Five Tips for Writing Short Stories

I only know one Bart Simpson line, “I like Stories.” And I use this line often when someone says to me, “Do you want to hear a good story?” I bet you like good stories, too. Storytelling seems to be hot right now. Why? Because it is one communication strategy that really engages people when done effectively. Storytelling, whether spoken or written, is a skill. And it is a skill that effective leaders need to develop and continuously practice. This week I have done some reading about how to write effective stories. Here are my five tips for constructing an [...]

By | 2017-06-01T11:27:44+00:00 June 1st, 2017|Leadership Lessons|

Getting to the Point, Do You BLUF or BLAB?

Effective leaders know how to get to the point. Have you ever read a long email that never seems to get to the point? I know I have so I work very hard not to be one of those writers. Recently I read that military leaders train people to practice “BLUF” when speaking or writing. BLUF stands for “Bottom line up front”. My first reaction was that since this acronym did not fit the purpose, it would be easily forgotten. I was wrong. I can’t seem to get it out of my mind. I shared this concept with someone I [...]

By | 2017-05-23T17:31:28+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|Leadership, Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Wait a Minute, What Did You Say?

One of the most common leadership weaknesses is hearing without listening, to steal a phrase from Simon and Garfunkel’s powerful song Sounds of Silence. As I meet with teams and leaders every week it is interesting how many times I watch people display poor listening skills. I actually find it very helpful to observe others because it helps me improve my own listening skills. Two of the most important times leaders need to practice good listening skills are in team meetings and when meeting one-on-one with team members. So enhancing our listening skills is an area of continuous improvement. Symptoms [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:46+00:00 February 23rd, 2017|Leadership Lessons, Uncategorized|

Effective Leaders are Not Clowns

I was recently sitting in a very nice car dealership while my car was being serviced. While I was there I could not help but eavesdrop on a number of conversations among a sales manager, salesman, and a few customers. While I thought the sales people and sales manager sounded professional to me, apparently the husband of a female customer did not think so. When they were alone he said to his wife, “I like Barry (the salesman), but that sales manager is a clown. I don’t want to do business with him.” As I was listening I was reminded [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:47+00:00 January 19th, 2017|Leadership Lessons|

Investigate This – Theft, Deception, Sex, and Extortion

Unfortunately I have had to deal with dishonest and unscrupulous people over my professional career. And their behaviors - including stealing, sexual harassment, false harassment allegations, theft by deception, and extortion – were so foreign to me that when I first experienced them I was left feeling naïve and dumbfounded. What I have learned and do believe is that the “good” people among us far outnumber the “bad” ones. Over 40 years I have come in contact with thousands of people and employees and my list of dishonest and unethical people is short. However, one responsibility is to properly and [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:47+00:00 November 9th, 2016|Leadership Lessons|

The Power of a Kind Word

Ellen and James "Jim" Labrie Last week I went to the memorial service for a friend and fellow Rotarian, James “Jim” Labrie. Over Jim’s lifetime he became a very successful businessman and quiet, community philanthropist. Jim was one of those special people who had a way of making you feel like you were his close friend in the moment he was talking with you, even though you were not. He cared about you as a person. During the memorial service his son, Mike, shared with us how a single act of kindness early in Jim’s life changed him [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:49+00:00 May 19th, 2016|Leadership Lessons|

Puerto Rico – Is Leadership Failing the People?

View along northern shore from the fort Castillo de San Cristobal (Photo by the author) Last week for the first time I traveled to Puerto Rico with Patti. I am ashamed to admit how little I knew about Puerto Rico before this trip. I did know that one of my baseball heroes, Roberto Clemente, came from there and the United States got connected to Puerto Rico after the Spanish American War and it is a territory of the United States. But that is pretty much it. So here are four things I have now learned that make me [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:50+00:00 February 17th, 2016|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

New Year’s Resolution – Manage Your Emotions

Are you having trouble coming-up with a New Year’s Resolution? One idea is to work on improving how you manage your emotions. Why? Because as a leader your emotions matter – they impact everyone around you. I think it is healthy for each of us to look at both a situation that went well and one that did not and how our emotions contributed to the outcome. John Maxwell, in his book Developing the Leader Within You, writes about this sign he saw in an office, “If you could kick the person responsible for most of your troubles, you wouldn’t [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:51+00:00 January 7th, 2016|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Why Failures are Good for Leaders

Brené Brown - Fast Company Photo Last week I talked with a leader who was going through a very difficult situation and knew she/he contributed substantially to the problem. Today I know some of you reading this are going through a similar difficult situation – one where you know you messed-up and should have done something differently and it is affecting other people, perhaps even people who look up to you on your team. I can tell you personally this has happened to me many times and every leader I know has been through the same situation. What [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:51+00:00 October 6th, 2015|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

Think About How You Can Influence Decisions

You can make a choice right now to read or not read this article. If you choose to read it, I will give you a fun little puzzle to work on at the end. If you do not read it, well, that is your choice. Recently a manager I was working with needed to make a hiring decision. After meeting this one candidate, who appeared to have basic skills, the manager eagerly decided to extend an offer to the person because the candidate was very likeable and the candidate reminded the manager of herself. She was not going to give [...]

By | 2017-05-19T19:54:52+00:00 August 3rd, 2015|Leadership, Leadership Lessons|

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