Articles

Career Crashing Leadership

Categories:
Managing Self

Your feedback-free zone could be a recipe for disaster. If you had the ability, would you tell your best friend that he or she was headed straight for a cliff at 90 miles an hour, or would you let them go? Worse yet, would you tell them what a great driver they are while they’re on […]

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Teamwork Takes a Mobilizing Goal

Categories:
Managing Teams

There’s nothing quite like a mobilizing goal to get the best out of teams and teamwork. When bad weather threatens, our Virginia Department of Transportation is well prepared, and everyone knows their jobs. When hurricanes are tracking up the east coast, our power companies collaborate with others up and down the Atlantic Coast and deep […]

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A Misremembering Legacy on the NBC Nightly News Don’t “Conflate” Misdeeds with Honest Mistakes

Categories:
Managing Self

According to Mark Twain, “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything,” or as others put it, “You don’t have to keep track of your lies.” Telling the truth and admitting mistakes are the currency of leadership, and as we are witnessing this week, the currency of good news reporting as well. […]

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Who Moved Your Generational Cheese?

Categories:
Managing Others

Since 2003, new managers and experienced leaders alike have discussed the fabled mice in Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, who coped with change in very different ways and got very different results. But what if we changed the title to represent how the major current generations cope with change? The Veterans or the […]

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How to Facilitate Smart People and Prevent them from Becoming a Dumb Group

Categories:
Managing Teams

Facilitation means more than going to the flip chart or whiteboard and picking up the pen. Contemporary organizations get most of their work done through work teams, and successful leaders need to know how to step into the role of facilitator, not just scribing notes for the rest of the team but also helping accomplish […]

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Organizational Climate Change for Leaders

Categories:
Managing Teams

As natural resource professionals, we’re familiar with the issues and impacts of climate change, both on the environmental and human side of the equation. Climate change is complex, emotional, and divisive. As leaders, we also need to be aware of the issues and impacts related to organizational climate change, another complex, emotional and divisive subject […]

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Resurrection Moss and the Root of Motivation

Categories:
Managing Others

On a recent trip to southern Utah, I visited several of the magnificent parks that dot the landscape there, including Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Canyonlands National Parks. Because of my combined interest in ecology and leadership, I took time to hunt for a particular species of moss in Canyonlands that survives in some of […]

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Man-Made Climate Change in Organizations

Categories:
Managing Teams

On Saturday, December 20, two officers with the New York Police Department (NYPD) were executed while sitting in a critical response vehicle on a New York City street, and that night a segment of the same police force demonstrated their disrespect for Mayor de Blasio by turning their backs on him just ahead of his […]

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Take Yourself from Individual Expert to Expert Collaborator

Categories:
Managing Self

Almost no one starts a career as a manager, team player, or formal leader of a team. Most successful people learn a technical skill or other body of knowledge that they apply as individual contributors. If you do a good job at that, you will very likely be considered for promotion and may very well […]

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What Christmas Trees Can Teach Us about Succession Planning

Categories:
Managing Others

It’s the time of year when thousands of Christmas tree lots dot the countryside, bringing millions of these uniquely groomed trees to homes everywhere. In this video message, I describe how Christmas trees are shaped and how their leaders are groomed for the top job of each tree. Please enjoy and use the metaphor of […]

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Communication Camouflage

Categories:
Managing Others

Camouflage is the act, means, or result of obscuring things to deceive an enemy or prey by painting or screening clothing or objects so that they are lost to view in the background. The root of the word in French means, to disguise. Communication camouflage is the use of words that disguise the truth in […]

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Thanks Giving at Work – Because…

Categories:
Managing Others

There is one word that is sometimes missing from our lexicon when giving thanks. It’s the word, “because.” What better time to think about how we thank others than on Thanksgiving, celebrated this week in the United States and October in Canada. While many of us enjoy bountiful meals, loving families and football, others of […]

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Grow Your Range for When Preferences become Differences

Categories:
Managing Self

Are you right handed or left? Right-eye dominant or left? How do you cross your legs, left over right or right over left? Would you rather avoid confrontation or meet it head on? Do you prefer to take charge or let others do so? We all have preferences, some from our natural wiring as individuals […]

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Medicine for the Performance Appraisal Blues

Categories:
Managing Others

One of the most dreaded but important conversations you have as a manager is probably fast approaching at or near the end of the year – the annual performance review. Why do people dread the conversation? Because they Don’t like judging other people’s performance Risk positive working relationships by having to deliver bad news at […]

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The Price of Deciding What’s Right versus What’s Popular

Categories:
Managing Self

On one of the rare times I’ve flown first class, I sat next to a Congressman on his way home from Washington, D.C. I asked him if he would be talking to his constituents on this visit, and he clarified. “No. This is my last trip. I was voted out of office.” Being curious, I […]

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Throwing Subordinates Under the Bus: Professional in politics but amateur in leadership

Categories:
Managing Teams

It’s only the latest example of a senior leader publicly throwing his subordinates under the bus, but it’s a big one, with a lesson for everyday leaders as well. To “throw someone under the bus” is a contemporary version of the expression, to “throw someone to the wolves.” In both cases, the one doing the […]

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Leadership Ethics on Trial in Virginia

Categories:
Managing Self

Virginia Governor Robert F. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted last week of public corruption charges, and both parties face substantial prison terms when sentenced in January. The story highlights the often blurry lines between what’s moral, legal and ethical, an ambiguous realm that all new supervisors (and experienced leaders) should be clear about […]

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The Capacity Conundrum

Categories:
Managing Teams

My first lesson in maximizing capacity was when I was 11 years old, delivering newspapers, but the principle applies to every leader, team, and organization. The principle is this: C = f (H ,T, M), in other words, capacity (C) is a function of horsepower (H), time (T), and motivation (M).  While it might seem […]

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Leadership Ain’t Paint by the Numbers

Categories:
Managing Self

What lucky kid doesn’t love to color with crayons, finger paint or shape clay? When I was a child, I loved to draw airplanes. I was particularly good at the PBY-5 and the Sabre Jet. At one point, my parents gave me a “paint by the numbers” kit, which had small paint brushes, several brightly […]

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Skillsets are Nothing without Mindsets

Categories:
Managing Self

I’ve been in leadership positions since I was 12 years old, but at age 57, I’m just a beginner at golf. Shortly after my father died, I eyed his last set of clubs, which had fallen into my dubious care, and decided to take them for a spin. After swinging wildly at the local golf […]

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