One Critical Component to Leading Change

I had two separate experiences with leading change recently that demonstrate one critical aspect that is often the difference between success and failure. Let me share the two scenarios – see if you can guess what it is. Of course, I’ll share it as well.

Scenario #1: Recently I was with an executive team delivering one of our most popular Leadership-in-a-Box programs Leading Change. At the end of each “LB” program, we have the participants complete a worksheet applying the concepts they just learned and then share it with a peer to get feedback.

Critical First, Comprehensive Later

One day when I was still working in a corporate role during the pandemic, I had a rather unique leadership class experience. I was scheduled to facilitate on a certain topic, but hadn’t actually received the training myself. I had planned to at least complete a preparatory review, but since I was covering for multiple unstaffed roles, I couldn’t quite get to it in time. So there I was, ready for a full-day of training, knowing I’d be seeing some of the content myself for the first time.

That’s a real recipe for mediocrity, right?

What Socrates Got Right About Engagement & Wellbeing

Wellbeing Wins – 3 min

There’s a legend about Socrates that one day a young man approached him asking his help to find knowledge.

Socrates took him out to the beach and waded into the water. When they were at shoulder depth, Socrates turned to him and asked, “What was it you wanted from me?”

“I want to find knowledge!” the man replied.

At that, Socrates took him by the shoulders and dunked him under the water, holding him under for several moments.

4 Questions to Ask BEFORE Initiating a Difficult Conversation

Something happened at work that set off your alarm bells. Maybe you’re a nurse and the physician ordered a drug you believe may trigger an allergic reaction from the patient. Maybe your employee showed up late for the third time this month – and this time it caused you to miss an important deadline. Or maybe another department set up a new process that inadvertently doubled the reporting requirements from your team – which you’re not staffed to accommodate.

What happened wasn’t your decision – otherwise you’d just fix it. You’re not the person in charge. Someone ought to say something, right? And if so, that someone is probably you.

5 Ways to Serve a Stressed Out Team

Stress and resilience have been my most requested leadership topics for over a year now. Just recently, I received another request. (Catch a recent conversation here.) Leaders want to know: how can I lead my team when they’re at a breaking point?

And even though they may not say it, many leaders are stressed to the max as well.

6 Barriers to Achieving Your Dream Job

Photo by Randy Tarampi on Unsplash

One of the highlights of last year was the time I spent hosting a webinar on dream jobs with my brother, U.S. Marine Harrier pilot Capt Cale “Rowdy” Magnuson. The concept of “dream jobs” has always fascinated me, so much so that I dedicated an entire chapter to it in my recent book Stand Out!

For the record, I believe the magic formula for a winning dream job mindset is high aspirations + realistic expectations. Pepper in some hard work, creativity and patience, and anyone can make it happen!

All Hands on Deck Leadership

Who’s the real leader around here?

It used to be that the leaders were the people in charge. As long as they did a good job, all was well. When they stumbled, the organization suffered until an adequate replacement could be found.

That type of leadership doesn’t work any longer. Why not? Because at its core, leadership is less about being “in charge” and more about creating positive change. It’s a responsibility we share together – all of us. In an interconnected world, there is simply too much leadership responsibility than the people in charge can handle on their own.

4 Critical Skills for Leading People

4 Critical Skills for Leading People – 4 min

I’ve been wanting to share these four foundational people leadership skills for quite a while now. In over a decade of working with thousands of leaders, I estimate that 80% of all people leadership challenges come down to one of these 4 skills:

  1. Assume Positive Intent
  2. Set Clear Expectations
  3. Give Quality Feedback
  4. Show Appreciation

Master these skills, and leading people will be a rewarding experience – for you and the ones you’re privileged to lead.

Overcome Your Fear and Lead

“Never take council of your fears.” That’s a quote attributed to many legendary leaders over the years. They knew what many of us are still discovering – that fear has the power to cower the best of us into making foolish decisions or taking irresponsible actions (or inaction).

We all experience fear. The more leadership responsibility you accumulate, the more fear you’ll have to negotiate.

Leaders who don’t conquer their fears will exploit the fears in others.

6 Questions To Foster Greater Team Resilience

No one has gone untouched in 2020. But it hasn’t just been the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted each person, it’s the repercussions. Work instability, financial hardship, rapid pace of change, family lifestyle adjustments, isolation and loneliness. The stress, anxiety and pressure have reached new levels for many individuals. One Johns Hopkins study noted that one in four individuals will suffer a mental health disorder in any given year… and that was before COVID came.

These are the people you work with. These are the ones you lead. This is your reality in 2020.

Resilience is the ability to persist through challenging situations and overcome adversity. But what is the leader’s role in these challenging times? How can leaders provide the resilience their teams so desperately need?

Here are six questions leaders should use with their teams to get the conversation started.

Leadership Profile: Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes stole my dream job.

As a kid growing up in a small Kansas City suburb, I used to dream of playing quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs one day. My brother and I would practice in the backyard for hours year around. But after a championship season as a high school senior, it became apparent that my career path lay in corporate leadership development rather than football.

Interestingly, not only do I enjoy watching Patrick Mahomes play football more than I would probably enjoy it myself, Mahomes serves as a great leadership profile example as well.

Here are some of the best leadership lessons from Patrick Mahomes’ career thus far.

5 Questions You MUST Ask Your Young Professionals if You Want to Engage Them

What’s the quality of your conversations with your young professionals? More specifically, what questions are you asking them?

In my new book Stand Out!, I share that young professionals today are the leaders of tomorrow. The reason is a matter of simple mathematics. When the Baby Boomers retire, there won’t be enough Gen X’ers to take their places. Ready or not, it’s time for young professionals to prepare to lead.

The question isn’t if. It’s how soon… and whether or not they’ll be prepared. If you’re a leader, a big part of that responsibility falls on your shoulders.