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Do You Work for a Bully Boss? Are You One?

One of my favorite historical fiction authors is Colleen McCullough. She masterfully weaves extensive research with real and imagined characters to bring an historical period alive. Her five book, Masters of Rome, series is outstanding. In Book 3, Fortune’s Favorites, she describes a scene in the Roman senate when the dictator Sulla asked for any […]

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Smothering Silence: What You Don’t Know Can Kill You

Is this happening in your team? People are texting each other what they really think during a video or conference call The real conversation happens after the meeting or call Your team doesn’t debate all sides of important issues and avoids touchy topics People agree to a plan of action but then do something else […]

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Powerful Leaders Go Beyond Empowerment to Empartnerment

To fix organizational problems or make major changes, managers often hire consultants to analyze what’s happening and provide improvement recommendations. The consulting firm usually interviews people, runs focus groups, and gathers input from a variety of sources. Lots of good ideas are gathered and the best ones presented to leaders along with a recommended action […]

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Lip Service or Leadership: Are We Really in This Together?

Over the years, many managers turned, “people are our most important resource” into an empty cliché. Their behavior treated people as “assets with skin” or “human capital.” As one executive put it, “I’d really enjoy my job if I didn’t have to deal with people.” “We’re in this together” is the latest phrase ringing hollow […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Partnering not Patronizing

Sam Walton built Bentonville, Arkansas based Wal-Mart into the world’s largest retailer through treating staff as respected partners. One of his legacies was to “treat them as partners and they will treat you as a partner and together you will all perform beyond your wildest expectations.” A scout leader was trying to lift a fallen […]

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Layoffs Rarely Pay Off: Here are 15 Alternatives

Your values are showing. Tough times are when the tide goes out to sea and exposes the jewels or junk that’s been under the surface. Words like, “our people are our most important resource” now prove to be empty rhetoric or compassionate reality. Leaders who care about people and building long-term trust, treat layoffs as […]

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Let’s be Frank: The Heart Part

Frank is a manager for a technology company who I first wrote about his personal transformation in Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. The hugely successful career everyone envied him for on the outside was merely a facade for the equally overwhelming unhappiness he felt on the inside. He was […]

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Engaging and Energizing: Are You Leading in the Key of E?

Are people in your organization leaping out of bed eager to get to work? Or is work a four-letter curse word? What’s the Laughter Index in your workplace? In the most effective organizations, leaders are often “leading in the key of E” by engaging and energizing people. It’s so vital. And too rare. Leadership researcher […]

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On The Leading Edge to Cut Wasteful Employee Engagement Efforts

There’s a direct line between levels of employee engagement and service/quality, productivity, innovation, safety, revenue, profitability, and other key results. That’s well documented, and most leaders strongly agree. Where agreement falls apart is how to boost engagement levels. Some leaders feel that running organizational surveys and giving that aggregated data to managers will somehow get […]

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End Meeting Madness: Decide How to Decide

In a senior leadership team retreat last week, decision-making and meeting effectiveness emerged as a barrier during our moose hunting exercise. Meetings are more important than ever in our complex and interconnected world. Research clearly shows that when run effectively, groups make better decisions than individuals do. Effective meetings involve and engage participants in problem-solving […]

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This is Critical to Building an Agile, Change Adaptive Organization

“Workers are more adaptive and optimistic about the future than their leaders recognize.” That’s a key conclusion of a major study by Harvard Business School’s Project on Managing the Future of Work and the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute. The study encompassed 11,000 lower income and middle-skill workers and 6,500 business leaders in 11 countries. […]

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Bright Managers Often Race Headlong Into this Trap

During a keynote presentation on balancing technical expertise, management, and leadership at a company conference of senior managers, I discussed how very smart managers with deep technical expertise frequently direct rather than develop others (often seen as micromanaging). Really bright “techno-managers” can come across as “if I want any of your ideas, I’ll give them […]

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Are You a Leader on the Grow?

Stanford University professor of psychology, Carol Dweck, has become well-known for her work on the power of a growth mindset. Her research shows this is vital to success and fulfilling our potential. Spring is a great time for gardeners in the Northern Hemisphere to reflect on growth. I enjoy perennial gardening in our yard. As I […]

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This One Culture Factor Leads to 5.5 Times Higher Growth

Are your own people your biggest barrier to higher innovation and agility? That’s what recent research from Great Place to Work found in a study of 792 companies totaling about 500,000 employees. In this new study, Innovation by All, Great Place to Work concluded organizations with high-trust cultures involve and engage many more employees than […]

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Leaders Don’t Wait, They Initiate

Last month’s issue featured an exchange I had with a reader on Dealing with Stupid Busy Leadership Teams Overloading Their Organization. I wrote that strong leaders like George who refuse to be victimized by undisciplined senior leaders have three choices. Paul, “a first level manager,” e-mailed to tell me about a “fourth option I’ve used […]

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Culture Drift or Shift: Team Members Learn What They Live

Many organizations have a set of core values along with vision and mission statements. And many leaders are frustrated that people in their organizations aren’t getting the message. Teamwork, customer service, quality, trust, communication, or whatever’s declared as culture ideals aren’t lived. But people are getting the culture message from their leaders. They see it […]

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For the L of It: Leadership and Love

I once asked a manager how many people work for his company. He said, “About half.” After we assessed their organizational culture, we found he was overly optimistic. They had a very large number of disengaged people. It wasn’t hard to see why the organization’s results were poor and getting worse. As someone in a […]

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Losing Touch with These 5 Leadership Principles Leads to Communication Failures

Daniel Boone once said, “I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days.” Of course, being a real ‘he-man,’ he would never ask for directions! Many leaders are bewildered about communication problems in their organizations. A well-known line uttered by a desperate sailor in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime […]

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Communications Conundrum: Eight Interconnected Causes of Breakdowns

Is “we really need to improve communications around here” a common refrain in your workplace? It’s a very common frustration and complaint. ‘Increasing Communications’ was the highest voted topic by nearly 500 readers who completed our “reader sourcing” survey on key topic areas for the new book I am working on. Given the importance readers […]

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Dealing with Stupid Busy Leadership Teams Overloading Their Organization

I had an exchange of messages with a reader about my blog post Stupid Busy: Is Your Leadership Team Overloading Your Organization? The reader, who we’ll call George, wrote, As a middle manager who is on the receiving end of this, you are hitting the nail squarely on the head. Unfortunately, there is no way […]

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