Great Thoughts from Interesting People

“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” –Mark Twain

“Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at.” –Unknown

“There is only one way to avoid criticism: Do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” –Aristotle

“Think big and don’t listen to people who tell you it can’t be done. Life’s too short to think small.” –Tim Ferriss

“Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.”– Henry David Thoreau

10 Ways to Be a Leader—Even When You Aren’t in Charge by Patti Johnson

Do you think of a leader as someone else with a more important title or more experience? Think again. True leaders have more than impressive job descriptions and company anniversaries. They have influence and contribute to something bigger, not just to the work but also to the team.

Candace joined my team a few years ago with big enthusiasm and a fresh perspective. She had recommendations on new technology and ideas to improve communication with each other and our clients. Her suggestions were always aimed at making us all better, not just making herself look good. Candace was only a few years out of college and yet she was most definitely a leader—not because of her title or experience, but because of how she showed up.

You can show up like a leader, too. And when you do, the rest of your career will take care of itself. Here are 10 behaviors that can help make you a leader:

1. Speak up.
Leaders, regardless of title, know their role—to share and be part of the conversation. They aren’t content to be bystanders. Decide upfront in any meeting or discussion that you have a role to play and participate. Think about how you can contribute, not if you’ll look good.

2. Have ideas to make things better.
Leaders contribute to the greater good. Bring ideas to help make your work, team and organization better. And good ideas come from being informed and learning about much more than just your daily work.

3. Stop talking about other people.
Nothing makes you look smaller faster than filling your conversations with everyone else’s weaknesses. I used to work with someone with a nonstop commentary on how everyone else was annoying, frustrating, uninformed or clueless, and so on. Most people who spend their energy in this way are trying to deflect from their own lack of confidence. It’s hard to have influence if criticism is your currency.

4. Show your brand of enthusiasm.
This doesn’t mean you have to become a cheerleader or be someone you aren’t. Enthusiasm means confidence in your ideas, a positive outlook and valuing others. No one will show more enthusiasm for your ideas than you do.

5. Power up others’ ideas.
When someone else gives a good idea, offer validation and expand on it. As an example, if your co-worker has a great recommendation for a new way of connecting with customers, then recommend how to get started with an experiment.

6. Constantly improve how you work.
Always look for ways you can do your work better. Share ideas for even small improvements. Keep looking for how to increase your contribution—even if no one is asking you to do it.

7. Quit being a professional critic.
Early in my career, I had a respected boss tell me that “being a critic isn’t hard and that no one earns respect from doing the easy lifting.” It’s not difficult to point out what’s wrong. Leaders have recommendations and answers.

8. Solve problems rather than self-promote.


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Top 4 Reasons Why Good Employees Quit by Joseph Cueto


The list of reasons why good employees quit may fill up a David Letterman Top Ten list, but if you’re the CEO or HR head and your total of good workers continue to dwindle, it’s no laughing matter. Here are top four reasons why good employees leave the workplace:

1. Poor reward system

Rewarding employees for a fantastic job can be done in a multitude of ways and by communicating with employees, bosses receive insight about what motivates their staff or what they value the most.

2. Management

The saying, “People don’t leave companies, they leave their managers” shows thatrecognition and reward coming from upper management is crucial for employees to stay continually committed.

3. Hiring/promotions

A surefire means to alienate workers is for the good ones to see undeserving employees get all the accolades and the juicy promotions.

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Four Tips for Effective Leadership Communications by Richard Kirby

Business owners and key executives create their company culture and that culture drives their organization’s results. If you are a leader who is not getting the results you want, it’s important to make an honest evaluation of your communications skills.

Some cultures are created by default, passively letting people act autonomously based upon their individual preferences. The leaders are either unaware of what they are creating, aware but in denial, or aware but lost as to what they should be doing differently. You might say they are leaders in name (or title) only. If you are observing any of these symptoms in your company, there’s a good chance it is suffering from a leadership vacuum:

Lack of accountabilityLow employee engagementAcceptance of poor performance

In contrast, effective leaders strive to actively create their organization’s culture and drive positive action by actively influencing their people. To provide some perspective on what this can look like, here are some comments on leadership worth considering:

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  Peter Drucker

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”  Martin Luther King

“Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.”  Bill Bradley

So, let’s say you want to become better at doing the right things, molding consensus within your team and unlocking the potential within others. Where would you invest your time? Assuming your people are not mind readers, I’d like to propose that you start by assessing and improving your own communications skills.

Leaders get things done by clearly communicating their expectations and providing consistent, motivating feedback. But most of us have not been trained to be effective communicators. So where can you start? Here are four tips to get you started on a positive track toward improving your effectiveness whenrequesting action from your people:

– Verify you have their undivided attention by observing their eye contact and other non-verbal signals. This will improve the odds that they hear your complete request.

– Start with a preface, to provide them your perspective. Explain why the action is needed and share helpful background information.

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