The development habit

What are your best habits? Drinking enough water? Brushing your teeth? Working out? Stopping to have fun? Playing? Getting outside? (It’s spring! Why aren’t you outside?) How about … professional development for yourself and your managers? A few weeks ago, someone commented to me that leadership development should be a regular habit like tooth-brushing. I can’t begin to say how …

Cookie-cutter leadership?

Cookie-cutter leadership. Leadership best practices. Leadership rules. Let’s be clear: none of that actually exists Except perhaps in people’s wishes and dreams and textbooks. Don’t get me wrong: there absolutely are foundational skills and important tools of leadership that you need to learn. But applying them in a cookie-cutter way doesn’t work, best practices are only “best” according to a …

How do managers learn leadership?

How do managers learn leadership? Any way they can. That’s not a joke, though it sort of sounds like one. Let’s start here, with the 70-20-10 model of learning and development. The 70-20-10 model tells us that 10 percent of learning comes from classroom instruction, 20 percent from observation, and 70 percent from doing. Yes, we can – and some …

Goldfinches, learning, and leadership

At this time of year, there are literally dozens of goldfinches at our birdfeeder. They’re wearing their winter plumage: faded, dusty taupe. The only reason I know for sure that they’re goldfinches? The black-and-white stripes on their wings. Every year, I’m amazed at how – all of a sudden – the males are vivid bright yellow. Overnight. Wait a minute. That’s …

Stop with “fake it till you make it”!

I’m sure you’ve been given that advice at some point. “Fake it till you make it!” I actually had a therapist tell me that many years ago. Oof. It’s the worst possible advice. Because here’s the thing: “fake it till you make it” is a sure-fire, guaran-damn-teed way to land yourself in the middle of imposter syndrome, unconfidence, insecurity, and …

Why are you promoting me?

I heard that on a podcast episode recently. And I’ve heard variations on the theme from – let me think to make sure I’m not overstating this – yes, from everyone I’ve ever asked about that moment of stepping from individual team member into a leadership role. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the skills required to excel …

Why should they stay?

I suspect we’ve all gotten a little tired of hearing about the Great Resignation. But it’s still happening – and there are still important questions that need to be asked, even as you scramble to hire replacements. WHY are they leaving you? And WHY should they stay? There’s an old old saying that “people leave managers, not jobs.” You can probably find proof …

Who makes the decisions?

Who makes the decisions in your company? It’s a cultural question, isn’t it? Hierarchical command-and-control organizations keep decision-making firmly at the top. And that means there’s generally a lack of trust, plus a lack of rank-and-file understanding of, and commitment to, strategic goals and objectives. This in turn leads to a lack of context for the people doing the work …

Where is the courage to lead?

I think we all know that leadership – true leadership – requires courage. Here’s something else I think we all know, either consciously or intuitively: courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is about doing the thing even in the presence of fear. Now, there are a lot of leadership experts, gurus, thought leaders, influencers (you name it) out there …

Leadership development is disruptive

There. I said it: leadership development is disruptive. And I’m serious. It requires that you: Decide who should be trained (which can upset those who aren’t selected); Choose a process for training (which can take precious time that you don’t have); Pull those selected for training out of their regular day-to-day work (which – since they’re your best employees – means …