Leaders Avoid This Double Standard

The following is an example of a common scene in my sessions with leaders. Me: Raise your hand if you’ve ever said or thought something like this: “If someone has an issue with me or my work, tell me to my face. Don’t hold back or talk about it behind my back; give it to … Read more

Own Your Tough Statements

There are certain words and phrases that can get us on the defensive before we even know what the topic is. One of the big ones is “No offense, but…” And related cushions followed by the word but. Remember that people on tight teams can handle tough talk. It’s okay for you to deliver tough … Read more

Leaders Encourage in These Three Ways…

Leaders know that encouragement is important, but it tends to be too rare and fall into just one or two categories: I believe you can do it. (Spurring someone on to meet their potential when they’re discouraged or not measuring up.) You are exceeding expectations. (Praising someone who has gone above and beyond, exceeded standards, … Read more

Leaders Know that True Kindness Beats Niceness

I live in Iowa, and a term that gets floated a lot is “Iowa Nice.” As time goes on, though, it gets used ironically as much as it gets used sincerely. I think that’s because “Nice” doesn’t always equal “Kind.” Some leaders need to be reminded that giving positive you’re-on-the-right-track feedback is important and motivating. … Read more

Leaders Offer More Praise

People who offer more praise look for opportunities to compliment others and recognize their contributions. Some leaders think that praise is a waste of time, or that good work is enough of a given that praising good work will make it seem like acceptable performance is somehow exceptional. But this flies in the face data … Read more

Leaders Address Problems

A way-too-common leadership behavior is the opposite – maintain harmony. “I don’t want to sweat the small stuff.” “I hate confrontation.” “They’ll figure it out eventually.” “Maybe a gentle all-staff email will help.” Great leaders develop fantastic relationships and address problems as they occur. A true story, from a tall building in downtown Des Moines: … Read more