Start the New Year with a New Mindset

Start the New Year with a New Mindset

Ebenezer Scrooge learned his lessons the hard way. It required a harrowing night of visits from three ghosts to set him on a better path. Mr. Scrooge took his ghostly apparitions’ messages to heart, and bought the big fat goose for the family of his poor, bedraggled employee Bob Cratchit. He also thought more about how he could catapult his newfound enthusiasm for helping others from the joyful festivities of late December into the cold, yet ever-hopeful newness of January. He promised to make Cratchit’s life at work more purpose-driven and well-defined, and committed to starting the New Year providing better clarity for his team. You should do the same by asking yourself these questions:

Trust the Pattern

Trust the Pattern

Lately, with the news worldwide being somewhat bleak, I thought I’d write about trust -— since it seems to be waning a bit. Trust is something we commonly talk about in business, in leadership, in politics. It’s something we aspire to build and yet still seems challenging to grasp. So here’s my attempt to define trust and how it manifests in our lives.

The obligatory dictionary definition of trust (from Merriam-Webster) defines it as a “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.” Patrick Lencioni, author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, says trust is foundational and that building it requires vulnerability, which means apologizing to our family and friends, and to business colleagues when we’ve messed up; or getting real about what we don’t understand or when we need help.

But in working with people for years, I have come to believe that reliability

Boundaries or Bust

Boundaries or Bust

One person’s boundaries can become another person’s problem so it’s important to look at the perspectives of others before you articulate your boundaries. If you just can’t take on any more work, putting a boundary up is a good idea. But that work has to go somewhere, so think about the causal relationships between your boundaries and how they are received.

Communication patterns are important in being fair to others and yourself. Like a boat cutting through water...

Would You Like to Work For You?

Would You Like to Work For You?

Here’s an idea I share with my clients: We don’t actually get to decide what kind of leaders or communicators we are. Instead, the people in our lives decide the degree to which they value our impact. Whether you lead or manage people, look now through your employees’ eyes and ask, “Would I want to work for me?”

Years ago I interviewed 40 leaders, locally and internationally, to learn something about what made them tick. One question I asked was if they read about leadership or other topics to inform their actions. What I found was the leaders who read often were more concise and on-point during interviews. Those who said they didn’t read much wandered while answering questions. Recently, two clients sent me insightful reads on leadership. These clients are already on the path to being excellent bosses, conscious of the constructive impact they can and want to have with their employees. They read.

The Masked Agitator

The Masked Agitator

I recently coached an organization that employed a toxic employee. Nationally, she was highly regarded as an expert in her profession — but co-workers saw beyond flashy credentials. They saw her as controlling, erratic, manipulative, paranoid and brilliant — even creating little hand signals to talk about her unnoticed. Leadership had been dazzled by her public performance, but chose to ignore the red flags and repeated complaints from her employees. Once her supervisors understood the problem, they had already kicked the can down the road for so long due to their paralyzing fear of conflict, they were at a loss as to what to do next (as she had previously threatened litigious actions).This is what toxic employees count on: keeping their negative behaviors from decision-makers and, in some cases, threatening legal action at any attempts toward accountability. Since lower-level employees are exposed to toxic behaviors routinely, leadership needs to connect with these employees to get feedback on their work experiences.

Let me be clear: People with the proper motivation can...

From The Dinner Table to the Board Room

From The Dinner Table to the Board Room

Some families love being together, some enjoy short visits and others have a hard time just getting through Thanksgiving dinner. So how do families who have decided to go into business together make it work? Recently I had sat down with three families-turned-business-partners to find out.  

Is Your "Be Like Me" Mentality Hurting Your Team?

Is Your "Be Like Me" Mentality Hurting Your Team?

We are all born with preferences for introversion and extraversion. Some of us sit in the middle of the continuum (ambiverts), but people typically fall into one of these two categories. And you might be surprised by how the two different groups perceive one another. Here are some weirdly revealing answers I’ve heard in response to questions I ask about what people say they dislike about introverts and extroverts:

Directing versus Informing: The Dual-Language Quagmire

Directing versus Informing: The Dual-Language Quagmire

Scenario: You open the refrigerator to find a near-empty milk carton. What would you tell your partner or roommate? Whether you would say, “Get milk when you go out,” or something more like, “Hey, we’re out of milk,” can tell you a lot about your communication style.

As a business coach, one of the workshops I offer is called Interaction Styles. An interaction style is an innate communication pattern that helps us communicate in our lives and at work. There are four basic interactions styles, but because there are 7.5 billion people on the planet, you can imagine...