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…