Your Power as a Leader

The 4 Realities of Your Impact on Others

Years ago, I had a very difficult boss. One-on-one he wasn’t a bad guy. He was warm and likable. But in a group—particularly in meetings—he became another person. Dr. Jekyll became Mr. Hyde.

He would suddenly become cold and aloof. If I, or someone on my team, reported good news, he either didn’t acknowledge it or quickly dismissed it.

Are You a Responsive Person?

4 Ways to Set Expectations for Collaborative Communication

Unresponsive people drive me crazy. I hate sending an email or Slack message to someone and then waiting days to hear anything back. (Admittedly, I have sometimes been guilty of this myself.) This is particularly maddening when you don’t hear anything at all.

One of the questions I always ask when interviewing executive assistants is this: “Do you consider yourself a responsive person?” For me, this is a must-have attribute. Naturally, everyone says, “yes.” However, you can tell a lot by how they answer the question.

3 Ways to Go Further, Faster

The Secret Power of Sherpas, Experts, and Coaches

Years ago, I wrote a list of “100 Things I Want to Do Before I Die.” It’s really an amazing, audacious list. Whenever I review it, I am both inspired and stunned by how many of the items I have already accomplished. And yet, there is so much more. The list keeps growing!

I’ll bet you have a list, too. Maybe you’ve written it down. Maybe not. But either way, you want to accomplish things. Really important things.

Unfortunately, life is short. Or at least it feels that way. I have more to accomplish than I could do in seven lifetimes.

What It Takes to Become a Person of Influence

4 Simple Behaviors Any Leader Can Adopt

I was recently talking to a neighbor about an ordinance being considered by our city council. She didn’t like it and felt strongly that it shouldn’t pass. She went on to make the case to me, raising several valid points I had not considered before.

I reminded her that the city was holding a public hearing on the matter before the council voted and asked if she planned to attend. “No,” she immediately replied, “I don’t have any influence.”

Clearly, she misunderstood the nature of influence. Many of us do.

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5 Reasons Why People are Unproductive at Work

What Organizations Must Learn From the Disconnect

Take a guess: What portion of the American workforce said they were “most productive” at the office during normal work hours? According to a recent FlexJobs survey, the number could be as low as 7 percent. Many more said they get some things done at the office “because it’s not an option to leave.”

Whatever the number of highly focused workers is, it’s too low. In the massive State of the American Workplace report, Gallup found that only 33 percent of workers are significantly engaged at work.

And a smaller but more troubling number of workers are “actively disengaged,” meaning they “are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build.” As for the other 51 percent, Gallup found “[they] are not engaged—they’re just there.”

Don’t Want It? Get Rid of It!

3 Ways to Let Go and Find What You’ve Been Missing

I spent an afternoon last week cleaning out my closet. It was high time I did. I had shirts, pants, shoes, and hats that I had not worn in months—in some cases, years. When I thought about it after, the whole experience became a kind of a metaphor for improvement.

It occurred to me that if we want more of what we want, we have to get rid of what we don’t want. It’s the necessary but sometimes painful process called pruning.

4 Ways to Stay Positive in Work and Life

A Former Pessimist Shares His Secrets to Success

We often assume that people simply are a certain way. “She’s such a bright, sunny person.” “He’s always such a gloomy Gus.” Nature gives us optimists and pessimists, and that’s all there is to it.

But according to Jon Gordon, that’s a myth, a limiting belief that may be holding you back. He says this from painful first-hand experience.

Why I Broke Up with Slack—And Went Back

The 3 Changes that Made It Work for Me and My Team Again

My team and I have been using Slack as our primary communication platform since June 2014. As we grew, email became unmanageable and other solutions like Basecamp weren’t a fit. After a full-immersion trial, we were sold!

But then we unsold ourselves. It took three years. But, just as email didn’t scale with our growth, neither did Slack.

One Simple Trick to Bring Out the Best in People

How Leading with Positive Expectations Can Work for You

Winston Lord is a former ambassador to China who once wrote speeches for Henry Kissinger. Looking back, he said he couldn’t “recommend that to anybody.” Why? “You’d have to go through about 20 drafts and many insults before you got to the final speech.”

In one outrageous but true example, Lord took Kissinger a draft of a speech. Kissinger called him into his office the next day. “Is this the best you can do?” he asked. “Henry, I thought so,” Lord answered, “but I’ll try again.”

Next draft—same response. Back to drawing board again … and again … and again. The back-and-forth went on until the ninth draft, when Lord’s patience finally snapped.

When Delegation Becomes Abdication

3 Reasons Your Leadership Doesn’t Get the Results You Want

Tell me you’ve had this experience. You assign a task but then forget about it. I sure have. As a leader, I am not a micromanager. That’s good news for my team. But I have to be intentional that delegation doesn’t drift into abdication.

It’s not always disastrous when this happens. If we’ve hired well, our teams bridge the gap and nobody is worse off. But sometimes when assignments fall through the cracks, we create serious problems for ourselves.

I know better, but this happened to me recently.