Name: Cody Jacobs
Title: Founding Advocate
Organisation: The Lowly Behaviorist
I am Cody Jacobs, The Lowly Behaviorist, themselves! As a BCBA, Advocate, and Dog dad, I've learned that leadership isn't just about titles, it's about being the guide, protector, and supporter my peeps need.
Outside of the capitalist structure, I've got a soft spot for animal training, Legos, and all types of art! #lovemetheBroad. Me and my husband also love to spend our weekends annihilating in Mario Kart!
With a handful of years rocking Crisis Training and the CA Pent Cadre, my jam is making spaces inclusive and helping folks grow.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Cody's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
I have found that the biggest struggle I face is other leaders. What I have come to decipher is there are several types of leaders, but the two most common types I seen are the dreamers and the authorities. These are two ends of spectrum that don’t appear to value the work of those who came before us. Nor do they see those we are there to support as valuable members of the community. Other leaders attitudes about work and productivity and output really hinders growth and progress at times. It’s the hardest challenge to overcome but with patience and the right language it is possible to guides these molds to achieve equilibrium.
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
Honestly, I didn’t “become” a leader through any process. I also don’t see myself as a leader but rather a guide post. What I mean by that is, I am always a part of my team, decisions are made together, opinions and perspectives are safe and free to be expressed, and guidance is provided. While decisions and choices do need to be made by an individual, I channel my team when deciding. This is what have allowed my colleagues and teams to listen to me. Because I am aligned with them, them align with me. I listen that is how I became a leader.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
Humans LOVE routine however we also HATE monotony. So it’s a struggle sometimes not going to lie. But with that I structure my day with grace and a shake my head attitude. Sometimes spit happens so we have to be flexible. Instead of having hardest activities that need to be done, I have categories. So I try to wake before 6:30am and in bed by 9:30pm the in between goes something like:
6:30- wake up routine (shower, floss, eat)
7:30- personal time (crossword/video games)
9:00- check in with team, emails, conduct a daily needs assessment
10:00- start intervention on needs assessment
~11:30 lunch it’s important make sure you eat and drink
1:00- work on company/ overarching goals
3:00- check in needs assessment for next day and team
8-check in emails/follow ups/reviews
8:30 - bedtime cool down
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
You’re only as good of a leader as your team is strong.
This is something that I have known my entire career. But recently, I have seen how relationships and connections can make or break a leader.
If you have weak relationships with your team, you can’t have strong leadership. Leadership comes from direct and holding boundaries and having difficult conversations. The easiest way to have difficult conversations is to have a strong relationship and connection with your team. When you truly care and are invested in their growth you can support and lead even the most stubborn to the table.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
“So you want to talk about race” by Ijeoma Oluo
This really helped give me better language to address comments between clients and staff as well as addressing issues with in the team. As a leader you have to be able discern problems and solutions - for the betterment of the team goals. However most team conflicts can easily solved by discerning the social conflict over the work conflict. Many conflicts arise due to social constructs that can and should be addressed in the office. This book helped.
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
Breathe. And truly just breathe. Not everything is a race. Discernment can only come about when you breathe and breathe some more. You have to be calm and regulated in order to help regulate and calm others. This is definitely a skill I have learned and the sooner I learned it the easier some lessons would have been!
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
Moral: Sometimes you don’t realize your impact in a space until you leave.
The last team I worked with was brand new and we were building the plane whilst flying… it was an experience. But that team was amazing, after a hard year we stood stronger together, working through social, political, and emotional draining challenges we achieved our goals. Through those experiences, realizing the now as I talk to old colleagues, the empowerment and encouragement they felt I gave them. My team always felt that I was in their corner, even when they were wrong, they knew they could come to me and I would support and guide through a learning moment.
That’s when I realized my impact as a leader. It’s not about what you achieve but about how you leave your team changed for the better and how you impart your skills and story in a space and with others.