5 Reasons Leadership Falls Flat

Buying credibility: A look at the FTC's transp...

Buying credibility: A look at the FTC’s transparency-in-blogging regulations (Photo credit: opensourceway)

You can read a dozen books on leadership and attend just as many leadership seminars, but your employees won’t follow your lead if you make any of these five common errors:

1. Trying to lead before establishing credibility.

People will only follow you if they believe that you know what you’re doing. Credibility doesn’t come from a job title or your position on the latest organization chart. Neither can it be “willed” into existence simply because you wish it were there.

Fix: Credibility, like trust, can only be earned over time. If you’ve got a track record of success, you’ll need to communicate clearly why that success is still relevant. If you’re new to the job, you’ll have to grow that credibility from scratch. Good luck!

2. Trying to lead before there’s a relationship.

Even if you’ve got a truckload of credibility, people won’t follow your lead if they don’t feel a personal connection. If you’re the manager, they may obey direct orders so as to keep their jobs, but they won’t go the proverbial “extra mile” that true leadership inspires.

Fix: The only way to build relationships is to truly care about them as individuals and frequently showing honest curiosity about them, their ideas and the work that they’re doing. This takes time, effort, and one-on-one attention.

Continue reading on Inc.com…

7 Ways to Earn Respect as a Leader

Be Altitude: Respect Yourself


Do you wonder why some people naturally gain respect, while others have to command or, worse, demand it?

Earning respect is in direct correlation to treating others with the same. Showing respect sounds like a basic skill, and yet somehow complaints about being disrespected run rampant around coffee rooms and bathrooms in companies around the country.

Are parents and teachers shirking their responsibility for turning everyone into good little citizens that can play well with others? Perhaps, but more likely, cultural norms have changed. Families allow for greater familiarity, and schools are more focused on test scores and class sizes than they are on teaching little Johnny and Susie to stand out as leaders.

But whether you are the executive in charge or a contributing team member, your ability to earn respect will impact your emotional happiness and ultimate career trajectory. Some people in authority believe they are entitled to respect simply due to their position or experience, but this sort of respect diminishes over time and can ultimately hurt the company culture.

Continue reading on Inc.com

How to Respond to Negativity


This sign (pictured) was shown several times t...

This sign (pictured) was shown several times throughout the video, a reference to the public’s negativity towards Jackson because of the controversies during his life. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Countering someone’s negativity with your positivity doesn’t work because it’sargumentative. People don’t like to be emotionally contradicted and if you try to convince them that they shouldn’t feel something, they’ll only feel it more stubbornly. And if you’re a leader trying to be positive, it comes off even worse because you’ll appear out of touch and aloof to the reality that people are experiencing.


The other instinctive approach — confronting someone’s negativity with your own negativity — doesn’t work because it’s additive. Your negative reaction to their negative reaction simply adds fuel to the fire. Negativity breeds negativity.


So how can you turn around negativity?


Read all about it on HBR.org...



Hate Networking? Try These 4 Tips

English: Semiotics of Social Networking

English: Semiotics of Social Networking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not a fan of traditional networking? You’re not alone: These experts are in your camp. Here are their new tips for making more authentic (and productive) connections.

Humans are social creatures by nature, but yet many of us hate “networking.

Why is that? To anyone who has been on the receiving end of an obviously self-interested, sharky introduction, or who has had their inherently introverted nerves shredded by a day of conference small talk, well, the answer is obvious.

Connecting with interesting people can be fun, but combining that activity with an awareness of your business interests is, for many, a recipe for self-consciousness and awkwardness. But if you value authenticity and haven’t been born with the gift of gab, fear not. There are plenty of suggestions on how you can get to know more fascinating people involved in entrepreneurship without enduring too many cringe-worthy encounters.

Continue reading on Inc.com…


3 Reasons Good Strategies Fail



strategy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

So that great new strategy failed miserably. But there might not be anything wrong with the strategy. Take another look.

Often times a perfectly fine strategy is implemented, but rather than giving it time to show results, the postmortems begin almost immediately.

We’ve all experienced the frustration of realizing that a highly prized, hard-fought-for, innovative strategy has gone south.

You know the pattern: Hopeful execution is followed by poor results; then there’s an initial period of denial, after which you double down on execution; then comes the pang of recognition that this just ain’t gonna work; and finally the painful process of unraveling from what you now accept was a flawed strategy to begin with.

Sound familiar? I see this pattern repeat frequently in the leadership teams I work with, but I’ve also noticed something else. Around two-thirds of the time, there’s nothing actually wrong with the strategy itself.

The core problem lies elsewhere.

Continue reading on Inc.com…


What to Do When You Have to Work with Someone You Don't Like

Jeff*, like me, is a writer, a speaker, and the head of a consulting company. As far as I can tell, he’s professional, well respected, capable, honest, and has a popular following. Someone we both know has asked us to collaborate on a project and there’s clearly a mutual benefit to our working together.

It all sounds great except for one thing: I don’t like Jeff.

Something about him rubs me the wrong way. He seems too self-serving or egocentric or self-satisfied. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I know I don’t like him.

I mentioned that to the person who wants us to work together. She told me, essentially, to get over it. “You don’t have to like him,” she said, “but you’d be smart to work with him.”

So how do you work with someone you don’t like?

Continue reading on HBR.org…

9 Life Lessons for Every Entrepreneur

Here’s a set of simple rules to live and work by–from a very unexpected source.



Gordon Dean was an American lawyer and prosecutor whose distinguished career was fairly typical for Washington types. He went to work for the Justice Department under President Franklin Roosevelt, and taught in the law schools at Duke University and the University of Southern California. He was appointed one of the original commissioners of the Atomic Energy Commission in 1949 by President Harry Truman, eventually becoming its chairman from 1950 to 1953.

In short, he’s hardly the usual suspect to offer entrepreneurs advice in 2012. Stick with me.

Continue reading on Inc.com…

6 Signs That It's Time to Resign a Client

Not sure if your client relationship is on the skids. Here are six signs that it may be time to part ways.


Though all client/agency relationships will have highs and lows, it is important to maintain a mutual respect and understanding during the good times and bad. This is typically accomplished through good communication, clearly defined deliverables, and a complete understanding of budgets. However, even when an agency covers all of these bases, a difficult client’s actions can have a deleterious effect on the relationship. When you’ve tried everything and still feel like you’re getting nowhere, it might be appropriate to ask yourself, “Is it time to resign the account?”

Here are six signs that your client relationship might be on the skids. If plagued by one or more of them, it might be time to shake hands and part ways.

Continue reading on Inc.com…

Thin Client

Thin Client (Photo credit: ryan2point0)

9 Secrets of Highly Successful Hiring


I’ve hired hundreds of people, and fired a few too. Here are the best recruiting insights I’ve gleaned the hard way.




When you’re hiring, you’re growing. That means business is good. It’s easy to let that euphoria go to your head and, in a rush of enthusiasm, hire great people who, nevertheless, could be wrong for the job, or your business.


During my career, I’ve hired hundreds of people and fired a few too. Here are some of the most important insights I’ve gleaned the hard way:


Continue reading on Inc.com…


Fired Up!

Fired Up! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Why You Should Wait, Think–and, Only Then, Execute Furiously

Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 ...

Thomas Hicks running the marathon at the 1904 Summer Olympics (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This summer, we spent two weeks watching the Olympics, admiring speed: the fastest runners, swimmers, tennis players. It’s customary in business to imagine that the race is to the swift; Fast Company magazine famously celebrates speed as does Tom Peters with his ‘Ready, Aim, Mantra.’ I used to love speed too but, increasingly, I’m starting to wonder if fast is always the best way to do business. I’ve visited a number of companies recently that openly acknowledge they can be slow, but they think that makes for better, more considered, decisions. And now that I’ve read Frank Partnoy‘s marvelous new book Wait, I’m less inclined to hurry than ever.

Continue reading on Inc.com…

Don't Just Buy Local, Buy Personal


English: business,accounts,accountant,office,b...

English: business,accounts,accountant,office,boss,manager,money,finance,profit,staff,employ,money,it,pc,internet,computer,it,broadband,chip,software,hardware,hr,interview,research,marketing,pr,advertising,ad,advert,selling,sales,target,budget hr,interview,business,office,boss,finance,profit,staff,employ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


A small business near me closed down. I feel terrible because it’s partly my fault.


Every entrepreneur has big dreams. Many have small budgets, though, so they do the best they can.


They hope for great word of mouth since they have no marketing budget. They hope quality and service will turn an otherwise terrible location into a destination. They have passion and desire in abundance, and hope hard work and persistence will overcome any roadblocks.


In short, they hope.


And every day, people like me crush their hopes.


Read more on Inc.com…




Why Burnout Should Alarm Executive Leaders

Black Friday shoppers at Walmart

Black Friday shoppers at Walmart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let me share with you what happened when I started my job at the largest sporting goods retailer in theworld.

I took over a supply chain team just a few months before the largest sales day of the year…Black Friday.

It’s called Black Friday because it’s traditionally the day that stores move into the “Black” and become profitable for the year.

But if you’ve worked for a retailer, you know it as Black Friday because of all the pressure and late nights that result.

The team I took over had been through the Black Friday cycle for years and hated it.

In fact they were all burned out in their careers— fried, fizzled, and done.

Continue reading on Great Leadership By Dan...

Richard Kriegbaum: Leadership Prayers—Identity


Spirit (Photo credit: cangermann)


It’s not really me, God.
It’s just what I do.

I lead as an
expression of who
I am, yet I must
always be more than
the leadership role
I play. People may
see me in terms of
the visible leadership
role which God has
entrusted to me,
but God knows
who I really am.
My integrity as a
person—and as a
leader—depends on

what I do as God sees them.

Man looks at the outward seeing myself and
appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7, NIV  Continue reading

Following the Leader? Stop, Notice How It Makes You Feel



Emotion (Photo credit: rexquisite)

There is much we can learn from following.  We all find ourselves in positions to follow both great and horrible leaders from time to time.  It helps to stop and really pay attention to how we feel during the process.

Pay Attention to Emotions

As leaders, we lead and follow with much intensity.  Because we care, the range of emotions is powerful. When we are deeply invested, the wins are that much sweeter.  At the same time,  disappointments and frustrations can run deep as well.  Paying attention to the emotions we experience as followers can help us become more empathetic leaders.

A Lesson from the Mat

I have a yoga instructor who will have us hold a very intense pose, and then say, “Stop.  Notice how that makes you feel.”  And then, we will go on to a very relaxing pose, and then the same request, “Stop, notice how that makes you feel.”  This is useful in teaching us to reflect on the sensations in our bodies and minds–and their causes.

Continue reading on Let’s Grow Leaders…


Unknown: Battle between two wolves

The Three Cherokee. Came over from the head of...

Image via Wikipedia

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that was going on inside himself. He said, “My son, it is between two wolves. One is evil: anger, envy,sorrow,regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity,guilt,resentment,inferiority,lies, false pride,superiority,and ego. The other is good: joy, peace,love, hope,serenity,humility,kindness,benevolence,empathy,generosity,truth, compassion,and faith.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,”Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one I feed.”

—Author Unknown

Peter Winbrow: Guy in the glass

Glass Mystery 4

Glass Mystery 4 (Photo credit: cobalt123)


When you get what you want in your struggle for pelf,

And the world makes you “King For A Day”,”

Then go to the mirror and look at yourself,

And see what that guy has to say.


For it isn’t your Father or Mother or Wife

Who judgment upon you must pass,

The feller whose verdict counts most in your life

Is the guy staring back from the glass.


He’s the feller to please, never mind the rest,

For he’s with you clear up to the end;

And you’ve passed your most dangerous, difficult test

If the guy in the glass is your friend.


You may like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum,

And think you’re a wonderful guy,

But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum

If you can’t look him straight in the eye.


You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years,

And get pats on the back as you pass,

But your final reward will be heartache and tears,

If you’ve cheated the guy in the glass.

– Peter “Dale” Winbrow, Sr.





Theodore Levitt: Absence of complaints

One of the surest signs of a bad or declining relationship is the absence of complaints from the customer. Nobody is ever that satisfied , especially not over an extended period of time.

– Theodore Levitt