Why Leaders Should Be Open Minded with Belinda Panganiban

Most employees have a hard time buying into close-minded leaders.

While respecting the rules is important to maintain the structure needed to run a business, being too adamant about them can be a negative. 

In episode 121 of the Meeting Leadership Podcast, we welcome back Belinda Panganiban from MacEwan.  She’s here to help us become more open-minded in our approach, and make ourselves more relatable to our employees.

Belinda Panganiban

Belinda Panganiban - Meeting Leadership Podcast - Effective Meetings

Belinda pursued her undergraduate education at the University of Alberta, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree as well as an Information Access and Protection of Privacy Certificate.

Currently, she is a full-time continuing faculty member for the Medical Major in the Office Assistant Program. Her extensive experience as a unit clerk is based on and maintained by her ongoing position at a local Edmonton hospital. As an adjunct to her unit clerk skills, Belinda has experience as a disability case manager, a client services representative for an electronic medical records software company, a surgical coordinator for a plastic surgeon, a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) Advisor, and an acting FOIP Coordinator for the Government of Alberta.

Recently, Belinda collaborated with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) to include the Chaperone Workshop into the Office Assistant Medical Major curriculum. As a result of this collaboration, CPSA has authorized Continuing Education at MacEwan University to offer this workshop exclusively. It is by providing these opportunities to her students that Belinda accomplishes her teaching objective, which includes quality academics that are both adaptable and current. It is her intent that all students will be provided with a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectations for success while providing a realistic view of the healthcare setting.

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00:00 – Show Opening

Gordon Sheppard: As a leader, do you think that every decision that you make is going to be kind of a black and white type scenario? Do you think you’re going to always follow the rules? Or do you really understand or want to learn that if you can really bend things and see them as needed on a per case basis, that that just might be a better way to influence people and inspire them? Well, if you’re looking for that type of perspective, then you’re going to get a lot out of today’s episode on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. 

Are you a professional who wants to become a more effective leader? Then get ready for daily tips from the coach with the experience and inspiration to help you succeed in any leadership situation. You’re listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast, with Gordon Sheppard.

00:55 – Podcast content starts here! 

Gordon Sheppard: Welcome to another episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. My name is Gordon Sheppard. I want to say thank you so much for being here. Thank you for being the type of leader who’s looking to pick up another leadership skill, another strategy, another tip. Something that you can do, to go into your next meeting to make it significantly better, to become a stronger leader who leads their team to help also really have a view to building your organization and ultimately serving your end user, your customer, your client, your community at the highest possible level. It is really good to have you here.

01:38 – Welcome back, Belinda! – MLP 114

Gordon Sheppard: And today on the show we are tackling an issue that every leader has to deal with at some point, because the reality is not everything is black and white when it comes to making decisions. And today’s episode, well, it’s titled, Why Leaders Should be Open-Minded. And that’s with Belinda Panganiban from MacEwan University. Now many of you have listened to Belinda in the episode 114, and it was called, How To Get Buy In From Employees. And we learned a lot about the wisdom that she brought there sort of in a practical way, but the big piece I think you’re going to take away from this interview again here today, is the fact that her experience is what is shining through, her maturity. And that is what takes us as leaders from black and white to being able to assess specific situations and really be adaptable depending on what is needed.

02:24 – The interview starts here

Gordon Sheppard: And just because I know you’re going to get a whole lot from today’s episode, I’m not going to hold you back any longer. Here’s the wonderful interview with Belinda. Belinda, welcome back to the show.

Belinda P.: Hello.

02:49 – Belinda’s self-introduction

Gordon Sheppard: It was so great to have you on episode 114 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. And not so much even for me, I mean the information of course was fantastic. I love the mature and sort of successful tone that you bring underneath everything that you’re saying, so it’s really good to have you back here again. But for the people that haven’t heard that episode, how would you introduce yourself?

Belinda P.: I would say that I’m a person that is wanting to see people succeed. I know that people can do great work when they’re given the opportunity, and that not everybody needs to be micromanaged in order for a job, or things to get done in your workplace.

03:28 – What happens when a leader is close-minded?

Gordon Sheppard: Oh man, I just can’t tell you how many people could just get that, so many more workplaces would be much better off. And today, we’re lucky enough to have you commenting on why leaders should be open-minded. And this is obviously an area of passion for you. And I want to start off this way and say, what happens when a leader is closed-minded?

Belinda P.: When a leader is closed-minded, then what will happen is, as we said in the first podcast, then people don’t buy into what the leader is saying. They’re not going to be open to any changes. They’re not going to want to see that leader succeed, and overall there’s going to be a negative feeling always coming into work, or having to deal with that leader. And so that’s not good for any environment, for anybody to go into.

Gordon Sheppard: Well, and it’s one of those ones where when I’ve seen those leaders with that style, and those leaders are feeling like hard done by because they don’t have the self-awareness to know the value of what you’re talking about.

Belinda P.: Correct. They feel like they’re the only ones who are making decisions, it’s only on them. But I’ve always had the motto that you’re only as good as your team, or the people that you’re around. And basically, if they’re not willing to have your back, then that’s going to be a hard life for you as a leader, because you’re always trying to see what is going to come up to bite you, and you’re always trying to do damage control or trying to protect yourself. And I would not want to be that type of person.

04:52 – Belinda’s tips on how to be more open-minded

Gordon Sheppard: For so many leaders, that’s exhausting and they hate being in that type of situation. But thankfully, you’re going to give us a few suggestions because being open-minded is an easier path. How do you help either young leaders or fellow leaders to become open-minded?

Belinda P.: We have policies, procedures, and rules for reasons. We have them because we need to have some guidance to follow through, and for legality’s sake they’re there in place. However, not every rule needs to be hard fast followed, there’s sometimes there’s a bend in that rule. And if that bend in that rule is enough so that it can make a difference in one’s life, then why wouldn’t you implement it? So for example, if people missed a day at work and they couldn’t provide a note, you know what give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they really needed a mental health day, we all need that at some point. Now, if that’s not them in character, then let them have it because the more you harp on that, then the more people are going to be afraid to even say anything to you the next time this has happened. Or you’re not going to get, like I say, the buy in from them when you need something from them.

05:50 – The world isn’t black and white

Gordon Sheppard: I really want to pick up on the word bend in what you’re saying. I think this is something so many leaders often get trapped in black and white.

Belinda P.: The world isn’t black and white. The world isn’t a straight line. We need to know that sometimes things happen in life and life gets in the way, that we need to give people a break. And sometimes that break is going to be the one that this person will remember for the rest of their lives. And so what I mean by that is, if you’re going to make a decision that’s going to absolutely destroy someone, or you can see where they’re coming from, give them the benefit of the doubt, give them that option of knowing what they’ve done wrong and saying that, “Although I don’t feel that this is acceptable, I understand the circumstances of the situations, why you’ve done this. Therefore, I will give you an opportunity to redeem yourself by doing X, Y, Z,” or whatever the parameters are that you’d want to implement it.

07:03 – Offer guidance with reprimands

Belinda P.: I never believe that you should absolutely let somebody get away with it, but I also believe that you should guide them. And that little bit of a guidance… If somebody would have actually done that for me when I was growing up, it would probably have saved me a lot of grief.

Belinda P.: We had a student who was doing well in a class, but for whatever reason, the instructor came to me and said, “You know, I believe that this student plagiarized this assignment, and by the rules of the school, we should report her for an academic integrity infraction, so that this goes on her record.” So I said, “Could you please tell me a little bit more about the situation?” And she says, “Well, normally this girl is a good student, like I said, but for whatever reason, when I read this and I checked it out, everything on the internet is word for word, And so I don’t know what to do.” And I said… It’s a special circumstance in what she was teaching as well. So I will bring in the fact that this student has an indigenous background.

Belinda P.: And the issue is, I thought that she would get more out of this student if she actually allowed her to redo the assignment, and to take a penalty. But to acknowledge that A, she knows what she did was wrong. B, that she knows that the instructor is giving her an opportunity. And C, that with that it wouldn’t crush her so she would fail, but it would assist her to still pass and to be successful in this course. This course was not easy for this student to attend, because of the fact that she had young children at home, and it was more hard for her because she had to be there all day. And so she was trying her best to make things work, and when the instructor heard that, it gave her the opportunity to not just slam the hammer on this, and shut the door and say, “Yep, this is the way it’s got to go.” And you know what, I believe the impact was at the end, that she told me that this student graduated, and thanked her for all the help that she provided to her during the course.

08:54 – The impact of looking past and positive reinforcement

Gordon Sheppard: Well that is a great story. There’s so many points from a leadership perspective to pick up on there and I want to pick up on two. One, seeing the forest for the trees, which is hard for say, in your case as a supervisor of a young instructor to help them to actually see that. So I’m actually very curious about that moment, because the instructors come in, they have maybe a legitimate beef in this case, right? Plagiarism is not good certainly in any university setting, but then you were able to in that moment sort of manage that. What’s going down in sort of the emotional EQ aspect of what you’re talking about in that very moment?

Belinda P.: At that moment when the instructor came in and she was very determined to do what the policy stated, when she comes in, I’m not telling her what to do, I’m giving her a different vision or different option. Not one or the other is going to be right, per se. You could absolutely apply the policy as it is, but even when we talk about the academic integrity issues with the academic officer, it’s really truly the instructors decision what they want to do with it. So I painted her two sides of the story. I gave her all the reasons why this one would work, right? This one would work. And said to her, “You need to make the decision of what’s right for you, because ultimately you’re going to be the one that’s going to determine what the action is that you’re going to be implementing.” You need to give them the opportunity to vent because they’re angry. We get this. It’s almost like, “Why would you do this in my class when we say not to do this.”

Belinda P.: And then you want to be right again. You want to drop that hammer and just say, “This is it.” But you know, I’ve learned in the past that there’s a time to do that, and there’s a time like in this case where the impact would have been so huge if she would have failed. Whereas the impact of the positivity, the encouragement, and allowing her to recover from this mistake, because we are all humans and we all make mistakes, would probably help them both further in the long run with this experience when they look back at it, than to do the one which is easy.

Gordon Sheppard: And I really appreciate that you painted that moment for me because I think what that means for leaders listening to this right now, is you want to be in the situation, not alone, when you’re being open minded. You want to be able to be getting input, not again to be told what to do necessarily, but to inform your leadership, and so many better leadership decisions can come out of that type of process.

Belinda P.: Absolutely.

11:44 – Get in touch with Belinda Panganiban – panganibanb@macewan.ca

Gordon Sheppard: Again, the wisdom that you brought to the context of that situation, another massive piece and probably a whole podcast episode on its own. You know, Belinda, it’s been great to have you here, if people need to get in touch with you to learn more, what’s the best way to do that?

Belinda P.: They can get me at my email. It’s panganibanb@macewan.ca. That’s P-A-N-G-A-N-I-B-A-N-B @ Macewan, M-A-C-E-W-A-N.ca.

Gordon Sheppard: Well thank you so much for being on the show.

Belinda P.: Thanks for having me.

Gordon Sheppard: Now I think you’ll have to agree that that interview is must listen for any leader that’s really looking to round out their leadership skills. You don’t always just follow the rules, not everything is black and white. And when you can use the word bend, the spirit of being able to kind of look at a specific situation, know that it could go one way or the other, that you’re going to have options to be able to make the best decision possible.

12:26 – MLP 114: How To Get Buy-in From Employees with Belinda Panganiban – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/114

Gordon Sheppard: And if you’d like to get even more great wisdom from Belinda, then check out episode 114 on the Meeting Leadership Podcast. It’s called, How to Get Buy In From Employees, and you can get that episode by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/114.

12:41 – MLP 128: Inspiring Leadership Stories with Belinda Panganiban – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/128

Gordon Sheppard: And then on episode 128 Belinda is going to share an inspiring leadership story, and I know you’re going to get a lot out of that one as well. So you can get that one by going to meetingleadershipinc.com/128.

12:56 – Meeting Leadership Academy – https://meetingleadershipinc.com/academy 

Gordon Sheppard: And I also want to let you know that this episode or the Meeting Leadership Podcast, is brought to you by the Meeting Leadership Academy. Now there you’re going to find some really solid options for you and your team to learn how to build your leadership skills, and learn how to run highly productive meetings. Because I think when those things go together, leadership and great meetings, then you can really get your team’s cooking with gas. And if you want to do this, just visit meetingleadershipinc.com/Academy to learn more.

13:44 -Podcast Outro

Gordon Sheppard: And if you haven’t done it yet, please take a moment to hit the subscribe button on your favorite podcast app so you don’t miss an episode. And also if you get a moment, leave a rating and review and that’ll help us influence the content that’s coming up on the show. And as always, thank you so much for listening and we’ll see you on the next episode of the Meeting Leadership Podcast. 

Thanks for listening to the Meeting Leadership Podcast. Be sure to subscribe for more strategies to help you become an outstanding leader. And don’t forget to rate and review so we can bring you fresh content every day. We’ll see you tomorrow, right here on, the Meeting Leadership Podcast.

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Gordon Sheppard

Gord is on a mission to change the world, one meeting at a time. Over his 25+ years in business Gord has run or participated in more than 2000 meetings! Not only is Gord the CEO of Business Expert Solutions Inc. (owner/operator of Meeting Leadership Inc), but he is also a Facilitator, Trainer, Business Consultant, Author, Speaker and Podcaster who helps leaders learn how to have great meetings, so they can build outstanding organizations and serve their clients at the highest possible level.

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