Tag Archives: success

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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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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Closing the Gender Gap: Watch The Video

Here's video from "Closing the Gender Gap: A Forum on Women in Journalism Leadership," which I moderated this week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. The focus was journalism, but the conversation covered issues that affect women in all professions.


With me on the panel (left to right) are Rachel Smolkin of Politico, Susan Goldberg of National Geographic, Madhulika Sikka of NPR, Carolyn Ryan of the New York Times, and Anders Gyllenhaal of McClatchy Newspapers.


As you will see, the audience is also filled with experts and lively voices!



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Great Bosses Cultivate Great Ideas

NewNPRHQI'm in Washington, DC this week, teaching workshops at NPR. Folks here have just moved into a beautiful new building. It's not just a state-of-the-art workspace. It's also designed to bring many creative people together for better opportunities to think and collaborate.

That's important here, for sure, because public radio is built on ideas. But every good organization wants to capture and cultivate good proposals, plans, thoughts, suggestions. It works best when leaders understand how to cultivate great ideas. How to make it easy and effective to pitch, catch and coach them.

In preparation for the teaching, I immersed myself in a good amount of literature about brainstorming, collaboration and innovation.  I turned that into a column and podcast for Poynter.org, titled "Don't Be an Idea Killer: Ten Tips for Cultivating Good Ideas."   Here's how I begin:

Some of our best ideas come when we’re taking a break from concentration. At least, that’s what recent research says. Since the concept for this column coalesced while I was sweating my way through a Zumba class, I’m prepared to believe it.

I’d been doing a lot of reading about the cultivation of ideas — especially the leader’s role in brainstorming, creativity and innovation. I collected insights and advice from all sorts of experts to use in my teaching. I wanted to craft a column, too, but kept debating with myself about the framing.

Not surprisingly, my breakthrough came when I stopped fretting and shifted my focus to enjoying some music and keeping pace with the class leader.

And here's a link to the full column and all ten tips.

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Happy to Say “Arbejdsglæde” in Aarhus!

Welcome to the Aarhus studios and offices of DR - Danish Broadcasting.


On a Friday morning in April, I spent the day there to teach about leadership and success. To say I was welcomed would be an understatement.  Take a look at the front door! That poster, announcing my morning talk to the full staff, was not only there, but everywhere around the building.


I had been asked to talk to DR employees about a successful, creative and competitive workplace, with both the joys and the demands it places on people. In fact, the talk was titled "Surviving Success."  The shot below is from the back of the gathering.  I'm that tiny spot in the front right corner.


Fortunately, English is a second (or third or fourth!) language for many Danes, because my Danish is quite limited.  It's so limited, I told the group, that I knew only a few Danish words: "tusen takk" -- which means "thank you very much" and "velkommen," which is "welcome."  But for this day, I had learned a new and very powerful Danish word.  Here it is:


It is the Danish word for "happiness at work."  Isn't it interesting that there's no one-word equivalent for it in English?  We talk about motivation, or job satisfaction, but arbejdsglæde means more than that.  It means the workplace is a great place and people look forward to coming to work.  Great bosses guiding great employees create that culture of arbejdsglæde.

The DR staff applauded my attempt to pronounce the word.  (Sounds like "ah-BITES-glay-the")  Later that day, I applauded their managers for their focus on leadership, during our daylong workshop.

DRWorkshop These are the top leaders of various aspects of DR's news and information programming. We talked about their values and how values lead to the choices they make every day as leaders. We focused on communication, collaboration and the development of successful and happy staff.   DRNameplates   As you can tell from the extra care DR took to emphasize the positive, right down to putting an image of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW" on the manager's name cards, the word "arbejdsglæde" might have been new to me, but it's in the leadership lexicon of this team.    
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33 Voices Interviews Jill Geisler about “WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW””

33voices-logo 33 Voices is a website rich with leadership ideas, lessons and tips.  The site's motto is "Smart Conversations about Business and Life." Its founder, Moe Abdou, himself a voice of leadership, interviews authors, researchers and business leaders.  Moe's goal is to provide as much practical learning as possible on his site and lead people to ideas and answers. Moe contacted me to talk about the key ideas of "WORK HAPPY: WHAT GREAT BOSSES KNOW," and we had a terrific conversation.  Here's a link to the 25 minute chat on the 33 Voices site. And this is the SlideShare summary of Moe's key takeaways from our talk.  I told Moe I felt less like I'd been interviewed and more like I was installed in the Abdou Hall of Fame -- and I'm truly honored. [slideshare id=16633107&doc=jillgeisler-130219164034-phpapp02]
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10 Artificial Barriers to Success – How to Break Them

Success!Stepping up. Asking for additional responsibility. Pitching yourself for a promotion. Questioning the status quo. Offering ideas and solutions.  Do you do these things in your organization, or do you hesitate? In my work with managers, and aspiring managers, I find that people often talk themselves out these important acts of leadership. When the topic came up in a recent workshop -- introduced by one of those reluctant risk-takers, it led me to produce a list of ten common barriers we build for ourselves.  Of course, if we build them, we're the ones who can take them down, as well. For a look at the ten barriers and what to do about them, this link will take you to my column and podcast on Poynter.org.
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