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Three Critical Factors in Building a Productive Team Culture

Marcelino Sánchez added this comment to my blog posting last week on “Keys to Building a Strong Team or Organizational Culture:” “My thoughts on building a productive team culture (subculture). For a team to do what it needs to do in a way that they like to do it and be effective, they have to […]

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Possibility Thinking: Spreading Hope and Optimism

During all my decades of studying, personally applying, training, and coaching leadership, I’ve come to appreciate that hope and optimism is a core defining element. Leaders make us hopeful. Whether leading ourselves, our families, our teams, organizations, or countries, when times are darkest true leadership shines brightest. Leaders don’t sugarcoat or avoid facing tough problems […]

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Supervisors and Managers Playing The Blame Game and Make Themselves Transparent

After reading one of my articles entitled “Leaders Take Responsibility for Their Choices” along with a comment from another reader, Heather Bruce posted these reflections: “I agree with Don’s email and the article in our very human tendency to find something or someone to blame! I have found over time that asking myself: ‘what outcome […]

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Strong Leadership Means Using Persuasion More than Position Power

www.connectitnews.com has been posting a series of my articles on their site. Recently they ran this one: Many Managers Disempower Themselves Many managers unwittingly believe that leadership only comes down from the top. They give away their power by believing that they don’t have any. Read the whole article here. After reading this article, Herb […]

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Don’t Let Toxic People Corrode Performance and Destroy Your Team

The April 2009 issue of Harvard Business Review has a short item entitled “How Toxic Colleagues Corrode Performance.” The authors polled several thousand managers and employees from a range of American companies. Here’s what they found is the impact of negative and rude behavior in the workplace: • 48% decreased their work effort • 47% […]

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Engage Younger Workers or Bore and Lose Them

Recently our son, Chris, sent me a link to an article pointing out what a major waste of time meetings are in many organizations. Chris is 26 years old and getting ready to go on someone else’s payroll. In a few months he finishes law school and starts his articling position with a law firm […]

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The Immediate Supervisor or Manager Has Biggest Impact on Engagement

Keeping frontline staff engaged and energized is a growing problem. The leadership opportunities were just illustrated again last week in a couple of leadership development workshops with supervisors and managers who were frustrated by the low levels of morale and commitment from the staff on the teams they lead. They were quick to point to […]

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Dealing with Toxic Bosses

In what may be a sad sign of our times, I recently received two e-mails from new web visitors/subscribers inside of a few days asking for advice on dealing with a toxic or bad boss. I have written quite a bit about upward leadership and dealing with a bad boss. One of my more comprehensive […]

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Retaining Top Talent and Our Self-Worth

Grant’s experience in the e-mail he sent me below underlines the need for manager’s having authentic conversations during performance discussions. His is a vivid example of how people join an organization and quit their boss. Retention is going to become a critical issue in the next few years in many organizations as baby boomers retire […]

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Refusing to be Victimized by a Bad Boss

Following are selected excerpts of a series of e-mail exchanges I had with a reader of my books and articles. It’s a great example of having the self-esteem, and mustering the courage, to do all you can to change your job situation (some of those details have been left out of this summary). And when […]

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Dealing with a Bad Boss

I wish I had a sure-fire formula for changing the boss! It’s one of the common questions I get during my leadership development workshops. If this is your issue, I think you have these choices: 1.Do nothing and hope things get better. 2.Work around your boss and try to avoid him/her as much as possible. […]

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Watching the Olympics at the Office: What Leadership’s Got to Do with It

Just before the opening ceremonies in Beijing, Tavia Grant from The Globe & Mail sent me an e-mail and interviewed me for her story on how managers should deal with people watching the Olympics at the office (“World’s Watching: Who’s Working”, August 8, 2008). As the Globe & Mail so often is, her story was […]

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I-Lands in the Stream: Lack of Awareness Creates a Moose Mess

A print journalist asked me if there was any one incident that led me to write Moose on the Table: A Novel Approach to Communications @ Work. It was a great question that caused me to step back and reflect on how my experiences came together to weave the book’s storyline and core themes. Moose […]

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When Senior Management Doesn’t Set Clear Strategy and Goals

Greetings Jim, I am responding to your call to share my experience in putting up with the moose (see “When Personal Candor Doesn’t Fit the Culture” from May 2008). Recently, my CEO found the time of his convenience to summon us all for a management retreat. Heads of business units from different parts of the […]

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Leading Change from the Middle

Recently I was working with a Client struggling to bring about cultural change in her organization. Senior managers were paying “passionate lip service” to the organization’s core value, but their actions clearly conveyed that “hitting the numbers” ultimately trumped all other behaviors. Unfortunately, this is an all too common situation. This HR professional was reinforcing […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmmm…on Breaking Through the Bull

“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.” – Gandhi “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off. Good leadership involves responsibility to the welfare of the group, which means that some people will get angry at your actions and decisions. It’s inevitable, if you’re honorable. Trying to get everyone to like you is a […]

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Alcohol and Drug Addiction is a Huge Moose

Peter Dunfield, Senior Advisor, Safety Health and Environment at Syncrude in Fort McMurray, Alberta sent this photo of a thank you memento he was given after his presentation a few years ago to The Construction Owners Association of Alberta (COAA). Peter had asked for my permission to use one of my moose-on-the-table slides to raise […]

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The Fish Tank Factor

In The Leader’s Digest, I wrote the following about the kind of culture or environment created by management teams: If you buy a little goldfish and keep it in a small bowl, it will remain no bigger than a few inches long. Move that same fish to a large aquarium and it will double or […]

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Barrick Gold Hunts Moose Worldwide

One of the sections in the Courageous Leadership for Health and Safety training program we designed Barrick Gold (see July 2006 and December 2006 issues for more details) revolves around initiating courageous conversations using our moose quiz and moose hunting tips from The Leader’s Digest: Practical Application Planner. Recently their Health and Safety Director, Bruce […]

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The Motivation Myth That Won’t Go Away

In the movie, Groundhog Day, actor Bill Murray plays Phil, a weather forecaster who spends the night in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he is to do a broadcast the next day (February 2), broadcasting the annual ritual of the coming out of the groundhog. He wakes up the next morning, does his story and is annoyed […]

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