How Can You Lead When You’re Unsure

I invite my students to begin the semester by writing about what would make this their Best Class Ever. You could think, I suppose about what could make this your best summer ever (need that be impossible?). Perhaps best ever “family summer,” or best ever “work summer.” My class is, of course, on leadership, so no … Continued

5 Things Leaders Do When Emotions Are High

Last week, I noted that any leadership problem that’s worth its salt will have emotion bursting through it. Whether that problem’s a “rebellious teenager,” the Israelis and Palestinians, employee layoffs, or controversial strategy. I asked your thoughts about what a leader should do with emotion, and there were some great comments from Cathy Raines, Mick McKellar, Norma … Continued

Bosses Forget They Have Permanent Megaphones

My friend Miss Take – the professor of the school of lessons-from-experience — taught me a good one again this week.  It was a “dad mistake,” but reminiscent of “boss mistakes” I’ve seen and boss mistakes I’ve made. In short, I forgot that central authority figures speak with a megaphone, even when they think they’re … Continued

Gaining Leverage With Challenging “Allies”

Although we battle with some adversaries, e.g., Obama v. Assad; most of our difficulties – truth be told are with allies, those in our tent: Boehner with the Tea Party, mom with dad, CEO with COO, boss with worker. We forget that we’re on the same “team,” because it sure doesn’t feel that way.  So, … Continued

How We’ve Discovered Untapped Resources

I was with a client last week and they repeatedly used the word “under-resourced.”  If you’re not Google or Twitter, that statement probably applies to you, right?  We’re all stretched thin in these days of do-more-with-less.  Yet I’ve been blessed by raining-down resources, and perhaps there is relevance for others in the nature of the … Continued

When an Important Partnership is Strained – Part Two

Last week I suggested that the best way to renew a strained partnership is to work on yourself. I suggested I must lead with my best self to begin with the assumption that I have done something to contribute to stress or a breakdown.  It takes my best, because the lawyer in me habitually turns all … Continued

Lincoln, Washington, You – stature and leadership

Friends, To paraphrase Tina Turner, “What’s height got to do with it?”  Well, it seems like a lot.  When George Washington at 6’1″ served as first president he was literally a head taller than many of his cohorts: John Adams was 5’7″ and James Madison a diminutive 5’4″.  (Independence Hall in Philadelphia has a wonderful … Continued

Kid Kate Coaches on Coaching

Friends, I can’t quite figure out what to think of the fact that Kate, our oldest daughter, was the one of our three kids who seemed to need the most coaching; and now at 22, she’s expert and forthright.  I look up to her for thoughtful advice. Yesterday, she was really on her game. She … Continued

You Have No Idea (What They’re Thinking)

Friends, My friend Cheryl Polk said something to me I’ll never forget, “We share the same physical space,” she said, “but we don’t share the same psychological space.” Cheryl’s a psychologist, an African American woman, and she was shedding brilliant light for me on how the very diverse group of Kellogg National Fellows to which … Continued

Finding the Mohamed Bouazizi in Your World

Friends, I’m looking for the Mohamed Bouazizi in my world. . . and in yours. Mind you, this is scary leadership stuff. Bouazizi was angry. He was a street vegetable vendor. A policewoman fined him and took his stuff;  she was unsatisfied with the fine he paid, and so her assistants allegedly attacked him. He … Continued