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Coaching & Mentoring

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Understanding How to Navigate Personality Differences on Teams

Do you love your job but struggle dealing with management? Do you look forward to getting together with your clients but avoid meeting with your co-workers? Are you partners with someone in business or in your personal life with whom you experience as difficult? Do you feel that you are ineffective in problem-solving with certain groups of co-workers or friends? Perhaps there is a personality conflict with you and your team. Often we write off personality conflicts because we can’t change someone else’s personality. However, there are strategies and approaches to help navigate situations where potential personality conflicts exist that I’ve outlined here.


You Know a Lot More Than You Can Tell

Or, it's not only who you know in the organization, but also what you know about how the organization works.

The ability to speak a language, use algebra, design and use complex processes or work with complex equipment requires all sorts of knowledge that is rarely known explicitly, even by expert practitioners. The same is true of the knowledge of "how" an organization works, it's real priorities and deeply held impressions. This "tacit knowledge" in the form of "rules" and "mental models," has far-reaching consequences and impacts upon our career futures.

I've always liked to pride myself in the fact that as a consultant I only lost three gigs over the past thirty years, often staying with clients for a couple decades. But in all three instances my failure was tied to the fact that I was simply unaware of the organizations' unique, tacit mental models--its "rules"--by which people worked.

In a previous post, I commented that knowing the organizations' gossip often held keys to figuring out the "rules" or "mental models." I learned that one way to get at these "rules" was to finish interviews with the question "how do you get in trouble in your organization?"

Some essential ...


Respond: Leadership Is a Contact Sport

Learn how to respond to feedback and why the keys are to be positive, simple, focused, and fast!

If there is one thing I know, it’s how to respond to feedback. A pioneer in the use of customized, 360 degree feedback (confidential feedback from direct reports, peers and managers) as a leadership development tool, I’ve spent the last 30 years using feedback to help people change for the better. In 1993, I received my first national recognition for this work and was ranked by the Wall Street Journal as one of the top ten executive educators in this extraordinary field, which has evolved to become known as “executive coaching.” So, yes, I do know a little about which I speak.

Watch the video and read the accompanying written blog below.

So You Think Your Manager’s Like a Bad Joke? Part 1: The Setup

A critic, a control freak, and a micromanager walk into a conference room… Do you know the punch line to this joke? No?

That’s because it’s not a joke. Each of these folks can squelch creativity, suppress innovation, create process bottlenecks, and demoralize staff. And yet countless employees work for these types of managers and sit in their meetings every day.

So, if you’re one of those employees, how can you cope with these types in a way that lets you feel more confident and competent? And if you act like one of these management caricatures, how can you shift your behavior so you can actually lead — not lean on your staff?


How Vacation Time Can Make You A Better Leader

When you’ve been writing a blog for 5 years as I have starting this month, one of the things you appreciate as being a key factor behind your longevity in this sphere is the importance of taking a vacation break to employ the 3 R’s – rest, review, and reflection.

Of course, it’s not just the art of writing that benefits from taking time off for rest and relaxation to keep improving your craft. As leaders, it’s critical that we’re also taking vacation breaks from leading our team and organization in order to ensure that we’re consistently offering our best to those we lead.

So as I prepare for my annual sojourn, I’d like to share with you these four reasons why taking a vacation will help you to become a more effective leader for those under your care.


Twofer Tuesday: On Inner Circles and Habits

Are you in or are you out?

Here’s a provocative article from my friend Les McKeown at Predictable Success. He’s put down the gauntlet to say that the “inner circle” is a dangerous thing.

And yet … we all know that loneliness at work is rampant.

What do you think? In? Or out?


The Science of Happiness. 5 Ways to Boost Your Happiness

It turns out that some individuals are genetically wired to be happier. But if you’re not among them, what can you do to improve your happiness? Studies show about 40% of our happiness depends on what we think, believe, and do.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, provides five scientifically validated keys to increasing happiness in The How of Happiness: A New Approach to Getting the Life You Want (Penguin Books, 2007):


Monday Motivation – the context counts



 Something to think about

In the drive for more content, often overlooked is the desire for more context. Despite the finite number of words and smaller subset we use routinely, the key to understanding is context.

To establish context, consider the lenses available to us. What lens do we look through? Is that the lens through which we project? What about our audience? What lenses do they have?


How to Stay Career Focused

Dollarphotoclub_40278647-2It's an important question made especially difficult by today's organizational demands. Tim Butler, from Harvard Business School, brings some smarts to the party as director of its career development program.  In this job climate it's easy to lose sight of your goals, but you can stay focused.

There are a number of issues that professionals should give some serious thought to today: 

How far out should I be looking? 


Michael’s Sign Language

Go to the next level today.