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Karin’s Leadership Articles

frontline festival

Frontline Festival: A Leadership Carnival for Frontline Leaders

by | Mar 15, 2013 | By Karin Hurt, Frontline Festival |

I am delighted and humbled by the response to the Frontline Festival. I asked my friends and colleagues to share their best advice for frontline leaders. Wow! Read these posts and you will emerge stronger. Perhaps read one a day, you’ve got enough for a month. I am pleased to share their gifts with you.

I open the Frontline Festival with thoughts on beginnings from Steve Riddle of Lead On, Lead In, sharing When Did Leadership Start to Mean Something To You? The post will make you consider your own leadership journey. The best part is his video, his accent alone may encourage you to inspire leadership in others. My favorite question, “are you the role model that others have been for you?”

On Building a Frontline Team

Jennifer V. Miller of The People Equation discusses how leaders can be pulled in multiple directions when dealing with a challenging employee in Leadership Seesaw – Balancing the One with the Many. The best question, “are you balancing the needs with the one with the needs with the many?” I ask myself just that every day.

David Dye of Trailblaze shares tips for that awkward situation of being promoted over your peers in, But I Thought We Were Friends? I love his practical example, I’ve had conversations that went something like this, “as a friend, I am so sorry that stinks. As the team leader, I can give you tomorrow to take care of the problem, and then we will need you back.”

Leigh Steere of Managing People Better challenges us to move past stereotypes in finding talent and leveraging gifts in her Lead Change Post, 5 Uncomfortable Observations About Workforce Diversity She shares, “Our internal judgments come through, plain as day, in our facial expressions and body language.” Yikes, I do struggle with that one.

On Running Better FrontlineTeams

Dan Rockwell of Leadership Freak helps us decide when to help, in The One and Only Reason to Help. My favorite insight, “Real help takes people to the place they don’t need help.”

Jon Mertz at Thin Difference explores the concept of Infinitethink, how too many choices leads to indecision in his post,

Jesse Lynn Stoner of Seapoint Center shares a great model for running effective meetings in No More Boring Meetings. She shares a map energy flow in an ideal meeting (see left). Wow. I am going to strive for more of that in my meetings.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership, reminds us that you’re stuck with your company’s performance review system even if it doesn’t work for most people. And so he gives us practical advice in, Performance Reviews Made Simple My favorite, “Spend time with your team members. Find out how they’re doing and have conversations with them. That’s a big part of how great bosses do their work, informally, “in the cracks in the system.”

Mike Myatt of N2Growth reminds us to involve the people closest to the work, when improving processes, and to consider what work we can eliminate in his post 100% of Companies Have a Process Problem. I resonated with, “Simplicity Matters: If your process isn’t simple, it’s going to be very expensive, not very usable, and probably not sustainable – put simply, it will fail”

Mark Miller of Great Leaders Serve reminds us that less is more when it comes to communciation in his post, One-Page Bias.  “A single page virtually always creates more buy-in and action than a 20-page report.”

On Frontline Trust and Integrity

Eric Dingler of EricDingler: Whole Life Leadership shares his techniques for building trust in both leaders and followers in his post, Nothing Leads Like the Truth. I like the line, “Nothing moves people more effectively then truth.”

Deborah Parker, of DPJ Training Group offers important and practical advice on establishing trust in her Lead Change Post, Commo Check: 11 Ways to Establish a Trust Message. Some great pragmatic advice, including “Know the audience by being alert and flexible to the circumstances.”

Gail Severini at the Change Whisperer shares her cry for more authentic, inspired leadership in Longing for the Endless Immensity of Great Leadership. “Real leadership is about who you are, what you stand for, and what you dream about.”

Joanne Corley of Management in Minutes reminds us to lead from who we really are in her post, It All Begins With You– You Are the Messenger I like her challenge “We start to live those roles so unconsciously that we lose track of what we really want in life and what role those roles play in that.”

What Motivates at the Frontline?

Robert Tanner at Management is a Journey takes a detailed look at the value of intrinsic rewards in, You’ll Need More Than Money and Benefits Who hasn’t faced a similar problem: ” Robert, I really need this employee to do his job! I pay him well. He has good benefits. I know he knows how to do the job because sometimes he gets it done. He just won’t do it! He has an attitude problem.”

Susan Mazza of Random Acts of Leadership share the importance of reinforcing positive behavior in, Catch Them In the Act. I like this post for it’s practical advice: Reward employees for “speaking up,” “stepping up,” and “standing up.”

Peter Friedes encourages us to engage in more “elaborative asking” on our team’s in his post from Lead Change Group, Managers Do You “Ask” Enough? He reminds us, “asking is enabling, telling is limiting, and ignoring is irritating.” Agreed.

On Facing Your Fears

Claudio Morelli also shares a Lead Change Group post about facing your fears to lead during tough time in Saddle Up and Lead.

Lisa Kohn of Chatsworth Consulting Group presents Running is like leading – 5 key steps towards winning the race where she shares 5 steps for winning the race when faced with challenges of leading. As a runner, I just love the metaphor.

Jonathan Green of Monster Leaders encourages us to stretch outside of our comfort zones and learn across disciplines in his post Do You Know Jack: It’s Time to Become a Well-Rounded Leader? I am a big believer in cross-functional assignments, and this guy lives what he writes.
Next month’s Frontline Festival will focus on Feedback and Coaching. Be sure to tune back in. In fact, why not subscribe for your daily dose of leadership inspiration.

If you would like to be added to the call for posts, please send me an email at [email protected].

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today!

Want more human-centered leaders in the workplace? Share this today?


  1. Eric Dingler (@EricDingler)

    Awesome collection. Thanks for pulling this all together. I plan to follow your “one per day” advice. Looking forward to having this list in my morning routine now.

  2. Mary's oldest child, Deborah

    Karen, Very creative and informative idea to do this carnival. Thanks for the opportunity to contribute.


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Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Powerful Phrases for Dealing with Workplace Conflict, and hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.

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