When the Conditions Lead You

Leading to the conditions is essential to being an effective leader in every situation. When we lead to the conditions, we adjust our leadership style and tactics to meet the demands of the current reality. This means we lead new teams differently than established teams. We lead top performers differently than we lead low performers. We lead differently in profitable times than we do in difficult times.

We all have our niche where we’re most comfortable leading from, but effective leaders learn to ebb and flow to accommodate what and who they’re leading. If you don’t learn to lead to the conditions, especially in challenging times, then the conditions will end up leading you. (more…)

A couple weeks ago I was interviewed by Working Motherhood, and our interview went live this past week. I have to admit I was nervous as I prepared for this conversation. I was going to open up and discuss being a mother and business woman, a topic that I’ve always loved to talk about and have a lot of experience in. However, I knew the interviewer’s questions would demanded answers that were so different from my past answers!

The simplest question, “Tell us about your children?” broke me out into a cold sweat. (more…)

We have signs all around us. Many signs tell us what to do, where to go, or what to be aware of. Most signs are designed to help us. While running the other day I started to make note of all the man-made signs along the trail. I wanted to challenge myself by making a leadership lesson out of every one of them. Here are a few fun examples. (more…)

I recently had the chance to sit down with several leaders in an organization to learn more about their company’s approach to leadership. When I asked one leader to describe his company’s management and leadership style, he said they had a paint-by-numbers management team.

When he said that, my mind started running 90 miles an hour. I’ve never heard of this description, but boy have I seen and experienced it! Remember painting by numbers as a kid? It was a way for us to look like an artist. Where the picture said #4 we painted with color #4. If you stayed in the lines you ended up with a decent picture. The downside to painting by the numbers, though, was that you couldn’t paint anything else on your own. You had to stick with the numbers and stay within the lines. (more…)

Happy Halloween! Believe it or not, Halloween and leadership do have something in common…candy! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could choose our leader like we choose our favorite Halloween candy? Sometimes we might lean toward a sweet, soft marshmallow leader or a Laffy Taffy stick-to-you leader, or maybe we’d even prefer a hard, jawbreaker kind of boss.

There are times when we must be all of the above, because as leaders we shouldn’t lead the same way under different conditions. The season of business, the conditions of the game, or the performance of a teammate all dictate what style of leader we need to be. Let’s have some fun with it! (more…)

If you’re like me then you’ve seen the movie Titanic more than once and, last night I found myself watching it again with my daughter, Jeri. It’s one of those movies that even though you know how it ends; you can’t help but keep watching.

While some parts of the movie I’m sure have been embellished, I couldn’t help but notice the many leader similarities that the titanic mishap has in common with challenges we face in business today.

Here are some I connected with: (more…)

Last month, Rebecca included the following question in a comment:

I would love to read one of your posts on when a leader makes a bad decision. After all, no one is perfect, not even the best leaders. So what happens to leaders when they make a bad judgment call?

Great point and great question, Rebecca. Lord knows I’ve made my share of bad decisions and mistakes over the years, and one thing I’ve learned is that what happens to leaders when they make a bad judgment call depends on how leaders handle the bad judgment call. (more…)

I’ve enjoyed discussing and living out leadership principals with you this past year. As we head toward the new near, I think it is wise for us to think about the conditions that we’ll be doing business in next year. For example, do you expect to experience a severe decline or incline in sales, or do you expect to just maintain your current sales momentum?  Will you experience change? Will you add new team members or reorganize? And based on those conditions, what expectations do you have for your team, and are they prepared for 2011?

And most importantly, as the leader, are you ready to lead to the conditions that 2011 will bring? (more…)