How To Become An Effective Leader At Work, with Winn Claybaugh

Dr Daniel Amen and Tana Amen BSN RN On The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast

Let’s face it, the ‘intimidating dictator’ approach to whipping employees and coworkers into shape is a thing of the past, a relic that no longer works in today’s workplace. So how can you get others to step up their efforts and help make great things happen at work? In the first episode of a series on the brain at work, Dr. Daniel Amen and Tana Amen are joined by “Be Nice or Else” author Winn Claybaugh for a discussion on the surprisingly easy way to rally your troops more effectively.

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Dr. Daniel Amen: Welcome to The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast. I'm Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen: And I'm Tana Amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
Dr. Daniel Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like Brain SPECT Imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit
Tana Amen: The Brain Warrior's Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to
Dr. Daniel Amen: Well, welcome back. This is going to be a very special week. We're going to talk about the brain at work, and, with us, is one of my good friends and really a pioneer in a number of different industries, including philanthropy. Winn Claybaugh is the author of Be Nice (Or Else!) and one of the best motivational speakers in the country, according to Larry King. Speaker and a business owner with over 16,000 people in his organization. Winn is the co-owner of the hair-care giant Paul Mitchell's School division. Under Winn's leadership, the 105-plus schools have raised over $21 million for charity, and actually had support our foundation, which we are eternally grateful for. Winn has received awards from the North American Hairstyling Awards, the Hall of Leaders Awards, Friendly House's Humanitarian of the Year Award, 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor in recognition of his philanthropic and other contributions. He is going to share with us proven systems to empower everyone to be more inspiring and engaging, skills that create an attractive leader. So I just can't be more happy you're with us.
Tana Amen: Yes.
Winn Claybaugh: Thank you.
Tana Amen: So special.
Winn Claybaugh: Well, and I'm a huge fan. I've come through these doors several times both as a client, both in accompanying friends and family members to make sure that they were receiving the proper care, both as a friend to have lunch, also in supporting your foundation, as you mentioned. So, yeah, I take your supplements every morning. So I'm a huge fan.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Wow, thank you so much. So why Be Nice (Or Else!)?
Winn Claybaugh: Well, everybody thanks that the "(Or Else!)" is something negative, and it's be nice or live a miserable life. Be nice or be a horrible boss. And that's the whole message of that.
Tana Amen: That's great.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So I read a book once by a business professor at Stanford. It was called The No Asshole Rule. And I love that. That's sort of the rule around here. I don't get to be one and you don't either! That work is where people actually spend the majority of their time and their work efforts. But you bring the brain to work. Whatever brain issues you have, you bring them to work, and people don't get when your brain works right you actually make more money because you make better decisions.
Winn Claybaugh: Oh, I love that. It's one of our golden rules that we live by. That: Always be in a great mood, fake it when necessary.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: Because-
Tana Amen: At least don't spread it.
Winn Claybaugh: Right.
Tana Amen: I mean, it's not really fair to dump that on other people.
Winn Claybaugh: Well, I think we got to take it to the next level. Not only can you not spread that, it's your job, it literally is your job, to bring different energy to the workplace.
Tana Amen: I agree. And it really is true that ... It sounds like such a cliché, but fake it till you make it.
Winn Claybaugh: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Tana Amen: In this case, it's really true. When we put words and actions and even body language to almost anything it becomes your experience. So if you walk in with a bad attitude-
Dr. Daniel Amen: So what question should we have our audience ask themselves for this podcast and this series is maybe it's something like: When your brain's not right, how does that show up at work?
Tana Amen: Yeah. It's good.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, if you haven't slept, if you are hungover, if you ate bad food. And in the Paul Mitchell Schools you really train stylists, correct?
Winn Claybaugh: Absolutely.
Dr. Daniel Amen: And I often think of stylists as therapists.
Tana Amen: Yeah. It's so true.
Winn Claybaugh: I actually have a funny story. I have a friend who is a licensed therapist, and he actually entered the beauty industry to do training and spread his motivation because he said-
Tana Amen: That's so awesome.
Winn Claybaugh: ... he had a client that was saying to him, "I'm taking your advice, but I need to ask my hairdresser what they think." He's like, "Wait a minute, I'm that licensed here and yet you're going to trust your hairdresser's opinion over mine." And you're right.
Tana Amen: We spend so long in the chair. No joke.
Winn Claybaugh: Well, not only that, but you spend some of your most important moments with your hairdresser. Your wedding day is with your hairdresser. Sometimes the death of a loved one is with-
Tana Amen: All major events.
Winn Claybaugh: Exactly. Is major events with your hairdresser.
Tana Amen: Yeah. And you don't go ... In my case, you don't ... I mean, at least speaking for me, I always want to go to someone who's really good, but I don't want to go to someone I don't like, so you pick someone you trust and like.
Winn Claybaugh: Of course. Yeah, you spend with your gut, not just with your head.
Tana Amen: Right. Yeah. It's true.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So, in Be Nice (Or Else!), talk to us about some of the principles of leadership that you've learned over the decades of work with the Paul Mitchell Schools?
Winn Claybaugh: The first thing is I realized a very long time ago that I'm not the smartest person in my organization, and I don't need to be. So when somebody asks a question, oftentimes I say, "Well, I don't know the answer to that, but I know who knows." And that's good enough.
Tana Amen: Yeah, exactly.
Winn Claybaugh: And what I mean by that is: it's not always up to me. However, though, it needs to start with me. So, like you say, if I show up in a bad mood ... Or I can be in the best mood ever, but I'm really busy that day, and so I park the car, and I get out of my car, I walk through the building, walk by the hundreds of people who are in that building, go straight to my office, and close the door. Why? Because I have a lot of work I have to get done. What's the buzz in that building in about one minute? Winn's in a bad mood, stay away. And if there's that kind of a feeling in the building, what's going to happen to creativity that day? What's going to happen to teamwork? What's going to happen to sales that day? And so not only do I need to be in good mood, and fake it when I'm not in a good mood, I also have to own people's perception of me.
Tana Amen: You said something really important. So I was a neurosurgical ICU nurse. And so we're taught-
Winn Claybaugh: Me too. I was.
Tana Amen: Were you really?
Winn Claybaugh: No, I was not.
Tana Amen: I'm like, "You threw me off for a second there." I'm like, "Wow, I've never heard someone actually say, 'Me too'." But when you guys are talking about showing up at work and being in a good mood, or what happens on the job if you're not, or how does it affect people when you don't, well, where I worked, people could get hurt or die if you show up and you don't do a good job. Or you show up and you're hungover and you're not doing your job right, it's not a good thing. Now that's not always the extreme for everybody, but it really does ... I mean, just to give you an idea, to an extreme, what happens if you show up and you don't do a good job. And to that effect, what I was saying is if you show up and you fake it till you make it, if you show up and you're in a good mood, people are more likely to help you. And in a unit like mine, that was critical. You need teamwork. You need people to help you. So it's really important that you show up and you gain rapport rather than repulsing people.
Winn Claybaugh: I have a joke. So this business owner's giving a tour of her store, over her facility, and the person asks, "So, how many people work here?"
And she responds with, "Oh, about half, about half work here."
Tana Amen: Oh, yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: And the reason why that can happen in some organization is because people aren't engaged. And the reason why they're not engaged is because ... Maybe they're engaged with their time, meaning they show up for one thing, and one thing only, and that is to receive a paycheck. But when people aren't engaged, we're not bringing the best out of them. And oftentimes when people aren't engaged, what do we want to do? We want to fire them. But you can't fire your way into building a better team of people. And so it's all about knowing how to bring out the best in people. Collaboration, which I know is in the notes that you sent to me. That word, collaboration, came up a couple of times. The value of collaboration. Knowing how to bring out the best in other people. Because how I look at it is: if you are the smartest, most talented person in your organization, I feel sorry for you.
Tana Amen: It's not a good thing. Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: No. No. Because that means now you're forced to work 12-hour days, seven days a week.
Tana Amen: Yeah. I totally agree.
Winn Claybaugh: And you're limited in terms of your opportunity, in terms of your growth. Why? Because it's only up to you. And that's what I said in the beginning. It doesn't have to be about me. My job is to bring out the best in other people. Even though I'm the leader and the owner of the organization, I need to bring out the best in other people. Because if the success of Paul Mitchell Schools relies solely on me, we're done, we're in trouble.
Tana Amen: Yeah. Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: The success is because-
Dr. Daniel Amen: So your job as a leader is really to build the best brains around you so that you can accomplish the mission of the organization?
Winn Claybaugh: Absolutely.
Dr. Daniel Amen: So it's collective brains. And everybody has an affect on everybody else?
Winn Claybaugh: Yes.
Dr. Daniel Amen: Right. And so it's just the energy is contagious. And so when you're not feeling your best, know if you project that it's going to infect the organization.
Winn Claybaugh: And I'm glad that you said "everyone," because people think it's just the boss's responsibility. And I've seen many, many times, and I'm sure you've seen this in your organization, that sometimes it's that brand-new employee, the person who's only been there for a couple of months, that can do more to bring energy and fun and teamwork and creativity than the person who's been there for 20 years.
Tana Amen: Yeah.
Winn Claybaugh: And, by the way, that person who can bring that energy, that to me is leadership. See, leadership is not a title, it's not a position, it's an attitude, it's a mindset.
Tana Amen: Agreed.
Winn Claybaugh: And so we talk about you can be brand new here, your first day, and yet here's the responsibility that you have for the energy that you bring into this space. And we're very detailed and specific on how people need to do that. What works? What doesn't work?
Dr. Daniel Amen: How can people learn more about Be Nice (Or Else!) or your work in helping not only the Paul Mitchell Schools but in their organization?
Winn Claybaugh: Well, they can certainly buy my book. I mean, if that's what you're leading to? Is that like a set-up for a commercial for me? Are you helping me out with my ... Paying my bills, is that it?
Tana Amen: Of course.
Winn Claybaugh: Okay.
Dr. Daniel Amen: I want to know how people ... You're here because we believe in you.
Winn Claybaugh: Right. Well, my Web site is
Tana Amen: Okay, that's ... People are probably not going to know how to spell that, so-
Winn Claybaugh: Oh, W-I-N-N-C-L-A-Y-B-A-U-G-H,
Tana Amen: Great. Perfect.
Dr. Daniel Amen: All right. Stay with us. When we come back, we're going to delve more into the brain at work.
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