To Be a Better Leader, Live a Better Life

The Wakeup Call

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, maybe not stormy, but likely quite dark because I found myself once again working late. It’s not that I was pressured to do it. It’s more that I enjoyed what I did and there was a lot of it to do. Nonetheless, I had been working too many hours and was feeling the strain of it, including from the pattern I had fallen into: once I got home from a somewhat long commute, there was little time for anything else…

5 Powerful but Simple End-of-year Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports

It’s the end of the year and you’ve got a lot to do: end-of-period and end-of-year reporting, team reviews, customer follow-ups, virtual holiday gatherings to maintain key relationships, not to mention whatever you’ve got going on personally during this holiday season, even in this off- the-rails whack job of a year. Even in the midst of all the to do’s — if you also have direct reports — you also have a tremendous opportunity to do some relationship-building with members of your team as the year winds up and…

It’s often said that dealing with “people problems” can be one of the most challenging aspects to being a boss. Interacting with the complex system of thoughts, feelings energy and emotions that we human types are made of can bring with it unwelcome unpredictability to our daily work routine and leave us wishing we had a clearer road map for how to proceed. Fortunately, there is an approach that can help. …

I was reading an article recently by Jessica Wildfire on “15 Habits of Genuinely Intelligent People.” Why was I reading that, you ask? Well, let’s just say hope springs eternal. (Me: “Only 15 habits? Let’s go. I’ll be genuinely intelligent by tomorrow!”) As I read, I came upon a simple statement that I’ve heard many times, but for some reason — you know how this is — it landed with me in a new way. Here’s how the author shares that Genuinely Intelligent People process failure (it’s habit #13 in case you’re interested — italics and bolding are mine, BTW):

Your People Need You Now More Than Ever. 3 Tips to Help You Step Up.

So, you get to lead your team — probably virtually — during the time of an international pandemic (score!). While it can seem incredibly daunting, and you likely have days when you’d like to just pull the covers over your head and tell the world to wake you up when the coast is clear, that’s not an option for most of us.

So what to do instead? Here are a few tips to help you be the leader your peeps are needing now.

“Virtual” doesn’t…

“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”
— Henry Drummond

“Love” is one of those tricky words in English that can have many different meanings. In fact, a quick online search tells me that — according to the ancient Greeks anyway — there are officially at least 8 different types. That’s a single word with 8 very different intentions and outcomes!

The type I’m talking about here is love that is about caring for others and…

Anyone who has led a team knows that pit-of-your stomach feeling when one of your star employees emails or stops by your desk and says some version of the dreaded words, “Got a few minutes?” In my experience, it almost always means they’re leaving. When it’s an employee who is a poor performer, it’s not terrible news. But if you are worth your salt as a leader, you don’t have many of those folks. What you do have are people you don’t want to lose.

In his excellent book The Truth About Employee Engagement (former title, The 3 Signs of…

I am not an athlete. I don’t exercise as much as I should. I don’t jog, and I certainly don’t run races. I do, however, like to ride my bike. Not super aggressively, mind you. I’m not one of those folks you see out on the weekend barreling along at breakneck speed, decked out in colorful jerseys and wearing those funny bike shoes that make you walk like an ostrich. No, just give me a pair of shorts (not those shorts), a t-shirt, and a helmet and I’m ready to hop on my bike and hit the road.

It’s a…

As a leader, you are in the spotlight 100% of the time. You might not always be aware of it, and its intensity likely varies day to day, but make no mistake — it is always on.

You may not like this, but it is a fact of life as a Leader. What you say, how you say it, and of course your actions are always potentially being scrutinized, so rather than resisting, I suggest you make friends with it. The 3 tips I share here may help.

1. Align your words and actions with the spotlight

Move through your…

Do You Have to Like Every Person On a Team You Lead?

“Robert” (definitely not his real name) was part of a team that I once led. He had worked for the organization long before I arrived and held a lot of undocumented institutional and team-level knowledge. He was smart and was important to the team, especially due to his intimate knowledge of details vital to our ability to deliver to our clients. The thing was, Robert also had a temper.

In fact, he had a tendency to rub our most important clients the wrong way, particularly when convinced that…

Alan Roby

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