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What an open dialog requires of you

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Photo credit: 123RF. There are times when a you as a leader will need to have an open dialog with an individual, group or team. This might be so that you can get others’ input, thoughts or opinions. It isn’t about pushing your ideas on others, it’s about drawing theirs out.

What if questions were valued as much as knowledge?

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Photo credit: 123RF. The people with the most smarts win! There are rewards to be reaped for the most knowledgeable people in our society and our organizations. Imagine what might happen if we also rewarded those who are smart AND ask great questions.

Eight unexpected ways to continue to develop yourself as a leader

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Photo credit: 123rf. You’re a year or two into your dream leadership role and you know you are capable of more, but you don’t know where to start. After the first months of learning everything you need to learn about your job you settled in. Yet you have a nagging feeling that something is missing.

When you listen more

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Photo credit: Yarruta @123RF. It seems so much of our lives are wrapped up in what we see with our eyes that we forget that what we hear is just as important – maybe more so.

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Examine the beliefs that no longer serve you

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Photo credit: 123RF. Because of who you are and how you’ve lived in the world, you carry beliefs with you that may or may not serve you in your leadership (and your life). It’s good to be aware of those and realize when they need to be held tightly or set free.

Coaching is more than asking questions

Aspire-CS

I’ve seen a lot written and said about how important it is for people managers to coach the people around them. Often, the enthusiasm about coaching is anchored in leaders asking more questions rather than telling others what to do.

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How to make feedback a developmental opportunity

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Many employees cringe at the thought of getting feedback from their manager. Who wouldn’t blame them? It tends to be overly critical, given with haste and without care, and confusing. So often, the feedback given is often useless to the receiver.

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Being grounded in the present as a bridge to your future

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My grandmother used to say that I needed to stop and smell the roses from time to time. She was a smart woman who knew that my own future was dependent on what I paid attention to in my life as it happened. This is true for leaders too.

Time for technology? How digital can help your production office work smarter

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Expanding into practically every aspect of our lives, the digital revolution has set out to achieve one core aim – to improve and enhance our daily experiences. And it does, extremely well. Transport, education, finance; even relationships.

Psychological safety, perspective and behavior

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Photo credit/copyright: 123rf. Greg, a manager in a large company asked for his employees to be open with him. That didn’t go over well since he regularly dressed down those who came to him with bad news or mistakes they’d made.

Be realistic about your successes and failures

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Take a moment to think back on the leadership successes and failures you have experienced. Ask yourself, “Who is responsible for my successes?” and then, “Who is responsible for my failures?”. Think broadly as you ponder those questions.

Are you making a difference?

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Although leaders may get great personal satisfaction from leading a team that accomplishes greatness, it’s in giving to others that creates conditions for the work to be exceptional.

From doer-ship to leadership

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Photo credit: 123rf. Some of the most prevalent things I hear from the people who report directly to a leader is that they want to be more autonomous and be challenged in the work they do. And not surprisingly, they want to be acknowledged more frequently for what they are doing well.

Why you need to have a hobby

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Photo credit: Mary Jo Asmus. For a leader who is often expected to have all of the answers, you also need to have curiosity and a desire to continue learning. Leadership can’t really be taught in a classroom but it can be learned as you experience your life.

When you need to reset

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I love my work. Yet on occasion I need to do a check-in with myself because I might be feeling self-critical, stale, or heavy about it, and that can impact my effectiveness. That’s when I need a reset to help me to get back on track.

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Being vulnerable builds work relationships

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I was vying for a position in “corporate” that would round out my experience for something bigger later on. The manager who was interviewing me gave the most grueling interview I’d ever had. His intensity in interviews was the stuff of legends, and I wasn’t given a break.

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Showing courage in small acts of kindness

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By definition a leader is a person who is a trailblazer, doing things that others don’t do, and often because they are the right thing to do. These don’t have to be heroic acts, and they are most likely small acts of kindness that are done daily.

Executive presence is an inside job

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It’s not unusual for an executive to be puzzled that they’ve been told they need to develop “executive presence” in order to move into executive levels in an organization. The question on their mind is “What is executive presence?”. Rightfully so.

Get out of the weeds to lead people

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Many employees are promoted into management positions because their knowledge and expertise have made them successful in the work they do. The problem is that a management position doesn’t always fit their passion. People managers have to lead people, and not everyone is motivated to do that.

Be a role model like Tom Hanks

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Photo credit:123RF.

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Becoming a great leader takes intention and mindfulness

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Leading others can look easy. In reality, most leaders aren’t naturals at leading people; they have to learn by trial and error. Think of all the professions that people go into that require years of honing their craft: musician, doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, scientist….the the list goes on.

Ten daily practices that show respect to your team

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Disrespect seems to be running rampant everywhere, including our workplaces. Yet when a leader shows they respect their team, the benefits become obvious: people are motivated, dedicated, loyal and the leader becomes a talent magnet – the best workers want to work for and stay with that leader.

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Separating behavior from the person

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Many of us are quick to judge others based on an instance of unseemly behavior. As a leader, falling into the trap of quickly judging someone based on a single bad behavior isn’t the best way to assure you have an organization of people brimming with potential.

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Podcast on Leadership with Welsh & Associates

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I did a podcast (in person, with microphones!), facilitated by Sheri Welsh of Welsh and Associates. It’s a primer, of sorts, on what leadership is (or at least what I think it is), with a little bit of information about what I do for a living included. Stop over to the Welsh Wire to listen in!

The neuroscience of asking insightful questions

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I teach coaching skills to leaders. When I get to the section on how to ask questions (an important part of learning to coach) I might ask a trick question to start off: “How many of you are good at solving problems?”. Without fail, almost all hands shoot enthusiastically into the air.

Stepping up and stepping back

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Some leaders think that they need to be “out front” and leading at every moment. They simply can’t help themselves, feeling the need to overwhelm and dazzle everyone with their leadership prowess. Others hold back, staying quiet and never really stepping up to their own brilliance as leaders.

Leading your team through a crisis

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Every once in a while, I work with a leader who heads up an organization that has been traumatized by an event or situation.

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Making mistakes okay

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If there is one thing that employees fear at work, it’s feeling shamed for mistakes they make. There is very little that is worse than feeling the sting of rejection from being called out on slip-ups.

Do less and be more of a leader

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Imagine that someone takes notice that you get things done and they see greater potential in you. They talk to you about becoming a people manager or having even greater people responsibilities if you are already a manager.

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Stretching past your fear

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Very few leaders will claim that they are fearful of anything. Other words might be used because the word fear in itself is frightful. They might say that they “avoid” something, “mistrust” someone, or have “anxiety” – perhaps more acceptable terms to use.

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How to avoid starring in your own drama

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As human beings, we swim in daily drama. As leaders, any drama we’re involved in gets played out publicly. And there are lots of people out there who can’t wait to tell others about it, whether they get the background story right or not.

How To 234

Love. Its what makes a leader a leader

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Photo credit: 123rf. Subaru took a bold move in the world of marketing cars a few years back. They added the word, “Love” to the front end of their slogan, “It’s what makes a Subaru”. It was bold because who uses the word “love” in the business world?

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Becoming a better leader takes discipline

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It’s a beautiful morning. I grab my camera, and walk out of the office to the property that surrounds it as I sharpen my sense of sight to find things that might be unusual or colorful. Something catches my attention with bright purple and yellow color.

Seven overused leadership strengths

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Knowing your strengths allows you to capitalize on them, and use them to be a better leader. Who wouldn’t want that? Yet, there are strengths that can be overused. When that happens, they can undermine your best efforts at becoming a great leader.

Leadership IS personal

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Robert was well known as an executive who would go ballistic for the smallest of transgressions by others. He seemed to take everything personally, and often blamed the messenger who reluctantly carried any bad news into his office.

Three enjoyable ways to manage stress

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Sometimes even the best leaders do bad things. If I had to name a common culprit that causes those bad behaviors, I’d pin it on chronic stress. Stress in the workplace has become so normalized that it often goes unnoticed to its victims until bad behavior shows up.

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Your discomfort is whispering to you

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With the scariest of holiday seasons behind us, it’s time to talk about fear. Not the running-away-screaming variety, but the smaller, uncomfortable kind that you may avoid in our workplace like: Having difficult conversations. Giving honest feedback. Asking for feedback. Speaking truth to power.

If you want to change the world, work on being happy

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You might be thinking that all the buzz about happiness is a lot of bunk. Yet isn’t it part of the human condition to want to be happy? Can you actually become happy? As a leader, why would being happy matter? You can become happy when you’re intentional about working at it.

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What does your heart think?

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Many leaders got to where they are because they’re smart and had been successful in their work as individual contributors.

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What it really means to be a strong leader

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For many, a “strong leader” may equate to tough, forceful, and powerful. Although there are situations that call for this kind of leadership, there are a select (and few) times when these qualities are necessary.