Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Informal Coaching and Feedback

"Performance feedback and coaching shouldn’t just happen once a year during a formal performance review. In order to create real, measurable, and meaningful change, it is also important to supplement those formal, documented meetings with continuous, informal coaching that is delivered as things happen."

Read Beth Armknecht Miller's guest post over at Management and Leadership to find out how.

Monday, October 20, 2014

There's No Crying in Football!

Crying at work is in the news again. The latest incident involved New York Giant’s Wide receiver Victor Cruz being driven off the field on a cart sobbing.

Cruz’s unfortunate injury reignited the debate over the appropriateness of not only crying in sports (“There's no crying in baseball! No crying!”), but crying at work.

Read my latest post over at Management and Leadership for tips on how to deal with crying at work.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Why Mindfulness is for Leaders and Not Just Monks

Guest post from Scott Eblin - a nice follow-up to my recent post at, from someone that knows more about the topic than I do! Scott is the best at what he does - coaching and advising successful but overworked executives. Buy his new book!

You know a topic is hot when it makes the cover of Time.  That’s what happened with mindfulness last year when the magazine ran a cover story called The Mindful Revolution.  When you’re a busy leader and you hear about the latest trend like mindfulness, you may immediately think, “ Yeah, right, I don’t have the time or space for that.  I’ve got real world stuff to worry about.  That may be great for monks who have time to meditate for hours a day, but that’s not my life.”

You’re right about that not being your life, but you’re wrong if you think mindfulness can’t help you with the real world stuff you’ve got to worry about.  Here’s why.  Being mindful doesn’t mean you have to meditate like a monk.  Based on the research I did for Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative I define mindfulness as simply being aware and intentional.  By being aware, I mean aware of what’s going on around you and inside of you – mentally, emotionally and physically.  Once you’re aware, you’re in a much better position to be intentional about what you’re going to do or, what you’re not going to do, next.

Pretty simple, right?  The part that may not seem so simple is learning to be more mindful about how you show up as a leader and in the rest of your life.  The problem is that the demands of a do-more-with-less operating environment and the hyper-connectivity of a smartphone-enabled life can easily leave you feeling overworked and overwhelmed.  Think about it:

·        Over the past 5 or 6 years has every year seemed a little more frantic and packed than the year before? 

·        Are you in the same job you were in a year ago, but the scope today is bigger that it was a year ago?

Most of the leaders I work with as an executive coach and speaker answer yes to both of those questions. 

The pace and input of modern leadership and life can leave you feeling overworked and overwhelmed.  When you feel that way all the time you end up in a chronic state of fight or flight.  Being in that chronic state has a dramatic impact on your ability to think clearly, your judgment and your relationships.  It also has a devastating impact on your overall health and well being and makes it more likely that you’ll die sooner rather than later.

This is where mindfulness comes in.  In doing the research for my new book, one of the things I learned is that most of the millennia old mindfulness traditions like meditation or yoga have the effect of getting you out of fight or flight by activating your body’s rest and digest response.  Fight or flight is your body’s gas pedal.  Rest and digest is the brakes.  Just like you need both in a car; you need both in your body to be an effective leader and lead a healthy life.

The good news is you don’t have to meditate for hours on end or take a 90 minute yoga class every day to activate your rest and digest response.  There are simple habits and routines you can learn – I call them Killer Apps and Habit Hacks in my book – that are easy to do and will definitely make a difference in you showing up as the aware and intentional leader you want and need to be.  For example, learning to take three deep breaths from your belly before a big meeting or taking a short walk to energize your body and clear your mind when you’re feeling overworked and overwhelmed can do wonders.  In the book, I share a one page resource called the Life GPS® that will help you identify the routines that enable you to show up at your best and help you create the outcomes you want not just at work but at home and in your community as well.

If you want to demonstrate leadership presence you actually have to be present – not just physically, but also mentally, relationally and spiritually.  If feeling overworked and overwhelmed is keeping you from doing that, give the mindfulness alternative a try.  You’ll be a more effective and happier leader if you do.

About the author:
Scott Eblin is an executive coach, speaker and author who helps leaders exhibit leadership presence by being fully present.  His new book is Overworked and Overwhelmed: The Mindfulness Alternative.  You can learn more about Scott and read his blog at

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

6 Simple Leadership Don’ts and Dos

Sometimes we tend to "complexify" things. Things like leadership.

That's why I love Bill Treasurer's guest post over at Leadership and Management:

6 Simple Leadership Don’ts and Dos.


Monday, October 13, 2014

30 Definitions of Leadership

Leadership has always been an elusive concept to define. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to learn and great leaders are in such short supply.

There really is no one “right” definition of leadership – so instead, I've published a collection of my favorite definitions over at Management and Leadership, from both the famous and not-so-famous.

Read them all, reflect on the kind of leader you want to be known for, and choose one that best fits your own leadership vision.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

From Great Employee to Lousy Boss

Why do great employees often turn out to be lousy managers?

Read my latest post over at Management and Leadership to find out why.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How to Lead like a Buddhist Monk

"Mindfulness" - cutting-edge trend or just the latest fad in leadership development?

Read my latest post over at Management and Leadership, and decide for yourself.


Monday, October 6, 2014

The October Leadership Development Carnival

The October Leadership Development Carnival is up!

It's being hosted this month by hosted by Mary Ila Ward, at her Horizon Point Consulting blog.

Enjoy these great posts from 29 of the best leadership bloggers. Every quote is a link to tweet. Feel free to share with your networks!

You can find it right here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Creating a Positive Leadership Legacy

Guest author S. Chris Edmonds explains how leaders can use “the 3 C’s:
Context, Courage, and Consistency” to create at positive leadership legacy.
Read my latest post over at Management and Leadership to find out how.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

7 Elements of a Compelling Leadership Vision for Change

This post was recently published at Smartblog on Leadership:

Leading change starts with a compelling leadership vision for change. According to leadership expert John Kotter, a lack of leadership vision is one of the most common reasons why transformational change efforts fail.
A leadership vision isn’t just for large, CEO led, company-wide transformational changes. Leaders at all levels need to inspire people to change in order to overcome significant challenges and achieve important goals.

“Transformational” is always relative and defined by those most impacted by the change. While an office reconfiguration at a branch office may seem insignificant and trivial to a CEO and his executive team, it’s probably considered transformational to the employees that work in that office. It’s up to the branch office manager to have a vision for that office reconfiguration, or the move is going to be met with skepticism and resistance. The change is going to take longer than it needs to, and may not even achieve the desired results.
Here are 7 important elements for any leadership vision for change:

1. It should be positive. A vision should focus more on how the future will be better, and why. It should paint a picture of a better place to be.
While many would say a “burning platform” approach should be used to convince people to change, I believe it’s a less effective because it relies on fear in order to motivate. I’d much rather rely on positive psychology.
2. It should be inspirational. “We’re all going to show up for work on time for the next 90 days” isn’t really going to inspire the troops to be all that they can be. Decisions are emotional, not logical. People don’t make decisions by facts – they are swayed by their emotions. They then use facts to justify their emotional decision. A vision needs to appeal to the emotions of those involved in order to be inspirational, then supported with logic.

3. It should be bold. What’s the most inspirational movie that you’ve ever seen? In most cases, you’ll probably think of movies that involved overcoming seemingly impossible odds. Don’t just say “We’re going to make a 10%” improvement” – go for 50%, or 90%! The best visions are BHAGs – big, hairy, audacious goals.
Is there risk involved? A Chance you could fail? Sure, there always is with bold visions. Here’s a good way to look at it: There are 32 NFL football teams. Each year, every one of those teams set a goal to win the Super Bowl. Only one of them can win – the others will all lose. However, that doesn’t mean a team should set a vision for “making the playoffs and losing in the first round”.  If you don’t achieve it, you’ve most likely made positive steps forward, learned a lot, and had a blast trying.

4. It should be inclusive. Involving other will not only create ownership and buy-in for the vision, it will most likely result in a better vision. There are a lot of ways to involve others in your vision. You can ask people upfront for their input, include them in the creation of the vision, or involve them in the implementation planning.

5. It should be measurable and attainable. While a great leadership vision may not always have a specific number attached it, it should at least be directional enough so that people will know when you’ve achieved it. Again, some may disagree, but I believe a vision should have a destination.
6. It should connect to the greater good. “Increasing revenue by 25%” may be important to the CEO and the Board, but it’s not going to inspire too many employees or other stakeholders. Nowadays especially, today’s employees want to feel like they are making a difference, and a contribution to making the world a better place. They crave a sense of purpose – that’s what inspires us to change and give it our all.

7. It needs to be communicated - often. Many leaders believe they have a vision, but when employees are asked, they don’t have a clue what it might be. Visions should not be well guarded secrets! Leaders need to get out and talk to their employees about the vision. Communicating a vision is not an event – it’s an ongoing process, where the vision is constantly and consistently communicated until every single employee has internalized it.
Creating a leadership vision for change isn’t easy – it’s hard work! But then again, there’s a lot of hard work in creating a lousy vision too, so you might as well do it in a way that inspires people to change and achieve extraordinary results. After all, that’s what leadership is all about.