Articles


Managing Others


Rung-by-rung Motivation for Your Leaders

If there is a Holy Grail of leadership, it’s motivation. What is it? How is it achieved? What are the secrets to its success? Motivation is one of the rungs on the ladder of effort. On the low end is obfuscation, and on the high end is inspiration. Your challenge as a new manager, experienced […]

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Make Your One-way Expectations a Two-way Street

When it comes to maximizing performance in others, the single most important factor (and common shortfall) for new and experienced managers alike is conveying clear and complete expectations. The second most common oversight is making them one-directional. Make them Clear and Complete When a leader who is having trouble with someone’s performance contacts me, my […]

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Why Your Coaching Isn’t Working?

As my Dad used to say, “Working with people is like shoveling smoke. Just when you think things are going in one direction, they go another!” As a supervisor and leader at any level, one of your most important jobs is to coach others to higher levels of performance, but it can be a bigger […]

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Get Your Impact Together for Leadership

If you’re not making a positive impact on people’s lives, you might be doing your job, but you’re not doing your job as a leader. Think back on the teachers, preachers, Scout leaders and supervisors you’ve had in your life. If you’re lucky, more than a few of them have left an indelible and positive […]

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Buy In Isn’t Bought (part 4 of 4)

If you’re reevaluating how to motivate this brave new workforce, then here are ten tips for doing so, with elaborations on the last three.  Today’s paid-volunteer workforce might be compensated for their time, but psychologically they’re more like true volunteers than ever before, requiring managers at every level to reassess how employees should be “motivated.” […]

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Buy In Isn’t Bought (part 3 of 4)

In case you missed them the last time, here are 10 tips for motivating the paid-volunteer workforce. In this blog entry, we’ll discuss tips #4-7 and elaborate on the rest next time. Do any of these phrases sound familiar?  – “The problem around here is that nobody’s ‘buying in’ to the concept!” – “We’ve had […]

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Buy In Isn’t Bought (part 2 of 4)

In case you missed them the last time, here are the Ten Tips for Motivating the Paid-Volunteer Workforce, this time with commentary on the first three. New managers often want to know the tips and tricks for motivating people and management folks like to use the term “buy-in.” I don’t happen to like that term very […]

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Buy In Isn’t Bought (part 1 of 4)

10 Tips (not Tricks) for Motivating the Paid-Volunteer Workforce “Buy in” is a common management phrase describing the extent to which important audiences (i.e., “stakeholders” like employees, special interest groups, and customers) will support a product, an idea or a project. Without buy in, projects fall short of their potential. Good ideas languish with inattention, […]

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The Three Levers of Delegation Hydraulics (part 3 of 3)

I had been telling myself for years “old-school” stories about how it was “better” to split wood by hand, including ideas like it was healthier, more independent and pioneer-like, and that represented the fact that I was still young and strong. What does this have to do with delegation? Read below! As described in the first […]

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The Three Levers of Delegation Hydraulics (part 2 of 3)

In addition to a change in attitude, delegation takes different skills than doing the job one’s self. Here are a few of the critical decisions:  It took a change in wood-splitting habits for me to think more clearly about what prevents new managers from delegating work more fully and well to others. As outlined in […]

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The Three Levers of Delegation Hydraulics (part 1 of 3)

Better delegation begins with an attitude adjustment,change your mindset about delegation, and you’ll change the results of your delegations. I admit it. I’m a little “old school,” still addressing people as “ma’am” and “sir,” still getting an actual newspaper delivered to my home, and still cutting and splitting my own firewood by hand. But things are changing – at […]

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Leadership and Horsemanship 101 (part 3 of 3)

Horses and people want to do a good job, but they sometimes need to know if they are on track or veering off course. A good leader needs to be on top of this, or they could be in for a “rough ride” with their team.  As we’ve been discussing in this blog series, leaders […]

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Leadership and Horsemanship 101 (part 2 of 3)

If you want to be a better leader, take these cues from horsemanship, and you’ll be a better, more consistent and more trustworthy leader.  Horsemanship resembles leadership in some interesting ways, and this blog series explores why horses – and sometimes people – do what we ask them to do, even though they don’t have […]

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Leadership and Horsemanship 101 (part 1 of 3)

Why do horses people do what we ask them to do? No, I’m not comparing people to horses, although some can be real nags! 😉 However, having worked with horses and people for several decades, I have noticed some particularly interesting analogies about leadership.  Here’s the central question: “Why do horses do what we ask […]

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The Battle for Believability (part 4 of 4)

To win the battle for believability, successful leaders do the following ‘chemical reactions’ so that their communications are taken seriously:  Great orators are often credited with being great communicators (i.e., Ronald Regan and Bill Clinton), but speaking skills are not the same as communication skills. Everyday leaders also need to earn credibility, a much more […]

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The Battle for Believability (part 3 of 4)

The very fact that you are taking time to see employees in person sends a clear message that you care. Put the ‘oxygen’ in your conversations, be personable.  Just because you have a title, doesn’t mean that you have credibility. This blog series is about the four factors that everyday leaders need to weave together on a […]

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The Battle for Believability (part 2 of 4)

People want, need and deserve the whole truth in your leadership communication. Honesty is the fuel for believability. In this blog series, we’re using the analogy of fire to strengthen your position in the battle for believability. Fire needs four factors to burn: heat, fuel, oxygen and a chemical reaction.  A fire can’t burn if […]

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The Battle for Believability (part 1 of 4)

Just like fire, communication needs four factors to work. In the first of this series of 4 posts, I will look at why that is so! Fire needs four factors to burn: heat, fuel, oxygen and a chemical reaction.  Take away any one, and you stop or prevent the fire. Similarly, communication needs four factors to […]

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Accelerate, Save, or Say Goodbye (part 2 of 2)

The counseling conversation is more direct than the coaching conversation. In this conversation, think of yourself as standing in front of the employee’s fast-moving train, trying your best to keep them from coming off the tracks on a sharp curve or driving off a cliff they don’t yet see up ahead. Read more below! There are many reasons for […]

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Accelerate, Save, or Say Goodbye (part 1 of 2)

Why do you need to learn about coaching and counseling as a leader? Find out why here, and the principles you need to do so!  As a supervisor, you are the front line of organizational performance, which means you need to be prepared for two critical conversations, coaching and counseling employees for one or more […]

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