Physicians, Physicists and Brainiacs

–Coaching the know-it-all

You read know-it-all in the subtitle like it’s a bad thing. That’s not how I meant it at all.

No, I’m not referring to the seventh-grade insult where we looked at the smartest kid in the room and said, “Well, Mr. Smarty-pants, you think you’re just a know-it-all.” No, that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

physicsI’m referring to those people who hold positions that — quite literally — require that they know it all. And yes, there are several of those floating around in various organizations today. For example, you certainly wouldn’t trust a surgeon who frequently said, “You know, I’m not quite sure about this, but let’s just give it a try anyway.” Nor would you be thrilled if you discovered that a PhD physicist working in some hush-hush, ultra secret laboratory somewhere, said, “Man, I don’t know if this hydrogen bomb will be safe to transport, but hey, I’m giving it my best guess.”

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Analog Leadership Meets the Digital World

— Faster isn’t always better…


Analog… “Analog…” Analog… it sounds so, well, old.

Leadership, in its most successful, meaningful form, is not about size, scope, or reach. It’s about relationships. Trusting relationships. Our followers trust those they hold out as leaders when:

  1. That leader demonstrates appropriate competency for their position,
  2. The leader demonstrates integrity (does what she says she’ll do), and
  3. The leader convinces them they have some level of empathy; that they care as much about the subordinate as they do themselves.

Leadership is entirely personal. It’s about people. It’s all about trust!

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25 Leadership Tips and Hacks

I was just doing some thinking on a plane ride recently (not much else to do). Often, we are our own worst enemy, sabotaging our efforts with our own behavior. Though added resources (people, money, etc.) seem to be an answer to many of our challenges, the reality is that Leadership, first and foremost, is what will cause us to succeed or fail.

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Decision-Making, Mistakes and Leadership

— If you ain’t failin’, you ain’t tryin’


mistakesMistakes. Nobody likes ‘em, everybody makes ‘em. Yet it still sends a quiver up the spines of leaders everywhere, hearing “you made a mistake.” Our minds start racing, searching for pieces of memory that could reveal where we may have stretched a bit, or perhaps were a bit unsure in the decision we made.

“Crap! Now what…?”

We investigate our mistake, searching minute details in hopes of ensuring we never make that mistake again. Or any mistake, frankly. Many of us spend numerous waking hours fretting over the possibility (and reality) of making one mistake or another, incorrectly believing that error-free efforts are the minimum threshold of success for leadership.

How’s that working for you? I’ve got some suggestions that may help you be more successful — and less frustrated — in your leadership decision-making. First, a newsflash: you will make mistakes. Get over it. Mistakes are not inherently bad; our reactions to mistakes are much more telling than the mistake itself.

So, here we go… The 3 Principles for Avoiding Death through Mistakes: (more…)

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The Simplicity of Leadership

quit complicating the uncomplicated

By that, I mean that leadership is not complex. Can it be difficult? Certainly. But we need to remember to keep things as simple as humanly possible.

We read books, articles, white papers, etc.… All in search of a silver bullet, a magic wand, or something that will allow us to leapfrog common sense and simple leadership techniques. We study “The Five Principles of Employee Engagement;” we listen intently to the webinar, “How to Increase Employee Commitment;” we read books on “Motivating Millennials.”

And we don’t get any better. In fact, many could make a good argument that as we study these “new and innovative” techniques our ability to actually lead people gets worse. In other words, the more we “know,” the less we do.

My advice then is simple: just stop it! (love me some Bob Newhart…)

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Leadership and Playing Favorites

   — It’s what good leaders do!

One of your best employees (by whatever performance measure you use) needs an extra day of bereavement leave for the death of a grandparent who raised her near single-handedly. This employee has been with you 6+ years, with no attendance issues, no unreasonable demands, and you can’t even remember the last time she asked you for something. (more…)

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