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 us understand. They imprint a picture on our minds. Consequently, stories often pack more punch than sermons. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story.” One of the most underrated skills in business today and one of the most effective tools in the leader’s toolbox is
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Humanize People

Seeing an individual as human, as a person, is one of the most difficult things for leaders to do. We interact with humans everywhere we go, but they come and go without us seeing their humanity.  This happens in our organizations as well. One of the most important gifts we can give others is the gift of our time.  The word gift is used purposely.  A gift is something we give with no expectation of a return.  We simply give it because we value them as a human being.  Time is one of the most valuable resources of a leader.  When we gift our time, it sends a clear message to the learner that we value them as a person – we humanize them.  There is no other motivation behind it than to help. Leadership Warning: Objectification VS Humanize The opposite of humanizing someone is to objectify.  We objectify others
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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 principles of honesty, fairness, and benefit.  If we are honest in our intentions, fair with our expectations, and ensure that outcomes are mutually beneficial, we can be confident in our efforts to influence. I had an interesting experience following a speech that brought this distinction into clear view. After speaking
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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 tangible indicators, the research shows that the four basic needs are very intangible: Trust Compassion Stability Hope When I look at this list my mind goes directly to the thought that all four of these needs are met by good leadership. Partnering with your people builds trust, allows you to
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People Learn What They Live and They Live What They Learn

This week I was introduced to a poem that struck a cord with me. As a father I believe this is a powerful lesson for parents. But as a leader and a leadership coach, I think the same principles apply. Last week on my blog I talked about how Leadership & Parenting is similar (Read Here) The truth is we are leading big kids and all people live what they learn and they learn what they live. As you read this poem – I want you to think about how you are leading.   Children Learn What They Live By Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D. If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn. If children live with hostility, they learn to fight. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive. If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves. If children live with ridicule, they
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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. To be an effective provider he needs to be a doer. And ultimately a Father must protect his family. Not only physically but emotionally & spiritually. Obviously if the situation arises he would fight off an intruder but the day to day responsibility is to make sure his family feels
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The Strength To Be Humble

I love these thoughts on humility written by Lloyd D. Newell. I think humility is very misunderstood & at the same time absolutely essential to great leadership.     The Strength to be Humble by Lloyd D. Newell   A national newspaper grabbed attention recently with this headline: “The Best Bosses Are Humble Bosses.” At first, that may seem to contradict conventional wisdom – that a good leader is dynamic, dominating, and bold. But it’s been found that people who work for humble bosses exhibit better teamwork and perform at higher levels. Not surprisingly, when a leader listens to the perspective of others and constantly seeks to learn and improve, the people who follow that leader are more likely to do the same. That doesn’t mean leaders should be passive or indifferent. On the contrary, as one expert observed: “Humble leaders can also be highly competitive and ambitious. But they
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3 Questions to Ask Yourself

  New York Times bestselling author Brendan Burchard proposed three questions we should ask ourselves. As you finish a project, contribute to the team or look for ways to add value as a partner leader, I want you to ask yourself these three questions on a regular basis. I personally put them on a sticky note on my to look at as I sit down to create. Answering all three in the affirmative will accomplish that goal. Question 1: Is what I am creating/contributing distinct? Is your contribution different in a significant way? Is it adding value in a way that no one else has done? Does it stand out? Does it look and feel aesthetically unique? Is it something that will impress people because it is coming from an angle that others haven’t thought of? It’s not crazy or out there, but it is distinct and stands out. Question
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Leadership and Empathy Go Hand In Hand

  Great leaders understand that they are in the people business. • We need leaders who care more about people than they do numbers. • We need leaders who focus on being interested, not interesting. • We need leaders who use influence, not authority, to get things done. • We need leaders who talk with people, not at people. • We need leaders who truly care. If we understand that leadership begins and ends with people, then we understand the need to develop relationships, make connections, partner with our people, and show empathy. Empathy is the ability to mutually experience the thoughts, emotions, and direct experience of others. Empathy helps us lead individually not collectively. Empathy gives us unique insight into people. Empathy encourages leaders to understand the root cause behind poor performance. Empathy allows leaders to build and develop relationships with those they lead. Empathy as a state of
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People Join Companies But They Leave Bosses

This week I spoke for a Pharmaceutical company. In preparation for my speech I interviewed a couple of their sales reps over the phone and went on a ride along with another rep. I found it interesting that all of them at some point brought up their loyalty based off of the relationship they had with their manager. They said things like: “If you connect with the right manager it will make all the difference” “I left my last company because of my manager and I’m staying here because I have a great manager”   You’ve probably heard the saying that people join companies but they leave bosses.   The bureau of labor statistics reports that today’s average worker will have fifteen to twenty jobs before they retire and the #1 reason for changing jobs is bad management/bad culture.   Le Roy H. Kurtz of General Motors once poignantly observed:
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