Beyond Traditional Management Strategies to Become a Selfless Leader with Grant Botma at Stewardship

When you want to evolve as a leader, you have to push beyond the traditional. Leaders often get caught up in the title, authority, and power of leadership. Beyond all that is the selfless leader. This is about how to put others before your own needs. Today’s guest is Grant Botma, Founder at Stewardship. Inc Magazine ranked his company #1932 on the 2020 Inc 5000 list and #1918 in 2019. Stewardship guides people through mortgages, insurance, financial planning, and investments. Grant gives you his journey of becoming a selfless leader. We look at the enemies of being a selfless leader.

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Grant Botma: The Transcript

About: A Husband, Dad, Author, Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, Loan Originator, Insurance Agent, Investment Advisor, sports enthusiast, and big Cubs fan. I am a native of Arizona that grew up on a dairy farm in Buckeye. I attended Arizona Christian University majoring in Business Administration and Christian Ministries. I have been working in personal finance since I was 15, and love my job because of the impact we make as we love people through finances. My wife and I currently live in Gilbert, Arizona with our three children Cambria, Parker, and Ellenie. We attend Sun Valley Community Church and enjoy serving in the children’s ministries.

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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.

Grant Botma: I don’t agree with the fact that you can care too much. I think that you can, you can never care enough. I think that we can mask some of our caring with some selfishness.  An example might be, you care like crazy pour into an employee. You love them. You serve them. You make them a better human beings. You uplift their family. You provide for them financially. You teach them a skill. You’ve given them this amazing life through your leadership and through your employment. And then they leave. And someone might say like, oh, you care too much about. But the truth is we have to know and understand that our companies, that we’re leading may not be the best for people at all times. And for us to believe that our company is the end all be all for all employees to work at forever of all time is unbelievably ignorant and wrong. And we just have to know what we’re getting into. When we’re business owners, we might have people leave our company and we have to be willing enough to care about them genuinely selflessly enough that when they do leave, we celebrate them even when it hurts.

Intro: Welcome to Growth Think Tank. This is the one and only place where you will get insight from the founders and the CEOs of the fastest-growing privately held companies. I am the host. My name is Gene Hammett. I hope leaders and their teams navigate the defining moments of their growth. Are you ready to grow?

Gene Hammett: I’m going to hit you with a new term. Maybe you’ve never heard this before, or maybe you’re really evolved and informed, but selfless leadership. Selfless leadership is not a common approach to leadership because a lot of leadership has focused on how do we get things done? How do we get the results? How do we drive sales? How do we drive profits? But selfless leadership takes a very different approach to this. It’s really centered on the employee. It’s a center on making sure that that employee understands that you care about them. And selfless leadership has a tremendous place. If you want to create a place where people love to come to work. And they’re driving the business forward.

I have a special guest with me today. It is Grant Botma. He is a co-founder at Stewardship. Stewardship is a unique company that combines mortgage brokering, financial management services, and insurance, and things all together to really have, a way to serve clients across all different spectrums of financial management. They are fast-growing. Which I’ve already said, been on the Inc list last year. And it really is a great conversation with Grant today when we talk about selfless leadership, but we really talk about the details of his, you know, the questions he asked his employees specifically, one of the questions will unlock something and maybe even cause you to resist this question, but if you’re willing to lean in today’s interview with Grant, you’ll learn a lot about leadership, specifically selfless leadership and where it fits in.

They’ll also learn some of the unique ways in which he engages his people. Even people who are no longer a fit in the company. He’s got a real, really great way to talk about that conversation and about what happens next. When you think about leadership and you think about your own growth, make sure you check out the fast-growth boardroom. We have a unique community for leaders that want to go beyond where they are today. They want to keep making an impact in this world, and they want to be stronger leaders because every employee deserves a strong leader. If you want to check out, fast-growth boardroom. Just see if it’s right for you. If it is, apply, we’ll get on the phone. We’ll chat. We’ll talk about some of the specific things to see if you’re a good fit for this program. And if you are, we’ll invite you into a community of fast-growth leaders that are really doing some amazing things. We have some fun racing cars and doing some really cool stuff every quarter, all of it’s centered around you being a stronger, better leader. We’re confident and we’re effective. And that is the key to fast growth boardroom. If you want to check it out, go to and apply today. Now here’s the interview Grant.

How are you?

Grant Botma: I’m doing well, Gene. Thanks for having me. I’m excited.

Gene Hammett: Excited to have you here on the podcast. Growth Think Tank is a place for founders and CEOs like yourself to share what’s working what’s not, and I’d love for you to give us a little bit of understanding of your company and, you know, being on the Inc list is really impressive, but tell us about Stewardship.

Grant Botma: Yeah. So this is how we communicate to our customers. Stewardship is a company that does home loans, insurance, and investments with wisdom and love. It’s a group of a number of different companies, a mortgage brokerage insurance agency, investment advisory, and we’re kind of a one-stop-shop for our community to get help with their finances.

Gene Hammett: Yeah, I’ve never seen this one-stop-shop thing. Is this something you saw somewhere else, or if you just kind of had this idea of bringing it all under that under one roof?

Grant Botma: It’s a, an idea that I had when I was in college, I got really passionate about finances. It’s kind of weird it’s it was actually almost the emotion of hate that fueled it. I was in the personal financial world and I got into that very early on at age 15. And man, I just saw so many bad things happening to people in my community that were trying to get their finances handled. I don’t know, I feel like our society doesn’t set people up for success, and I just wanted to create a place where people could get their finances handled in the best way possible, whether they knew it or not. And, what better way to do that than to help them with as many areas of their finances as I could.

Gene Hammett: How many employees do you have? Grant?

Grant Botma: We currently have 27.

Gene Hammett: And so, at any level, you have to learn to be a good leader over time. You’re probably not taught in high school and college and all that stuff. Where do you get most of your leadership insights from?

Grant Botma: Yeah, it’s a, it’s a funny question. That’s part of, kind of how I introed my book, about management and leadership is I tried to lead people the way that college taught me about managing, , all, basically, all the management books had similar things to say, you know, you do the 90-day performance reviews and you set these goals that are like just outside of their reach, hoping that you know it because it’s outside of their reach, they’ll strive for that and, and, and go get it. And then I just, I failed. It didn’t work out. It wasn’t, it didn’t fit me as an individual. It didn’t fit my personality and it didn’t work for the people I was hiring and the traditional management ways it didn’t work. So I had to figure something else out. I just dove in and decided to learn in a different way.

Gene Hammett: So let’s unpack what this different way is. I know when we were talking earlier last week, we really looked at you care about your employees. And there’s one key question that you ask. What is that question? That talked about a lot inside your company?

Grant Botma: So my, one of my primary roles as a leader in my company is to make sure my employees can answer yes to this question.

Does my boss care about me?

Because statistically proven as I was diving in and trying to figure out different ways to manage people. I saw study after study, after study. That proved that fact, that if an employee or somebody that’s under your leadership under your charge can say, yes, my boss really cares about me. Their performance dramatically increased their retention dramatically increased, and it created a much healthier workplace culture. So that’s a huge focus of my job day in and day out.

Gene Hammett: Did you discover this kind of in one go or does this something that’s evolved over years?

Grant Botma: Oh, man, Gene, it’s always a journey. Like I’m, I’m never like arriving one place or having this one epiphany moment and changing everything overnight. It’s always just trying to figure stuff out. Look at things, seeing how other people are doing it, and then testing them myself. I would say I was super skeptical of it at first. Like, oh yeah. People need to say yes, my, my boss cares about me and the reason why I was skeptical is because the, the traditional management books kind of teach this separation and relationship between the boss and the employee. And that’s why the skepticism came. But when I just threw that out the window and kept going over and over and over again, letting my employees know, I care about them.

It’s worked out and worked out really, really well, but yeah I mean letting somebody know that you care about them. It doesn’t happen overnight. Right? It’s, it’s a constant thing that has to be there again. I have to show up every day and make sure I’m doing that.

Gene Hammett: I actually love the fact that you keep bringing up how constant it is and how it’s evolved over time because there’s nothing about leadership. This is set it and forget it as much as we want to create empowered organizations and self-managing companies. When you think about this whole concept of care, What are some of the lessons you’ve learned along this journey of making sure that people feel cared, cared for?

Grant Botma: Well, I think we just hit it. It has to be consistent, right? It’s gotta be something that you’re doing day in, day out, weekend, week out, and you have to be very intentional about the ways that you’re doing it. But something I like to say is the best intentions require intentional action. Meaning my guests, Gene, is that you have the best intentions to be the best spouse, or it’d be the best parent, or be the best podcast host ever, right? Like that’s your intention. You want to be great at those things. But in order for those intentions to come to life, we have to follow them up with very intentional actions. And if I have that intention and I’m sure everybody else listening to this podcast also has that intention to really let their employees know like, yeah, I want them to know. I care about them. Cause I do care about. You have to follow it up with an intentional actions. And one of the things that I do to make sure I know that they, I care about them, or they know I care about them is pursuing them. I pursue them, with this thing that I call the 90-day employer your review. So it’s not an employee review, but a 90-day employer review.

Commentary: Hold on for a second Grant, just talked about being intentional. I want to share something with you from the behind the scenes of my business. I’ve created a lot of content this. But just a micro lesson for you. A lot of leaders focus on what do I need to do next? And the doing is important. We’ve got to take action to get results. But there’s something that’s usually missing the intentionality of who do you need to be as you’re doing whatever it is. For example, if you do something from a place of frustration, are you going to get the best results most of the time, not if you do it from a place of caring or a place of empathy or a place of being proactive, or really from a place of service. You will get different results. If you do it from a place of creativity, innovation, you’re going to get different results. My question to you is can you step back before you do anything and just ask yourself this question, who do I need to be in this moment to do this? Well, who do I need to be? And if you can get your mind centered on whatever it is, be intentional about it, then you will be able to do something at a much higher level and much more clarity, maybe quicker. But also it’ll be more on point doing it from frustration or pressure or doing it from place of anger. Just won’t work most of the time I share this lesson with you because who do you need to be is about being intentional back to Grant.

Gene Hammett: You gotta tell us a little bit more about that because I think it’s. It is a definitely flip of the switch. You open this up with traditional management said every 90 days, we’re going to do talk about your goals and reset them, but you’re actually getting them to talk about how you’re doing as a leader, right?

Grant Botma: Yeah. So a couple of things I found out by doing it, the traditional management kind of tactic of, Hey, here’s your goals. And then we’ll review them in 90 days and see how you did. One. I was waiting three months to tell somebody if they were doing something right or doing something. Like nobody wants that. I don’t want that. You don’t want that. So I had to change to giving people feedback on the spot. So as, as people were doing things well, I would tell them great job at a boy high five type thing. And if they were doing things wrong, I’m gonna say, Hey, good attempt. But we need to adjust it and make course corrections right away. And not only did I appreciate that as a manager because it allowed people to change quicker, but everybody else appreciates that too. One of the motivating factors within all of us is an affirmation.

That’s why, you know, reviews on Amazon are one of the number one-click things on the internet. Whether you’re obtaining a mortgage, you know, or you or you’re buying a toothbrush on Amazon, you want to hear if it’s the right thing for you. So affirmation as people are going about their job, telling them, Hey, you’re doing it right. Or you’re doing it wrong on the spot rather than every 90 days was, was big. So if I’m not doing that in the, you know, 90-day performance review, what am I doing? And I’ve got to answer that question. Does my boss care about me? One of the best things that I can do. Is pursue them and ask them questions.

How do you feel about your job?

How does your spouse feel about your job?

How do your kids feel about your job and your work?

What about your job, you love doing, what do you think you’re really good at?

What about your job are you not so good at?

Is there anybody on the team that you love and really appreciate right now because they’re super helpful or they’re just connecting with you?

Is there anybody in that team maybe that, that you’re not pumped up about, or maybe he’s a little bit annoying?

And it takes some time for them to trust you with these things. But if you’re consistent, as we talked about before and you genuinely do this every 90 days and you respond correctly, To the answers to those questions, they start to trust you and they really dive in and Gene I’m here to tell you that this tactic has given me some of the best ideas for my company’s growth.

Commentary: Hold on for a second Grant, just listed off a few questions that I think are really important for you to have. If you want to adopt this employer review, we’re going to put those questions into a quick little document for you so that you can use them for yourself. You can take them, modify them, personalize them. But I want to make it easier for you to step into this new lesson. If you want to use this employee review, just go to, and that will give you everything you need from that little segment where he listed off the questions. If you can’t find it from there, go to the show notes on this episode with Grant Botma and you will be able to get that link right there for you to download these questions and use them the way you need to. Just go to, and you’ll get those questions for free. Now back to Grant.

Gene Hammett: I love the questions that you were rattling off there because I think they’re, they’re not normal. I did challenge you a little bit Grant here. I said, you know, what’s unique inside of what you’re doing. I think this is really unique. I’ve had hundreds of vendor meters and no one has said they take an employer review. Did you learn this somewhere? Or is this just something you’ve figured out for yourself?

Grant Botma: I would say that nothing I have learned or done is unique to me. I’ve figured things out from everyone everywhere else. And I’ve been really fortunate enough to have some awesome wise people in my life. Awesome wise resources that I’ve pursued. To help teach me and where I could learn. Again, I was, I was failing in this area of management and I said, I’m going to figure this thing out. So I dove into YouTube videos and books and podcasts and blogs and other people, and just took information and kind of took it all together and said, oh, I’ll do it my way this way. And, when it comes to an employer review, really what it came down to was, was humility. Gene, I can be an arrogant jerk, sometimes the things I know at all right. And that confidence is super helpful. And when being an entrepreneur, but the humility of always understanding that I’m never going to arrive and then I can always get better is huge.

And it’s gotta be more than just words. Again, you gotta follow it up with intentional actions. So this employer review. Are intentional actions to let my team know. I care about them, but also intentional actions for me to act on that humility, to say, I can always get better. And I go into these things, hoping that I pick up one little nugget of a way that I can grow as a leader or, or my company can grow to better pursue our mission of loving people through their finances.

Gene Hammett: I want to go really deep into this with you. If you’re willing to play with me, I think you’re open enough. You’re courageous enough to do this, but I also don’t want to push you beyond your comfort zone. You’ve gotten multiple levels of feedback around how you’re performing as a leader, what you’re doing with your culture, and whatnot. What has been the hardest to take specifically, and then kind of, how did you decide to address that and evolve so that you could serve that employer that feedback better?

Grant Botma: So the hardest thing to take is when an employee tells me something that I feel like I’m doing a really good job. And then they say, and I have confidence in it and I’m excited about it. And then they say, you’re not doing that. Well, that hurts. I mean, I wrote a book on managing it and managing people. I feel like I’m really good communicator. I videos, podcasts, I speak, you know, and one time, one of my employees told me, Hey, Grant, the way that you’re communicating to the team about this particular issue, it’s bad. You can’t do that. And I have a kind of trigger and habit after doing this for so many years, that when they say something that I don’t necessarily agree with or appreciate I say, okay, yeah, thanks for telling me. And I just kind of absorb it, but for some reason I let that one get to me for a little bit. And I, it was stick, it was kinda sticking to me and I was thinking on it. And as I thought about it over the several days, again, I was challenged to be humble and look in the mirror as I responded to this. And some of the things that they said in that I think there were, there were out of context and I was able to ignore them, but there was some things that they said, and I’m like, yeah, They’re probably right.

And I made some adjustments to the way that I was communicating to my team about this particular issue. And it ended up being a huge game-changer. I learned a ton about communicating to people and leading people through that process. I was able to practice and learn about humility and try to be more humble in my leadership. but then also I was able to course-correct. My communication and apologize to my team through that. And wow. When you, as a leader are able to say, Hey, I messed up and did this wrong. I’m sorry that lets them know that man Grant really does care. If he’s willing to be humble in front of all of us like this too.

Gene Hammett: Would you be willing to share with us the specific thing that you shifted in the communication? Not about the issue, but just, you know, was it listening, or was it something else that we can learn from?

Grant Botma: Yeah, for sure. It actually had to do with, the way that I was communicating internally to our team about a Dave Ramsey. So Dave Ramsey is obviously a very well-known financial guru, and I think some of the work and things that he does is amazing actually. Had taught financial peace university at my church for almost a decade. I thought it was great, but something that was like irritating me a little bit about the way that he communicated was it was very black and white. There wasn’t a whole lot of nuance and there was no room to make personal finances personal. So we were starting to shift some of our communication to our community. Different. And, and I was doing that internally with my team saying, Hey, look, we’re, we’re not going to just trumpet this Dave Ramsey thing because it’s not leaving enough room for nuance. And I don’t think it’s the best way to serve and love our community. And as I was communicating those things. That I was spinning things in such a way that it almost looked like Dave Ramsey’s a terrible person and a bad person and all these things, which I don’t believe. I just think he’s an unbelievable marketer. And I think that he has a very intelligent tactic in creating this tribe about, about what he’s doing.

So he has to do things those ways, those ways. And he said, my employees, said, you need to let people in on that a little bit and you need to be a little bit more humble. Even when you say you disagree with the way Dave Ramsey is doing certain things. So that was it was.

Gene Hammett: Well, I appreciate you sharing that with us because it puts context around it. The whole thing about caring, it’s such a misunderstood piece to leadership. I have had conversations with people before and talked about the importance of caring and how do we, it’s a really critical element to this. And I had a leader respond back to me. He’s like, you know, you can care too much. And I said, yeah, but the problem is most people care too little. What do you, what do you think about the line at which you draw this caring thing?

Grant Botma: I don’t agree with the fact that you can care too much. I think that you can, you can never care enough. I think that we can mask some of our caring with some selfishness and example might be you care like crazy. You pour into an employee, you love them, you serve them. You make them a better human beings. You uplift their family. You provide for them financially. You teach them a skill. You give them this amazing life through your leadership and through your employment. And then they leave and someone might say like, oh, you care too much about that. But the truth is we have to know and understand that our companies, that we’re leading may not be the best for people at all times. And for us to believe that our company is the end all be all for all employees to work at forever of all, time is unbelievably ignorant and wrong. And we just have to know what we’re getting into. When we’re business owners, we might have people leave our company and we have to be willing enough to care about them genuinely selflessly enough that when they do leave, we celebrate them. Even when it hurts.

Gene Hammett: I love this thought. Recently a lot more is, you know, what would it be like if you truly celebrated people when they left the company and such a different approach to this. And I’m glad you brought it up here because you really did shift things. If you’re willing to celebrate people and the signal that, that shows to everyone else in the company. I think it’s tremendous. Have you actually seen this work and really, how has it changed the culture of the company?

Grant Botma: Yeah, for sure. And we’ve done it several times. Listen, if, if, if I say I care like crazy and I, and I take these intentional actions while they’re employed and I treat them super well and everybody can see that I care about you and I care about the other employees and it works out great. But then as soon as somebody leaves, I treat them like. And I don’t celebrate them all of that work so that people could answer to the question. Yes, Grant cares about me. It goes out the window and it loses trust and it will kill a workplace culture. I’ll give you a couple of examples. We’ve actually had two people on our staff over the time that our company’s been together, decide that they want to get into becoming a mom. They want to be a parent. And, they thought that adoption was going to be the best route for them. And when they became a parent, I knew that they would end their employment with me. And rather than trying to find that. I, I came around them as an individual, but also as a company, as a team of people, we came around to each of those folks and supported them through their adoption by providing them flexibility throughout their work so that they could go through the classes and the necessary steps needed to make it happen by helping them financially to ensure that the adoption process would go smooth on them.

And won’t impact them negatively financially. And then once they left doing parties with them and having a great time, and what that’s turned into in the future is one of them now just does a photography kind of on the side. And she was actually in our office this past week, doing new headshots, and came in with her atop, the baby boy, who’s just the cutest thing ever. And everybody celebrates them. It’s hugs, it’s high fives. It’s catching up with stories and now they serve us by having this awesome tool and service of giving us headshots that look beautiful on our website and everything else, but it’s this connectedness that is a part of the culture. It’s a social engagement now that happens throughout the workplace culture that again, drives performance and increases the, just answer to that question. Yes. Grant cares about me.

Gene Hammett: I want to give one more quick question here. Cause I think maybe the audience is curious like me. That’s incredible when things are, you know, a fit, you hate that person to leave, but you’ve done it in a very gracious way, in a very honoring way. And it really does support. I think more than just the relationship between you and that person it really does help the culture, but we all had employees who, for some reason, weren’t a fit and some reason weren’t performing on this, how do you handle that kind of exit approach?

Grant Botma: You keep caring for them. They still need a job. And one of the best ways that you can help them exit is help them find it. Yeah. It’s not just like sending them listings of like, Hey, you should try finding out this job here. Look, if you’re managing people well and you’re course-correcting on the spot and you have really great accountability systems and goals and whatnot, , if you’re genuine, leading with care, you can say, Hey, heads up what your doing right now isn’t necessarily great. It’s not working out. So we need to adjust that we need to do it this way. Right. And then they make a mistake and then they still don’t do that. Hey, you know what? It looks like. You’re still missing the mark here. What am I doing wrong? What can I do? Is there any resource or, or training or something that I’ve told you that’s confusing you? I think this might be my fault. I’m a leader. Let, let, let me try to do something to fix it and they might give some feedback and you do that thing to fix it and you still give the goals, but yet fail again. So now you come back to them the third time, like, okay, this is our third time.

I’ve made some adjustments, but you’re still missing the mark what’s going on. Right. And if you have a great company culture with a great mission that everybody’s pursuing and winning on that person, who’s not pursuing that mission. Well, they stick out like a sore thumb, and after the third time, and after you’ve been humble enough to say, Hey, look, we’ve got to make some adjustments because I’ve already made the adjustments. What about you? They respond back and saying, you know what? I think this is a me problem. I’m like, I think it is too. Let me help you find another job and they agree. So they stay employed and while they’re staying employed, they do their best to pursue that mission. But for those few weeks, I genuinely help them try to find another job. I still celebrate them and thank them for the time that they’ve put in. Even if it wasn’t maybe the most productive time. And that’s how I do that. And like, I’ve done that before Gene and that person ended up becoming one of the biggest referral partners for my business.

Gene Hammett: I love this and it’s such a rare piece to it. So I appreciate you sharing it. I’m glad I asked that final question because that could have just ended and we not get to the real heart of that, but that is such a unique way to look at it and a powerful way to relate to this difficult decision of this might not be working out and it might, it might be time to leave. And I love the fact that you walk us through the conversation. So thank you so much for really doing this for us Grant being here on the. Sharing your wisdom and leadership.

Grant Botma: Yeah, Gene, I think the bottom line with it is every business, big exists to serve other people. You’re providing a product or service to a community. And if you want your team to really genuinely serve well with selflessness, you got to do the same to your team. Be a selfless leader. Genuinely serve them the way that you want them to serve the community and end up working out. This has been a lot of fun on this podcast. You’re really great at this. This is pretty cool doing this interview. I loved the questions and the conversation. It was a lot of fun. Thank you.

Gene Hammett: Well, my job is to uncover the real story here in Grant. I know you’re listening in. As I wrap up this message, those that are really wanting to evolve as a leader. Hopefully, you’ve taken some notes today. Hopefully got some questions. We’re going to actually pull the questions that Grant puts into. This kind of employer review 90-day review. So it’s easier for you to, to take them in, make them your own. If you’ll just go to the episode notes, the show notes on this, and you’ll be able to find those questions, download them pretty easily, and it’s absolutely free. I just want to make it easier for you to evolve as a leader.

If you are curious about what does it take to continue your path as a leader? Learn from other experts like Grant and many of the other people we’ve built a community called fast growth boardroom inside this community is founder CEOs of fast-growth companies that want to learn from each other, support each other, challenge each other. And I am coaching. And providing content and framework to allow them to grow even faster and really create the kind of leadership that’s necessary for them to grow. If you’re curious about what that is, go to You can see if you apply and if it really is something that you think you’re a fit for, I urge you to apply had cost you nothing.

And it will help you become an incredible leader when your team is going to and you think of leadership and you think of culture. Think of Growth Think Tank as always the lead with courage. See you next time.

Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.




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