Archives For Leadership

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?)

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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.

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You Gotta Keep ’em Separated

joe —  Sat 1-Dec-12

Control IssuesI suspect man has had control issues from the first day they put two of them together. For many that might have been Eve eating the apple. For others it was probably the first cave owners’ meeting when the Hominids needed to establish their HOA covenants.

I remember a meeting many years ago when my boss, Keith, held a brainstorming session with our management team. We were huddled in a small room and I volunteered to be the scribe, collecting the ideas and writing them on the whiteboard. It was a subject I was very passionate about, so I was contributing more than my fair share of ideas. I was on fire.

We then took a break. Obviously my boss thought this amazing idea generating engine of mine needed to get some fuel before it kicked in again. That’s when Keith pulled me aside and told me a simple phrase that has since changed the way I look at my role. “Joe,” he said, “If you have the chalk, you do not talk.” Did my boss just pee on my cornflakes?

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A Nice Game of Chess

joe —  Sat 28-Jul-12

The ContestI had a team member say to me,

“I just can’t work with Jim. He is so confrontational. It’s like a giant pissing contest.”

“Is the goal distance or accuracy?”, I asked.
“Are you trying to see who can go further or who is more acurate?”
“I don’t know.”
“If you don’t know the goal, seems like a lot of people are going to get wet.”

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Dear GI

joe —  Sun 27-May-12

Girl at grave
Dear GI,

You don’t know me, and I will never know you. Yet, you paid the ultimate price so that I could sit behind this keyboard and freely express my thoughts.

Well, my thoughts today are about you. You and I may not have known each other, but we have a lot in common.

It’s about standing up for what you believe. I believe in that too. But you did more. Continue Reading…

Heartbreak Hotel

joe —  Fri 9-Mar-12

Post It NoteWhat word would you use if your boss just told you that he resigned? Was that a wishful smirk on your face? Are you off creating mental images of green fields, warm sun and unicorns all around?

I’ve been fortunate to only have one boss from hell. Most of the others were either very strong leaders, or at least managers that I could work with to develop a strong working relationship.

This week, unfortunately, I lost one of the best. My heart sunk when I heard the words “Joe, I’m resigning.” It was an unusual feeling, something that I had felt only once before in this type of situation.

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Foggy Mountain Breakdown

joe —  Sat 18-Feb-12

Race CarsI was driving in to work one morning in a very dense fog. There were a handful of cars heading down a fast stretch of road. The speed limit said 55, but it would have been dangerous to do anything over 25. It was tough to see more than 10 feet.

I tried the same thing I always do in heavy fog – the high beams. Yes I know it makes it worse, but yet I still try it every time. It’s like watching a recorded football game expecting a different score at the end.

Back to the low beams.

I was getting annoyed with drivers riding my bumper, obviously thinking I was going too slow. Then I noticed a pattern develop. These cars would tailgate for a bit, pass me, and then slow down to the same speed we were originally going. I would appreciate this if we were on bikes – it’s called drafting. I doubt that was their intent.

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