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April Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Unbelievable. It’s already April and first quarter is over/done/gone/kaput.

That means it’s time to reconsider your 2017 to-do list in the light of reality and eliminate the ‘trys’ and hope to-s’ in favor of an honest evaluation of what you can really accomplish today, this week, this month, which, taken together, will add up to an excellent year.

And, to help you accomplish some of the work-focused things, here is this month’s carnival.

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided How Leaders Overcome Resistance – The Most Important Step. Anne writes, “While natural inclination is to choke the breath out of resistance, the real solution is counterintuitive and it’s the single most important thing you can do.” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided How to Write a Meaningful Thank You Note. Beth recaps, “Thank you notes are a lost art, but an important part of business success. Here is a formula for maximizing the impact of your thank you notes.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: A Question of Character. In this post, Chris encourages leaders to remember that their character counts. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Cy Wakeman of Reality-Based Leadership provided Redefining Accountability in the Workplace. In this post, Cy explains why accountability is a mindset, not a skillset. Find Cy on Twitter at @cywakeman.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Were the Founding Fathers Great Leaders?. Dan recaps, “Were the Founding Fathers really the great leaders they are claimed to have been?  If so, What can we learn from them?” Gordon Leidner answers these questions in his guest post on Great Leadership!” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed a guest post by Jennifer V. Miller entitled The Business Case for Strategic Focus on Organizational Culture. Dana writes, “New research has identified that companies that build high-trust cultures experience stock market returns two to three times greater than the market average and turnover rates that are 50 percent lower than industry competitors.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus and Jennifer at @jennifervmiller.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared How Much Time Do You Spend Communicating?. David writes, “Leaders are always communicating—even when they don’t realize they are. It’s fair to say that 80% to 90% of the average leader’s week is spent communicating. Yet, how much time is spent on planning communications for effectiveness? Discover tips on how to effectively plan your communications and how to distinguish communication from information.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jennifer McClure of Unbridled Talent provided Can Regular People Like You and Me Change the World? (Yes, We Can). Jennifer recaps, “We don’t need to get intimidated by how big or complex it may be to change our community, our organization, or our leadership in order to change the world. We just need to focus on the impact that we can have in the life of one person.” Find Jennifer on Twitter at @jennifermcclure.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of the Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership submitted 15 Things Leaders Can Manage (and One They Can’t). Jesse recaps, “There are many things leaders can (and should) manage. But ironically, the one thing many leaders think is the MOST important thing they’re supposed to manage is NOT on this list.” Follow Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work contributed Manage Challenging Behaviours: The Devil’s Advocate. Jill shares, “Instead of using assessments to codify diversity in teams, leaders can learn how to notice and manage challenging workplace behaviours.” Find Jill on Twitter at @epiphanyatwork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided The Six Inner Leadership Selves. Jim shares, “Being a leader is not a one dimensional affair. There are many ways that each of us can practice leadership: at work, in our community, at home, or in an unexpected crisis situation. One thing’s clear: you don’t have to be in a management position to show leadership.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted The 5 Smartest Strategies to Build Influence in the Workplace. Joel recaps: “Being a successful influencer requires building and fostering strong relationships. Follow these 5 strategies to build your influence in the workplace. ” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog shared The Degree of Interdependence. John summarizes, “Business is more interdependent than an orchestra, yet we often ignore the interdependence and seek to optimize components individually. That idea is a useful reminder that if we are not thinking about the end result of the system taken as a whole we risk optimizing component to the detriment of the whole.” Find John on Twitter at @curiouscat_com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference contributed Leadership Fails and Who Cares?. Jon summarizes, “What is it that isn’t working with our current leadership development strategies and why aren’t more people trying to figure out what is broken in our colleges, leadership programs, and culture? Here are a few things we can stop doing in hopes of developing better leaders.” Follow Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted Business Owner Mistakes: Not Keeping Company Books and Records Up-to-Date. In his post, Jon shares about the importance of keeping our financial records in order and up-to-date. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Who Knows What Employees Really Want?. Julie recaps, “Depending upon the study, article or thought leader one consults, there are countless different possible motivators and priorities that people bring to the workplace. How can a leader figure out which resonate for his/her employees?  It’s easy.  ASK.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed What the Best Managers Know About Disengaged Employees. In the post, Karin shares a story from her college experience that inspires the value of engaging your employees. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared Ethical Leadership: The “On Switch” For Adaptability Linda recaps: “Adaptability is a key challenge for leaders and organizations, and ethical leadership is a critical tool for ‘switching it on.’” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted How Not to Get a Handful of Mud. Lisa summarizes, “This post is about how to get out of your own way and move through your fears in order to be the best leader you can be.” Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What Goes Wrong in Your Organizational Culture?. Marcella recaps, “Learning to ‘see’ culture; group dynamics, beliefs, and behaviors is helpful. When you become aware you can contribute to developing a positive culture. There are four culture archetypes but each can turn into its shadow side. Your culture can be a permanent happy hour, a competitive sweatshop, a bureaucratic mould or creative chaos.” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services, LLC provided The Counter-intuitive Mature of Slowing Down to Speed Up. Mary Jo recaps, “It sounds a little crazy that when a leader slows down, they can actually help things to speed up. Here are some things to consider as you do so.” Find Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Michael Lee Stallard of Connection Culture provided Beware the Brutally Honest Workplace. Michael recaps, “Honesty is an important element of healthy workplace cultures, but it must always be balanced with respect. This article explores the hidden dangers of ‘brutally honest’ workplaces and the type of communication that leaders should foster instead.” Find Michael on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Misogyny — Follow The Money. Miki writes, “There is a great deal of talk about the rampant misogyny in tech culture. Actually, it’s worse than in other fields, but it currently has a higher profile due to media coverage of complaints at Uber, Tesla, and several other high profile companies. 30 years ago tech was far more welcoming to women; what happened?” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leading with Courage and Confidence. Neal recaps, “Today leaders need to have the courage and confidence to take action on ideas that will move business forward to the next level of success. Having courage and confidence primarily means that as a leader you take responsibility for the decisions you make.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paula Kiger of Big Green Pen provided Lessons from the Rice Chefs of Morimoto Asia. Paula recaps, “Little did I know the foundation of my fantastic evening dining experience had been laid early that morning, by people I would never see. It was an important lesson about quality and passion.” Find Paula on Twitter at @biggreenpen.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 4 Steps to Avoid a Leadership Meltdown Like Uber’s Travis Kalanik. Randy writes, “The recent missteps of Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanik, is just the latest example of a highly visible leader experiencing a very public meltdown. We are all susceptible to having a leadership meltdown, and the way to prevent it is to develop our leadership from the inside-out. In this straight-forward article, Randy Conley outlines 4 steps leaders can take to develop their leadership philosophy and approach from the inside-out.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row submitted It’s Not Fair! Three Ways to Combat Unfairness. In her post, Shelley shares three important ways to combat unfairness in the workplace by explaining, challenging, listening and validating. Discover Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided What Is Your Leadership Style?. Susan explains, “As a leader, are you more of a Connector, Orchestrator, Trailblazer, Stategist, Team Champion – or a combination of several? My new quiz can help you discover your leadership strengths, and the report at the end provides a good overview of the five most common leadership styles.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer provided Forget Passion – What Employees Need Is Purpose-Led Work. Tanveer recaps, “Discover why it takes more than passion to inspire the very best in our employees and how the key is providing purpose-led work.” Find Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership provided Create a Great Working Environment for Your Team. Wally recaps, “If you’re the boss, your challenge is to create a great working environment for your team. Here’s what a great working environment looks like.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

March Leadership Development Carnival

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Ryan should be back next week, but in the meantime you will find plenty of good stuff in this month’s Carnival. Enjoy!

Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting provided Wise CEOs in New Roles Follow Two Important Rules. Anne asks, “What two rules do wise CEOS follow when they’re in new roles, and what are the benefits?” Find Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided Three Ways to Have a Less Stressful Day. Beth recaps, “Beth Beutler gives us three practical tools for reducing stress in our days.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Bill Treasurer of Giant Leap Consulting provided Reality Bites for New Leaders. Bill recaps, “Your influence can help make a positive and lasting impact on people’s careers and lives. All it takes is making the most out of your leadership kick in the ass!” Find Bill on Twitter at @btreasurer.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Why Leaders Do What They Do. In this post, Chris explains three powerful influences over a leader’s behavior. Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Chery Gegelman of Giana Consulting contributed The Inspiring STANDS of a REAL Leader. In this post, Chery asks, “As a titled leader do have the courage to take stands for the business?  …Your people?  …Your family?  What would you give to work with someone that takes stands like these?” Follow Chery on Twitter at @gianaconsulting.

Christopher Avery of Christopher Avery and the Leadership Gift contributed How I Practice Responsibility. Christopher shares, “The Responsibility Process works only when self-applied. (If you have heard this before, and I hope you have, it is always worth revisiting.) What this means is that knowledge about The Responsibility Process doesn’t change me. Only applying The Responsibility Process to my life will produce results that matter.” Follow Chris on Twitter at @christopheraver.

Cory Rieken of the Development Dimensions International (DDI) contributed What Happens When Leaders Fail to Use Key Principles?. Cory shares, “A leader’s lack of empathy and ongoing performance conversations can lead to confusion and uncertainty among employees about where they stand. Learn about the key principles leaders can use to meet others’ personal needs to be respected and involved.” Follow Cory on Twitter at @ddiworld.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Six Ways to Make Your Presentation a Hit. Dan recaps, “Scientists say our attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish, so it’s more important than ever for leaders to make our presentations as engaging and compelling as possible. How can we do that?  One way is by taking cues from the place that can still captivate us for hours at a time: the movies. See Ted Frank’s guest post to find out how.” Find Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dan Oestreich of Oestreich Associates provided On Not Waiting for Superman. Dan recaps, “Mythologist Michael Meade’s three layer model of human interaction provides a way to think about and act on our leadership in a time of change, conflict and controversy.  I use Meade’s model in my leadership consulting work because it ably defines the quest, common to human communities, to reach a shared sense of humanity and shared values such as love, justice and peaceful co-existence.” Find Dan on Twitter at @DanOestreich.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed The Upside of Office Politics. Dana writes, ” Unpleasant as it is, office politics gives us a special gift, which is to learn to stand up for our values and grapple with forces out of our control. After all “The Universe” .” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Dye of Trailblaze submitted 4 Questions to Ask Yourself and Your Team to Stay Focused on the Most Important Thing. David summarizes, “I’ve never met a manager who has enough time to do everything they want to do. The stress that comes with being ‘too busy’ is inescapable – or is it? David shares a mindset shift and questions you can use to keep your team focused, and busy-stress at bay.” Follow David on Twitter at @davidmdye.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared How To Create Line of Sight For Your Employees. David writes, “Statistics and sources show that employees overall don’t understand company strategy. Said another way, they don’t get how they fit in. And that’s a missed opportunity.” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner

Jesse Lyn Stoner of the Seapoint Center for Collaborative Leadership submitted Dialogue Bridges the Divide. Jesse recaps, “Since the US election, many people have experienced tension with a close friend or family member whose views are different than theirs. My own family is no exception, and I was having particular difficulty with a close family member.  My post explains why and how I reached across the divide and provides 4 guidelines that helped make it successful. Bottomline: It’s important and possible to begin reaching across the divide.” Follow Jesse on Twitter at @jesselynstoner.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work contributed Widen Your Perspective-Take Puppy Breaks. Jill shares, “Taking a short break away from work every hour or so will increase your mood and your productivity.” Find Jill on Twitter at @epiphanyatwork.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Gandhi and Mandela Would be Proud: What’s Next after the Women’s March?. Jim shares, “In this post, I use Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi as prime examples of how to motivate and focus people towards a common vision using peaceful means. The context is the January 21st Women’s March which spanned some 500 U.S. cities and dozens of countries. The participation wasn’t just the amazing thing but that the marches were done peacefully. Vision and how people collectively contribute to it is critical to this movement’s future.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted Strategies to Increase Your Influence at Work. Joel recaps: “Increasing others’ perception of you and your visibility at work are vital to your career success. The next step is to increase your influence at work. Follow these 3 strategies and watch your influence increase.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog shared Why Do People Fail to Adopt Better Methods?. John summarizes, “Sometimes better methods will be adopted but often they won’t. People can be very attached to the way things have always been done. Or they can just be uncomfortable with the prospect of trying something new.” Find John on Twitter at @curiouscat_com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference contributed 7 Essential Guiding Principles. Jon asks, “Who is an Upstander? A person who chooses to take positive action in the face of injustice in society or in situations where individuals need assistance. Being an Upstander is a leadership model we must embrace and these 7 principles can help.” Follow Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon VerBeck of JonVerbeck.com submitted Business Owner Mistakes: Not Understanding Their Revenue Model and Current Sales Plan. As part of his series on mistakes business owners make, Jon shares about the importance of understanding your revenue model and sales plan. Discover Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Lessons in Stumbling and Set-Backs… from the Big Top. Julie recaps, “Since work frequently feels like a three-ring circus anyway, there are lessons to be learned from acrobats who know how to stumble and yet resiliently go on with the show.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed How Do I Get My Team to Trust Me?. In the post, Karin shares a personal story of trust with her team, and how it wasn’t so good at first. Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context  shared Leader Competence: Will it Be a Multiplier or a Divider? Linda recaps: “Leader competence is either going to be a multiplier or a divider. When you have it, you multiply performance and trust, with exponential results.” Find Linda on Twitter at @leadingincontxt.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting submitted Why Self-respect is a Key Leadership Skill. Lisa summarizes, “While we need to be open to feedback, we also need a confident foundation in our strengths and contributions so that we can learn from the feedback, rather than be pierced by it.” Discover Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided What If We Embodied Positive Change?. Marcella recaps, “What did you do today that’s worth repeating? We must first change ourselves to create positive change in a situation. We tend to copy what we have seen, and that’s why cultures stay the same. Every act of positive leadership and kindness counts… What have you done today that you’d like others to do, too?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting contributed The Conundrum of Incentive Pay. She recaps, “Incentive compensation is tough.  It’s why many companies avoid it all together. Leaders often find themselves coming up with incentive plans they hope will work, only to come out with frustrating results and the intent didn’t drive the desired outcome. In this post, Mary Ila shares some things that stand in order to do incentive pay well.” Discover Mary Ila on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services shared The Benefits of Having a Team of Equals. Mary Jo summarizes, “When you treat the members of your team as equally smart and capable as you are, you’ll realize what it’s like to make better decisions, have great trusting relationships and some bottom line results.” Follow Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Michael Lee Stallard of Connection Culture provided A Surprising Way to Reduce Mistakes and Accidents. Michael recaps, “In industries like healthcare where the cost of mistakes and accidents is high, it’s important to provide the support employees need to do their best work. Michael Lee Stallard explains how the “connection culture” elements of value and voice play an important role in improving performance.” Find Michael on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed The Necessity of Fools. Miki writes, “There are many kinds of fools and while being a fool is something people work hard to avoid there is one kind of fool that should be your greatest aspiration.” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leading an Empowered Creative Organization. Neal recaps, “Leaders who empower employees to use their own creative thinking skills and talent help move the organization forward. In doing so, leaders trust employees to make decisions in solving problems, challenges and difficulties regarding the work they do. Working collaboratively yields greater results.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 3 Truths About Trust. Randy writes, “Virtually everyone agrees that trust is a vital ingredient for healthy and successful relationships and organizations, yet many don’t think about trust until the worse time – when it’s been broken. In this post, three fundamental truths about trust that every leader should consider.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row submitted Reap the Rewards of a Checklist: Two Easy Steps. Discussing the value of a checklist, Shelley writes, ” If doctors and pilots use them regularly, it may be a good idea for other business leaders too.” Discover Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Simon Teague of New Level Results contributed A Business is a Reflection Of …. Simon recaps, “This post discusses productivity, combined with empowerment and engagement being at an all-time high in those organisations that are using more modern and innovative methods to recognise, reward and develop their people AND build their culture at all levels.” Find Simon on Twitter at @simonteague.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided Why You Should Speak Less and Listen More. Susan explains, “When it comes to leadership, there are times when it is more effective to choose silence over speaking up with your words. Only when you are able to listen well enough and long enough for people to feel heard will underlying tension will be released, and a conversation about what’s wrong turn into a conversation about how to make things better.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

An Insightful Comment On Cheating

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

I received an email yesterday morning from the CEO of a well-known growth company. He wrote regarding yesterday’s post about cheating.

I asked why he wrote instead of leaving it as a comment.

He replied, I would rather avoid having it associated with me. If you want to write a post and have anonymous attribution, that’s fine. 

It’s an important observation and one that is especially applicable now. I’m sharing it with no additional comments from me.

Anything I tried to add would be superfluous and detract from its importance.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/9557815@N05/30738398861/When there are strong incentives to cheat and large negative consequences if one avoids cheating (since everyone is doing it), what should be the inducement for not cheating?

Where cheating is rewarded, truth and uprightness has potentially large negative consequences.

An organization or society built on fraud, trickery and deceit will eventually descend into chaos and anarchy.

Without leadership among both common people and the privileged, this is inexorable destiny.

Whenever there is a trend toward something, there are significant costs associated with changing the trajectory.

Who can or should be willing to bear these costs?

Image credit: Abi Skipp

If the Shoe Fits: Who Do You Ask?

Friday, February 17th, 2017

A Friday series exploring Startups and the people who make them go. Read all If the Shoe Fits posts here.

5726760809_bf0bf0f558_mHow many members of your team have been “bloodied in combat?”

How many have worked successfully through multiple economic (upturns/downturns) realities?

Who would you ask if you needed dynamic (question/discuss), as opposed to static (online postings), advice of “the been there/done that” variety to

  • land a candidate;
  • sell in a recession;
  • tweak/kill a marketing campaign;
  • beat the competition; or
  • Layoff a team member?

Don’t ask me; I’ve answered this question multiple times in varied forms.

Instead, ask millennial Tom Goodwin.

Maybe you’ll listen to him.

Image credit: HikingArtist

Ryan’s Journal: Can Culture be Defined by One Person?

Thursday, February 9th, 2017


Have you ever been a member of a group or team that is flat out terrible? I have. I have been a member of that soccer team that never won a game, the work group that wasn’t succeeding.

Did I like it? Absolutely not. Did I learn from it? I think in some ways I did.

Have you ever seen that same team or group start to succeed with different leadership? In my case I have a very real world example of where this came to pass.

I had the pleasure of serving for five years in The United States Marine Corps. During this five year time the US was involved in several conflicts and I found myself deployed to Fallujah, Iraq.

During my deployment I served with a team of 12 other Marines, together we were known as a squad. Now this is the military, but a small group of people working together can be found within any type of organization. 

Our squad was led by a leader who, while a good guy, was not well equipped to lead a group of Marines into life or death situations.

This person had some leadership challenges that ultimately led to low morale, loss of confidence and an overall lack of guidance.

To be completely clear, the group sucked. We moped around, were not excited about our purpose and lacked vision.

After some time our higher leadership realized a change should be made and they moved our leader to a role better suited for his skill set.

I will tell you right now, that was a life changer.

We had a new leader come aboard that had the experience needed, was motivated and challenged us to be better then we were the day before.

Now overall the same 13 people were on the team, but the outcome was completely different.

We worked better as a group, shared responsibilities and were proud of our accomplishments.

I look back on this one example often when I think of how one person can shape a culture. 

Now, obviously the military has a top down culture when it comes to leadership, but it also embraces servant leadership.

In this scenario our new leader embraced servanthood. He made sure we were taken care of before his needs and that reflected in our outcome.

Have you been on a team that isn’t performing to its abilities? What is holding it back?

I had a conversation the other day with my CEO and he said something that stuck with me. He said, “leadership isn’t a title, its an action”.

Isn’t that true of culture too? You and I are the ones who will set the tone.

Do I always get it right? Absolutely not! I fail more times then I succeed. I tear down when I should build, allow emotions to dictate over data and more. At the end of the day my personal culture and that of my team is dictated by my thoughts and deeds, no one else.

Who determines yours?

Image credit: David Spinks

The Proliferation Of Narcissism

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017


Have you noticed that people in general are more wrapped up in themselves than ever before?

Whether in words or pictures, they document and share what they eat, where they go, what they do and with whom they do it, not just with their friends and known acquaintances, but with the world in general.

An article in the Harvard Business Review caught my eye and, in view of the recent election, resonated.

…narcissism levels have been rising for decades, which means that our world is increasingly self-centered, overconfident, and deluded.

And the next sentence really rang a bell.

Furthermore, these increases appear to be exacerbated among leaders, since those in charge of judging leadership potential often mistake confidence for competence.

Our politicians aren’t the only place where narcissism is running wild.

Narcissists are found at the helm of more and more companies of all sizes, but are especially prevalent in the financial sector and in tech.

In 2008 financial bosses with more confidence than competence brought the global economy to its knees.

Tech abounds with narcissistic founders and very few of them will stand the test of time, as have Jobs and Bezos.

Nor is narcissistic behavior limited to top bosses; it is found at every level of management, as well as every level of contributor — from new grads through the most senior contributor.

And lets not forget kindergartners through college.

We cannot make it alone, but we care too much about ourselves to genuinely care about others. This tension between our desire to get along with others and our desire to get ahead of them represents the fundamental conundrum of human affairs.

Much as I loathe the hype around “leaders,” it’s up to the positional leader to manage the get along/get ahead dichotomy if they are to have a successful organization.

I find it ironic that so many of those who preach the importance of data sets and evangelize data-based decisions, again, especially in tech, manage to ignore the hard data on what type of leader succeeds best.

Unfortunately, our admiration for charismatic leaders comes at a price: perpetuating the proliferation of narcissistic leaders. And while the existence of incredibly successful CEOs, such as Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos (and Rockefeller, Ford, and Disney before them), may suggest that narcissism is a beneficial leadership quality, most overconfident, entitled, and egotistical CEOs are not just ineffective but also destructive — even when they manage to attain a great deal of success. For example, narcissistic CEOs overpay when they acquire firms, costing their shareholders dearly. Their firms tend to perform in a volatile and unpredictable fashion, going from big wins to even bigger losses. They are often involved in counterproductive work behaviors, such as fraud. They are also more likely to abuse power and manipulate their followers, particularly those who are naïve and submissive.

Whether you are a boss or a worker, read the article; it’s short and will provide insights into your own actions, as well as those of your boss or the boss with whom you are interviewing.

Image credit: QuoteAddicts

Golden Oldies: Book Review: Managing Leadership

Monday, January 16th, 2017


It’s amazing to me, but looking back over more than a decade of writing I find posts that still impress, with information that is as useful now as when it was written.

Golden Oldies is a collection of what I consider some of the best posts during that time.

I’m not a fan of the leadership industry; I think it has corrupted the whole notion of leadership. Anybody/everybody can be leaders at a given moment. Life changes and Jim Stroup, who wrote Managing Leadership, one of the best blogs on that subject stopped writing a couple of years ago. But all his wonderful posts are at the link and he also wrote an excellent book on the subject.

Read other Golden Oldies here.

During a conversation about positional leadership Richard Barrett said, “Reminds me of a Seinfeld joke. He pointed to professional sports teams and asked about team loyalty. The players change, the coaches change, and sometimes even the stadium changes. So, the people are really loyal to the logos on the team uniforms, just a pile of laundry. Maybe positional leadership is just laundry leadership?”

I like that—laundry leadership. Great term.

So what’s available instead of laundry leadership, especially these days when so much of the laundry is dirty?

Why not organizational leadership? Leadership that percolates from every nook and cranny of the enterprise driving innovation and productivity far beyond the norm.

Following this to its natural conclusion makes leadership a corporate asset and one that needs to be managed for it to have the highest possible impact.

Jim Stroup, whose blog I love, is a major proponent of this idea and defines and explains it in his book Managing Leadership: Toward a New and Usable Understanding of What Leadership Really Is And How To Manage It.

Of all the leadership books, Managing Leadership is the first book I’ve seen that breaks with the accepted idea of the larger-than-life leader whose visions people embrace and follow almost blindly.

Stroup says today’s corporations are far too complex for one person to know everything; that, given a chance, leadership will come naturally and unstoppably from all parts and levels of the organization making it a characteristic of the organization, rather than one person’s crown.

Sadly, fear makes the idea that leadership comes from all people at all levels and should be managed to make the most of it anathema to many senior managers; they consider leadership a perk of seniority and prefer squashing it when the source doesn’t occupy the ‘correct’ position.

I highly recommend Jim’s book. Even if the management above you doesn’t embrace this paradigm, you can within your own group. Encourage your people to take the initiative, guide them as needed, then get out of the way and watch them fly.

Entrepreneurs: Sign the Pledge

Thursday, December 15th, 2016


In case you didn’t see this in BuzzFeed, a group of techs got together and made a pledge.

A group of nearly 60 employees at major tech companies have signed a pledge refusing to help build a Muslim registry. The pledge states that signatories will advocate within their companies to minimize collection and retention of data that could enable ethnic or religious targeting under the Trump administration, to fight any unethical or illegal misuse of data, and to resign from their positions rather than comply.

Not luminaries, but people like you.

As of 10:30 pm Pacific Wednesday there were 1215 signatures.

The full text is at the pledge link (above) as are the instructions on how you can sign. There are also links if you want to be a more active participant or just want more information.

Why should you do it?

The words of Martin Niemöller, a prominent Protestant pastor and rabid anti-Nazi, who spent seven years in a concentration camp explain it best.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Actively or passively; loudly or quietly you need to speak out over the next two years.

And in two years it will be up to you to help take back Congress.

Image credit: Karen

December Leadership Development Carnival

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

leadership-carnival-5-300x134Can you believe it? Blink three times and the year disappears. Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot this year and grown in many ways. Now choose the posts from this month’s carnival that will add an edge to what you’ve already learned.

Verity Creedy writes I Believe I Can Fly: Leadership that Inspires Innovation
Learn the three conditions that we as leaders should be setting for our teams to create and execute innovative change.
Follow Verity on Twitter: @VerityDDI

Julie Winkle Giulioni shares “Not My Decision”: Constructive Responses to Workplace Decisions You Wouldn’t Have Made
Last week, many Americans had a profound experience of what employees encounter routinely on the job: responding to a decision they don’t support but must still live with. In organizations worldwide, strategies are set, markets are selected, tactics are identified…and not everyone agrees with the direction. When confronted with these situations, it’s easy for employees to feel powerless and out of control. Yet no matter the issue or the organizational level (of those deciding or those following in the wake of the decision), what remains well within each individual’s control is how he or she responds.
Follow Julie on Twitter: @julie_wg

Julie Baron wrote How to Prevent Leadership Derailment
You made it to the leadership position you have been striving for, but what must you do to avoid derailment? Learn the derailment behaviors and traits witnessed by business leaders in corporate catering, industrial distribution, construction, web design, HR technology, gift giving, marketing, and structural engineering.
Follow Julie on Twitter: @commwrks

Dana Theus shares What to Do If You’re Worried About Getting Laid Off
Dealing with the dread of being laid off can be a gift in disguise. Use the possibility of a layoff to get proactive about your career and personal brand.
Follow Dana on Twitter: @DanaTheus

JesseLyn Stoner writes How to Talk about Politics at Work
How do you talk about politics with people whose views are different than your own? It’s not a good idea to assume that everyone agrees with your views. One thing the U.S. elections showed was that what people say and what they actually believe are not always the same. And it also showed that we need to reach across the divide and try to understand what’s really driving each other. Here are six guidelines that will help your conversations be more informative and productive.
Follow Jesse Lyn on Twitter: @JesseLynStoner

Randy Conley shares 6 Strategies for Leading When People Won’t Follow
Leadership is tough enough when things are going well, much less when people are resisting your leadership. In this post, Randy Conley shares six practical strategies leaders can use to help them deal with team members who won’t follow their lead.
Follow Randy on Twitter: @RandyConley

Mary Jo Asmus wrote Your Discomfort is Whispering to You
The discomfort you feel is normal and the tendency to avoid difficult conversations is common. Listen to your gut – it’s telling you that it’s time for you to step into that uneasiness and be a leader. This post provides practical advice on where to begin.
Follow Mary Jo on Twitter: @mjasmus

David M. Dye shares Why Do So Many Leaders Suck?
Perhaps the most common question David is asked after he shares Winning Well leadership tools is: “If this works, why are there so many lousy leaders?” In this article, David shares ten reasons leaders run into problems and how you can avoid falling into the same traps.
Follow David on Twitter: @davidmdye

Tanveer Naseer writes 3 Important Lessons Leaders Can Learn From Success
Three important lessons leaders can learn from success that will help them inspire and motivate employees to bring their best efforts over the long run.
Follow Tanveer on Twitter: @TanveerNaseer

Jon Mertz shares The Coming Day After
Regardless of your feelings about our most recent election cycle, we must all work together to end the divisiveness, stalemate, and finger-pointing. No matter our segment, our status, or our role, we must dig deeper, resolve challenges, and renew our greater purpose.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @ThinDifference

Anne Perschel wrote Your Leadership Megaphone Instruction Manual
Your leadership megaphone comes with the role, and it’s always on. People use it to broadcast what they THINK you said, and the results are not always what you intended. This instruction manual will help you use your megaphone wisely.
Follow Anne on Twitter: @bizshrink

Michael Stallard shares What Mayo Clinic Discovered About Burnout
Could something as simple as having a meal with colleagues to discuss work experience-related issues help reduce burnout? Michael Stallard explains what Mayo Clinic researchers found.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @michaelstallard

Wally Bock writes about Leadership Theology
Our discussions of leadership have begun to sound like theological debates.
Follow Wally on Twitter: @wallybock

Karin Hurt shares 7 Reasons to be a Little More Grateful at Work
Karin Hurt takes time to reflect on the things to be truly grateful for at work, and encourages us to do the same.
Follow Karin on Twitter: @letsgrowleaders

Chris Edmonds writes Culture Leadership Charge: The Weakest Link
Chris Edmonds continues his Culture Leadership Charge series with this discussion of the cost of tolerating selfish, competitive players in your culture.
Follow Chris on Twitter: @scedmonds

Shelley Row wrote Give the Gift of Attention: Three Steps You Can Take Today
Shelley gives us practical tips for sharing one of our greatest gifts with others—our attention.
Follow Shelley on Twitter: @shelleyrow

Jon Verbeck shares But I’m Not an Accountant! Why Every Business Owner Still Needs to Understand Basic Financial Statements
Jon Verbeck shares a down-to-earth explanation of the three most vital financial statements with which EVERY business owner should be familiar.
Follow Jon on Twitter: @jonverbeck1

Beth Beutler wrote A Project Management Lesson from a 6-Year-Old
Beth shares some project management tips that were inspired by a 6-year-old tackling what could have been an overwhelming project of his own.
Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethbeutler

Joel Garfinkle covers How to Get Your Ideas Heard at Work
People have difficulty getting attention, let alone getting their ideas accepted and implemented. Here are three things that you could do right now to get your ideas heard at work.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @JoelGarfinkle

Susan Mazza shares How to Overcome the Tyranny of Your To Do List
To-do lists can easily transform from a useful tool to stay focused and productive to becoming an ever present reminder of all that you are not getting done. Even though you know not everything on that list is a “must do,” it is easy to get lost in the abundance of the “should do’s” that so easily pile up over time!
Follow Susan on Twitter: @SusanMazza

Neal Burgis writes Employees to Bring Ideas to the Table
Leaders need to rely and trust employees to use their creative thinking skills to generate ideas and produce results. Allowing room for your employee’s ideas helps leaders reduce supervisory control over the solutions to problems, challenges, and difficulties. The ideas employees put out generates various alternative solutions instead of one solution to what leaders want for their clients.
Follow Neal on Twitter: @exec_solutions

Mary Ila Ward shares HR Santa Clauses focus on the Employee Experience
This holiday season, HR and Talent Management leaders may need to consider a different approach on employee engagement. Mary Ila compares her real life experience of Christmas shopping for her children to how HR Santa Clauses focus on employee engagement. After all, maybe experience is what drives the engagement.
Follow Mary Ila on Twitter: @MaryIlaWard

John Hunter writes Add Constraints to Processes Carefully
Product and service design impacts the user experience. When the product is needlessly complicated and includes needless constraints it is the opposite of mistake-proofing, it is mistake-promoting.
Follow John on Twitter: @curiouscat_com

David Grossman covers The Top Reason People Resist Change and How to Best Address It
People resist being forced to change without their involvement. They don’t like change forced down their throats. People naturally resist being controlled and being uninvolved in decisions that affect them.
Hat tip to DDI World for hosting the December Carnival.

November Leadership Development Carnival

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

Here we are; a third of the way through the fourth quarter and two great things are happening today.

  1. We can all celebrate: no more political ads. Hooray!
  2. I’m sharing some great information from some of the best thinkers on all the subjects it takes to be a great boss/leader/manager these days.

So dig in, enjoy, and learn.

leadership-carnival-5-300x134Anne Perschel of Germane Coaching and Consulting submitted How Real Leaders Apologize and Mean It. Anne summarizes, “Real leaders don’t apologize AS IF they mean it. They actually mean it because they are empathetic. Empathy is the first of four elements in a genuine apology.” Follow Anne on Twitter at @bizshrink.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited provided How to Get Along with the Colleague Who is Faster Than You. Beth recaps, “Do you sometimes have to work with a colleague whose pace is faster than yours? Beth Beutler gives some techniques for navigating swift waters in business relationships.” Find Beth on Twitter at @bethbeutler.

Chris Edmonds of the Purposeful Culture Group contributed Culture Leadership Charge: Be Present. In this post, Chris charges leaders with the importance of being fully present, so they don’t send a message of “you’re not that important.” Follow Chris on Twitter at @scedmonds.

Dan McCarthy of Great Leadership provided Leaders Should Define More Than the Mountain Top, but Less Than the Whole Plan. Dan recaps, “When it comes to defining their vision, leaders tend to fall into two camps. Camp one can clearly articulate a mountain top they want to reach, but create zero clarity on how they’re going to get to that mountain top. Camp two has their mountain top defined and they also have a step-by-step guide to get from where they are today (base camp) to their mountain top. Both camps fail to create sustained motivation in their people. Guest author Hamish Knox explains why.” Locate Dan on Twitter at @greatleadership.

Dana Theus of InPower Coaching contributed Dear Dana Workplace Advice: New To the Team And Dealing With Workplace Bullying By A Colleague. Dana writes, “Dear Dana, I recently joined a new team and one of my colleagues is treating me like the hired help! I’m not sure what to do since I am new on the team and don’t want to get a reputation early on for being difficult or refusing to do work. Help! — Signed, Between a rock and a hard place in Iowa.” Find Dana on Twitter at @DanaTheus.

David Dye of Trailblaze submitted How to Lead When It Looks Impossible. David summarizes, “Every leader faces challenges that look impossible. David offers encouragement and practical next steps based on a recent mountain he and Karin Hurt climbed.” Follow David on Twitter at @davidmdye.

David Grossman of The Grossman Group shared 7 Requirements of a Strategic Messaging Methodology. David writes, “What is a Strategic Messaging Methodology, and what can it do for you, your leaders, and your organization? Simply put, it’s a process that helps you think strategically about how you develop your story, drive alignment, and tell it powerfully—whether it’s a large organizational story or whether you want to communicate change inside your organization. ” Discover David on Twitter at @thoughtpartner.

Evan Sinar of Development Dimensions International (DDI) provided LeaderPulse: The 5 Most Valuable Gifts Most Leaders Aren’t Getting. Evan recaps, “If you missed Boss’s Day last month, it’s never too late for employees to recognize their life-changing leaders. We looked to our research to come up with five less common, but more valuable gifts.” Find Evan on Twitter at @evansinar.

Jill Malleck of Epiphany at Work contributed They Told You What They Think of You, Now What?. Jill shares, “Getting 360 degree feedback anonymously can be overwhelming and cause anxiety. Jill explains how you can pluck out the meaningful messages and take positive action.” Find Jill on Twitter at @epiphanyatwork.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of the Seapoint Center shared  7 Fail-Safe Steps to Increase Responsibility and Develop Your Team . Jesse Lyn recaps, “If you’re not offering your people the opportunity to grow – to increase their responsibility and learn new skills – you are going to lose them. But increasing responsibility without also delegating authority is a recipe for disaster. And simply delegating is not always the answer either.” Follow Jesse Lyn on Twitter at @JesseLynStoner.

Jim Taggart of Changing Winds provided Samsung’s Failed Executive Leadership. Jim shares, “Being the top leader of an organization, whether in the public or private sphere, is no easy task. What’s more appropriately called executive managerial leadership (as opposed to the overused, feel good term “leadership”), those at the helm of companies or government agencies have huge responsibilities.” Find Jim on Twitter at @72keys.

Joel Garfinkle of the Career Advancement Blog submitted 5-Step Plan to Developing Your Personal Brand. Joel recaps: “Have you developed your personal brand? No? Then it’s no surprise that you’re not moving up in your career. Implement this 5-step plan for career advancement.” Discover Joel on Twitter at @JoelGarfinkle.

John Hunter of the Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog shared Bell Labs Designing a New Phone System Using Idealized Design. John summarizes, “The basic idea of idealized design is to create a new design for a product, service or the organization based on what is feasible today (but without being limited by the constraints of the existing state). Then, use that ideal to guide you as you figure out a plan to move from the existing state to that idealized design.” Find John on Twitter at @curiouscat_com.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference contributed Discontentment: A Great Leadership Challenge. Jon shares, “Discontentment seems to be reaching epidemic proportions. What can we do as leaders to begin to unravel it? ” Follow Jon on Twitter at @thindifference.

Jon Verbeck of JonVerbeck.com provided The Dashboard May be the Most Important Part of Your Company Vehicle. In this post, Virtual CFO Jon Verbeck explains the important parts of a financial dashboard for your company. Find Jon on Twitter at @jonverbeck1.

Julie Winkle-Giulioni of Julie Winkle-Giulioni provided Whoa! What are today’s most common leadership mistakes? Julie recaps, “As counterintuitive as it may seem, well-meaning leaders undermine staff development – and ultimately results – not because they are doing too little but because they are doing too much.” Find Julie on Twitter at @julie_wg.

Karin Hurt of Let’s Grow Leaders contributed 7 Things Your High-Performance Employees Long to Hear You Say. Karin recaps, “Your high-performing employees never seem like the MIT (Most Important Thing), but the truth is, when I meet with them and ask what they need, I hear about things they long for from their boss.” Follow Karin on Twitter at @letsgrowleaders.

Lisa Kohn of Thoughtful Leaders contributed Four Key Steps to Being, and Getting More Done. Lisa shares why we need to spend at least as much time “being” as “doing,” and how to do this in our too-busy world. Follow Lisa on Twitter at @thoughtfulldrs.

Marcella Bremer of Leadership and Change Magazine provided The Power of Less: Get More Done. Marcella recaps, “I love Leo Babauta’s message from The Power Of Less. It sounds so simple, but it’s easier said than done: Identify the essential and eliminate the rest. If you spread yourself too thin; it dilutes your power and effectiveness. Do you do little of too many things? Or do you focus on just one big goal?” Find Marcella on Twitter at @marcellabremer.

Mary Jo Asmus of Aspire Collaborative Services LLC submitted Do Less and Be More of a Leader. Mary Jo summarizes, “Being a people leader requires you to shift your mindset into knowing who you are and developing yourself within that framework.” Follow Mary Jo on Twitter at @mjasmus.

Mary Ila Ward of Horizon Point Consulting contributed Leaders and Runners, Don’t Run the Race Alone. She recaps, “In ‘Leaders and Runners, Don’t Run the Race Alone,’ Mary Ila encourages leaders to arm themselves with a wingman or wingwoman and provides tips on how leaders can gain ‘wing strength,’ emphasizing that ‘All runners, and leaders, especially those out for the long haul, need a wingman.’” Discover Mary Ila on Twitter at @maryilaward.

Michael Lee Stallard of Michael Lee Stallard submitted Finish 2016 Strong: Refocus, Reconnect, Reenergize . Michael shares, “With 2016 rapidly drawing to a close, now is the time to establish your plan to finish the year strong. Michael Stallard shares advice for leaders on meeting year-end goals.” Follow Michael on Twitter at @michaelstallard.

Miki Saxon of MAPping Company Success contributed Golden Oldie: Customer Service Week 2016. Miki writes, “There is much talk, and even some action, about “enhancing customer experience,” but, when you’re a line manager, who exactly are your customers?” Discover Miki on Twitter at @optionsanity.

Neal Burgis of Burgis Successful Solutions submitted Leaders, Start Viewing Setbacks as Opportunities. Neal recaps, “Too many leaders get flustered when a business setback occurs. You need to take a step back and look at what happened and take action to move forward.” Find Neal on Twitter at @exec_solutions.

Paul LaRue of The UPwards Leader contributed How To Lead With A Sandbox Culture. Paul summarizes, “Striking a balance between cultural and operational parameters that allows your employees room to innovate is always a challenge. Thinking of it as a sandbox in a playground will help that balance.” Follow Paul on Twitter at @paul_larue.

Randy Conley of Leading With Trust shared 10 Ways Leaders Can Easily Build Trust with Their New Teams. Randy writes, “Trust doesn’t ‘just happen’ by accident. It takes intentional effort and leaders need to have a specific game plan to establish and nurture trust in relationships. Randy Conley offers advice from the trenches in this post.” Find Randy on Twitter at @randyconley.

Shelley Row of Shelley Row submitted Pushing a Wheel Chair: Lessons in Servant Leadership. In this piece, Shelley shared lessons learned about servant leadership as she took on caregiving responsibilities for her husband.” Discover Shelley on Twitter at @shelleyrow.

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership provided I Choose to Honor You. Susan explains, “If we truly want to be constructive participants and collaborators in our democracy, we need to bring a better spirit to our conversations with each other. We need to start talking with one another about the things that are hard to talk about, to engage in conversations with people who do not look or think like us, so we can learn. We need to be far more curious and much more discerning about what we believe and what we think we know, and seek truth rather than assume we are being told the truth.” Follow Susan on Twitter at @susanmazza.

Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer submitted Why Expressing Gratitude Through Our Leadership Matters. Tanveer explains the post is, “A look at how expressing gratitude can help leaders bring out the best in those they lead and drive their organizations to succeed.” Discover Tanveer on Twitter at @tanveernaseer.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership submitted Thoughts on Retirement and Purpose. Wally recaps, “People need a purpose. Without purpose, there’s not much reason to get up in the morning.” Find Wally on Twitter at @wallybock.

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