Leadership Starts at Home

This is a guest post by Kelly Combs. She is a full-time housewife and mom. She blogs at ChattyKelly. You can also follow her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I am not your average leader. My leadership decisions don’t affect the boardroom, but they do the future of the world because I am raising two future leaders. I am a domestic engineer, a home economist, a housewife, a mom. I have found that my leadership at home has taught me lessons that any leader, whether in the board room or the laundry room, can use.

Mom Walking Baby in an Infant Jogger - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59, Image #583369

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/DNY59
  1. If it stinks, change it. This philosophy applies to diapers and to decisions. As leaders, sometimes we may “own” an idea so tightly, that even when shown data that the idea is failing, we keep holding on to it. A leader should be able to change. As Gary Shapiro, president and chief executive of Consumer Electronics Association and co-author of a book on innovation puts it, “Mistakes are OK—hiding them is not.”

The Power of Asking the Right Question

A few weeks ago, I sat down with an old friend to catch up. He lost his job about nine months ago in a recession-induced layoff and has been unable to find another job. He’s had plenty of interviews just no offers.

Businessman Asking Himself a Question - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/stevanovicigor, Image #17007805

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/stevanovicigor

“What’s wrong with me?” he asked. “Why won’t someone offer me a job?” He was clearly discouraged.

10 Mistakes Leaders Should Avoid at All Costs

This is a guest post by Enrique P. Fiallo. He is an author, speaker, and blogger on purposeful leadership. He focuses on Integrity, Ethics, Values, Team Dynamics, and Perseverance. You can read his blog or follow him on Twitter.

No one is perfect. No one can be right 100 percent of the time (even if you are Jack Welch or Steve Jobs), including an organization’s leaders. But there are mistakes, and then there are MISTAKES.

Man About to Step on a Banana Peel - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RapidEye, Image #17409874

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RapidEye

I have found 10 basic essentials that all leaders should have on their list entitled “things to avoid at all costs,” lest they end up on the wrong end of a no-confidence Board vote, a Shareholder lawsuit, or worst of all, an SEC subpoena.

10 Practical Ways to Boost Your Energy Level

I am a high-energy person. But I haven’t always been that way. There have been times in my life when I was utterly exhausted. Times when getting through the day was a big chore. Times when I had nothing left to give by the end of the day. Times when I just wanted to collapse into bed and pull the covers over my head.

Beautiful Young Woman Jumping on a Green Meadow with a Colored Scarf - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/erikreis, Image #12345727

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/erikreis

But in recent years, I am been very deliberate about managing my energy level. I did a lot of reading on this and took the time to educate myself. I experimented. I tried some new things. I broke some old habits. Now, my energy level remains pretty constant through the day.

How Differences with Your Spouse Can Make Your Marriage Stronger

I hear it all the time. “My husband [or wife] doesn’t understand me. We are so different. We don’t really have anything in common.”

Apples and Oranges - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bluestocking, Image #3501504

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/bluestocking

When I first met Gail, I was attracted to her precisely because she was different. Sadly, after a few years, these same differences started to annoy me. In fact, I began to think that my approach to live was right and hers wrong.

The Missing Ingredient in Most Goals

A clearly written goal is not enough. A carefully thought out action plan isn’t either. You need more than this if you are going to accomplish really big goals. Let me explain.

Woman Asking the Question, What Is at Stake? - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/fotosipsak, Image #18826194

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/fotosipsak

Last year, I set a goal to write a new book, called Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World. As someone who has spent his career in the book publishing industry, I had witnessed hundreds (if not thousands) of people get turned away by publishers, simply because they didn’t have a platform.

5 Ways to Become a More Authentic Leader

This is a guest post by LaRae Quy. She was an FBI agent, both as a counterintelligence and undercover agent, for 25 years. She exposed foreign spies and recruited them to work for the U.S. Government. Now she explores the unknown and discovers the hidden truth via her blog, Your Best Adventure. You can find her on Twitter as @LaRaeQuy.

Leadership begins with knowing who you are and what you believe. Authenticity is the need for leaders to be themselves regardless of the situation. For this reason, it is more than self-awareness. It is the ability to share the deepest and truest part of ourselves with others.

Woman Looking at Herself in a Broken Mirror - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/asiseeit, Image #12996595

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/asiseeit

My undergraduate degree was in Business Management. The first thing we did was to identify successful leaders and write papers on how to mimic their behaviors. Textbooks were full of tips on how to do this and tests made certain we ingested the critical points that led to their success.

Are You Operating in Your Strengths Zone?

One of the most important questions you can ever ask yourself is this, “What are my strengths?” Knowing the answer is the key to job satisfaction.

A Young Superhero - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RichVintage, Image #14444389

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RichVintage

It will determine how fast you advance in your career and, more importantly, how happy you are in your job—and perhaps your life.

How Do You Kill 11 Million People?

Today is the official publication date for my friend Andy Andrews’ new book, How Do You Kill 11 Million People?: Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think.

Last February, Gail and I met with Andy and his manager, Robert Smith, here in Nashville. I was the CEO at Thomas Nelson at the time, and Andy wanted to pitch the book concept to me personally because it was so different from anything he had written previously.

How to Fail Well

This is a guest post by Nathan Rouse. He is the lead pastor at Raleigh Christian Community. He and his wife, Erin, have two boys, Ethan and Landon. You can read his blog and follow him on Twitter.If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

Recently, I made an early morning phone call to one of my direct reports to own a blunder on my part. Not a great way to start the day. If you’ve ever blown it as a leader you know that these conversations are never fun. It’s humbling.

An Extreme Mountain Bike Crashing - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MichaelSvoboda, Image #14826906

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/MichaelSvoboda

Great leaders hold those they lead accountable. But those we lead must see us as holding ourselves accountable as well. If we expect them to “own it” when they make mistakes, we need to first model this for them.