Leadership & the Art of Confrontation by Wally Bock


When you become a boss you become someone responsible for the performance of a group. In that instant, you become the designated confronter.

Some people will behave poorly. Some will underperform. Someone needs to confront them about it and you’re it. Others may choose to, but it’s your job.

You probably won’t like it. Over the years, I polled the participants in my supervisory skills classes about what they hated most. Confronting team members about behavior or performance always came in number one or two. The other top item was always, “dealing with my boss.”

You have to do it and it won’t be fun. But you can do things that make it less likely that a confrontation will be ugly and more likely that it will be successful.

Develop relationships with your team members. When you have a relationship with someone both of you are more willing to listen. You develop relationships with team members by showing up a lot and having conversations that include more than work items. Those friendly conversations will make difficult conversations easier.

Don’t put it off. A behavior or performance problem is like a rotten piece of fruit. They don’t get better by themselves and the longer they go, the worse they get.

Set things up so the conversation is more likely to succeed. Choose a private and safe place. Eliminate interruptions.

Remember that your goal is for the team member to leave the conversation concentrating on what they will do differently, not on how you treated them.

Read the rest here: http://blog.threestarleadership.com/2014/01/30/leadership-and-the-art-of-confrontation.aspx

Leadership Resources to Review by Jim Johnson

Looking for a good resource for your leadership development?  Visit this site:  http://www.drkathycramer.com/

Dr. Cramer is one of the authors of an incredible book, Change the Way You See Everything.  

On this site you can sign up for emails, visit her blog, find out where she will be speaking, etc.  Dr. Cramer and her writing are great resources.  Do yourself a favor and invest some time reviewing her work.


Are You a Leader? Think. Then Speak Up! by Greg Bustin


As the first month of the New Year comes to a close, take a moment to reflect on how you’re showing up.

You’re reading this blog because you’re a leader.

I’m a big proponent of leading with questions, and my third book, That’s A Great Question, contains more than 500 thought-provoking questions I’ve assembled over the years as a CEO, consultant and, now, Vistage Chair.

But there’s a time for questions and a time for conviction.

Thought Leadership

I recently was in a meeting of leaders when a guest speaker offered a few controversial points of view.

Imagine my surprise when there were no questions, no challenges, nothing.

The next day, one of the leaders sent an email to his colleagues taking exception with one of the speaker’s more controversial points.

The email got me thinking. If the people in the room had questions for the speaker, what kept them from being asked in the meeting? Was the room not safe? Did some leaders not wish to ask a question at the risk of appearing “dumb”?

Read the rest here: http://blog.vistage.com/business-leadership/leader-think-speak/

Blind Eye by Jim Johnson


A pit fall of any leader is turning a blind eye to things that can ultimately hurt you, your integrity, and your reputation.


  • Ignoring poor performance of a staff member over and over.
  • Allowing certain staff members to “get away” with coming in late, taking longer lunches, gossiping, surfing the internet while others on your staff work hard to do right and be right.
  • Allowing some staff members to regularly share negative thoughts and feelings about their coworkers and then you begin to believe these things, too – and you haven’t personally invested in those other people.
  • Allowing yourself to say what’s on your mind without filtering your thoughts and words first.
  • Blowing up and getting angry in public.
  • Playing favorites.
  • Saying one thing, but doing another


Many leaders succumb to some of these things during their career.  The successful ones aren’t blinded to these and other shortcomings.  They know what they need to do in order to minimize and/or eliminate their blind eye:

  • They hold their staff accountable to their performance.  They have regular coaching sessions which keep results and behavior standards in the fore front.
  • They hold everyone on their team to the same basic/core standards.  If arriving to work on time is good for the team (and it is), it is good for ALL of the team.
  • Do not allow a staff member talk with you negatively about another staff member.  As the leader of your team, it is YOUR responsibility to monitor and deal with each of your team members.  It is the responsibility of your team to focus on their own personal performance.  If a staff member insists on bad talking another (I’m not talking about ignoring violations such as stealing, harassment, etc), try saying this next time:  “I understand you have a personal issue with that person.  But it is not appropriate for me to talk with you about that person’s performance.  That’s not your job.  That’s my job.  Your job is to focus on your results and performance.  So, we can talk about what you’re doing right now to move this department/company forward.  But what I won’t allow is for you to talk to me about someone else’s performance.  That’s not your job.  So, how are you doing with….?”  Become a broken record on this point.  Your staff will quickly realize that their responsibility is on their own personal results.
  • Seek out a trusted resource at your work place and allow them to ask you tough questions.  “What am I being blind to?”  And if they tell you, act on that!  Seeking truth and then ignoring it will quickly ruin your integrity and reputation.

We all have blind spots.  All of us.  If you are fortunate enough to discover them, intentionally act to remove them.  Will most people see this happening?  Perhaps not.  But you will move yourself towards becoming a respected, trusted leader who is recognized as authentic, approachable, and effective.


“Authenticity is the alignment of the head, mouth, heart, and feet – thinking, saying, feeling, and doing the same thing – consistently.  This builds trust, and followers love leaders they can trust.” 

Lance Secretan

Fight Like You’re Right, Listen Like You’re Wrong and Other Keys to Great Management by Bob Sutton

A psychology study at UC Berkeley broke students into groups of three, with one person chosen to be the leader of a project. At some point, the researchers would bring in a plate of four cookies.

“We all know the social norm is not to take the last cookie,” says Robert Sutton, management expert at Stanford’s School of Engineering. “But the research showed consistently that the person in power would take that fourth cookie. They even tended to eat with their mouths open and leave more crumbs. And this is just in the laboratory. Imagine that you’re a CEO and everywhere you go you’re empowered, and everyone is kissing your ass. You can start to see why it’s so hard to be good.”

Made famous by his 2005 book The No Asshole Rule, Sutton has spent hours studying the moves made by technology’s top leaders, including Steve Jobs, Andy Grove, and others. More recently, though, he’s turned his attention from negative qualities to what the best bosses in the world do and understand. A lot of it has to do with an innate sense of human emotions, but the good news is management can be learned.

In this Stanford Entrepreneurship Corner Talk, he breaks down what it takes to become a great boss — which, as it turns out, makes a much bigger difference than you might think.

It Really Is All About You

Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric and one of the most celebrated business leaders in history said, “When you’re a boss, it’s not all about you.” But Sutton disagrees. “This is only half true,” he says. “When you look at what happens to people when they’re put into a position of authority, in many ways things really do become all about them.”

First, there’s something called the “magnification effect.” When you’re in power, suddenly everyone starts watching what you do very closely. At the same time, you start getting more credit and more blame than you deserve for organizational performance. When outcomes are dissected, it turns out that leaders are responsible for about 15% of what actually happens, but they get about 50% of the blame or credit.

For both of these reasons, the best bosses make being perceptive one of their core job responsibilities. This is easy to say but hard to execute.

Sutton cites a story he heard about a wave of 2009 downsizing. At an unnamed company, a secretary walked up to an executive vice president and simply asked, “When are the layoffs coming?” The EVP was shocked, even though cuts were secretly planned. How did she know? The tell was that he was shuffling around the office staring at his shoes all day, unable to look anyone in the eye. With the context of brewing financial trouble, his employees knew exactly what was happening and had already started to panic.

“Another thing that makes it difficult for leaders to be in-tune with their people is what I call ‘power poisoning,’” Sutton says. “When you put human beings in power, three things happen pretty reliably: They focus more on their own needs and concerns; they focus less on the needs and concerns of others; and they act like the rules don’t apply to them.” There’s even evidence that when a company is performing great, leaders become more clueless, self-absorbed, etc. Thus the Berkeley cookie study.

“When you become successful is when you should be especially wary you’re going to turn into an idiot. There’s a lot of evidence to support that.”

The Hallmarks of Great Bosses

Unless you happen to be extremely empathetic, being a good manager requires a tactical approach. This is where Sutton’s hoards of data come in handy. He’s talked to enough people to know what workers actually want in a boss — not just what they say they want.

Read the rest if this great article here: http://firstround.com/article/Fight-Like-Youre-Right-Listen-Like-Youre-Wrong-and-Other-Keys-to-Great-Management#ixzz2r7mNntb7

How to Encourage Innovation in Your Company by Anita Bruzzese Gannett

Is America losing its innovation edge?

If so, the reason could be because managers and employees are not on the same page in developing new ideas.

Specifically, many employees think they have a good idea, but their managers won’t listen to them. In their defense, managers say these ideas often are out in left field with no real focus or value to the company.

In a recent study, Accenture found that 69 percent of employees believe that this country will lose its entrepreneurial edge over foreign employers in the next 10 years unless companies focus more on encouraging employees to pursue innovative ideas.

But Accenture research also finds that corporate leaders find it difficult to channel the entrepreneurial enthusiasm to the right areas with 85 percent reporting that employee ideas are mostly aimed at internal improvements rather than external ones.

Matt Reilly, managing director at Accenture, says he was surprised at the gap between what employees say about presenting entrepreneurial ideas and what executives report receiving.

Some of the problem is because managers may pose “What do you think?” queries to workers without clearly defining what the problem is and what they’re seeking in terms of innovative ideas, he says. If managers put up “guardrails” clearly defining their needs, workers would understand the limits and provide better solutions.

Clearly workers have at least some frustration with the process: While the Accenture survey of 800 corporate employees finds that 52 percent say they’ve pursued an entrepreneurial idea at work, only 20 percent believe that their employer offers enough support to develop ideas.

Read the rest here:  http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/article/20140119/YOUNGPROFESSIONALS/301190008/How-encourage-innovation-your-company?gcheck=1

Mistaken Assumptions of Business Leaders by Kathryn Earle


Have you ever seen a magnified picture of a fly’s eyes? The common housefly has a compound eye, enabling it to perceive dozens of images at the same time.

Humans, on the other hand, have only two eyes, and our brains select a very small subset of what we will “see” and what we will not. This ability generally works to our advantage: in spite of millions of bits of information coming at us every second, we manage to focus on the right things.

The key is knowing, instinctually and through learning, what the right things are. In business, having assumptions is critical—you cannot see,” much less verify, “everything” before making important business decisions. Particularly during strategic planning, assumptions about a company’s situation and its capacity to achieve significant change can influence implementation and eventual performance. If the assumptions are wrong, the plan’s chances for success can be seriously jeopardized. This article explores the most common ways mistaken assumptions can trip up business leaders, and shows you how to recognize and avoid these assumptions before you launch future strategic plans.

The key to a great strategy is to have disciplines that make it easier and more likely you will (1) focus your conscious attention and your work on the right things, (2) check out the assumptions that need scrutinizing, and (3) trust that the other assumptions were truly close enough. Let’s look at the key elements of a disciplined process that helps you avoid mistaken assumptions.

Don’t be blindsided by your assumptions. Although accounting firms routinely write assumptions into client reports, it’s amazing how few companies include their assumptions in either their strategic planning process or their written strategic plans. Avoid being tripped up by the one assumption you were unaware of having made by bringing conscious intent to your thinking.

Remember the past. In a new planning cycle, start by recalling the assumptions (explicit or not) on which you based your last planning effort. Why did you pick certain options and not others? On what factors did the success (or failure) of your last plan depend, whether you realized it or not at the time? Identify which assumptions remain valid and which must be rewritten.

Update your understanding. Look at what you know today. How do those facts—especially the most painful ones—change your assumptions, moving forward? What new assumptions must you form as a result of a realistic look at what is, and what is likely? What sources of new information could help you challenge and test your assumptions? Craft a new set of assumptions that offers a judicious balance, given what you do know.

Read the rest here: http://repository.the-ceo-magazine.com/articles/mistaken-assumptions-business-leaders.html

The Secret to Leadership Finding You by Dan Rockwell


You aren’t a leader if you don’t have followers.

“He who thinks he leads, but has no followers, is only taking a walk.”

John Maxwell, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership“

A young leader I coached received a leadership award.

I asked him, “Why did you receive this award?”

He said, “I have no idea.”

I said, ”Go find the reason.”

Successful leaders understand why others see them as leaders.

10 Questions that help leadership find you:

1. What compelling benefit comes to those who follow you?
2. What makes you inspirational?
3. How do your competencies draw others? Strengths repel or attract.
4. What role does vulnerability play in creating connection? Real leaders connect.
5. How are you using authority to empower others? The fundamental shift of leadership is from you to them.
6. What’s magnetic about your purpose?
7. How is the direction you’re heading compelling? All leaders have destinations in mind.
8. What role does gratitude play in your day-to-day routine? No one wants to follow a bitter leader. Gratitude says others matter.
9. How good are you at letting others shine? Learn to influence from the fringes.
10. What role does optimism play in your interactions? The great tension of leadership is between dissatisfaction with the present and hope for the future.

The Secret:

Aspire to become worthy of being followed.

Lousy leaders focus on position, prominence, power, and authority and neglect becoming attractive individuals.

Great leadership begins with understanding and practicing great followership. I’ll never forget what the retired COO of Chick-fil-A said,

Read the rest here: http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/the-secret-to-having-leadership-find-you/