Leadership tools are good – right?

We all love a good tool, whether a physical tool (my favorite pruning saw! the comfort of my old wood-handled hammer!) or, yes, interpersonal leadership tools (such as the ones I teach). Tools are great. But knowing how to use them is not automatically granted just because we have the tool. First time I tried using that pruning saw, I nearly …

The fuzzy gray ball of leadership

Students in my workshops often ask hypothetical questions about leadership situations – questions to which the only possible answer is, “Well, it depends!” Leadership is a fuzzy gray ball of uncertainty. Or, to put it in somewhat more positive terms, it’s highly nuanced. Which is why, as I wrote last week, I consider formally-defined leadership styles to be functionally useless, …

Leadership “styles” are bunk

I’m going to get pushback on this, but I stand by it: so-called “leadership styles” are bunk. Let’s just start here: go Google “leadership styles.” How many did you find? How consistent were they from one list to the next? You see my point. Every leadership website has a different number, ranging from four on up to – I think …

The #1 requirement for leadership

Once upon a time, I conducted an informal survey of senior executives, HR leaders, and executive coaches. I asked each of them what they thought the most important and most-often-lacking leadership skill was for newly-promoted managers. I fully expected the answer to be “communication.” I was 100% wrong, and the answers were 100% consistent: strategic thinking. So now you probably expect …

Delegating Decisions

There’s more to delegation than, “Here, do this thing.” A lot more. But we typically don’t think of it beyond, well, “Here, do this thing.” But what about delegating decisions? Yikes. Scary, right? What if they decide wrongly, and it comes back on you? Two reasons to delegate decisions – despite the risks The obvious reason: you’re developing and growing …

The Hyde Effect in leadership

Remember Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? The mad scientist and his evil alter ego? A long time ago, I wrote an article on the “Jekyll & Hyde” effect of being promoted into leadership. It was mostly about how a leadership perspective on everything from strategy to budget is different – and rightly so – from the perspective of the individual …

What’s unreasonable?

The other day, I heard from a colleague that the concept and outline they’d put forward for a leadership development program were considered by the CHRO to be too much to take on. It’s unfortunate, because the program would have been a differentiator for their company in many ways – employee retention, hiring attractiveness, and, of course, leadership strength and …

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. …

The closest thing to a magic wand

Leadership and management development touch every aspect of your company. Including “hot topic” items such as burnout and mental health. Think about it. What keeps people happy at their jobs? Their manager. What creates and maintains a good company culture? Leadership from top to bottom. And the first-line manager is where the rubber of the culture meets the road of the …

Pizza, pineapple, and cilantro?

These are three things people feel strongly about: pizza, pineapple, and cilantro. There are those who are adament that pineapple should never be anywhere near a pizza, and then there are those who are fans of Hawaiian pizza (ham and pineapple). And there are those who love cilantro, and those who think it tastes like soap and hate it. I’m …