Relevant Leadership Blog

How To Get Free Popcorn

One of the best strategies I know to win with people is to focus on being interested, not interesting. The problem with being interesting is that it’s all about you. But being interested is all about the other person. It’s where influence comes from. It’s placing other people’s interests first. People who are interested know how valuable it is for relationships and friendships to let the other person talk. They listen more than they talk. They allow others to share ideas and opinions. They make people feel welcome, involved and appreciated. I have taught this idea for more than 10

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We’re All In This Together

My mind has gone back to this story several times in the last couple of weeks. Several years ago, my friend Cindy and her kids noticed that two robins had built a nest in one of their trees. As they paid attention to the robins’ activity they realized there were eggs in the nest. Those eggs soon hatched four baby birds. Cindy and her kids took ownership of the baby birds. They loved to watch them and would check on their condition regularly. Then one day as Cindy was putting clothes away in one of the kid’s rooms – she

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A Phrase That Will Make Leaders More Influential

When you’re the leader, the one in charge, it’s far more natural – and far easier – to lecture and command than to discuss and invite. Leaders can create caste systems within their organizations simply by language choices. When they refer to “we” as the leadership team and “you” as the employees, they create a separation in the team. If we want our people to feel like they are in a partnership with us, that we are in it together, that we are locking arms with them to accomplish the overall goal of organizational success, then we need to communicate

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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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3 Ways to Create Staying Power as a Leader

My thoughts lately have been on the need for leaders to become and stay relevant. Relevancy creates staying power, but it requires constant vigilance. I read an article recently where Vince Molinari shared three ways that leaders become irrelevant. These can be the things that cause the downfall of many leaders. 1)     You Believe You Arrived:  When leaders achieve a certain level of success they wrongly conclude that they’ve made it. That they have arrived. This can lead a leader to starting coasting. Then one day you realize you no longer matter in your organization. Your ideas don’t resonate with others. You

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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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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. 

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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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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

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