Do You Know a Good Leader When You See One?

Do You Know a Good Leader When You See One?
My earlier post identified leadership as the good, the bad, and you. I wrote about six behaviors typical of bad leaders. While the opposite of my six observations of the bad are a place to start, there will be no getting off easy for me. Here are my top six qualities of good leaders. You work hard to build trust and earn respect. Sure, your team will trust you at the start, and your leadership role comes with some built-in respect. But strong leaders work continuously to prove themselves. ... Read more
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Leadership Lacking

Leadership Lacking
This past weekend I attended the opening Little League game for a local team. It was only the first day of spring, miserable weather, and the plowed field was surrounded with piles of snow. The people in the bleachers were bundled up and cold. The players on the field were colder still. Yet, there was an aura of excitement for an activity that both the kids and parents were looking forward to after a long winter in the northeast. The head coach spoke to the group before the game started. He ... Read more
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Leadership: The Good, the Bad, and You

Leadership: The Good, the Bad, and You
For simplicity’s sake, we can boil leadership down to: the good, the bad, and you. This is the first of three posts to cover all three. When the topic of leadership comes up, most people think first about “bad bosses” — they skip right over the good, to the bad. So here goes, I’ll use this first post to explore bad leadership. Really, is there anything left to write about bad leadership? I’ve been known to say that every problem within an organization can be tied back to a lack of ... Read more
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Stress Carriers

Stress Carriers
We all know one or two of them. They may be a friend, relative or co-worker. What they have in common is that they scatter stress like Tinkerbell scatters fairy dust. They are stress carriers. They often appear friendly and helpful, but they have a knack — and perhaps the intention — of making others feel inadequate or upset. They also are skillful at shifting their work or worries to others smoothly that you are left wondering how it happened. It is easy to recognize a stress ... Read more
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Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity

Stepping Out and Stepping Up for Opportunity
At 2am four years ago, I responded to a general post seeking volunteer tennis coaches. I was about to finish graduate school and had coached sporadically for seven years, so I thought this could be a fun, interim experience. For the next two hours, I emailed back and forth with Vi, the person who posted the ad. She had just started a new NGO that delivered tennis programming to kids who live on the Southside of Chicago. I naturally was curious about this person who was up so late at night ... Read more
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The Walls Have Ears

The Walls Have Ears
Today, thanks to cell phones, we are constantly surrounded by conversations. People talk while they are walking, shopping, and eating. It seems like there are no longer filters on language used or content discussed. If nearby, you can listen to the intricacies of a legal matter or the intimacies of a personal relationship. This same behavior can be observed in the office. Though a conversation you’re having may seem harmless, it can have damaging effects. For example, perhaps you use ... Read more
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Beware the Lemmings

Beware the Lemmings
The lemming is a small rodent that mostly lives in the Arctic. Folklore has it that lemmings follow each other even when it results in their jumping off cliffs in what some describe as mass suicides. The lemming analogy is a cautionary tale for a “group think” mentality and can be applied to several situations in the workplace. New employees are more susceptible to becoming lemmings than others who are better informed. Frequently, an established worker volunteers to help the new person get ... Read more
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Words Left Unsaid

Words Left Unsaid
When I got married, Betsy (co-founder of Start Smart Career Center) gave me a piece of advice that I cherish because it has proven to be invaluable. She told me that the words I choose not to say to my husband are just as important as the words I do say to him. I could not have possibly appreciated the gravity of that statement at the time, but over five years later it is a motto I’ve come to live by in every aspect of my life. This concept may be easiest to understand in regards to ... Read more
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Don’t Settle for the Cheap Seats

Don’t Settle for the Cheap Seats
There is going to be a meeting with the boss that will be held in the conference room. Unfortunately, the conference table isn’t large enough for all the managers to sit at the table. There are chairs placed around the perimeter of the room for overflow. The men wander in and take a seat at the table without giving it a second thought.  They may try to decide where the boss will sit so they can choose their chair strategically. Some of the women seem uncertain about where to sit and ... Read more
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The Devil Doesn’t Need Advocates

The Devil Doesn’t Need Advocates
We’ve all been there. The meeting has dragged on and on. It looks like the team has finally arrived at an action plan. Things are winding down, tasks are being assigned, and you are ready to pack up and get back to your real work. At that very moment, someone says, “Let me play devil’s advocate” and launches into a rehash of the previous discussion. Colleagues groan inwardly, everyone hoping the boss will dismiss this unnecessary showmanship. The concept of ... Read more
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