Articles


Managing Teams


Mistakes versus Misdeeds: A principle you can grow with

You might have heard it said that if you’re not making mistakes, you’re probably not trying hard enough, and it’s one of my favorite, difficult topics in leadership! Before we explore this any further, let me be clear that the kinds of errors that I’m addressing are not the kinds of mistakes that literally put […]

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Teamwork Takes a Mobilizing Goal

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

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

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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Man-Made Climate Change in Organizations

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

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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The Capacity Conundrum

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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Hit the Ground Running with Your New Team

In addition to being responsible for your own work group, new managers are likely to be on four to five additional committees, task forces or teams at any one time. Over the course of a year, you’ll be starting up, tuning up or turning around teams on a continuous basis.  In addition, you’ll attend 62 […]

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The Cost of Not Doing Strategic Planning

An executive recently told me that his leadership team needed to do some strategic planning, get on the same page about their mission and vision, and invest some time in sorting out their direction, getting on the same page, and identifying their focus areas for the next few years.  Naturally, a number of his team […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 7 of 7)

Here’s my seventh and last installment on An Introvert’s Guide to Groups, this one about the use of dialogue.  One of the reasons that introverts fail to speak up soon enough or often enough is that they are – in their own words – “still thinking it through.” The only problem with this is that […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 6 of 7)

Here’s my sixth installment on An Introvert’s Guide to Groups, this one about acknowledging all members of the team.  One of my favorite rules for facilitating teams is, “Don’t just do something, stand there!” An obvious reversal of an old saying, the truth in this principles lies in the fact that the quieter members of […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 5 of 7)

To get more introverts in the game, here’s my fifth installment on An Introvert’s Guide to Groups, this one about falling in love with the criteria before falling in love with the decision.  Because they speak up first and often, extraverts unwittingly establish the norms for their groups and teams. While this is not their […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 4 of 7)

Here’s my fourth installment on An Introvert’s Guide to Groups, this one about setting a few ground rules for your team meetings. Being an introvert is fine, until we are promoted into leadership. That’s when we have to learn how to speak up, get into the discussion, and hold our own in a world of […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 3 of 7)

Here’s my third installment on An Introvert’s Guide to Groups, this one about managing the team’s process.  After my first camping trip as a patrol leader in my Boy Scout Troop, I was complaining to my Dad about how hard it was to get people moving in the same direction. He sat me down to give me […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 2 of 7)

Help an introvert establish themselves as an active team member and help the team get off to the best possible start. Here’s what you can do:  Famed psychologist Carl Jung defined an “extravert” as someone who gets energy by interacting with others and an “introvert” as an individual who gets energy by being alone. In many […]

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An Introvert’s Guide to Groups (part 1 of 7)

As an introvert, group work can seem daunting! In this 7 part series, let me help work you out of your shell and get with the group!  As a strong introvert, I always dreaded how much of my grade in school was dependent on “class participation,” and it was an early developmental opportunity in my […]

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Climate Change for Teams (part 3 of 3)

Today’s blog is about how to give more recognition, even when you don’t have a large budget for raises, opportunities to enrich a person’s job, or promotions to spread around.  Just as the environment has a changing climate, so does your work team. You influence the small microclimate that exists in every working group, and […]

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Climate Change for Teams (part 2 of 3)

Today’s blog is about how to show more interest in each individual, here’s how you can show more interest and help change the climate: “Climate change” usually refers to the gradual rise in temperature in the environment that has multiple implications to the ecology. Climate change on your team has many ramifications as well.  – […]

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Climate Change for Teams (part 1 of 3)

To change your team’s climate using appreciative inquiry, try asking the following questions on a daily basis of both individuals and teams:  You’ve heard about “climate change,” the gradual change in temperature caused by mankind and nature. But this blog is about climate change for teams, the gradual change in the temperature of groups caused […]

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Taming the Meeting Monster (part 3 of 3)

Below are the behaviors that need to be shown by someone – anyone – in a meeting environment. Don’t become a ‘Meeting Monster!’ Meetings are notorious time wasters. But they don’t have to be.  Contemporary organizations everywhere require talented people to come together to solve problems, develop products, make plans and make decisions. The question […]

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