The elephant in the conference room

Office politics. Something I’m often asked about, and something my clients almost always want help with. More accurately, they want it to go away. But – as I wrote about in my book – you can ignore the elephant in the conference room, but you’ll still have to deal with it, including cleaning up after it. (Yeah. Eww.) The reality is …

Is there room for Captain Obvious?

So much of what I see written about leadership, management, and corporate life in publications such as Harvard Business Review, FORTUNE magazine, Fast Company, and others, seems startlingly obvious to me. “Aye, aye, Captain Obvious”-level obvious. Yet these are well-respected, even venerated, publications. Which makes me wonder: maybe I’m missing something. (Who, me?!) It seems some things require repetition for us …

Tis the season for …

Goals. Plans. Intentions. Let’s hit the ground running – it’s a New Year, New You, New Opportunity! Right? Not so fast. Let’s rethink this whole new year thing. I’m fond of saying that the only New Year’s Resolution I ever kept was … wait for it … to never make another New Year’s Resolution. And I recently heard someone comment …

The power of a Pink Elephant

“Don’t think of a pink elephant!” The problem, of course, is that you first have to think of what a pink elephant is before you can “not think” of it. On one of Brené Brown’s recent podcast episodes, she mentioned training lifeguards. They were taught to say “Please walk!” instead of “Don’t run!” Apparently, every time the whistle blew and someone …

A different end-of-year question

It’s coming up to the end of the year. Which means there must be the obligatory end-of-year article, right? But let’s look at things a little differently. I tend to notice (or at least, I try to notice) when I’m hearing the same message from multiple sources – and recently two people whose opinions and ideas I respect have been …

The problem with psychological safety

Problem?! How could psychological safety be a problem?! In the same way any tool can be used incorrectly, or even harmfully: when it’s misunderstood and mis-applied. Three examples. Is it a check-box / eye-roll item? Your employees know when a term is being used without substance behind it. And they’ll roll their eyes at any statement not backed up with action …

A tale of a dumped dog

“Have you seen that dog?” A fellow dog-walker asked me about her. A neighbor started feeding her. Another fellow dog-walker and I agreed that there’s a special hell reserved for people who mistreat animals. A very sweet-looking dog was roaming the area, crisscrossing the golf course, trotting down the street outside my office window, sleeping on another neighbor’s outdoor furniture. …

Hey! Watch your language!

Words. Language. Meaning. Communication. Many years ago, I did a video (no longer available) in which I stated that “words are all we have.” Whoa, did I ever get pushback on that. And reasonably so; we certainly do communicate in many other ways than just words. Nonetheless, especially in this era of text messages, Slack messages, emails, social media posts, …

Perfectionism, inconsistency, and leadership

A few weeks ago, I wrote a LinkedIn post stating that perfectionism is a recipe for failure and disappointment. Simply put, the more we strive for perfection in any field, especially interpersonal endeavors such as leadership and management, the more likely we are to fail and to feel like a failure. Leadership and management are inherently foggy gray areas, filled with …

Where’s your “whole self”?

When I hear people talk about bringing the “whole self” to work, it raises some problematic questions. First off, where are we leaving the parts that don’t come with us? I mean, this is Halloween week, so I’m already primed to have some strange thoughts about ghosts and zombies (in fact, my LinkedIn Halloween post featured a zombie…). Okay. I …