10 Things I’ve Learned Teaching Leadership

SixthJudicialCircuitCt2013I love working with people who aspire to be true leaders. Many of them are already managers, but others are people who may never carry an official title, yet develop exceptional influence.


After years in their company, I've learned a few things about leadership that I'd like to share with you. It's a good way to lead into a new year, thinking ahead to how these principles might affect your quest to learn, grow, and lead.


1. Leadership can be learned. It is not some magical gift you are born with.


2.  Leadership is the combined force of skills and values.


3. You can lead from wherever you are.


4. Leadership style is defined by the behaviors you choose to use most often- and the best leaders understand when to change those behaviors.


5. Leadership is ultimately determined by those who choose to follow you.


6. The best leaders read people and situations accurately and respond in ways that improve the status quo.


7. Leaders absorb shock, pain and discomfort of others, often without others even knowing it.


8. It is harder for a tough leader to learn empathy than for a compassionate leader to learn toughness -- but it's possible.


9. Leadership and integrity are inseparable.


10. True leaders know when to be followers and for that reason, there are never enough leaders.


NBCCSmileAs you can see from this photo, while I take leadership very seriously, I think teaching and learning it should be fun. Laughter is a great tool for any leader, especially when leaders learn to laugh at themselves!  


In the year ahead, I wish you every personal and professional happiness.


Beginning in 2015, my status at the Poynter Institute changes from senior faculty to affiliate faculty, so I can focus more on my consulting and coaching in organizations. It's the best of both worlds.


You can still find my podcasts on iTunes U, my regular postings here, and my daily curated leadership insights on the Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know Facebook page.



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Printsasia Features “Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know”

PrintsasiaBlog Printsasia, the online bookseller, invited me to share the story of how "Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know" came to be. I was happy to do so! If you click on this link, it will take you directly to the story!


Because I've had inquiries from folks all over the world about the availability of the book, I asked the Printsasia folks what geographic areas the company serves. The answer: USA, UK, Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Belgium, Spain and India.



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Have a Wonderful Day!



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Managers: 4 Things to Check as the Year Ends

Year End Checklist


I know you are looking ahead to the holiday break and I'm sure you've earned that down time! But you'll rest easier if you know you've buttoned things up perfectly before the year ends. There are always a few things you can do now that will make the year ahead even better.


That's why I put together a quick list of tips for you in my latest column for Poynter.org. All you have to do is click on this link to read the column. Then check off the items as you complete them.


After that, just have a wonderful holiday season. And may your work be even happier in 2015!


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“Boss Talk” – with VMware’s Leaders Worldwide

VMW_09Q3_LOGO_Corp_Gray VMware, a tech leader in Silicon Valley, has 16,000 employees throughout the world. As part of the company's commitment to leadership development, they've set up a call-in show with me on December 16th. The concept is simple. Twice on that day, interested managers will simply call in to a master number and we'll chat about their leadership joys and challenges.


Edited Boss Talk We're calling it "Boss Talk," as you can see from the invitation sent companywide. Our focus is collaboration and conflict resolution.


I'm really looking forward to talking with VMware's team. Some will be dialing in from the beautiful Palo Alto campus. These photos give you a glimpse of the work environment: palo-alto-photo-2-thumbnail VMpalo-alto-photo-fountain Others will be calling in from posts around the world.


The Palo Alto campus is famous for its turtle pond and its venerable residents. palo-alto-photo-20-turtle


I should point out that I have a mascot, too. VMware turtles, meet Mr.Tugboat, who thinks my home office is really his. HomeofficeDec2014


Tugger's a smart old fellow, but he won't be offering advice during the VMware "Boss Talk" call-in show. He's delegating that work to me.



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What Startup Organizations Can Teach Leaders about Growth

StartupScreenShot I spend a good amount of time helping organizations of all kinds -- from medicine to law to education to media -- manage the change brought about by disruptive technology and changing consumer demands.


I was interviewed for this article in the Columbia Journalism Review, which looked at how startups are approaching change -- and the lessons they can teach all of us.


If you'd like to read the article by Erin Polgreen, just click here. It's worth it just to see the cool animated illustration at the top!



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My New Column on CJR

CJR-logo I'm happy to share this news. I've accepted an invitation from the Columbia Journalism Review to do a monthly column on leadership and management issues. The editor, Liz Spayd, poses questions to me and I provide advice.


Here's the interesting thing: Although the publication is written about journalism and the audience is people who are interested in media issues, the management issues are universal.


CJR Column For example, check out the first column. Liz's questions focus on startup cultures, integrating staff with new technical talent into a traditional team, and whether charisma can be taught or learned. You can click here to go directly to the column.



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I’m Thankful for Leaders – and Readers!

Happy Thanksgiving
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High Performers Need Great Bosses

How to Manage a Star


Do you have star players on your team? I hope so. It can mean that you've hired well, or trained well, or retained well. If you're a great boss, your stars play well with others, too. They may demand a bit more from you because they've earned it, but their demands are reasonable.


Unfortunately, some managers are intimidated by star performers and don't step up to the management challenge. When stars become sacred cows, bad things can happen in organizations. That's what I wrote about in my most recent "What Great Bosses Know" column for Poynter.org.


If you'd like tips on how to get the most out of your star performers and avoid the pitfalls, just click on this link.


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Oh Canada! Happy to Help Launch the New Brunswick Community College Management Academy

NBCCSIGNA few months ago, I was contacted by the HR department of the New Brunswick Community College in Canada.  The college was developing a curriculum for its planned Management Academy and had selected "Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know" as its primary text. The kickoff was to take place in October, and I was invited to lead the workshop in person.




How could I resist an invitation like that? When I wrote the book, it had always been my hope that organizations would use it just this way. I was more than happy to help NBCC develop and facilitate the learning.




We met on October 23rd and 24th in St. John. It was rainy and gray outside but warm and positive inside the conference center. I worked with the group on leadership fundamentals, coaching, feedback and tough conversations. Nearly 100 managers attended, and they jumped into the conversations and exercises with enthusiasm. It was clear to me that they care deeply about leadership.




This is group shot with Colleen, Nina and Suzanne - -the HR brain trust behind the Academy. NBCCTeam


And this is the president of the NBCC, after the group surprised me with a gift: a framed picture of the cover of my book and the logo of the NBCC Management Academy! Jill&MarilynNBCC


This wasn't just a two-day program. It's the start of a long-term commitment to the managers of NBCC for continuous learning, providing practical management and leadership tools.


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