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

Things Successful Leaders Avoid Saying (Part 9)

Here’s a common question, but it’s confusing and vague: “Would you mind?” For example, “Would you mind getting the report in a day early?” Seems like a basic question – but how do you handle the answer, “Sure!” Lots of times, it goes like this: “Sure… sure you’ll do it, or sure you’ll mind?” “What?” … Read more

Leaders Celebrate Constraints

When I was a band teacher, we experienced a staff cut. In 10 years, the department went from 7 teachers serving about 500 students to 5 teachers serving 600. The superintended gave us that left-handed compliment that’s supposed to reassure us while also keeping us quiet: “If anyone could do this, you can. We believe … Read more

Leaders Ask “How Would I Put Myself Out of Business?”

I heard a great question from Des Moines business leader Nora Everett of Principal: “How would you put yourself out of business?” Whether you apply it to your entire business, or your team, you can come up with some great improvement ideas from exploring this question. I applied it to my own business and came up with … Read more

Leaders Know When to Tolerate High-Maintenance People

A common buzzword now is “disruption”. The idea that if we are to grow, we have to innovate, and the pace of change is so fast that innovation cannot be incremental. We need people who will “disrupt”. Diversity is a competitive advantage. We know this, too. If everyone on our team were the same, many … Read more