Episode 3

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Published on:

20th Apr 2023

Qualities of a Good Leader with Julia Nesterets

On this week's podcast episode Tazmin chats with an inspirational guest, Julia Nesterets, about the qualities of a good leader, and it promises to be a deep conversation, based on Julia's knowledge and more recent experiences.



About Julia:

I am a co-founder and CEO of a Saas company JetOctopus. I am a mom of three, the youngest child is 1,5 y.o. I've launched a private school during War and keep scaling it. Since September 2023 we are having 10 classes. I am actively volunteering since the first day of Russian-Ukrainian War. I am developing the community of my city in terms Philosophical, intellectual, historical, religious meetups with the goal to raise the level of consciousness of Dnipro citizens.

Where to find Julia:

Julia's Facebook page

@dostochki_fetish on Instagram

@JNesterets on Twitter

JetOctupus Website

About 'The SEO Mindset' Podcast

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The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that will give you actionable tips, guidance and advice to help you not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

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Your hosts are Life Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years of experience working in the industry.

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Transcript
Tazmin:

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining us for another episode of the SEO Mindset podcast. Today you have myself Tazmin. Sarah is not on this episode with me today and I think she's going to be a little bit jealous because I have an amazing guest with me. I have somebody so inspirational and she and I have been talking about this podcast for a while now, basting around ideas. And I'm super excited to have an inspirational woman, Julia Nesterets, who's here to talk about the qualities of a good leader. It promises to be a very deep conversation based on her knowledge and more recent experiences as well. She is the co founder and CEO of jet's octopus. She is a mother of three, the youngest, just a year and a half, and that in itself would be enough to keep anyone on their toes. But Julia's life, like many in Ukraine, has changed in the last year. So alongside everything else, she's launched a private school and has been actively volunteering since day one of the Russia Ukrainian war. She's also been serving her community. She's been developing them on topics such as philosophy, history, religion, with the goal to raise the level of consciousness. So I really, really am looking forward to hearing her insights, because, guaranteed, she knows a thing or two about leadership. Now, before we get into the topic, I just wanted to give you all a little reminder on how you can support Sarah and myself and keep the SEO Mindset podcast going. If you're enjoying the podcast, you can support us in a number of ways. One way is to donate via the Buy Me A Coffee link and you'll find the link in the show notes. And another way is to reach out to us and connect with us. So come and say hello, tell us about anything you enjoyed, give us suggestions of what podcasts you'd like us to do next. We're reachable on Twitter, so if you go to the Seomindset Co UK Twitter, you'll be able to find us there. And again, there is another link in the show notes. Now onto today's wonderful topic, qualities of a good leader. Juliet, welcome and thank you so much for coming along today.

Julia:

Hello, Tazmin. I'm really excited to be here. Thank you for inviting. I'll do my best to make it really interesting and inspiring for those people who feel that they want to be a leader.

Tazmin:

Yeah. All right, so, first question, what does leadership mean to you?

Julia:

I do love to start our conversation today with this particular question, because I'm 39 right now and just a month ago, I have realised absolutely new meaning for leadership in my life. And right now, for me, leadership, it is a service to people, it is serving the people. Because leadership, the leader, is the one who is able to accept the challenges, to overcome obstacles, to find the solution and lead, coverly people. Because not all the people are capable to lead and they need these leaders and why I have this new understanding of this meaning for me. Because right now, just at this particular moment, I have so many projects in parallel. Apart from being co founder and CEO of a SaaS company, apart from being a mom of three, apart from having private school under my management and scaling we are scaling it actively this year. I also have this volunteering project and this philosophical project for the community of the town I live. And it really takes so much strength of me and this new understanding of leadership gives me my wise why I'm doing it every day, being so sometimes being really tired at the end of the day. And at the same time I'm an active tennis player and it is very important for me. And I'm not only playing tennis, I want to win there. And there is another leadership role there because I have partners, we play pairs and yeah, this is the question to the leadership for today, for me.

Tazmin:

So in essence is to serve.

Julia:

That's what you would yes, that's your new leadership as the serve for me.

Tazmin:

So based on that definition, this new refined definition that you said, what are the important qualities of a leader?

Julia:

From my experience, actually I was a leader since the childhood. I had opportunity to ask questions to my teachers from the first grade, how I was when I was a child or even from the kindergarten. And all my teachers says that I was a leader since the childhood. And from my perception, to be a leader means not to be afraid to take the responsibility to accept the challenges. Not just accept the challenges, but not to fail to succeed at the end of the day, to be neutral to someone else judgments. This is a very important thing just to think about your goal and your way to reach the goal. Not to be afraid to fail from the other hand, because the one doesn't fail who doesn't do anything. But if you fail, you just analyse the mistakes, you optimise and then you succeed. It is absolutely okay way and the last but not the least, be a marathon runner because it is a long way. It is a long way.

Tazmin:

So you're talking there more about the inner strength, being able to go for the long distance, accept the challenge, not be scared of failure, not be wavered by external influences. So those are a lot about like your inner strength. But when you were talking about serving, then there's also that emotional connection with people as well.

Julia:

The main role of the leader is to inspire people under your leadership and to develop them. This is absolutely magic source, actually an absolutely magic ability. And I can see it all around me. Starting from my kids, then continuing with my partner in Jet Octopus. We are with him for ten years and he has even such phrases that in some difficult situations he says what Julia would do if she was on my place and he behaves in some way like I would do. And even this recent situation with my tennis partner. So it is absolutely magic. When he plays somewhere without me, it is different game. And I'm just back from my training with him and it is a really magic situation. He didn't play for three months. He came back this Sunday and right away for the tournament, like male tournament, and he played so badly, really badly. He played really badly. And today it is just Tuesday, like two days after I asked him for a training and he played super perfectly and he was just like, I don't understand why. And I understand why because this is the ability to give the relevant support, to give the relevant recommendations, to have this authority in his perception, to get to accept these recommendations and to follow them. And it makes magic, really.

Tazmin:

So a lot of these skills that you're talking about, they're not knowledge based skills, they're soft skills, like inspiring people, serving people, taking the lead, being able to stay strong despite other people wavering. Often leadership is thought of, maybe not so much now, things are changing. But a leader is tough and ruthless and no time for nice mice and it's like go, go. If we think of a strong leader, that's the image that is still painted. And you've been talking about the soft skills. So what do you think are the tangible benefits to these soft skills? If you were to try and convince one of these ruthless leaders that you know what, there is another way, what would you say to them?

Julia:

I would say actually this is a good question, that I absolutely agree that the leaders should be tough, sometimes ruthless. And I can feel the benefits of being a leader in these new circumstances because I do feel my stress resistance. It is really like top level of it from the one hand. Then what I would say to those really tough ones without these empathetic things that I was talking about is that if you just keep this tough style, this is like one way of your success, because it will be your success, you will be successful, because you will succeed. A lot of your goals, overcoming a lot of obstacles, et cetera. But when you care not about only your personal success, but about the people under your leadership or under your management, when you care about sharing your experience, your emotions, your support, your time, there will be much more success over there. Because it will not only you who will succeed, but all of this community will grow and will become better and will reach more results and the whole success of yours will be many times higher, many times higher because you got.

Tazmin:

The success of the whole team.

Julia:

Yes, absolutely.

Tazmin:

And you also mentioned empathy, understanding where the other person is coming from, what they are going through. I was talking to somebody recently who specialises in emotional intelligence and he was saying that a leader should also be able to manage their own emotions. Because if they can manage their own emotions in a crisis, they can park that side and think what is the best possible thing for the organisation, for the team? And respond accordingly. But in those pictures of that strong, ruthless leader that I have in my head, sometimes they're just shouting, shouting, barking, crisis world is going to fall apart. And people in those teams, they don't thrive well in that sort of environment.

Julia:

I would not call those types of leaders that you just mentioned the true leaders. I would not call them like that. For me. True leaders. They're like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King or Lee Kuan. Yu. So those leaders who should not scream so loudly, but people follow them, people want to follow them and they are inspired of what they are doing, what they're saying, how they're saying, et cetera, et cetera. So this is not, for me, the right leader who just barks really loudly without taking into consideration the emotions of the people. But on the other hand, I agree that the leader should be stress resistant, really resistant to stress, and I would not actually merge that empathy and emotions. For me, this is different things. So the leader should not fall into emotions and forget about all the circumstances of this situation and make emotional decisions. This is not the way. And on the other hand, of course, you should take into consideration all the information, all the circumstances, all the resources you have, all the coins of the situation and make the right decision from all of these things. And empathy. From the other hand, this is the capacity to feel, the ability to feel what he feels and what he needs more. And this is the very magic skill of true leadership and of true leaders, because it opens so many opportunities to make the impact. Because when you feel what this person feels right now and what exactly he needs right now to change the situation, to make the right decision, to feel the self confidence and to act and this is actually, I would say, one of the top skills for the true leaders because it opens a lot of opportunities there.

Tazmin:

You're helping that person move, you're enabling them to take action, whereas otherwise they're.

Julia:

Stuck and you are not able to do it when you just by the least make all these loud screamings of a lot of slogans, et cetera, it doesn't work, actually. It doesn't work. So if you don't feel you will not be so effective because everybody wants to impact and impact, you can say a lot of really high words, a lot of try to put a lot of meaning over there, but it will not work out.

Tazmin:

There's some really great pointers there, really great pointers there. So we're going to take a short break now and we've been talking generically about leadership, but after the break I'd like to talk a little bit about your more recent experiences. You said that your mindset had shifted on what a leader is. It'd be really great to talk a little bit about that mindset shift and what's led to it and what you've learned through that process.

Julia:

Sure, with pleasure.

Tazmin:

So, welcome back everyone. We are talking leadership today, a wonderful topic and it's already been so insightful. We've been talking about generic leadership, but as we mentioned before, Julia is living in Ukraine. She has had certain experiences and we wanted to talk a little bit about what's come out of those experiences. So Julia, in the book The Leader Who Has no title by Robin Sharma, he talks about how extreme situations form leaders and we also often hear that you don't need to wait for permission to lead. What is this last year taught you about that?

Julia:

I very like this focus for the leaders. I 100% agree that the extreme situations form the leaders and I'm always analysing myself because I have three kids and I have leadership also in my mind to develop in them. And from my experience, first of all, I do understand that in my life, such extreme experience was the trip to the USA when I was 18. And it was like my first abroad trip for three months to work. And I left my home when I was 18 and when I came back after three months, I was something like 25 years old person because I had absolutely mature challenges there. For example, where to leave, how to pay for this leaving, where to buy, where to find a job, where to find my second job because I want more and these type of challenges are absolutely not for the kids. And when I accepted that and didn't fail, I succeeded, I really came back really mature person and it had insane impact on all my career in the future. And speaking about the lessons for the last year, first of all, I can say that the lesson number one is that the person can adapt to a lot of things. This is absolutely you would never be able to feel that from somewhere there, from abroad, overseas, you can feel it only being in these circumstances. And I do understand that the whole world cannot even imagine how we not just live here, but we keep developing, we keep opening new businesses, we keep being happy actually. And it is tough for the world to understand because I have the right to leave the country since the first day because we have three kids and I can leave with the whole family and this is my decision not to leave. And I'm very happy lesson too that even in such circumstances, I proved to be a very empathetic and very actionable person. So these are like my two first traits. I'm empathetic and actionable. And since the day one, as you said, I started volunteering really a lot. And as a result, there are so many people that I helped, there are so many needs that I covered. I launched a separate project which is called like, take Care on the family. Not just to donate once, but take the family under your care for the period they need. And there are insane results there. There are insane number of people in need whom we helped. And I do feel that my leadership skills are so vital here and when I have no strength at all, just like recent. Yesterday, my youngest son didn't feel okay with his teeth, all these things. And I wanted him to go to bed, let's say at ten. And he went to bed at twelve and I had a lot of stuff to finish. But realising the impact of my leadership here gives me a lot of strength. And all these projects in a parallel where I'm the number one responsible person, they are all correlating to my values and this is the most important scene. So the lesson two for me, that I'm empathetic and actionable. And I'm very happy because my life has changed and it has a lot of sense and it means a lot to me. Then I would also say that the very important lesson for me and very new for me is that right now, this is the very good moment for spiritual development. Because we had to do a lot of things here inside ourselves not to go crazy, because it is scary, actually, because I am, for example, in a city which is called Nipro and it is pretty close and we have rockets sometimes from yesterday there was like drones, for example. And I have an accident very close to my family that I think that you remember that there was a rocket in the home where a lot of people and my son was there, my oldest son was there and there was no connection for 20 minutes with him and it was very tough 20 minutes. And this is very important how you act in these circumstances and after that. Because first of all, I do understand my responsibility as a mother and I do have to put all my strengths and passion and focus to the son, to him, to recover from the situation without psychological things. And from the other hand, I'm still the mom of three and I feel this responsibility and I decide to stay. And you should find the answers and you should find the resources to find the stability for yourself. Before, I've never spent so much time for spiritual development. I've spent all my time for the business, for reading business books, visiting business events, et cetera. And this year it's changed dramatically and I do spend a lot of time for spiritual development and I can say that it multiplies hundreds times all the power I have and all the impact that I can have. At the end of the day, I totally hear you.

Tazmin:

I teach a course to women and a big chunk of that is reflection and doing the inner work, because when they are suffering from stress, from burnout, from impostor syndrome and they go and do this course and that course and those skills based course and those skills based courses are good. But I say to them, until you learn how to control yourself and work in that inner part of you, that's what's going to unlock your confidence, your self belief, your ability and your ability to cope with stress as well.

Julia:

Yes, absolutely.

Tazmin:

That's the key.

Julia:

Absolutely. And in our situation, I always say that if you just keep sitting and being afraid and you cannot do anything with it, you cannot cope with it, you cannot manage it, you have to leave because you will go crazy and all your family will go crazy. And this is not the right way. And there is another way for this spiritual development and that dramatic situation. We went outside, we have house outside the city and we spent the weekends dedicated to my son, like this family circle, taking care, playing, dancing and letting this stress out physically. But when I came back to the city and all the family went to the job or to the school, et cetera, I was on my own with myself, with all my fears as a mom in that situation. And the lecture about Stoicism really gave me that support that I needed and gave me that power to find my stability and to focus and not to let my imagination fly to the situations which didn't happen and they will never happen. So you just stop thinking about that, because if you keep thinking and giving power to this imagination, you will go crazy.

Tazmin:

Absolutely. 100% agree with you. For any of our listeners who want to take a step into leadership, whether it's a formal role, a volunteering role, what would be your number one tip for them? What advice?

Julia:

First of all, I want to say is that the leadership way is a very interesting adventure. It is very thrilling. Absolutely. I'm a very happy leader. And as a tip number one, I would say just if you feel dispassion, if you feel that you want to become a leader, just make the first step and don't stop. Despite anything. If you make mistake, don't stop. Just analyse and go further. Just make this first step and be ready to take the responsibility. This is very important, not just to act, but to be ready to take the responsibility for your actions.

Tazmin:

I've never heard of leadership being called an adventure, but actually I see what you're saying and I think don't wait for permission. If there is a cause that you're interested in. If there is a club that you want to start, just go for it, don't overthink.

Julia:

Absolutely.

Tazmin:

And what about leaders who want to improve these skills? Where would you start? Where would you suggest that they start?

Julia:

I remember very vividly such a book. I've read a lot of books and you definitely know this book like Seven Habits of the Most Effective People and there is a part dedicated to leaders. I would definitely recommend rereading this part about leaders because there are really great explanation of different types of leaders and for example, those leaders like a leader and 1000 assistants. A leader and 1000 assistants. This is not the right leader and they explain why. So, first of all, I would recommend to reread this section I would not say better than it is read there, it is written there. Secondly, what I would definitely recommend to develop what additional skills it is not only about being a good writer, let's say being a good speaker, to be able to speak for the big audience or to find the very vivid words or to be very tough. Yes, I do understand that the leader sometimes should be tough. I would vote for those empathetic things or this is not the negative trade for the leader because sometimes the leader can say and can perceive that I cannot be emotional or I cannot be empathetic. I'm a leader, I should always be strong. These are not the conflicting skills. There are different situations where you need to show different skills. And I do. I can be really tough, really. And I'm the very open person. I'm the person who is capable to say not pleasant words to the person. And I feel absolutely confident here. But on the other hand, being empathetic to everybody with whom you communicate, it just makes you hundreds times stronger in all you do. For example, in building new partnerships, when you feel the type of this person, when you can feel his values, you can reach more, I can assure you. Or for example, like last year, we had a really interesting case, a very big company, like similar web. Like everybody knows them. They came to us and they wanted to buy Jerocktopus. And the first reaction of my partner but usually I'm emotional person and he is more programmatic in this situation. There was another way. He was like oh my God. Similar rap. And yes, I say yeah, it is a good thing for our ego, it says a lot. But I was very tough and strong here, just looking at the numbers and looking at our closest future about our perspectives, dynamics, et cetera, et cetera. So I would vote for combining and the combinations in one situation to be strong, to be tough and to be really strict and in other situations to get these feelings of more like to feel deeply and to act differently. So I would vote for this empathy. We've been discussing it today and I would vote for that.

Tazmin:

So have a balance. You have the empathy and you have the tough.

Julia:

These are not conflicting skills. No, these are not conflicting skills. It just makes you many times stronger as a leader.

Tazmin:

100% agree. You know what? Sadly, we have run out of time and it's time to say goodbye. And I've enjoyed this conversation so much. And I'm sure people would want to reach out to you. What's the best way for them to reach reach you?

Julia:

Twitter is the best way. Or maybe LinkedIn is like but LinkedIn is more professional. Twitter is the best.

Tazmin:

Yeah. Okay, fair enough. And we'll make sure that we put it in the show notes and also a link to the book, because this book that you mentioned, I read it many years ago, but it's on my reading list again for this year. And I've heard people saying that when they keep a few years gap and they read it again, they learn something different.

Julia:

Absolutely. You definitely should read it from time to time because you are changing as well. You are developing. Your mindset is changing. And each time you will take new things for you. Definitely.

Tazmin:

Thank you again for such a really deeply valuable conversation.

Julia:

Thank you for asking me. I'm really happy to talk about so important things and I do hope I did my best to give something new, to give something valuable to your audience. I will be happy to keep communicating to the people who wants to communicate. Thank you for the time spending with me, Jasmine.

Tazmin:

No, it was wonderful. And you know what? It gave us a different insight to what's happening in Ukraine. And before I started recording, when I spoke to you and you said you're very happy, it's a perfect day, and you've given us further insight to the strengths that is visible to everyone. So your vulnerability and your honesty, and it's deeply appreciated. Thank you.

Julia:

Thank you.

Tazmin:

So before I sign off, a reminder that if you've enjoyed our podcast and if you'd like to support Sarah and myself, then there is always the Buy Me a Coffee link, which is in the Show Notes. And also, Sarah and I love to connect with everyone. So Twitter is a great place where you will find us. Again, the link is in the show notes. And until next time, goodbye and take care, everybody.

Julia:

Goodbye, everybody. If.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
Support This Show

About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.