In this episode, Manisha Dhawan shares her journey of resilience, growth, and leadership evolution. From witnessing the humble beginnings of a family business to navigating career pivots and eventually founding her venture, she offers candid insights into the challenges and triumphs that shaped her path. Exploring adaptability, stakeholder savvy, and emotional intelligence, Manisha delves into the importance of leading authentically and finding balance amidst leadership demands. With engaging anecdotes and practical tips, she inspires listeners to embrace change, cultivate self-awareness, and strive for excellence in their leadership journeys.

Manisha Dhawan the founder and CEO of MPath Coaching, is recognized for her expertise in leadership development and change management. With over two decades of diverse experience spanning various industries and roles, Manisha has honed her skills and insights to empower individuals and organizations. She is also the author of “The Digital Agile Leader,” which empowers aspiring leaders to thrive in an ever-evolving digital landscape.

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  1. How should individuals and organizations approach digital transformations with care and responsibility?
  2. What are the reasons behind people’s resistance to change?
  3. What are the strategies to implement change effectively?
  4. How can one handle a challenging situation with a team member?
  5. Why is stakeholder savvy important in leadership?
  6. How can leaders prioritize self-care amidst their professional responsibilities?

Mistaken leadership perspective: Why change when we’ve always done it this way before?”

Manisha Dhawan

Founder, MPath Coaching


[03:45] From Garage Start-Up to Community Mentorship

[05:20] Lessons Learned from Growing Up in a Family Business

[08:02] Career Pivots and Entrepreneurial Dreams

[15:22] Adapting with Agility

[21:07] Breaking the Myth of Status Quo: Embracing Change and Resilience in the Workplace

[24:33] Signature Segment: Manisha‘s LATTOYG Tactics of Choice: Leading with Stakeholder-Savvy

[28:21]  Signature Segment: Manisha’s entry into the LATTOYG Playbook: Finding Balance and Energy in Leadership


Manisha’s journey commenced within her family business, Applied Membranes, where she gained comprehensive exposure across all operational functions. Transitioning to roles at esteemed firms like PwC, Deloitte, and Slalom, Manisha spearheaded global digital transformation endeavors, notably contributing to Taco Bell’s pioneering digital initiatives.

Also, as the founder of MPath Coaching, Manisha leverages her wealth of experience to nurture leadership capabilities and foster high-performance team dynamics. Her bespoke coaching and training programs, tailored to individual and organizational needs, cover an array of vital subjects such as emotional intelligence, agility, and effective communication.

Manisha’s academic foundation includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and an MBA from UC Irvine, complemented by her coaching certification from iPEC. Additionally, she holds an EverythingDiSC authorized partner accreditation and certifications in Emotional Intelligence and Design Thinking, further enriching her toolkit for transformative coaching and leadership development.



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This podcast episode is sponsored by Shockingly Different Leadership (SDL), the leader in on-demand People, Talent Development & Organizational Effectiveness professional services that up-level leader capability and optimize workforces to do their best work.

SDL is the go-to firm companies trust when needing to:

  • supplement their in-house HR teams with contract or interim HR experts
  • implement leadership development programs that demonstrate an immediate ROI and impact on the business

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Episode 73 | Agile Leadership in the Digital Age with Manisha Dhawan


Manisha Dhawan  00:03

Going  through  my  own  challenges  in  the  workplace,  dealing  with  not-so-great  leadership,  feeling  like  I  was,  I  don’t  know,  being  minimized  or  pushed  aside  or  undervalued…like  I  had  to  go  through  so  many  challenges  to  really  appreciate  the  need  for  better  leadership.  For  more  cohesive  teams.  A  lot  of  times  I  would  be  called  in  to  turn  a  stagnant  project  around.  A  project  that  was,  like,  failing  that  nobody  wanted  to  really  take  on  because  there  was  too  many  challenges.  And  then  they  threw  it  in  my  way,  and  I  realized  the  way  I  turned  it  around  was  actually  through  the  people.  


Voiceover  00:04

Welcome to the “Lead at the Top of Your Game” podcast, where we equip you to more effectively lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. Each week, we help you sharpen your leadership acumen by cracking open the playbooks of dynamic leaders who are doing big things in their professional endeavors. And now, your host, leadership tactics, and organizational development expert, Karan Ferrell-Rhodes.


Karan Rhodes  00:37

Welcome back to the podcast everyone and thanks for joining another episode designed to help you better lead at the top of your game. As you know for season three each month we’re featuring leaders who have interesting roles in a particular profession or industry. Today’s episode is part of our special series featuring leaders navigating the digital world. We’re thrilled to have on today’s show Manisha Dhawan, founder and CEO of Impact coaching a firm which helps develop people centric skills for high performing teams. She is also the author of The Digital Agile Leader, where she shares stories and strategies on how to navigate change in the workplace and beyond. Minissha shares how working with her father in the family business kickstarted her love for business and leadership, and eventually led to a career pivot from corporate America to now consulting leaders on how to best attract, develop and retain top talent in an ever changing digital world. Be sure to listen to her tips and perspectives to gain insights on how to further your leadership acumen. And now enjoy the show. Hey there superstars This is Karan and welcome to another episode of the Lead at the Top of Your Game podcast. I am so pleased to have an exciting episode for you today another expert on leadership but with a different lens. And so we are so honored to have on today’s show. Manisha Dhawan. Manisha is the founder and CEO of Empath coaching, which is a firm that helps leaders at all levels, enhance people centric skills and create more engaged, inclusive and productive teams. She’s also the author of The Digital Agile Leader, where she shares stories and strategies on how to navigate change in the workplace and beyond. So, welcome to the podcast Manisha.


Manisha Dhawan  02:39

Thank you, Karen, I’m excited to be here.


Karan Rhodes  02:41

Oh, we are just honored and thrilled to have you. I cannot wait to delve in to learn a little bit more about your company and your book. And I know there’s a ton of things that we can talk about. I was joking with you before that we probably could be other podcasts before ours if they let us but they won’t. But what we’ll do, though, is let’s start out with sharing with audiences a little bit about you personally. So just for as much as you feel comfortable. Would you give us a sneak peek into maybe some of your personal life and our passions?


Manisha Dhawan  03:17

Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, four hours would be great. If we had that much time, even when my let’s see my background. I’ll try to keep that concise as well. But I’m really, really fortunate to have grown up in a household where I learned a ton starting at a young age and was exposed to business at a very early age. Born in Canada, but we moved to San Diego and my parents immigrated from India, my dad started a business out of our garage when I was just a toddler and I’ll never forget just running around following him in the garage. And I thought we were in the middle of a big game and just you know, playing around but he was actually creating something and building something from the ground up. And I learned from him just watching him evolve and expand the business over time. He started off with like seminars and then he moved into like product and then building systems for water purification. So that was a big lasting impact on my life. And I learned a lot of work ethic from that. I live in San Diego currently, I’m really close to my family. I love building community just being involved with even like college students and developing skills at an early age and giving that guidance and mentorship to people.


Karan Rhodes  04:31

Oh! That sounds amazing and your dad sounds amazing. Very influential. And I’m sure there’s you could probably write a whole book on you know, some of the things you learned from him. But can you tell us a little bit more can we get one click down and share a little bit about what you observed as someone you know, building a business from the ground and seeing it grow and progress.


Manisha Dhawan  04:58

Yeah, I’m gonna be honest, Karen. It wasn’t easy. I mean, we were not in a great financial position. My mom’s a full time homemaker, and was raising a bunch of kids while there’s four of us now. So, and my dad was trying to make ends meet, he was really passionate about a technology, he really believed in it. But in the corporate setting, I think like many of us face, he didn’t necessarily have the leeway to be an entrepreneur to chase his passions to innovate. So he decided to go off on his own by trade. He’s a PhD in chemical engineering. So he had a good strong foundational education. And when he started his business, it again started by maybe giving consulting services to then expanding into different products. And he actually was one of the pioneers in the water treatment industry. So at a very, you know, early stage, and when the industry was just booming, he saw an opportunity, he capitalized on it. But then as time changed, he tried to evolve and shift the direction of the business based on consumer demands in the marketplace. And when I learned from him, because it was interesting, I actually had, I worked with him throughout high school summers, when my friends were off, you know, having fun and going to the beach, my parents were like, Nope, you gotta go work in the family business. And I’m, I was really kind of annoyed. But looking back, I’m like, Oh, my gosh, I’m so grateful. Like, that was actually an opportunity, and good training grounds for me to really understand the ins and outs of how a business is run. And no job is too big or small when you’re in a family business. So everything, from packing boxes, to shipping to printing labels to doing administrative work, to then going to like trade shows, I remember going traveling with my dad, and we would go and set up a booth at a conference and go meet with clients and potential vendors. And this is again, as an early age I was in high school. So I learned a lot about how to be resilient and persistence in the face of loss to you know, if things didn’t work out, and we maybe didn’t get what we expected, but then also how to pivot and be really highly adaptable, which set me up for future careers. Once I pivoted after that.


Karan Rhodes  07:05

That is amazing. And the reason why I wanted to have you share that a little bit is because people don’t realize it’s a true struggle, will some do with those that are entrepreneurs and are trying to build a business. But there are ups and downs. I mean, the highs are highs with the lows can be lows, and it’s a, you know, it affects family, friends and your whole environment. And it says a lot when you’re able to make it through and be resilient around that. And those are to your point that some of the lessons learned that you can carry out throughout life. And I noticed also that you started your education and when Phil and did a pivot as well, can you share a little bit more about that?


Manisha Dhawan  07:48

Yeah, so initially, I thought, you know, working for my father, the company’s applied membranes in San Diego. And I thought, you know, maybe I should get a science background too. And I completed a chemistry undergrad degree, which was also very challenging, but sometimes I believe it’s worth challenging ourselves and taking a difficult road and I didn’t, you know, fly with passing grades or get like straight A’s or anything like that. But I learned a ton. And I learned how to think like a scientist and I talk a lot about that process of deconstructing problems and trying to figure out what problem are we trying? are we solving? What’s our hypothesis? How do we test it? How do we get insight. So that foundation of education really was core to developing a mindset of just you know, hypothesizing, experimenting, and learning. But after a while, I realized I don’t really want to be in the lab. And I think as a chemist, you know, the few options I could go down or research path or go down teaching. But I really started to fall in love with the people side and engaging and interacting with people. And my heart was drawn back into like the business side of it versus going deep into chemistry, which to be honest with you, it wasn’t necessarily my strongest skill anyway. So after college, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. And if it were up to me, I would have stayed in college longer and been forever students. But my family again, my rock, you know, came to my side and said, hey, you’ve got to make some decisions here. Why don’t you come back and work in the family business until you figure out, you know, if there’s some other things that you’re interested in. And so I did, and I worked in the family business for about six years after graduating college. But this time in a different capacity than when I was in high school. I really got into marketing and finance and operations and the business was growing more. And after those six years, I said, you know, I’m craving that education piece again. So I went back to school at UC Irvine and got my MBA.


Karan Rhodes  09:43

That is wonderful. And did you work in the workforce first, or did you jump right into starting Mpath?


Manisha Dhawan  09:52

No, you’re right. I did. I worked for many years before starting Mpath came about just there was always something in the back of my mind. Like maybe I want to have something on My own my father’s an entrepreneur, but I pushed it to the side. And I just started to take opportunities that came my way. So in my MBA program, I did an internship at PWC. And that’s my first exposure to like big management consulting firms with global clients and really, you know, high stakes projects, high visibility initiatives. And I took a full time offer upon graduation actually at Deloitte Consulting and spent about six years there now,


Karan Rhodes  10:28

I bet that was a learning experience that was a learning.


Manisha Dhawan  10:32

And that was kind of a boot camp of sorts. I thought, I thought I had it all figured out. I knew business. I grew up in an entrepreneurial household I, but no, I had so much more to learn. It really humbled me. And I had a lot to learn about myself and my leadership style, and working with like global cross functional teams with very different perspectives, and trying to make things come together as seamlessly as possible.


Karan Rhodes  10:56

And so when you started Mpath, where did what did you decide you wanted to focus on? And then where are you now with the business? Yeah,


Manisha Dhawan  11:04

great question. So in my time at Deloitte actually then I made more career pivots, I think there’s it’s the consultant in me that’s always itching to to learn and grow. So I ended up moving to another consulting firm called Slalom and then I spent about five years at Taco Bell headquarters. And then I spent another year in a staffing and recruiting firm. And looking back, it’s like, why am I making all these career pivots? Well, different reasons. With my father’s business, it was more just to see what else I could do, ironically, come full circle, I’m back helping in the family business. But the Lloyd and the taco bills, I mean, there was points in my career where I felt stagnant, or I felt like there was more I could do, but there were some limitations or barriers or hurdles. It was really challenging in my consulting career. And sometimes you have to decide do I want to continue this lifestyle at the time, I was traveling every single week on a plane Mondays and Thursdays, and didn’t really have much of a personal life, my weekends were pretty just shot, you know, just doing laundry and packing and repeating Taco Bell, it was a really great experience doing some really innovative cool projects. But after a while, you know, it started to feel more of like something else was pulling me and I think that was the business that I started, I started to get clues along the way that I can only connect the dots looking back. And there were some common themes looking back that led me to create my business. One is I think, in general, this need for people to feel like they’re supported and seen and heard and valued in the workplace. And for whatever reason, people were coming to me for that advice, how do I deal with challenges with my boss? How do I ask for a promotion? How do I present to this executive team on this on this topic? And I would love to them, you know, just be a sounding board until one day somebody said, Have you thought about being a coach? Okay, what does that entail? Well, I was actually a career coach in my MBA program. I’m doing a lot of like resume and interview preps for my classmates, but I never really thought of it as a career until going through my own challenges in the workplace dealing with not so great leadership feeling like I was, I don’t know, being minimized or pushed aside or undervalued, like I had to go through so many challenges to really appreciate the need for better leadership for more cohesive teams. A lot of times, I would be called in to turn a stagnant project around a project that was like failing that nobody wanted to really take on because there was too many challenges. And then they threw it in my way. And I realized the way I turned it around was actually through the people by pulling out what matters to them, what their strengths are, how they want to contribute, how that ladders up to the common goal, how we can disagree, but also align and move forward. And it was something that I just uncovered through all the projects I was on and decided, why not? If there’s a demand for it, maybe it’s something I could actually make into a business


Karan Rhodes  14:04

And maybe…and so how long have you been in business now? Oh, it’s been three and a half years. And you survived to tell the story. Look at that, congratulations.


Manisha Dhawan  14:15

I had to quit my job in the middle of the pandemic, which may not be the best move and nothing I would advise people to do. It’s good to have a fallback option and maybe build something on the side. But I took a bold move and I had enough savings to kind of And ironically, I actually landed my first client the week with my last job. Because I will never forget my boss was just yelling at me for 20 minutes on a call. I had put the phone down and I say enough is enough. I have to get out and I want to I think I can make a better impact from the outside versus inside.


Karan Rhodes  14:49

And congratulations to you because sometimes we don’t listen to our inner gut or the inner angel that is talking to us. When you know when enough is enough, and you have the courage to be able to take that leap, which is a scary leap, I’m sure. But there were greener pastures, it seems to be headed down the road. So very happy and proud that you did that. And that it worked out for you.


Manisha Dhawan  15:17

Thank you. And in hindsight, I also think that experience with the last boss I had was actually just the push I needed. And maybe not quite the angels speaking to somebody else telling me he


Karan Rhodes  15:28

Your gremlin was pushing you


Manisha Dhawan  15:30

Yea, like, time to go…


Karan Rhodes  15:33

I hear what I needed. Well, let’s pivot towards your book, we want to learn a lot more about that. It’s called The Digital Agile Leader, which is such a unique name. Can you share a little bit about the genesis of the book, and we’d love for you to share at least a tip or two, to leave with our audience?


Manisha Dhawan  15:53

Absolutely. Yeah. So I always kind of had in the back of my mind, maybe I’ll write a book someday. But you know, I think we all deal with imposter phenomenon or the comparison trap, where we’re like, Well, who am I to be an author? Or what do I have to say? Is anyone gonna even read it? There’s books out there, until I just started writing and saying, Well, I mean, it is my voice. And these are my stories. And only we have those for ourselves, right? So my book started out with just like a word vomit of here’s everything I’m purging and living with and dealing with and processing. And I started to find uncover themes. I really wanted to give a guidebook and a tool for other people that are learning how to navigate change, whether it’s changing their careers, like I did, changing something in their personal life, navigating or leading change in the workplace. So that’s one of the common themes as well as how can you be a better leader, especially during times of change. And I just reflected on key moments and stories in my life that really shaped who I am. And there’s a tool that I use in the book called The agility matrix. And the genesis of that is, it’s kind of a funny story, my brother is 13 years younger than me. And as a joke, he used to call me moose when we were growing up.


Karan Rhodes  17:16

Affectionately, I’m sure right.


Manisha Dhawan  17:18

It was within the family, I don’t want to become a trend. But he joked and said, I’m only going to read your book if you put a moose in the book. And I said, How am I going to do this now? But I realized, you know, I actually went and researched the moose, and I kind of resonated with it. So this tool helps us understand and identify and recognize how are we showing up in the face of change through the lens of different animals? Are we for example, there’s the ostrich, which you can probably guess is someone that puts their head in the sand wants to ignore and avoid the change that’s happening, even though it’s around them, maybe they’re not ready to face it. And by the way, it’s not bad. It’s not a bad thing to be an ostrich, maybe you want to conserve your energy and protect yourself, and you’re just simply not ready. Right? But are you aware of that? Is it helping you? Is it holding you back? Do you want to maybe tap into the coyote, which is another animal I talk about? The coyote is embraces change, they are maybe a little bit more bold and daring, and they lead the way. So when have you felt that in your life? It’s very situational. So this is a tool that I think I want people to just take home with them. And there’s also an assessment that comes with it. Just to take a step back and say, Is it helping me or hurting me? How am I serving others, other people on the team that might be getting left behind that I need to support or provide access to resources? Do I need to pause and ask some more thoughtful questions before just leaping into change? And so yeah, and then another tool, I would say is just really more guiding questions that I posed throughout the book, self reflection, you know, for example, thinking about your purpose or your meaning, can you derive that from your current role? I know a lot of people feel frustrated and just want to maybe change jobs. But I believe also in trying to make the most of where you are, and reflect on how what are you doing? Or what could you be doing to make it a better experience? Because the grass is not always greener. I’ve learned that. So yeah, I think I’m hoping that this book really can resonate with anyone that’s going through change, even if you’re not necessarily have the title or role of a leader in an organization. You’re a leader in your own life.


Karan Rhodes  19:31

Gotcha. So it’s kind of sharpening that I see the agility ability that didn’t mean to rhyme, but it did to adjust a pivot and be able to handle major change, I guess, in your work in life. Is that kind of


Manisha Dhawan  19:48

Absolutely. There’s a digital component of it. You’re right. I mean, I do talk a little bit about how our world is changing rapidly and leading a lot of global large scale digital transformations that accompanies it. And a lot of it encompasses change management, but also being thoughtful, you know, are we just following the latest trend and slapping on new technology? Because we think it could buy us some great marketing exposure? Or does it really? Is it meaningful in the context of our business? How’s it going to impact the people and the processes? So for example, we’ve we’re all hearing a lot about AI and generative AI and you know, any sort of emerging tech. So a lot of these technologies have been around for a long time. But yeah, well right and become more immersive. Before we know it, we won’t even know for using it. It’s so embedded in our lives, but businesses and even individuals, we kind of have a responsibility to take a step back and say, Are we are we doing this in a way that’s that’s ethical, that’s aligned with our values? Again, does it make sense for our organization? And why are we doing it? What are we automating? And why? What do we not want to automate? Because that’s just as important as knowing what to automate. So it’s digital agility of okay, things are changing fast, but I need to just be open and curious, and learn, and then ask these questions to see how will it apply rather than just leaping forward?


Karan Rhodes  21:13

It makes so much sense. And I’m curious, in your opinion, what is one big myths that are a pitfall or obstacle that people find themselves in? Because they were not either conscious or skilled or agile enough?


Manisha Dhawan  21:32

 Yeah, I think it’s kind of the saying, you know, we’ve always done it this way. So we’re gonna keep doing it this way. Why change? What’s working? You know, why do we have to change anything, and I write about this particular story in my book, which is a true story. One of my clients, she was very, very scared of change. And it’s natural, like we’re wired to resist change, we may view change as a threat, don’t know what change brings, there’s a lot of unknowns. So when we were doing a whole transformation in the organization, she was scared, it was gonna impact her job and her role. And she learned that from past experience that she was actually let go, because her job was made redundant by technology or by processes that were eliminated. So it’s really important to then meet people where they are and help them upskill and rescale. She in her case, she actually took her shoe off and threw it against the wall in a meeting, oh, my gosh, really. Never seen anything like that in my life. And there was like, 30 people in the room, we were all just working on our laptops. She got so frustrated at the system. But I think, you know, she ultimately she was expressed, she was most frustrated with herself. She didn’t feel like she was understanding this tool. She was struggling to learn it. And then she just started cursing and saying, why are we even doing this? I don’t like this. I’m not bought in a natural visceral reaction. Maybe throwing a shoe is not very natural. But it was her reaction in the moment. Luckily, no one got injured, I had to put my team as pull my team aside, make sure they were okay. You know, to get HR involved. It was a big thing, but ultimately ended up staying on the project, we had to talk to her about it. And I just recognized she needed more support and training and reassurance that her job was not going to be eliminated. And here’s how her job was changing. It was being you know, redefined. But we still viewed her and valued her as, as a integral part of the team. And at the end of the project, she ended up being one of our biggest champions and supporters, which was really wild to see after it took about two years


Karan Rhodes  23:38

Wow! She came a long way from the sheet throwing to Vienna value team ever.


Manisha Dhawan  23:45

I think it’s important, we don’t lose hope and each other and we’re all in different journey of change. Some people are, you know, yeah, Lon resistance mode, but then they might come around, or they might stay where they are. But you have to decide what to do.


Karan Rhodes  24:00

So Right. And so, you know, based on that story, that example, I’m not sure if that’s the reason why you chose this, but it makes a lot of sense, is one of the reasons. But as you know, I wrote a book on leadership execution. And we always ask our guests, you know, which of the top seven tactics that I write about, really resonated with you? And you mentioned leading with stakeholder savvy, which were my newer audience members, leading was stakeholder savvy. You know, it’s kind of the sister tactic to have an Intel emotional intelligence. It’s all about, you know, really understanding the people that you’re interacting with to Manisha says meeting them halfway, and being effective in a variety of professional social situations. And it’s all about kind of being understanding and meeting people where they are and understanding what they’re trying to, what they’re talking about what their priorities are, and building deeper relationship. chips. So I’m just curious, in your words, Manisha, why do you think leading with stakeholder savvy is really important? Or why did it resonate with you?


Manisha Dhawan  25:09

Well, and by the way, I love all your principles. So it was really hard for me to select the one spoke to me on so many levels. And by the way, this is something also that I had to develop and hone over time, I don’t think I was the savviest person in the workplace, until I figured out this kind of unlock that you mentioned, this EQ piece, this empathy piece, but also being decisive when you need to. So we can have empathy for others, extend that compassion, take action and support them, but ultimately say, you know, this is directly the direction we’re going in. So we need you to be on board or not, I mean, ultimately, leaders do have to make these decisions. But in general, I think for me, all the projects I’ve been on all my experiences, all the leaders I’ve worked with, that’s one trait I really admire is are they savvy enough to read the room, understand the different personalities and the dynamics that are at play? If somebody feels, you know, reading their verbal or nonverbal cues, which can be hard to distinguish, because they don’t translate across cultures and across different people, right, we might miss read the signals, it could look, it could seem upset, but maybe they just have a stomach ache? I don’t know. Yeah. But being able to sense the energy in the room, and then check in and ask people, you know, how are you feeling about this? And what are some of your thoughts, anything that we’ve missed? Opening up the channels for feedback, I think makes you even even savvier can give you more information to make better decisions when I was first told to take over this big project. Because my boss actually had a stroke on the project.


Karan Rhodes  26:47

I’m so sorry to hear that.


Manisha Dhawan  26:48

That just tells you how stressful the work environment was. Yeah, I reject. I declined it at first, because I didn’t want to take on such a big burden. But it was kind of like this is we need you to do this. Can you just step up for the team just for a few months. And I had to really roll up my sleeves and figure out how to work with different personalities. For one thing, I was now managing a friend of mine. Oh,


Karan Rhodes  27:12

Oh, that’s a challenge. I know. From personal experience.


Manisha Dhawan  27:17

Right? Yeah, I did have a good heart to heart with her, let her know that, you know, our while our roles might be changing, I’m still there to support her. But initially, there was some adjustment on both sides. Then I had to deal with it had to learn how to deal with someone that was that didn’t want to see me in that role and was trying to thwart my efforts and sabotage. And so I had to navigate around that. And the way I found that was most helpful was to build alliances and relationships with other people and not necessarily fight or take on certain battles. Something that you’re speaking of is emotional intelligence combined, I think with just strategy and being strategic, building relationships all the time, not just when you do them, like building that social equity and that social capital, across the enterprise, some of my biggest supporters and biggest helpers, or people in unexpected places, it could be the executive admin who had sites, I know how it’s not always the C suite that you need to be, you know, connecting with and being authentic and genuine, I think people will open up to you and will will want you to be successful for the most part.


Karan Rhodes  28:27

I totally agree. I totally agree with that. And, you know, for me, I’ve always been passionate about great leadership. So it energizes the topic has always energized me ever since I was young. But it can be exhausting, sometimes and challenging, especially during times of high work or high stress, such as the times that you’ve mentioned, both in consulting in your consulting gigs and other employers. And I’m just curious, what does it take for you to lead at the top of your game? What do you try to do to, to bring that, that energy and that keeps you centered? And helping that helps you to be the best that you can be?


Manisha Dhawan  29:07

Such a great question. And you’re right, there’s a lot of exhaustion, there’s burnout, that can be very challenging if you’re not taking care of ourselves. And I’ve been guilty of that too, where I end up overworking myself or getting caught up in something overthinking something. So I have to take a step back and have some reality checks with myself. I think, number one super important is to have a support system around you. And these are not just people that will agree with you and say yes, all the time. They’ll respectfully challenge you. Right and call you out in the math I miss and I think setting some good good habits. It can be simple things like you need to sleep and get an extra hour of sleep. Drink another extra glass of water. I think I spent a lot of time processing and just downtime and meditation time and thinking but I know not everybody has Luxury of that same families are other things going on. But I think it’s really important to just do that self reflection I like to write as well. That helps me process my thoughts.


Karan Rhodes  30:11

Do you journal?


Manisha Dhawan  30:12



Karan Rhodes  30:14

Interesting? Yeah, a lot of people…


Manisha Dhawan  30:16

But my form of journaling is just sketching a few bullets. And you know, or I might think of something like something I was really grateful for. And then a couple things that maybe I want to try. That’s a different approach.


Karan Rhodes  30:28

Sure. And now there’s all types of approaches to journaling. Yeah, absolutely. Nobody says you have to you know, write in a journal every day,


Manisha Dhawan  30:36

Writing a book was hard enough.


Karan Rhodes  30:43

Oh, well, thank you so much for sharing that we always love to pull out this seat, you know, give people insights on what it takes for others to lead at the top of their game may or may not be right for you. But when you hear of different options, it kind of makes you think, and some you may want to try and some you may not. So I appreciate you sharing that.


Manisha Dhawan  31:04

Yeah. And you actually hit the nail on the head, like you really have to know yourself, what energizes you and what’s like depleting you and draining your energy and kind of audit and track that then try to maximize or lean into or reach for those energizers when you are feeling depleted.


Karan Rhodes  31:19

Absolutely. Well, I blinked and look at the pie, right? I told you we could talk for like four hours. But you know, before we let you go, I you know, we’ll have all the information on how to find you, your your website, your social media handles and have the links to your book, which is most important. We want all the audience members to give. Add that to their reading list. And we’ll have that in the show notes. But I want to give you a moment to give voice to where to find it as well. So would you mind sharing where our audience can find you?


Manisha Dhawan  31:52

Yeah, sure. Thank you. You can find me on LinkedIn Manisha Dhawan. My website is That’s m p a t h…Empath without the E. And yeah, just connect with me. I’d love to keep the conversation going.


Karan Rhodes  32:07

And where can they find your book?


Manisha Dhawan  32:08

My book is available on Amazon.


Karan Rhodes  32:11

All right, the answer for everybody, Amazon. Well, thank you so much Manisha, for the gift of your time and being a guest on our podcast.


Manisha Dhawan  32:21

Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.


Karan Rhodes  32:25

And thank you to listeners for joining this episode. We hope to see you again next week. And you know, I only ask you one thing to sit make sure that you subscribe and share it with just one friend so that we can help others just like you to lead at the top of their game. Thank you so much and see you next week. And that’s our show for today. Thank you for listening to the lead at the top of your game podcast, where we help you lead your seat at any employer, business, or industry in which you choose to play. You can check out the show notes, additional episodes, and bonus resources, and also submit guest recommendations on our website at You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn by searching for the name Karan Rhodes with Karan being spelled K a r a n. And if you like the show, the greatest gift you can give would be to subscribe and leave a rating on your podcast platform of choice. This podcast has been a production of Shockingly Different Leadership, a global consultancy which helps organizations execute their people, talent development, and organizational effectiveness initiatives on an on-demand, project, or contract basis. Huge thanks to our production and editing team for a job well done. Goodbye for now.

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