How to Control Your Day Before It Controls You

Your success is limited by how well you can balance driving your own agenda along with being responsive to others. If you allow yourself to be knocked off track by everyone else’s requests, you won’t get done what YOU need to get done–and that will hold you back. But if you are not responsive to others–like your boss, your colleagues, and your customers–then you will not be able to garner the support needed to be successful in your own endeavors. Stretching your time and energy thin to “do it all” creates anxiety and exhaustion, which ultimately defeats you on both … Read more

3 Secrets to Persuasive Communication

On Sunday, March 12, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt gave a leadership lesson in persuasive communication when he delivered the first of what would come to be known as his “fireside chats.” In a radio address of less than 14 minutes he would influence the behavior of millions in order to help curb a national banking crisis. He managed this accomplishment just eight days into his presidency because he did not lose sight of the fact that a position of authority alone is not enough when you need people to follow where you would like them to go. A leader must … Read more

Remote Leadership: 4 Powerful Email Tips That Matter

Remote work makes email more vital, but it also magnifies email’s downsides. Make sure you bring your A game in order to lead effectively in this mode.  The struggles with email are familiar. Messages can be unclear, counterproductive threads ramble and confuse, and insensitive or misinterpreted comments can cause angst. But there is an upside too. Email can keep people looped into important information, help organize work effectively, facilitate a response to a crisis, or even provide inspiration and excitement about a project, initiative, or some higher goal. The trick, of course, is to avoid as much downside as possible … Read more

How to Improve Your Team’s Organization Right Now

Team leaders too often overlook the value of basic organization. But a well-coordinated team gets much better results and stresses people out less. Pandemic disruption has made this clearer than ever. The further work gets away from structure and predictability, the harder it is to get work done and the more discomfort people feel. Sure, innovative thinking and new ideas fuel transformative change. But that is the exception not the rule. Most of the time you, and your team, need simple blocking and tackling the most. Team members need to be oriented to how things work and what to expect. … Read more

Coaching a Team Member Through a Stress Point

You might feel a little frustrated when someone you manage comes to you all worked up about a seemingly minor issue. They have hit some stumbling block and are over-reacting, you think. In fact, you probably wonder why they are not handling this on their own and leaving you out of it? That’s what professionals do. But these often turn out to be moments where your leadership and guidance is needed most, just not in the traditional way. They don’t need help with the mechanics, they need help with the emotional processing. Here is where you have an opportunity to … Read more

Get More Done in an Hour Than You Ever Imagined

The ancients divided the day into 12 equal parts of day plus 12 equal parts of night. That’s how we got 24 hours in a day—and it changed everything. Once the idea of time had become normalized and standardized, timepieces proliferated and a common sense of “time” began to drive the flow of human activity. As early as the sixth century, church bells rang on the hour setting and keeping the rhythm of the day for all. Industrialization drove this to maximum pervasiveness. We wake, eat, sleep, and work in concert with everyone else in the world. Useful in many … Read more

Whiskey Lessons for Personal Growth

I’ve been to two whiskey tastings this week. One in a backyard by a fire-pit and one online in “virtual” mode. (The meeting was virtual, the whiskey was not.) But I’m not a whiskey drinker. Nor do I aspire to be. However, I do like to learn, which I find best done by trying new things. I could read about whiskey all day long without understanding it or why some people are really into it. Truth be told, these two tastings didn’t get me much closer to understanding. But they did bring home the meta-lesson that learning is a process … Read more

The Critical Skill You Need for the Future of Work

We are deep into a period of uncertainty that is likely to continue, which makes one thing more certain than ever: The skill you will need to be successful in your work from here on out. But first, what does the future of work look like? If we listen to the high level view from the likes of McKinsey and Company, we will see successful companies that are: Flatter with less hierarchy and streamlined decision-making Using faster information flows enabled by analytics Embracing more cross functional teams and a “test and learn” approach to initiatives Fully leveraging flexible working structures … Read more

The Key to Lowering Team Stress Levels

Imagine if you could help your team work more efficiently and with less stress. Would that be helpful in these uncertain times? I bet it would. And I bet your team would appreciate that kind of leadership. Let’s look at a lesson from cycling to see how this works. To lead a pack of cyclists, the leader must ride fast but also in a “smooth and predictable” manner so that the other riders can follow along in a way that flows efficiently and optimizes team performance. If the leader goes a little more slowly up a hill, it’s easier for … Read more