Things successful leaders avoid saying (Part 1)

today’s blog, take one:

Yesterday, while reading a very insightful blog post, two things were striking:

1) The post had very valuable ideas for all of us who teach and lead.

2) The writer of the blog consistently used his own successes to make his points, and used the words “me”, “myself”, and “I” quite liberally.

Using those words – AND using himself as the best example of the practices he was promoting – was quite distracting from the content.  He damaged his credibility with all the self-reference and bragging.


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Leadership Problem: Grace vs. Enabling

Cut people some slack.  Really, you never know what kind of a day they’re having, how bad their insomnia is, whether they’ve suffered a major loss, or whatever other darkness they carry.

Paul had an iPod in class, and earbuds in his ears.  This is a no-no, and standard procedure is to temporarily confiscate it for the day.  I reached out my hand, and he gave me a steely glare and said “It’s mine.  I’m NOT handing it to you.”


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Attitude is not Everything. Listen to Batman and Focus on Behavior.

I love this quote from Batman Begins:

“Bruce, deep down you may still be that same great kid you used to be. But it’s not who you are underneath… it’s what you do that defines you.”

As a leader, parent, and trainer, I confess that I cringe when I hear someone try to pump people up with an “attitude is everything” approach.

While it’s helpful to our own motivation to have a great attitude, it is unwise to focus on the “attitudes” of others, especially as a “cure-all”.

Why?  Here are some thoughts:

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Using the Words “Around Here” Can Help Create a Vibe

My first boss was fond of saying this: “Most days, we have fun around here.”

The first time I heard him say this was in my job interview. He followed it up with “…and you can’t say that about most jobs.”

It was my first job, so I took his word for it.

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Leadership behaviors in “non-leaders” leads to organizational success.

Recently, I ate breakfast at the Starbucks on 86th in Johnston (Iowa) on my way to a leadership workshop with the Waukee High School Warrior Wrestling program.  As I drank my coffee and prepared the workshop, I would occasionally look off into space.  You know, to think.  But there was a display of funky-cool travel cups right in front of me, and I took a break to walk over and look at them more closely.  (Side note — I’ve been searching the world over for a travel mug that both retains heat very long and is dishwasher safe — if you find one, let me know.  Thanks.)

I picked one up to look at it more closely, and an employee appeared in front of me immediately.

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