Who defines respect?

Respect is a key element of trust. It’s impossible to trust someone you don’t respect. (I’d argue it is possible to respect someone you don’t trust, but that’s a whole different conversation.) As leaders, we can say we respect our people – but – news flash – what we think or say doesn’t matter. What does matter is what they …

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 …

Where does Poor Performance come from?

What’s at the root of so-called “poor performance”? We tend to look at an employee’s – or friend’s, family member’s, customer’s, a stranger’s – behavior as a “thing,” an entity unto itself. But is it really? We look at an employee’s behavior, whether “good” or “bad,” and call it “performance.” But performance doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s always based …

How do you want to be led?

Has anyone ever asked you that question – how do you want to be led? Have you ever asked your team that question? If you were fortunate enough to be offered training in leadership, you’re probably familiar with the concept of situational leadership, which suggests providing different levels of support and guidance to your people based on the … ahem … situation. …

Who supports you?

There’s a recurring theme I’ve observed in listening to successful people interviewed on podcasts, or whilst reading their books. They talk about the meaningful, vital support they received as children, as teens, as young adults. There are plenty of people who had very difficult childhoods – poverty, violence, abuse, learning difficulties – and who nonetheless became successful. So I’m not …

But what can one manager do?

During a recent podcast interview (which I’ll post when it’s released), I was asked a tough question: If you’re working for a company that has, let’s say, a somewhat questionable culture, where it’s not as safe as it might be to raise questions or make mistakes, it’s easy to think that you’re stuck: your options are to either accept the …

Don’t drop that ball!

If you’ve ever complained about being overwhelmed, overbusy, or burned out, some helpful (?) person has undoubtedly advised, “You need to drop some of those balls you’re juggling!” These days, with so much about burnout in the news – and, more to the point, in our organizations and lives – “Drop those balls!” must be ringing down office corridors and …

What is an authentic leader?

Authenticity is one of those words. There’s a lot of talk about it, it’s become a buzzword in management and leadership, and … what does it actually mean? Obviously (I hope!) it’s not “letting it all hang out.” TMI (too much information) is still TMI, no matter how “authentic” someone’s experience and feelings may be. It may be completely authentic …

Microaggressions, gaslighting, and other toxicities

I wrote this article for my LinkedIn newsletter The Leadership Leap. I don’t typically cross-post LinkedIn articles here on my blog, but this is an important topic, so I felt it deserved to be here as well as there. See the end of the article for links to subscribe to the Leap. There’s nothing “micro” about an endless stream of …