iStock 000021158955Small 285x300 5 Reasons I Quit My Day Job to Pursue My DreamYup, I really did quit my day job to purse my dream full-time.   No, this is not an April Fools joke (although last years was fun in case you missed it).

I will spend my days helping companies grow confident, competent and creative frontline leaders.

I’ve been engrossed in a 45 day transition to ensure my team doesn’t miss a beat.  The true sign of leadership is what happens when the leader walks away.  Although the “walking away” part is heartbreaking, the running toward is exhilarating.  I will miss my magical team.

As news has spread through my teams at work and with the external strategic companies with whom I partner, nearly everyone has had a similar reaction curve.

  1. Shock (Are you kidding, no one walks away from a great gig like that!  What about those long-term incentives you’re leaving on the table?)
  2. Sadness (I’m blessed to have built deep connections with so many people whom I care about deeply.  We will really miss one another and the outcomes of our collaboration.
  3. Stirring (“Wow, look at your eyes when you talk about this.  You really are following your calling.  I know this your true passion. Good for you!”
  4. Support (“How can I best help you?”)

Thank you to all who have been on this curve with me through the last few weeks.

Building Momentum: From Dreaming to Doing

“A less than belligerent commitment is a curse.”  -Eric Maisal

I’d like to say that the last few years of writing and speaking were all a deliberate strategic building towards this moment.  But the truth is, I felt the pull and stayed open to possibilities.  The exhilaration of the momentum became too hard to resist.  I began waking up early and rushing to the computer to see what my email would bring.  I felt alive and full of meaning with the growing connections of kindred spirits and leaders needing support.  The long hours and travel to do my leadership role well and the time needed to serve the LGL pursuits became too much to sustain.  I had to choose.  It was time to do what I felt most called to do.

And so I offer a bit of the behind-the-scenes story that made the dream doable. Continue Reading…

KH ImperfectBoss share3 copy 300x300 Overcoming an Imperfect BossMy first book, Overcoming an Imperfect Boss is now on Amazon.  I want to express deep gratitude to all in the LGL community who have grown with me in my  Imperfections.  Your insights are woven throughout this guide.

Why Talk About the Imperfect Boss?

I keep being asked why, of all the leadership topics I write and speak about, I would pick “imperfect bosses” as the topic of my first book. It’s quite simple. The supervisor relationship is the number one predictor of employee engagement and job satisfaction. Yet, most people screw up this powerful association.

The tragedy is that too many people leave the magic of what could be a game-changing relationship untapped. They follow traditional boss-subordinate protocol…they don’t get too close, don’t say too much, and don’t push the envelope. And so bosses come and go, and both parties muddle through. People do their best with the boss they’ve been given.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Some of the bosses who once made me crazy, grew to be lifelong mentors and friends. As I reflect on our journeys, each of these alliances had a transformation point. Something drove one or the other of us crazy, we talked about it, worked through it, and both emerged with a deeper level of respect. Continue Reading…

“Too many women in too many countries speak the same language — of silence.”
Hillary Clinton

hclinton 300x300 Hillary Clinton and I Share This Concern

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Hillary Clinton’s noticed a pattern in her decades of work developing men and women staffers.   As she shared it from the stage at the conference I attended last week, I felt my eyes tear up.  Her words articulated a concern I’ve had for years.

When I ask intelligent, articulate, highly qualifed women to step up and take on more responsiblity or a substantially bigger role, I’m often met with questions.*

“Do you really think I’m ready?”

“Are you sure I’m qualified?”

“How am I going to balance it all”?

In all my years of working with young staffers, NOT ONCE did I hear something like that from a man.

Sure men have fears too.  They just are less likely to say them out loud. Continue Reading…

iStock 000004856442Small 300x225 7 Ways to Spring Your Team into SpringSpring is springing.  The vortex is melting, and now you sense spring fever coming on… for you and your team.   Embrace this season of new growth and possibilities.  Making Spring a workplace celebration will help offset the “wish I was outside” blues.

Spring Into Spring

1. Establish Spring growth goals

Challenge your team to a growth spurt before summer.  Help each person identify concrete way they will grow in the next 90 days:  a special project, a new skill, mentoring someone or finding a mentor.  Model the way.  Pick your own goal and talk about your challenges and progress.

2. Hold a Spring Training   

Pick an exciting team stretch goal for the team and rally the troops.  Hold a “spring training” to get everyone “in shape” to win against this challenge. Continue Reading…

KC Leadpositive passion 300x300 Saying it With Soul #meanitAs part of our “Mean it Madness Month,” I invited Kathryn Cramer to share her approach to speaking with authenticity.  Say it with soul.

Saying it With Soul:  A Guest Post from Dr. Kathryn Cramer

Saying it with soul is about meaning what you say—and saying something meaningful. It’s about putting yourself and your message on the line. It is about showing your skin in the game.

This can be a tall order for leaders, even when the core of their message is something positive. But why?

It exposes your vulnerability. Whenever you communicate what something means to you, you are revealing something important about yourself. You, not your words, are the message. Soul is something you already have—it is your values and beliefs, your character, your mighty cause, your unique, authentic leadership presence in the world. Communicating with soul is a matter of revealing and demonstrating what you already have.

A sense of false modesty. We are socialized not to brag and to view ego as a turn-off. But authentic humility is also about having the confidence to own and express the best of who we are.

You think that nobody cares. Often leaders think their teams are not concerned with what the leaders think is important; people only care about their own well-being. That statement is true. People do care most about their own well-being, but that is why they need to know that their leaders have personal skin in the game. If you are genuinely committed and personally invested in a cause, then it lowers the bar for your team to get on board. People have a built-in Geiger counter as to whether leaders are being true to what they value, and showing your skin in the game creates authenticity over time. Continue Reading…

sell 300x199 7 Sales Skills for LeadersSales gets a bad rap. No one wants to be that smooth-talking guy pushing a vacation club or spamming us on LinkedIn (p.s.  if you’re that guy, please stop, I will never buy a program from a LinkedIn spammer).

But the truth is, leadership and sales have a lot in common:  Inspiring a vision; building genuine relationships; finding creative solutions   Selling well is about caring and helping others achieve what they imagine.   Leaders can benefit from honing some of their “sales” skills.

How I Became a Sales Leader

I’d been in HR for years when the Sales VP encouraged me to interview for a Sales Director gig.  I was shocked. “Oh, I’ve never done sales… how could I lead a large sales team?”  She just laughed, “Karin, you’re selling all the time.  You’re constantly convincing us to take time out of the field to invest in leadership and HR programs.  Trust me. That’s selling.”

She was right.  And as it turns out, leading a team of several thousand sales people was one of my favorite gigs.

Today I find the advice I gave to new sales people useful in developing leaders as well. Continue Reading…

communicating 279x300 Start a More Meaningful Conversation #meanitAs the “Mean it” Madness continues, I’m delighted to share insights from sincere people around the world who have reached out to share their stories.  Today’s post is inspired by Cat Willliams a relationship counsellor and author of Stay Calm and Content.  She shares how meaningful conversations start by telling yourself the truth.

If you have a story of where saying what you mean made all the difference, click here to share (in confidence, or for sharing).

Start a More Meaningful Conversation

“He that undervalues himself will undervalue others, and he that undervalues others will oppress them.”

-Samuel Johnson

Many conversations break down because the issue being discussed is not the real issue at hand.  Even when people are communicating “well” with “I statements” and the like, if the real issue isn’t surfaced, it can’t be addressed.  Much energy is spent in such false dialogue.  Truths remain unspoken and the undercurrent of resentment continues.

Cat shared that some of the hardest conversations are those in which we must apologize.   It’s tough to admit to ourselves that we’ve done something wrong.  It’s even more scary to face potential rejection if the apology is not accepted.

It’s far easier to convince ourselves someone else is to blame, and we start with a solid argument to ourselves.  We soothe our egos, and our important apologies remain un-offered.  As I heard Cat’s story, my heart tugged with a few folks in need of a call. Continue Reading…

Sincerity FLF 3 14 copy 1024x791 Sincerity Experts Share Advice:  March Frontline Festival #meanit

This month’s Frontline Festival is an extension of Mean It Madness on Let’s Grow Leaders.  You don’t need to be a blogger to share your story.   Click here to share  how saying what you mean has made all the difference.   Thank you Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx  for the great feature pic (above).  Follow Joy @joy_guthrie.

Speaking with Sincerity and Kindness

Jon Mertz, This Difference, opens the Festival with, Uncomplicated Meaning.  At times, we can over-complicated how to mean it. If it is wrapped in meaning, then to “mean it” should be simply natural and real.  Follow Jon at @ThinDifference

Matt McWilliams,  Life. Leadership. Love. Learned the Hard Way, brings us Why I Hate the Feedback Sandwich and What to do About It.  Feedback is intended for one reason: to cause the desired future behavior, by either reinforcing a good one or correcting a bad one. It’s best to keep it simple and sincere.  Follow Matt @MattMcWilliams2

Kate NasserSmart SenseAbilitiesTM, shares Leadership Sincerity: Are You Leading w/ Honesty & Civility?  How can leaders say what they mean and mean what they say without insulting people or crushing morale? Here are 6 key steps from The People Skills Coach™ to engage others w/ honesty, authenticity AND civility.  Leaders, be real not rude.  Follow Kate @KateNasser

Jennifer Miller, The People Equation, offers THINK: 15 Ideas to Help You Talk Less and Listen More.  Before you say what you mean, be sure your words aren’t mean. Jennifer  offers up four questions to ask yourself before you open your mouth so that the conversation will be productive and encouraging.  Follow Jennifer @JenniferVMiller

Bill Benoist, Leadership Heart Coaching, brings us  Active Listening  One of the greatest gifts we can give another person is our undivided attention. When we focus on what the other person is saying rather than forming a response as the person is speaking, we are letting the individual know we value what he or she has to say.  Follow Bill @leadershipheart

Julie PierceEmpowered by Pierce, shares  Say What You Mean to Say: A lesson in sincere leadership  Excellent leaders are overflowing with integrity and sincerity. Leadership Coach Julie Pierce shares a lesson on sincere leadership.  Follow Julie @julie_pierce.

Bernie NagleZunZhong,  shares Speak With The V.O.I.C.E. Of Sincerity  Credibility is the currency of Leadership. Draw the account down too far and you risk losing your team…and your job.   A simple tool to help your remember how to use your VOICE.Follow Bernie @altrupreneur

Jon Hunter, Curious Cat Management Improvement Blog, brings us Respect for People Doesn’t Mean Avoiding Any Hint of Criticism   Personal attacks are not useful. Attacking bad practices and bad thinking is showing respect for people.  An environment that is so emotionally immature that criticism of bad practices and ideas is seen as disrespectful is an environment that is in need of improvement.  Follow Jon @curiouscat_com

Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership, shares Gentle Honesty  Brutal honesty is supposed to be a good thing. Gentle honesty is better. Follow Wally @WallyBock

The Dangers of Insincerity

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding Blog shares her post, The greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage  John was offered a position with another company. He accepted the position and relocated to take the job. In his first week in the new job John receives multiple warnings from co-workers and community members questioning the authenticity and sincerity of the people and the organization he is now employed with. What would you do?  Follow Chery @GianaConsulting

Mike Henry Sr., Founder of the Lead Change Group, shares Sincerity and Office Politics.    Trust lubricates relationships and makes organizations and teams effective. This post outlines 6 ways to shore up trust and sincerity in a team or organization.  Follow Mike @mikehenrysr

Eric Dingler,,  shares The Most Important Leadership Lesson You Can Learn  A quick look at the leadership axiom; More Is Caught Than is Taught and how it plays out in personal, family and workplace leadership.  Follow Eric @familylifeuni

Scott Mambry, Elumn8,  shares Stop Playing Leadership Hide and Seek  The unfortunate thing about hide and seek in organizations is that leaders are often the main perpetrators.  Follow Scott @scott_elumn8

New to the Festival,  Herwig W Dierckx, Great Business Life Stories,  shares Medieval consultant jargon.   A funny story on the over-use of business buzzwords and corporate jargon; in the hope to convince the reader to move to more authentic and clear leadership communication.  Follow Herwig @HWDierckx.

Being Sincere With Yourself

 Alli Polin, Break the Frame, offers Find the Courage to Be Yourself  Too many people seem to have a game face and think that if everyone is playing the game, they have no other choice. Why not say what you mean and show the world who you are?  Follow Alli @AlliPolin

Tom Eakin, BoomLife- Values Driven Success, shares Hey Leaders! What Do You Want?  Want to lead an organization where people do great things? First, you need to understand what great things you’re willing to do and, more importantly, why!  Follow Tom @goboomlife

Living an Integrated and Ethical Life

Jesse Lyn Stoner, of Jesse Lyn Stoner Blog, shares Your Greatest Source of Influence,  Your character is your greatest source of influence, no matter what your role or position.  Follow Jesse @JesseLynStoner

Barbara Kimmel, Trust Across America, shares, Ten Trust Busters  Are your actions ethical? What impact are they having on others? Is unethical behavior just “business as usual?” Follow Barbara  @BarbaraKimmel

Skip Prichard, Leadership Insights, shares Do What You Say You’re Going to Do  What’s one trait that all successful people have in common? They do what they say they will do. Whether a small thing or a big one, consistently doing what you say you will do is the foundation of success.  Follow Skip @SkipPrichard

New to the festival, Bob Whipple, The Trust Ambassador brings us , 7 Ways to Improve Your Integrity  Before we can learn to trust others, we must learn to trust ourselves. Sounds simple, but many people exhibit low integrity in their own life.  Follow Bob, @Rwhipple

Linda Fisher ThorntonLeading in Context, shares Developing Globally Responsible Leaders  Developing leaders who are sincerely committed to and capable of fulfilling their responsibilities as global citizens.  Follow Linda @LeadinginContxt

frontlinefestival 300x300 150x150 Sincerity Experts Share Advice:  March Frontline Festival #meanitCall For Submissions:   April Frontline Festival.  April’s Theme is Employee Engagement.  New participants welcome. Click here for more information.