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No Bullies, Please

Are you an assertive leader?  High performance leaders must be assertive. They need to express their expectations clearly and frequently. They need the courage to stand up to aggressive behavior without getting aggressive themselves. That's where the science of leadership can meet the art of leadership: knowing how much to dial up your assertiveness and knowing how much to keep steady, to keep centered. Holding your ground and holding your own does not mean holding anyone else emotionally hostage. People will disagree. Strangely enough, some people will fail to meet your expectations. We can deal with that without getting started on raging, yelling, or berating. All of those aggressive behaviors produce side effects and none of them are desirable. Instead, breathe. Think things through. Work on the relationship and the results will follow. Focus only on the results and the relationship could unwind. Bullies get paid back when they least expect it. Why not treat people wit

Get A Grip

It's tough being a front line leader. Everyday someone challenges you on some point that you thought was obvious or long-ago decided. Every hour some customer demands the impossible. Every week some team member leaves, or contemplates leaving, sending the recruiting process into overdrive. It's tough. As leaders, we must be up to the challenge. We must toughen up. We must build muscle around the soft underbelly of centered leadership - not as far as the iron fist inside the velvet glove - but close. Our goals matter. Our team matters. Our support of the organizational mission must be unwavering and courageous. The rewards of effective leadership extend much farther than the financial, though. A leadership job well done results in more powerful people. It results in teams that achieve its goals. It results in people going much longer and farther than they'd ever imagined. Leading at its best helps people serve with joy and inspiration. I recommend it highly. G

Turn That Problem Around

A problem is just an unfulfilled goal. -- doug smith I have a challenge for you. It's not that hard, but it does take practice. Here it is: instead of thinking of a problem as a problem, turn it into a goal. Instead of thinking about what is causing you unhappy results, focus on the results that you DO want and identify all of the ways to achieve those results. Turn that problem around. Make it a goal. A problem is just an unfulfilled goal. Take care of the goal, and say goodbye to the problem. -- doug smith

The Problem With Some Problems

The problem with some problems is your adversary's failure to see it as a problem. -- doug smith Some problems are more like conflicts. The symptoms are clear, but the "problem" for you could be an "asset' for someone else. As long as someone is gaining from the situation, it's tough to convince them that there is a problem. When that happens, your adversary is not going to willingly change things. You'll need to show them how the status quo is not only unsatisfactory for you, but also contains a downside for them -- maybe not now, but eventually (and decisively.) And if you can't find that, you may need to create it - or live with the current situation. The problem with some problems is your adversary's failure to see it as a problem. Clear the fog for them. Show the pain. -- doug smith

How do you handle resistance?

The more resistance you get the more impact you could have. -- doug smith Leaders create change. Change causes resistance. Lately, it seems that we are given lots of change without any influence over what that change will look like. It's easier to simply force the change than to build consensus. That's fast, but I doubt that it's sustainable. As high performance leaders, let's do better than that. Let's handle resistance by listening. There might be merit in the resistance. There is, at least, human nature and feelings involved. Every time leaders bull doze a change thru, something is broken: trust. How do you handle resistance? If your changes are creating vocal resistance, it might mean that your change is truly important. It could also mean that it's off-base. But, forcing it thru doesn't increase its value. The more resistance you get the more impact you could have -- if you take the time to explore what that resistance is all about. -- do

Find the Discipline

It takes discipline to discover what is otherwise not available. -- doug smith How do you find the answer to building your best team? Is there a magical formula? Teams take work and the work is never done. For a leader to find the time to talk to each team member one-on-one frequently it takes the discipline to set a schedule and THEN to follow it -- even when your boss tends to pull you away and even when you get distracted by other urgencies. Your team members deserve your time and they need your time. Even when they do not ask for your time, they need it to connect, to calibrate, to collaborate. Give your team members one-on-one time and the payoff will be great (even if it takes a while to notice, hang in there.) The answers to your problems, the solutions to your challenges, the magic secret sauce that differentiates your team from dozens of others that are otherwise similar, hides in the discipline of doing the work. It takes discipline to discover what is otherwis


Sometimes it takes courage to get you out of the trouble that courage got you into. -- doug smith Have you ever been so bold that you regretted it? High performance leaders DO need courage. We need to be able to make the tough decisions. We need to be able to stand our ground when we are challenged by irrational or unethical demands. But, sometimes our courage gets the best of us. That courage that allowed you to insult the senior official? That's trouble, and it probably wasn't courage at all but something closer to arrogance. That courage that had you stand your ground against a tough customer? It might have cost you their business. With courage must come respect. With courage must come compassion. And, lacking either of those two critical ingredients that courage we feel might cause more trouble than we intended. When that happens only courage will get you out: the courage to apologize, the courage to correct, the courage to repair. Sometimes it takes courag

Set Your Own Limits

People who put limits on your goals are not helping you. -- doug smith I'm not saying that anything is possible. Whether or not that's true is not the point. Have you ever been seriously slowed down by someone who lacked any confidence in your own abilities? Has anyone ever rained on your parade? Silly, isn't it. It's your parade. It's your goal. It's your effort. Whether or not you can do anything is hardly the point. The point is that your goal is YOUR GOAL. And you CAN achieve it. -- doug smith

Sometimes You've Got to Say No

Yes can be a trap. We want to please, so we say yes. We want to be great team players, so we say yes. We want to be exemplary family members, so we say yes. Have you ever worn yourself out with your own yes yes yes? Yes. Me, too. Sometimes we've got to say no. No to the goal that someone else wants us to complete but that interferes with our own goals. No to the task that should be done by someone else. No to the questionable ethical (or clearly unethical) demand. No. Unless we have the courage to say no, our yes always belongs to someone else. Let's own our own yes by owning our own no. -- doug smith

Do The Work

Trust your ambition but do the work. -- doug smith Dreams are great, and yet it takes more. Ambition is powerful, and yet it takes more. It takes a detailed and powerful plan. It takes working each step of that plan. Even when people resist and even when team members act like anything but team members. Do the work. Build the relationship. Spend time and grow. Trust your ambition, but do the work. -- doug smith

Go Toward Happiness

Improve and move in the direction of happiness. -- doug smith We have the choice of so many directions. Decisions confront us everyday. Reactions tempt us into emotions we can barely control. Name an emotion, I've chosen it, and probably so have you. Why not choose a better direction? Why not step toward what works? Why not move in the direction of happiness. It may take work. It will certainly take practice. But we can do it. You can do it. Improve and move in the direction of happiness. Isn't that where you want to be? -- doug smith


Appreciation for a smile leads to more smiles. Smile! -- doug smith