Archives For Leadership

Topics related to leading others as well yourself.

The Insider

joe —  Sat 22-Feb-14

Cat PenguinThe one practice that I thought was most helpful in my early career became something that I now avoid – the insider.

An insider is a member of your team that seems to have his finger on the pulse of what others are doing, thinking, and feeling. He is a great way to test your ideas before taking them to a larger audience. He is connected to everyone and has a great capacity to help you understand what your team is thinking. Most importantly, an insider brings you insights about your team that you may not have otherwise understood. Team members often feel uncomfortable telling you something because you are the boss. An insider helps bridge that gap. He fully believes that he is helping both you and the team connect. Continue Reading…

Because I Said So

joe —  Sat 1-Feb-14

Luke and PopI realized that I had officially become “that” parent when I first uttered the words, “because I said so” to my kids. Growing up, I promised that I would never repeat my mother’s words. I did it anyway.

I don’t recall the event. It was probably one of the kids asking why they had to take a bath. But, I do remember the emotional tension of feeling both ultimately powerful and a total sell-out.

“Because I said so” is almost always preceded by “Why?” A person asks “why” when they are seeking meaning. They are trying to bridge what they know with something they don’t understand. It usually has an implied counterpoint. “Dad, why is it important that I take my bath right now instead of finishing My Little Pony?” As parents, we should applaud the “why” as it indicates they are seeking understanding.

Unfortunately, the question most likely comes after we have suffered the slings and arrows of work life and a brutal commute home. We know it is going to take time to explain why and in all likelihood they may not agree with our adult logic when we finish. It would be more efficient to tell them, “Because I said so.” The result is going to be the same, regardless. They will take their bath. Why not just cut to the chase?

Continue Reading…

Unnatural Leadership

joe —  Sun 2-Jun-13

Cat leaderOf all the questions I get from aspiring leaders, the one that I hear the most often is, “What is your definition of a leader?”

I’ve had many definitions over the years, but none of them have resonated with me. They range from the Forrest Gumpian:

“A leader is as a leader does.”

to the more circular definition:

“A person who has followers.”

(Guess what a follower is?)

Continue Reading…

Let Me Count The Ways

joe —  Sat 30-Mar-13

One Is The Loneliest NumberI used to love numbers. As a kid, I was convinced that three was a magic number. In high school I truly learned that one is the loneliest number. Then in college I came to appreciate the deep meaning of 25 or 6 to 4 as I popped another Diet Coke for the all night finals cram.

I liked numbers because they were definitive. I take great comfort in knowing when a t-shirt says there are only two types of people in the world, that it’s not three or even seventeen. I can put things into their little boxes and know that I need not consider any other options other than the explicitly numbered ones given. Numbers give me comfort.

Then I became a manager.

Continue Reading…

“Work From Home”

joe —  Sat 2-Mar-13

WFBMarissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, really ticked off a lot of people when she killed her firm’s Work From Home (WFH) policy last week. Not only were Yahooians angered, but so were many who thought it might set off a new trend.

I am not sure I have a firm stand on whether working from home is a good thing or a bad thing. But, I do believe most of us are looking at the problem through the wrong lens. If the goal is to make the better choice, we have to reframe our perspective.

If you are the one that gets to decide your team’s WFH policy, you have a big, first decision to make. Continue Reading…

Phoning It In

joe —  Sat 23-Feb-13

Why am I here againNext to Windows Solitaire, I am pretty sure the telephone is responsible for more time wasted at work than any other invention. How else can you explain the number of times we finish a conference call and make that, “well that was a total waste of my time” look?

In all fairness, meetings in general, if not executed well, have a history of wasting time. I am sure that when Ogg called his cavemen friends together to discuss how to best kill a wild beast, that there were some in the cave playing hangman on their stone tablets wondering when this meeting would end.

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A Piranha in Your Tank

joe —  Fri 8-Feb-13

World series ringWhich is more difficult, getting to the World Series the first time, or repeating the following year? Both require great talent, but the motivation has got to be a little harder to muster after you’ve had that magical first experience. What about the third and fourth times?

Many competitive activities have the concept of a sophomore slump. The sophomore slump occurs when a rookie athlete has an outstanding first year and then reverts to more normal standards the following year. It appears to all that he has regressed, except for the statisticians who know this to be a normal phenomenon called “regression to the mean.” The first year was the anomaly, not the second.

Continue Reading…