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 …

My college classes wanted papers, not exams

In college, I mostly took classes requiring me to write papers, rather than taking exams. Which is why I never really “got” the cramming-for-exams thing. Cramming: the act of stuffing things (people, objects) into a too-small container (a room, a box). Or too much information all at once into your head. As adults, we might still be cramming, although in a …

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 …