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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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Do Your Meetings Suck? How do You Know?

Raise your hand if you’re an above average driver. According to the American Automobile Association, 73% of drivers feel they’re better than average — a statistical impossibility. How’s your meeting leadership? You likely feel that many meetings you attend suck. That’s because…many do. Too often meetings suck time and energy out of everyone. And most […]

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Motivating Others: Managers Manipulate, Leaders Inspire

Declining or stagnant engagement is an all too common organizational problem. Many people quit their jobs – but still come to work every day. Quit-and-stay and on-the-job-retirement are symptoms of weak leadership. Countless studies over decades show a big gap between what managers and frontline staff feel energizes and engage people. In one such study, […]

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5 Ways to Deal with a Bad Boss

Bad bosses can be deadly. One 15-year study found that when employees had a difficult relationship with their boss, they were 30% more likely to suffer from heart disease. Perhaps really bad bosses have lower coronary disease because their hearts are seldom used! If you have ever said, “My boss makes me sick!” you might […]

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In Your Dreams: See It to Be It

A senior leader was determined to strengthen her organization’s culture. She recognized that getting her executive team to work together more effectively was a key first step. In preparation for an offsite leadership team retreat I interviewed each executive with a series of team and organization assessment questions and ratings. It became clear that a […]

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Are You Doing it…To…For…or…With…Your Team?

Many studies have shown the impact that control of our situation has on our health, happiness, and effectiveness. In one experiment a white-footed deer mouse was placed in a brightly lit cage. The mouse could press a bar to alter the light. The mouse reduced the lighting to a dim level. The next morning experimenters […]

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Are You Focused on What’s Wrong to Make Things Right?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A young girl’s elementary teacher hears little Sophia sing at school and recognizes what a beautiful voice she has. The teacher encourages the girl to nurture her gift and has her sing a solo at a school concert. Sophia’s pure, clear voice and passion for music enchants everyone […]

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Coaching Head Check: Do You See Eagles or Turkeys?

A leader’s coaching skills are vital today. Millennials especially want direct feedback and supportive guidance. Leaders aspiring to build coaching skills need to do a “check up from the neck up.” Am I in a growth or fixed mindset about the people I am coaching? Ineffective managers ask, “How am I expected to soar with […]

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New Studies Show “Soft Skills” Are Now a Critical Priority

“The whole human side is now more important than skills or IQ. Everything we hear from clients is about the human aspects of leadership,” reports Rajeev Vasudeva, CEO of the Egon Zehnder executive recruiting firm. In a feature article on today’s “ultra-tight job market,” Fortune magazine concludes, “across industries, employers are prizing people skills, the […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on… Growing and Developing Others

Friend and fellow consultant and speaker, Donald Cooper and I found out after the fact that we were working independently with “John” a hard driving restaurant entrepreneur. John had rapidly built one restaurant into four highly successful locations with an innovative new concept and his fanatical attention to details. I got involved with helping John […]

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Coaching Matters: Are You a DIY Manager Choking Growth and Development?

Good managers often have strong technical expertise and analytical skills. They love to jump into the details and resolve tough problems. Effective leaders resist the quick-fix, I-can-do-it-better-myself temptation. He or she knows such do-it-yourself projects reinforce the upward delegation cycle (“Hey, boss. Here’s another one for you to solve”). This leads to him or her […]

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How Leaders Cause Their Teams/Organizations to Sink or Soar

The leading edge of an airplane wing is critical to slicing through the air and directing airflow around the wing to create lift. Leaders form the leading edge of their teams or organizations. He or she shapes everyone’s energy and behaviors. Highly effective leaders and outstanding leadership teams create powerful lift. Their teams and organizations […]

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