Don’t Stop Thinking

There are so many things that technology has made easier nowadays, and sometimes I wonder if it’s made us a little lazy too. Not intentionally “I just want to lay on the couch and watch TV all day” lazy, but the kind of laziness that you don’t even realize has crept up on you, especially when you’re working 10+ hour days and running from 6 a.m. in the morning until 10 p.m. at night. Who you callin’ lazy?!

Well, what I’m talking about is laziness in our thinking! When we get lazy with our thinking, we put the burden on someone else to do the thinking for us. Here a few ways I see it happening (and I’m sure I’ve been guilty myself!) and what you can do to avoid lazy thinking: (more…)

Are you a person whose knee-jerk reaction is to apologize any time you make a mistake? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that in many cases, “sorry” really isn’t what your leader wants to hear! I’m not saying that there aren’t times when we should apologize. I am saying that as a leader, an apology is rarely the first response I want.


When someone on my team apologizes for everything:

  • I feel like I’m discouraging them by offering honest feedback
  • I start holding myself back from being as frank as I’d like to be
  • My teammate doesn’t benefit from me sharing my frank feedback (more…)

Teachers will remind us that, “there’s no such thing as a dumb question.” And that’s true. However, in business there are questions that seek to dig deeper and make our leader think, and then there are questions that take up our leader’s valuable time or make our leader think for us.

Good Questions:

  • Help us understand our leader’s thought process behind their decisions so that we can learn to approach opportunities and challenges as they would
  • Make our leader think about options or obstacles they haven’t considered
  • Allow us to gain a better understanding of our organization or our industry (more…)

Have you ever had a job that you were so good at you couldn’t advance beyond that position? All too often great performers get “stuck” because they’re so great at what they do, their leader doesn’t want to lose them. Instead of top performers being rewarded with a bigger position and more responsibilities, they end up getting “punished” for their great performance by not being allowed the opportunity to move up.

If you’re a top performer who feels stuck, here are four actions you can take to help you (and your leader) create an opportunity to move on:

  1. Don’t be a lone ranger. Start now by making the time to teach someone else in your area how to do your job so that your boss doesn’t have to bear the burden of finding and training your replacement. Do it on your own time. Share your job more so that you’re not always the only one doing what you do. (more…)

One of the most important things I encourage teammates to do is lead up, and probably the most common objection I get in return from those teammates is, “It’s not safe.”

By not safe, they mean their leading up:

  • Isn’t welcome or encouraged
  • Might anger or frustrate their leader
  • Could harm their relationship with their leader
  • Could even jeopardize their job

If you aren’t encouraging your people to lead up, then you are discouraging leading up. There is no middle ground. Leaders who foster an environment of leading up: (more…)

Communication is always a top challenge within the companies I serve and the leaders I coach. Why is that? It’s interesting to think we need to focus on improving something we’re constantly doing!

I think one reason good communication remains a challenge is because we don’t take the time (or pay attention long enough) to learn how we should communicate with each other, our bosses included. Our goal in communicating up should be to lead up. How can we communicate in a way that removes work from out boss’s plate and helps carry their load? With that in mind, here are seven thoughts many bosses may be thinking and tips how we can better connect with and serve them by doing a better job communicating with them. (more…)

In our last post, Working for a New Leader: 3 Lessons You Should Learn, our emerging leader gave us some great suggestions on how to make a successful transition to a new leader. One of the suggestions she gave was leading up.

Leading up to your new boss is a delicate process. You have to be aware of your boundaries and the unspoken rules that your leader may have. The stronger your relationship, the less you will have to tip toe around these rules. But like all things, this will take time. So how do you lead up when the relationship is still in its early stages? (more…)

Today’s post is by Kendall Markam, an emerging leader whose new career has exposed her to all kinds of opportunities for leadership growth. Thanks Kendall for sharing your insights with us!

Anew career can be an exciting adventure, but it can also leave you feeling awash in a sea of change. A new supervisor, new coworkers, new personalities, new responsibilities, and the list goes on and on. While all this change can be very invigorating, it doesn’t come without challenges. Lots of challenges. Of course, some of the most important challenges to overcome in a new career are those that come with working for a new leader.

I started a new career not long ago, and over the past few months I’ve learned that adjusting to a new leader and their leadership style take perspective and patience. I’ve also learned three very valuable lessons that have helped me in working with my new leader. (more…)

One of the most crucial elements in my leadership career comes from the concept of “leading up.” John Maxwell teaches this concept in his book, The 360 Degree Leader. Leading 360 degrees means leading those beneath, across, and above you.

This leading principle has always intrigued me because I love how it challenges teammates to lead their “boss.” Even as the president and COO of an organization, I must be open to allowing those below me on the org chart to lead me.

Of course the idea of leading up sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t always seem so cut and dry in real life. We’re used to following the leader, but leading the leader? Just the idea can seem intimidating or down right dangerous! (more…)

One of the leadership topics I’m most passionate about is leading up. Leading up is how I coach, how I promote, and how I grow. I love it when my team offers up alternative ideas and insight for a project I’m working on. The value my team brings when they lead up helps move me – and our organization – forward.

But leading up consists of a lot more than just sharing your opinion. Leading up requires sacrifice. It requires vulnerability. It requires a hunger for excellence. And, as John Maxwell points out in his book, The 360° Leader, leading up is often a leader’s greatest challenge because leaders want to lead, not be led.

Today, I want to share my perspective and experiences with three of the leading up principles from The 360° Leader.  These acts of leading up are often done behind the scenes and when no one else is looking, but when done consistently, they will allow you to earn your leader’s trust, reliance, and respect. (more…)