Relevant Leadership Blog

Service Makes You a Better Leader

A study at the University of Kent in southern England was dedicated to figuring out how givers are perceived. Researchers conducted an experiment called a “cooperation game” in which participants were each given a small amount of money and asked to contribute to a common fund. Next, the researchers doubled the common fund and passed it out equally to members of the group. In this game, the best thing for everyone is to continually reinvest their money and keep doubling the fund. But if you’re crafty, rather than cooperate you’ll be tempted to hold back some of your money. That

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Mentoring Through Storytelling

Communicating well is not only an intellectual exercise; to really connect with people, especially their emotions, we need to bring them into our experience. Stories do that. When you paint a picture with your words, people put themselves in that picture. As a leader, the right story can be a gold mine. Story creates a spark that ignites a new awareness. It is such an influential tool that if you use it constructively, it can change people’s hearts and minds. That is why Janet Litherland said, “Stories have power. They delight, enchant, touch, teach, recall, inspire, motivate, challenge. They help

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Influence vs Manipulation

This week I was interviewed on a podcast where we talked about influence. One of the questions sparked a conversation around the difference between influence and manipulation. The truth is, while the connotations between these two words are extreme, the difference is subtle. There is an important warning to us as leaders when we purposely use emotions and feelings to influence.  We must check our motivations and desired outcomes.  If our motivations are selfish or our desired outcomes are self-centered, we will find ourselves manipulating not influencing. The fundamental difference between manipulation and influence is intent – intent based in

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What Are Employees Four Basic Needs?

  Last week I spoke at an Employee Benefits Summit that was focused on employee engagement.   I shared a message about how a leader’s approach impacts the commitment & engagement of their people.   I also sat in on some of the other sessions and in one particular session on employee engagement a lot of the research out of the Gallup Poll was shared. One of the key takeaways from the Gallup studies was The Four Basic Needs of Employees.   While we might think these center around fair compensation, flexible schedules, great benefits or a number of very

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Good Leadership Is Attractive

Donald Sterling bought the then San Diego Clippers basketball team in 1981 but he quickly moved the team to Los Angeles where they became the LA Clippers. Sterling and his Clippers struggled through many painful seasons and they did not have their first winning season until the 1991–92 season, 11 years into his ownership. In Sterling’s 33 years of owning the Clippers through 2013–14, the Clippers lost 50 or more games 22 times, 60 or more on eight occasions, and 70 games once. Sporting News described Sterling as “one of the worst owners in basketball for decades”, while The New

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5 Mantras Every Leader Should Live

Leadership is challenging. It requires a high level of energy, constantly redefining priorities, and ever increasing capacity. It is also the greatest opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of others.   These five mantras should be internalized by any leader who wants to lead effectively.   Mantra 1. “Always stay a student” The legendary MMA fighter Frank Shamrock said, “Always stay a student.” Leaders who stay humble, approachable, and hungry are constantly learning, growing and therefore becoming more and more valuable.   Mantra 2. “Business Is About Relationships” My friend Jeff Rust, founded a company called Corporate Alliance where the fundamental belief is that Business is About

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The Three E’s of Great Conversation

My wife Sarah is a great conversationalist. She connects well with others; people love talking to her and they often describe her by saying, “it feels like I’ve known her my whole life.” Those are goals we should all strive for – especially as leaders. Over the years, I have watched her in conversation with others and I’ve deciphered that great conversations require 3 E’s: – Engagement, Energy & Empathy A great conversation first requires engagement. How often are we distracted in a conversation? With texts, email or wandering though processes. When we are engaged both physically (through body language

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Great Advice for Fathers and Leaders Alike

Last week was Fathers Day I’ve reflected a lot on what my own father taught me. Both in words & actions. One of the lessons my father taught me was that a father’s role is to: Preside, Provide & Protect. If a Father provides then he leads by example. He takes on the responsibility of leading both by example & instruction. He lives & prioritizes the values that he wants the family to embody. As a provider he is charged with working hard, continually growing and adding value in a way that takes care of the needs of his family.

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Do You Love Reading?

Statistically very few Americans will read any books after High School, but I personally didn’t discover a love of reading until after High School. I had mentors that promoted reading for personal & professional development & I took it to heart. I have read thousands of books. Usually a couple a week on leadership, communication, relationships, high performance, parenting, psychology, history, etc… Reading has enriched my life & continues to make me better. I want my kids to establish this habit earlier than I did. They actually love to read & I want to encourage that but also add some

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What Creates Influence?

J. R. Miller said, “No one can understand that mysterious thing we call influence … yet … everyone of us continually exerts influence, either to heal, to bless, to leave marks of beauty; or to wound, to hurt, to poison, to stain others lives.” What is influence? According to the dictionary, influence is “the power to sway or effect based on prestige, wealth, ability or position.” That definition would seem to suggest that affluence determines influence. And yet, one of the poorest women, in terms of financial wealth, the world has ever known was also one of the most influential:

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