martignetti 16:59
I think a lot of people think of emotional intelligence, they think like, Oh, yeah, you know, becoming empathetic, or like, knowing my, you know, my, how am I feeling? or what have you, that's only part of the equation. It's about understanding, like, how is it that other people are reacting to how my presence is in the room, and you have to be kind of listening, and, you know, listening more than you talk, and really kind of getting a feel for? How are other people's emotions showing up in the room. So it's really, it takes a lot more attention to what's happening. So silence becomes a very powerful tool in emotional intelligence.

John Ryan 17:42
Can you speak more about the role of silence as you see it as a tool to facilitate those conversations?

Tony Martignetti 17:49
Yeah, so it's funny to say this, because in the world of like, you know, zoom, zoom channels, we've all been on zoom for so long. Now. There's a lot of like these, these, what I call quiet leaders who sit in the back of the room, and they're kind of like, just paying attention to what's happening, not necessarily, you know, being the loudest ones on the zoom calls. But what they're doing is they're, they're, they're paying attention to what is happening, like, how the dialogue is, is going on. And what they're doing is because they're not being the loudest one, their silence is allowing them to listen and take in more. And they're formulating or most of them are formulating better, a better sense of what is truly the underlying story. Because they're giving them some space to take it all in. That's how, when we have coaching sessions, that a lot of times, just silence is the is the ability to give people space to process the thing through. And then that's where the silence becomes a tool that magnifies impact.

John Ryan 19:00
It's such a powerful thing. It's almost the exact opposite of what we do. In much of our society, we want to fill those gaps. We've all been in conversations, we feel there's like an awkward silence yet. I'm hearing you say like, when you do embrace that silence, allow it to sit there to process the emotion experience and be there for it. Any suggestions, recommendations for someone who feels they have to fill in that silence all the time?

Tony Martignetti 19:28
Yeah. I mean, the first thing is the silence is not just for other people, it's for you to listen to yourself before you say the next thing to listen to, you know what it is that you really have to say, and what you want to say. Because what you want to say might not be exactly what you're going to say. It's going to give you the courage and the ability to really take a moment and say what really needs to be said right now at this moment is this and by noon pausing gives me that, that extra moment to give me that energy in the, in the focus to say the thing that is most important. And not just what is top of mind.

John Ryan 20:18
Thank you for allowing me to experience that silence as well. It was hard. Yeah. Because you want to jump in. And I think what you're saying is the first draft, like an email like is that's the first thought. And so why would you send the first draft without pre reading it again, before he hit it out, and then hit send? I love that.

Tony Martignetti 20:36
It reminds me of this one thing that I just say, you know, I often heard over the years around testing the urgency, right? You know, everyone thinks that everything needs to be done immediately, you know, send out that report, oh, we've got that, you know, the sky is falling, you better get that thing done. And oftentimes, we just stop for a second and say, why, but why we're in a rush to get solved that problem, the first thing we we jump to is often the wrong course of action. So if you take a moment, pause, use some silence, to give yourself some space. Often that space you create is what allows you to come back with a very powerful, you know, decision, a powerful way to solve the problem, a better course of action. The same thing happens in conversation.

John Ryan 21:31
Right, I love it. I love it presence. It's all about being present in the moment as well. Fantastic.

John Ryan 21:38
Tony, would you mind? You know, obviously, key conversations were all about the conversation and having the difficult conversations, can you think of or perhaps share with us? You know, what's a conversation maybe that you have personally or professionally that had a big impact on your life?

Tony Martignetti 21:52
Yeah, so this is going to be strange, but I'll share it because I think it's an important one. So my tagline is inspiration through honest conversations. And I think that's something that is important, because a lot of us are afraid to have those conversations that need to be had. And the one that I was not having was the one with myself. And the one that was most important was in this very moment where I was sitting in a boardroom, in a conference room and a biotech company and realizing that, gosh, I'm, I'm sitting here collecting a very healthy paycheck, and I don't know what I'm doing, why am I living the life that I'm living, and not really kind of making an impact the way that I want to. And so I started to have this dialogue in my head, as I was looking down the room around the room, you know, hearing these leaders who are just defending their own egos, and seeing all these people checked out. And I said to myself, I said, You know, I think it's time for me to do something that's going to serve me serve me more powerfully than I ever have before. And I said, I think I need to leave this room to change the room. And so what I did is I, I got up, and I walked out, and I left the room. And that was the start of my of my change in my my profession, to leave the corporate world and to change a different path for leaders, so that they can show up as inspired leaders as people who are, you know, living by their inspired purpose, because I felt as though we all deserve to have those conversations where we say, we're not just gonna accept what is we have to accept what we want, truly deep down. So those conversations, that conversation that I had, has kicked off more conversations than I can count with myself and with others.

John Ryan 24:00
Congratulations on that very important conversation. And thank you for all the work that you're doing. And thank you for being here, of course. And what's the best way for our listeners and viewers to get in touch with you find out more about your work and of course, your recently released book.

Unknown Speaker 24:14
Well, the best place to find me is my my website, which is And if you go there, you can take the leadership journey assessment, which is a great tool for just kind of assessing where you are now and where you'd like to be. And some it starts the process of working along with me if you like. And the book is on Amazon climbing the right mountain, I'd be honored. If you pick up a copy. It's a quick read. So please enjoy that. And then you can find me on social media, all the place LinkedIn, LinkedIn and so on. So wherever you want to, you can find me and and then the podcast, virtual campfire. she'd love to have you join me there. So that'd be fantastic.

John Ryan 24:56
It's a great podcast, a great book, and thanks so much for being here. I'll put all the Those links in the show notes as well. Tony again, thanks so much for joining us today.

Tony Martignetti 25:03
My pleasure.

John Ryan 25:05
And thank you all for watching and listening until next time, develop yourself, empower others and lead by example. Thanks for listening to key conversations for leaders with your host John Ryan. If you enjoyed the show, please let us know. Give us a rating or write a review. And if you'd like to connect with me and other like minded leaders, I invite you to join our Facebook group called Develop, Empower and Lead where I deliver free live training every week. If you go to It will redirect you right there. Hope to see you there soon.

Transcribed by

John Ryan

Host of Key Conversations for Leaders Podcast, Executive Coach, Consultant, and Trainer

related posts: