Archives For leaders

iStock 000016283516XSmall 200x300 The Power of Always:  Making Commitments You Can Keep

I will always brush my teeth before I go to bed.

That’s pretty easy.

I will always exercise at least 5 times a week.


I get stuck in the airport… my kid gets sick…there’s a hurricane…

A bit harder.

As leaders we have long lists of intentions.  We do our best to keep our commitments.

Unless… Continue Reading…

iStock 000015090448XSmall 300x235 Hot Mess Leadership: When Image Becomes DangerousThe term ”hot mess” typically refers to someone disheveled on the outside with some redeeming qualities on the inside.  Urban dictionary defines a “hot mess” as

“when one’s thought or appearance are in a state of disarray, but they maintain an undeniable attractiveness or beauty”

Leaders can go a long way by getting clothes that fit, shoes that shine, and well-kept hair and nails.

Work on your magnetism.  Refrain from stupid outbursts.  You will have another leg up.

It’s important to avoid being a “hot mess”.

Cleaning up the outside matters. Continue Reading…

iStock 000018805621XSmall 300x199 Cheer in the Next Gear:  How to Make Your Support Count

Each time a cyclist peddled past our corner at the Ironman triathlon , the woman sitting next to me on the curb would clang her large cowbell.  No words.  No sign of emotion.  This went on for hours.  It was almost a Pavlovian response.  See bike, ring bell. She was committed.  She never missed an athlete.   For whom was her bell tolling?  Why was this helpful?

In contrast, my husband Marcus is my cheering hero.  I have run several marathons by his side, and watched him as he cheers from the inside of the race; looking to encourage anyone running behind, ahead or beside him.  His cheers go something like this: Continue Reading…


iStock 000011938410XSmall1 300x210 A Matter of Trust:  Why I Trust You, Why I Dont

“The lamb and the lion shall lay down together,
but the lamb will not be very sleepy”
-Woody Allen

Developing real trust takes time.  The people we lead come to us with history, memories, and experiences–they recall times of trust inspired and trust betrayed.  When we are in a new gig, our teams watch even more closely.

  • “Can I trust you?”
  • “How do you talk to your boss?”
  • “Are you like the last guy?”

When we have been with a team longer, our teams have real perceptions and interpretations of our actions.

  • “Is this a pattern?”
  • “Does she always have my back?”
  • “How does he act under stress?”
  • “How is she treating everyone else?”

After years of leading, being led, coaching leaders, reading employee surveys, and hanging out with leaders… here’s my best summary of what inspires or destroys trust. Continue Reading…

iStock 000016816986XSmall 300x253 Beginning Better:  9 Tips for Successful Starts“Let us nourish beginnings. Not all things are blest, but the seeds of all things are blest.  The blessing is in the seed.”

Muriel Rukeyser

How you begin matters.

Prepare the team.  Reinforce the vision. Energize the plans.  Refresh the excitement.

Do you begin well? Continue Reading…

iStock 000016947047XSmall 300x199 Feedback:  Getting Great Insights From People Who MatterAs leaders, getting enough feedback on your leadership can sometimes be a challenge.  Of course, it’s important to know what your boss thinks.  What is equally important are the broader impressions your leadership is making up down and sideways.  Today I share some formal and informal tools to get the conversation started.

Who Are You Asking for Feedback?

One of the most frequent questions folks ask me when starting a new mentoring relationship is,  “what impressions do you have of me?”

In other words,

“What’s my brand?”

“What have you heard about me?”

“What have you observed?”

“How do you talk about me to others?”

Great questions. I believe in transparency and I always shoot straight.  But the truth is, what I think may matter, but I am just one opinion. Continue Reading…

iStock 000019827119XSmall 235x300 A Question of Intimidation:  Questions that Shut People DownQuestions are powerful.  They can motivate, and inspire deeper thinking.

Great questions empower.

Questions can also intimidate, frustrate and shut down people down.

The most dangerous are those where the leader already  ”knows” the answer… and is looking to see if the person will “get it right.”  Closed ended questions can have a similar impact, if the leader only wants to hear “yes” or “no.” Continue Reading…

This is a guest post from Jonathan Green.  

Jonathan is a culture evangelist who focuses on leadership development behaviors and communications strategies.  His expertise is service models that provide world-class experience.  He has worked in a variety of verticals including Finance, Utilities, Tech, and Telecom.  Green has spent the last seven years working for a large Telecom provider and thoroughly enjoys the fast paced and ever-changing environment.  Check out his blog at

iStock 000009529654XSmall 200x300 Snap, Crackle, STOP   Whats Your Brand?

Have you ever thought of yourself as a brand?

Most people associate brands with companies, services or products– but don’t always stop to think about their personal brand let alone how to build it.

As individuals, we actually have much more at stake as our brand is being observed, assessed and judged on a regular basis.  In my work with young leaders, I carve out time out to help them consider their brand… and to be deliberate about enhancing promoting it.  The key is simplicity.  Break it down into manageable parts.

1 – Image

2 – Behaviors

3 – Attitude Continue Reading…