No Excuses = Real Leadership

October 29, 2012

By Mike Myatt in N2Growth Blog   Article

“Leaders don’t offer, nor do they accept excuses. True leadership demands the character to demonstrate personal responsibility for one’s actions, and the courage to hold others accountable for theirs. Excuses attempt to conceal personal or professional insecurities, laziness, and/or lack of ability. They accomplish nothing but to distract, dilute, and deceive. It was Benjamin Franklin who said, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”

The word “excuse” is most commonly defined as: a reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault or offense. History’s greatest leaders have always fostered cultures of commitment, trust, and performance, where action is valued over rhetoric. Leaders who issue or accept excuses are complicit to muting performance and fueling mediocrity.

The problem we face as a society is we live in a time where he or she with the best excuses wins. Excuses have become the rule, and performance has become the exception – a sad commentary to be sure. However the solution is a rather simple one – I’ve always said, people will stop offering excuses the minute those in positions of leadership stop accepting them.”

When Good People Work for Bad Companies

October 29, 2012

By Bronwyn Fryer in HBR Blog Network  Article

“You consider yourself to be a decent person. You pride yourself on your conscience, and are discerning in what you buy and consume. Yet every day you get dressed, eat breakfast and go to work for a company you think hurts other people and the planet.

This presents a terrible conundrum for millions of us. Too many industries do harm in the world — whether through their actual practices, their lobbying efforts, or their treatment of the environment or of workers. They have lofty mission statements and attempt to mitigate this harm by donating to some good causes. But part, or all, of their bottom line is built on doing or abetting bad stuff.

Meanwhile, in this flagging economy, many of us are glad to have work at all. It’s difficult to think about quitting a decent-paying job simply because of the values of the person in the mirror. … In the end, human beings can justify anything. But when, in your heart, do you know that you have crossed your own line? And what should you do then?

I came to ponder this conundrum following the too-early death of a friend, an extraordinary guy named Gregor Barnum. … I keep asking Gregor’s spirit what he would say to people who feel stuck between the rock of their paychecks and the hard place of their consciences. He would likely answer with a simple statement: “You already know what to do. Find others in the company who think as you do. And if you can’t find them, and if you can’t look at yourself, you must leave and make your own thing. Do it better.””


October 29, 2012


Rethink Hiring Smart People

October 29, 2012

By Roger Martin in HBR Blog Network   Article

Why I Decided to Rethink Hiring Smart People

“Chris Argyris’ “Teaching Smart People How To Learn” utterly changed the way I thought about management. It didn’t just give me a somewhat different view; it convinced me of the exact opposite of what I had believed before I’d read it. That’s a heck of a lot of influence for 10 and a half pages! …

Then I read “Teaching Smart People How To Learn,” which argued trenchantly and compellingly that really smart people have the hardest time learning. They are so very smart that they are also very “brittle,” to use Argyris’s descriptor. When something goes wrong, rather than reflect on what they might have done to contribute to the error, they look entirely outside themselves for the causes and blame outside forces — irrational clients, impossible time pressure, lack of adequate resources, shifts beyond their control. Rather than learn from error, they doom themselves to repeat them.”

“The greatest gift leaders can give their employees”

October 29, 2012

By Gretchen Rosswurm in SmartBlog on Leadership   Article 

Unlock Employee Engagement

“You already know what engagement looks like. It’s the extra effort your employees invest to make their team and company a success. It’s the individuals who go out of their way to help their teammates in a jam or fix a nagging problem; it’s a smile at the end of a long day. Simply, it’s what employees or teams do to make everything go a little better for each other, their customers and their communities.

As a leader, your behaviors are hugely influential on how your teams view their work, the impact they make as individuals and as a team. How you lead and interact can build or break down engagement.

  1. Give your time. The greatest gift leaders can give their employees is their undivided attention. Take time to listen. Ask questions. Pay attention to their answers. Find out what they love to do. Uncover their pain points. Follow up to show that you support their success. And don’t forget to laugh and joke with them. Ask about their families, hobbies or friends. Yes, business is serious, especially these days, but nothing builds rapport faster than being human with each other. And with rapport, relationships and success can flourish.
  2. Look for their strengths. See each team member as an individual. What unique skills and abilities do they offer? Are they great coaches to less-experienced teammates? Can they make a spreadsheet sing with insight? Do they have a knack for acting on their feet? Figure out those natural skill-sets and help them develop those skills so they can really shine. Put them in a place where others see these strengths. Stretch them with assignments that draw these skills to new levels. Help them feel great about the progress they are making. …
  3. Ask for help. Some of my best relationships at work have grown from asking others for help, when I don’t know the answer. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance or input from your team or others. Most of the time they are going to surprise you.”

Putting the “Constructive” into Criticism

October 29, 2012

By Gwyn Teatro in You’re Not the Boss of Me Blog   Article

“Winston Churchill once said; “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

I really think this is a good way to look at it regardless of whether you are the criticism giver or receiver.  But, there is criticism… and then there is criticism. Most leaders like to preface the word ‘criticism’ with the word ‘constructive’.  That makes its aim one of building rather than tearing down.  However, not all carry out the ‘constructive’ part well, which usually means the ‘criticism’ part is prone to cause an already “unhealthy state of things” to deteriorate even further.

… before we proceed to offer criticism, we must first put ourselvesunder some scrutiny by addressing our intent. For instance:

Why do I feel the need to criticize? …

What, or who, am I concerned about? …

Am I prepared to listen? …

Abraham Lincoln said, “ He has a right to criticize who has a heart to help””

“people will never forget”

October 22, 2012

“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou, American Poet   Source