To Cheat or Not?…Choosing in Awareness

A presentation called "Why People Cheat" at a recent leadership breakfast by a colleague of mine, Thomas Hoffman, got me thinking. He provoked us with a statistic: people are lied to anywhere from 10 to 200 times per day. Leadership, Tom said, includes the ability to manage cheating. So I'm thinking how does a leader "manage" the prevalence of dishonesty and cheating going on in his/her organization? Studies over the decades have surfaced all manner of causes for cheating. To name just a … [Read more...]

Does Churn Hurt or Help Team Performance?

In many organizations a lot of work is done through limited life teams. They assemble, complete a project or complex task, and then disband, with individual members going back to their regular job or on to another team's project. But such teams typically change the composition of their members. While several individuals may end up working together on another team, other members join the group. So it starts out as a "new" team, one that, from a human dynamics perspective, is destined to … [Read more...]

Leader, Who Helps You Doubt Well?

What an intriguing question! It's not mine. It comes from a short article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Four Key Questions for CEO's." But it applies equally well for managers who lead at all levels of their organization. If you are taking your unit anywhere that is challenging you must come to terms with the twin postures of confidence and uncertainty. Both are part of your world. And the more you push the envelop, the more you bring about change, the more exposed you become to your … [Read more...]

Do Good and Poor Bosses Clone Themselves?

When I train or coach front line supervisors, I am struck how often they are unable to think of a good manager for whom they have worked. It is so much easier to learn and then apply good management skills when you have someone in mind who has actually demonstrated them with you. ("How would Jennifer handle this employee? What would Frank do in this situation? What I remember Amanda said to turn her team around was… ") But does this mean that the leaders you have worked for in your career … [Read more...]

For a Manager, Hope IS a Strategy

Former New York City mayor Rudi Guiliani is credited for that now oft repeated line, "Hope is not a strategy." But when he, like any good leader in a crisis, painted a picture for New Yorkers of rising up from the September 11 devastation, rebuilding the lower Manhattan skyline, and healing the city's wounded soul, Mr. Mayor was dispensing hope. And well he should have. It was the right strategy.   Why do I say this? Because hope is what professor Richard Boyatzis calls a "positive … [Read more...]

A Bit about You and Your Board

I ran across a useful article by Beverly Behan who specializes in board development and relations. She has several good tips for senior teams and CEO's who want to make meetings with their Boards more productive and successful. Even if you don't have to deal with your organization's Board of Directors now it will come up in the future as you advance your career. And, if it is an issue now, here are four tips I've gleaned from her piece: Provide Pre-reading that includes summary points. … [Read more...]

Senior Leader Challenges – Here are Four Biggies

We keep hearing about how leaders today face a hugely more complex world than even a decade ago. And looking out ahead, it promises to get worse. But just what is this complexity everybody's talking and writing about? The Center for Creative Leadership has done a good job at answering this question. Surveying over 1000 participants in one of its premier senior leadership programs, the researchers at CCL uncovered four clusters of challenges: Global forces & market shifts Systems, … [Read more...]

We Actually Like Emails and Meetings

Everyone in organizations complains about the volume of emails. They distract us. They occupy altogether too much of our time. They keep us from doing more productive tasks, the kind that will cause us to be productive and successful. They greet us on our first day back from a long weekend like an unscalable wall standing between us and getting down to work. And they bug us on weeknights and weekends, oh yeah, and vacations. But do you remember the last time you checked your inbox after even … [Read more...]

Once Again, It’s All about a Leader’s Maturity

A lot of the coaching and speaking I do these days involves the close relationship between level of adult development (maturity, integration) and level of effectiveness as a leader. This approach represents one of what I think are two cutting edges in the field of leadership development today (the second edge: the emergence of neuroscience + leadership). Now a new study has been published by the Ashbridge Business School in the UK in collaboration with the University of Cape Town, under the … [Read more...]

Feedback That Keeps Things Moving Forward

We are all familiar with the "sandwich" approach to giving an employee feedback: say something positive, slip in the negative (ahem, "constructive") message and then wrap up with another positive. This way the recipient will leave the interaction feeling good and will take the negative piece away too. Nonsense! People see through this management trick. They don't even hear the final accolade because they are still processing the corrective "meat" of the sandwich. In fact, any critique hits … [Read more...]