Making the Most of Conflict

Making the Most of ConflictYuck.  It’s the ‘C’ word again.  No one likes to deal with it.  We avoid conflict and are asked to step up to it instead.  But still we avoid it.  We squirm even when we think about it.  Conflict is uncomfortable and uncertain and unwelcome – or is it necessarily so? Continue reading

Bridging the Generation Disconnect

Bridging the Generation DisconnectA group of 50+ business people talked over dinner one evening about the promising young leaders coming into their firms.  While complimenting the smarts of these young leaders, they also expressed some dismay:

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Systematically Killing Progress

Systematically Killing ProgressMcKinsey published an article in January 2012 (How leaders kill meaning at work, by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer) that notes: “A multiyear research project whose results we described in our recent book, The Progress Principle, found that of all the events that can deeply engage people in their jobs, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”  This finding is not dissimilar to what author Daniel Pink found in his research: “there are three factors that the science shows lead to better performance, not to mention personal satisfaction: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.” Continue reading

Offering the Gift of Hope

Offering the Gift of Hope“A leader is a dealer in hope.”  So said Napoleon Bonaparte.  Coming from the mouth of a conqueror of nations, Napoleon’s quote can sound Machiavellian.  But leaders who know how to generate hope create powerful motivation.  They tap a human longing to believe in – and advance – something more beautiful than what they see in their current circumstances. Continue reading

Questioning That Counts

Questioning That CountsThere are questions, and then there are questions.  Which leader, below, would you rather work for or with?  Both leaders have the same objective: assuring that decisions are well-explored before they are made.

Nick is known for his penetrating questions of both his staff and his colleagues, digging deep into details to root out problems.  He challenges assumptions with questions like, “How do you know that data is accurate?  Whose data is it; is that a reliable source?  How did you get to that conclusion?  What alternatives have you considered?” Continue reading

How Does a Leader Approach 2017?

Business plan for 2017We made it through a tough year.  2016 was marked by turmoil of types and impact that have shaken a sense of ‘normalcy’.  In the world, the political and economic upheaval of Brexit, the brutal war in Syria, the flood of refugees that added to destabilizing political situations in many countries, and the reality of terrorism.  At home, a long and bitter campaign and a transition of presidents that promises to bring unknown impact to our lives. Continue reading

The Leader’s Guide to Fear

The Leader’s Guide to FearWould you admit to having fear as a leader?  Nah, we rise above such unworthy emotions and carry the flag forward!  Right?  Or not so fast.  Here are some ‘fear’ words we hear in the privacy of the coaching relationship:

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Drawing on the Gifts of the Introvert

Shy nerd. Timid student anxious of social situationsMeeting after meeting, Dave sat in the team gatherings, eyes down, and said nothing, except to report on his project’s status when asked – usually a quiet 10-word summary.  The rest of the team debated and problem-solved and joked and gossiped.  Sometimes Dave would break a smile.  But everyone knew Dave to be an introvert, not prone to chiming in with opinions or participating in the team’s socializing.  He was accepted as a contributing team member.  And they worked as if he were not in the room. Continue reading

The Impact of a Volatile Leader

Angry businessmanSome leaders don’t know when to keep their mouths shut.  You know the type – they get hijacked about something, and out of their mouths comes something so inappropriate as to elicit horrified gasps from some people and cringing anguish from those who would like to be supportive of them.  And usually, the trail of fallout from their outbursts is like the aftershocks of an earthquake – felt and relived over and over again for a long time after the main event. Continue reading

A Little Racism Stuck In Your Teeth?

Happy Business DealMelanie and Janet were having a good conversation.  Melanie, who is white, said to Janet, an African-American, “When I talk with you, I don’t see color.”  Janet told me later, “I know she intended it well, but of course, it denies my experiences as a black woman and suggests that I have—good for me—successfully become acculturated with whites.” Continue reading