Leaders Use Time Wisely: Rethink the Block

Beware the 30-minute meeting—or the 60-minute meeting. Setting up time blocks that go straight into the next block’s beginning have these results for the heavily-scheduled: No time for a restroom break, so when you take one, you’re late. Growing apprehension that you’re missing an urgent voice mail, email, or progress update. Rushing from one room … Read more

Leaders Encourage Thinking “A Step Above”

In a recent address from Dana Wingert, the Des Moines Chief of Police, he emphasized the value of everyone in an organization thinking a rank or position above themselves. The guiding question is this: “How would my boss handle this, and what are his/her expectations?” A few examples: When you’re assigned a project, execute it … 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

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