Surviving Leadership Chaos
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Surviving Leadership Chaos
" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. " - Winston Churchill
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Five Keys to Creating an Authentic Life

Five Keys to Creating an Authentic Life | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Are you living an authentic life? There are five keys to creating a truly authentic life. Put them into practice in your life and discover just how much you've been missing.


Are you living an authentic life? If you have to stop and actually think about it, then the answer is probably no. Don’t worry, you are not alone.


Today’s society makes it very difficult to truly be yourself. In fact, our society is more inclined to encourage conformity than it is to encourage following your heart, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible. In fact, there are five relatively simple keys for creating an authentic life; keys that will help you in living the life you were born to live.


The Five Keys to Authenticity:...

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Great Presentation Ideas: How to Captivate Your Audience

Great Presentation Ideas: How to Captivate Your Audience | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Here's how to captivate your audience, with simple guidelines from the National Elevator Pitch Champion. Do you know how to make your message matter?


If you want to know how to captivate your audience, you have to focus on what really matters. Not necessarily what matters to you…what matters to your audience. (An excerpt from The NEW Elevator Pitch)

You have to “take in” your listener: Are they agitated? Concerned? Closed off to new ideas? You better find out, if you want to captivate their imagination for the next two minutes.

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Moving your hands could change what you hear

Moving your hands could change what you hear | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

How we perceive sound can be altered by whether we are using our left or right hands while listening according to researchers at Georgetown University Medical Centre.

The results -- which were presented at Neuroscience 2012 -- are being attributed to the different language processing abilities of the left and right hemispheres of the brain which control the right and left sides of the body respectively.


To investigate the phenomenon neurologist Peter Turkeltaub and his team disguised rapid- and slow-changing sounds within background noise. Participants were asked to indicate whether they could hear the noise by pressing a button using alternately their right hand then their left hands.

Those responding with their right hand heard the rapidly changing sounds more often than when using their left hands while the slowly changing sounds were heard more often when using the left hand.


"The left hemisphere likes rapidly changing sounds, such as consonants, and the right hemisphere likes slowly changing sounds, such as syllables or intonation," explains Turkeltaub on the GUMC website.

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The Confidence/Competence Loop

The Confidence/Competence Loop | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Using the confidence/competence loop can drive performance and inform, inspire and ignite those you lead. Jump-start your confidence with these application techniques.


There are several basic areas of study that, as we study them, we can become more effective coaches and leaders.  This long list includes both human behavior and learning.  The psychological concept I want to talk about today comes from the intersection of these two fields of study.


Don’t worry; I’m not going to go all academic on you (though you could, with a simple web search, find lots of scholarly work on what we are going to talk about).


Here is the concept – the confidence/competence loop.

We all recognize that our success accelerates when we are confident.  The reason is simple.  Without confidence we revert to fear, and when we are fearful we don’t take any action.  We get tentative, we delay and we procrastinate.  When you are able to let go of fear, you take action more quickly and easily.

Gloria Inostroza's comment, October 15, 2012 5:41 PM
Como educadora concibo que la confianza es el principio fundamental para producir un aprendizaje significativo.
AlGonzalezinfo's comment, October 15, 2012 8:15 PM
@Gloria, estoy deacuerdo completamente!
Love Learning's curator insight, February 12, 2013 6:56 AM

I like this concept.  It has worked for me in the past in situations where I woudl like to be more confident.  To me it's all about being prepared and knowing my subject.  If I am competent at what I'm doing, confidence comes naturally!

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Courage is the Key to Great Leadership

Courage is the Key to Great Leadership | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Throughout the ages, people have searched for the precise alchemy of ingredients that constitute great leadership. In measured proportions, great leaders are said to demonstrate bold but reasoned judgment, spirited but calculated risk-taking and an assertive but reflective disposition. Complicating the matter are the expectations and needs of those being led. Followers want leaders who make decisions decisively but inclusively, interpret situations with rational and emotional intelligence and exude confidence and humility.


The list of characteristics that comprise great leadership is so long and contradictory, that the aspiring leader is left to ask, “Where on earth do I start?” Fortunately, there is a clear starting point. One leadership characteristic—or more accurately, virtue—informs and strengthens all others: Courage.


Aristotle called courage the first virtue, because it makes all of the other virtues possible. In addition to being the most important human virtue, it is the most important business virtue, as well. Think about it: Other important business concepts like leadership, innovation and sales wither in the absence of courage. Leadership takes making bold and often unpopular decisions. Leadership takes courage. Innovation involves creating ground-breaking but tradition-defying ideas. Innovation takes courage. Sales requires being repeatedly rejected before closing a deal. Sales takes courage. Take away courage, and sales, innovation and leadership lose their potency.

Via AlGonzalezinfo
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4 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated and Engaged

4 Ways to Keep Employees Motivated and Engaged | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Business owners always have high expectations of new employees, and many new employees hit the ground running, only to fizzle out a little further down the track.


Often, it is a remarkable drop in motivation that leads to this fizzling out of someone who on the face of it appeared to be a good recruit, and business owners need to identify how to keep new employees motivated, until they become valuable members of the team.


This excellent article, likens this fizzling out to many behaviours that occur outside of the wiorkplace, and it suggests four ways to keep new employees motivated and engaged in their roles.

Via Daniel Watson
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Leadership, Influence & Relationships

Leadership, Influence & Relationships | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Have you ever wondered why some people have more influence than others? It’s because they invest more “in” others. Those with influence have built into others through some form of consistent direct or indirect contribution. Those with the greatest amount of influence almost always have the strongest relationships. My hypothesis is a rather simple one: If true leadership is about influence, then influence is about relationships, and relationships are about the investments made into people.


In today’s post I’ll examine the ties between leadership, influence and relationships…


You cannot be an effective leader without influence. Let me make this as simple as I can – if you’re a leader, influence needs to be a competency. The key to developing influence is understanding contacts and relationships are not synonymous. Don’t confuse a database with a sphere of influence. A database consists of information records, and a sphere of influence consists of meaningful relationships built upon a foundation of trust – a point of distinction lost upon many.


Spammers and info-product sales people add contacts to a database, while savvy professionals interested in creating influence invest into people for the purpose of creating and sustaining high value relationships.

Via Peter Verschuere
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The Trust Maturity Model

The Trust Maturity Model | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

The Trust Maturity Model from


What is the level of trust in your team?


Chaos? Learning? Optimizing? Or, Innovating?

Via AlGonzalezinfo, Kevin Watson, David Hain
Metta Solutions's comment, October 18, 2012 11:48 AM
AlGonzalezinfo thank you for all the follows - love your curated work as well. Still learning how to use all the features
AlGonzalezinfo's comment, October 18, 2012 12:49 PM
@Metta Solutions, you are welcome, I really like your curated work as well. One suggestion would be to link your twitter account to, this way you will be mentioned automatically on twitter when we rescoop your posts.
Geoff Roberts's curator insight, January 18, 2014 12:43 PM

Nice descriptive framework, but it needs a 'how to get there' as well...

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How To Quit Talking And Finally Make It Happen

How To Quit Talking And Finally Make It Happen | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

It’s true – I’m not lazy, and neither are you.

Before we go further, let’s make sure two other things are true:

1. This thing you’re trying to do is something you’re really interested in. (For example, taking Cranky Aunt Edna to the mall is nice, but I can see why you might have some resistance.)

2. You have everything you need to do this thing. (You have a yoga mat and DVD, for example.)

Okay, those things are true. Good.

Here’s the core problem: this thing you’re trying to do is random. Doing something only when you feel like it isn’t the way to make it a habit. Whim is basically the opposite of discipline, so what do you do?

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Leadership …In An Unstable World!

Leadership …In An Unstable World! | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
How we experience change is defined by who we are!


What makes an effective leader! Better still, what makes an effective leader at a time of rapid and continual change? Definitions abound and yet, in reality, they are largely inadequate in describing what is truly required in the face of the kind of change we currently experience globally … and, ultimately, locally.


This is because our experience of that change is personal, it is individual and it impacts our feelings, emotions, thoughts and behaviours on a constant basis! I experience this every day, as will you, and my reflections on how I’ve approached this over time, including in a recent role as a leader within a voluntary and community organization in England, lead me to conclude that the bestleadership approach is one that mirrors my emotional intelligence, enables me to exercise my influence … and demonstrates my authenticity!


Leadership is a state of being. It is the human factor that people – peers, staff and colleagues in your organization and outside of it – will respond to most positively, especially when times are both challenging and stressful! So, reflecting on this, how do I continue to deliver effective leadership at such times?

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How Do Leaders Hold People Accountable?

How Do Leaders Hold People Accountable? | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
As a leader, you have the tools available to you to put progressive accountability in place without having to be the enforcer.


People have different ideas of what “accountability” means. Some believe it is employee discipline; others simply say, “I’m holding you accountable” but do little to follow up.


As I have observed leadership qualities associated with accountability, effective leaders create a culture of commitment by defining accountability as making your own Choices and being responsible for your own Actions.


Here are four, specific steps leaders use to create ownership with team members when they have previously coached them to make better choices and provided management expectations:

Via Amy Melendez, U-M Human Resource Development, Roger Francis
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Other People Matter

Other People Matter | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Colleagues, friends, and PT bloggers share their memories and reflections of Christopher Peterson.


Chris was a unusual combination of intelligence, warmth, integrity and genuineness. He lived a life worth living.


Something that I always found so special about him, considering his stature, was that he had a special talent for seeing good things in everyone and everything. I was always amazed by it. He was incapable of getting angry—instead he would become subdued, but never angry. He found joy in every little thing and was so grateful for even just a 'thank you.'


Chris loved people. Even at the busiest times, he always found time for others, no matter what. He always told me to "do right thing."


Chris loved writing his PT blog, The Good Life. He absolutely loved it. It made him so happy! Chris always checked how many readers stopped by—he felt really connected with all of them. I want his readers to know that they made him matter! For that I am eternally grateful.

Via David Hain
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Coaching vs. Managing: Why coaches are better leaders than managers

Coaching vs. Managing: Why coaches are better leaders than managers | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
RT @TomWalter1971: Coaching vs. Managing: Why coaches are better leaders than managers.


For the past several years, I’ve had the pleasure of coaching young females in the sport of softball. Throughout my time, I’ve learned that being the coach of a team and being a leader within an organization is not much different. The same principles span both responsibilities. In fact, when you use coaching principles in an organization, you often reap more than if you were to “manage” like many organizational leaders prefer to do.


According to the thesaurus with which Microsoft so generously equipped my word document software, the term “manage” is synonymous with words like “govern,” “supervise,” and “administer.” The term “coach” is synonymous with “teach,” “educate,” and “prepare.” Compare the two terms as well as their synonyms. Is it as obvious to you as it is to me? There is a distant, authoritarian connotation radiating from the term “manage,” especially when paired with the gentle, nurturing term “coach.” Which type of leader would you like to work for? And, for those in leadership positions, which word would you like associated with your leadership style?


If the thesaurus doesn’t do it for you, there are always the practices that accompany either term, practices that I would like to argue are the very reasons why adopting a coaching style is more effective (and enjoyable) in the workplace than managing.

Via David Hain
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7 Easy Steps to Solve a Conflict

7 Easy Steps to Solve a Conflict | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
To solve a conflict and reconcile your team or improve your relationship, apply the 7 following steps. It will help you to develop greater control of yourself and of situations which may arise in your life.


Situations arise everyday, but we can approach them consciously and solve a conflict easily.

“I don’t have to attend every argument I’m invited to.” – Unknown


Situations of conflict occurs for many reason among them:

-Argument because you want to have it your way while the other wants to have it his way as well
-Someone who refuses to listen to your opinion is perceived as an opponent.

-Someone who tells that your idea is wrong or not realistic.

In any of this situation you may find yourself getting upset, frustrated or withdrawn. Therefore you set yourself in conflict mode. Often disagreement is (mis)interpreted as opposition.


How true is it you are in conflict? How much does it cost you or your organization?


We are seeing the reality from our own perspective: what may be true for us may not be for another individual or community. Many examples come to mind at a team, community or even a nation level. Conflicts arise everywhere and in any situation not because people are right or wrong but because of the diversity of perspectives.


These perspectives, which are only perceptions of the reality based on filters such as beliefs, education, religion, etc…, lead us to feel separated from one another and to conclude that if we don’t agree, we automatically are in conflict.

Via Belinda MJ.B, Anne Egros, David Hain, Roger Francis
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Manvotional: Theodore Roosevelt on Integrity in Private and Public Life

Manvotional: Theodore Roosevelt on Integrity in Private and Public Life | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
If a public man tries to get your vote by saying that he will do something wrong in your interest, you can be absolutely certain that if ever it becomes worth his while he will do something wrong against your interest.


The very last thing that an intelligent and self-respecting member of a democratic community should do is to reward any public man because that public man says he will get the private citizen something to which this private citizen is not entitled, or will gratify some emotion or animosity which this private citizen ought not to possess.


Let me illustrate this by one anecdote from my own experience. A number of years ago I was engaged in cattle-ranching on the great plains of the western United States. There were no fences. The cattle wandered free, the ownership of each being determined by the brand; the calves were branded with the brand of the cows they followed. If on the round-up an animal was passed by, the following year it would appear as an unbranded yearling, and was then called a maverick.


By the custom of the country these mavericks were branded with the brand of the man on whose range they were found. One day I was riding the range with a newly hired cowboy, and we came upon a maverick.

Via Bill Butler
lexi shea's curator insight, February 11, 2015 2:04 PM

things he thought

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Heart to Heart Talks – Three Steps to Discuss the Elephant in the Room

Heart to Heart Talks – Three Steps to Discuss the Elephant in the Room | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
 Everyone on the team knew the elephant was in the room, but no one wanted to talk about it.


At the root of many of our interpersonal or team conflicts is a failure to communicate. Sometimes the problem is that information isn’t shared broadly enough and people become resentful because they weren’t included. Other times we say things that come out wrong and people are offended, even though we may have had good intentions behind our message. Regardless of how the situation was created, if we don’t take the time to thoughtfully address it, the miscommunication evolves into the “elephant in the room” that everyone knows is present but isn’t willing to address.


Recently I worked with a client where the elephant in the room had been present for nearly a year. The issue within this team had led to a fracture in what were previously very close relationships, had tarnished the team’s reputation within the organization, and was causing strife and turmoil that was affecting the team’s performance. Everyone on the team knew the elephant was in the room, but no one wanted to talk about it.

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Leading through Negativity

Leading through Negativity | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Unfortunately, others tend to see us in a negative way all too often.


During the GIVE Leadership 2012 Sustainable Leadership Tour, I was honored to work with teams around the country on how to maximize results and trust partnerships by resolving conflict and reducing negativity; the foundation for leading sustainable teams.


Over the summer, a number of organizations requested that I facilitate an activity called the Medicine Wheel. These organizations wanted specific assistance with their team’s ability to partner effectively and network with their business partners.


Identify Tendencies

Similar to Myers Briggs or DISC, the Medicine Wheel provides an engaging model that involves all team members in identifying the positive and negative tendencies of everyone in the team, including management. It is also a great way to start the process of developing a common language that helps team members understand what negative tendencies may be causing conflict for some team members.

Via Amy Melendez
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How to Make a Difference that Matters

How to Make a Difference that Matters | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Leaders who make a difference develop internally and explore externally. Neglect one and you won’t make a difference that matters.


Component one:


High impact begins internally with who you are. From this vantage point, making a difference that matters is all about you. It includes knowing your:








Via Trumans, David Hain
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A quarter of bosses have 'destructive' leadership style

A quarter of bosses have 'destructive' leadership style | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
One manager in four has a "catastrophically" bad style of leadership and could be damaging productivity in their teams, a study has warned.


A survey by management consultancy Orion Partners found that 24% of employees thought their bosses were over-stressed, poor communicators and lacked empathy - a combination judged to be counterproductive and in some cases destructive by the report.


Just 5% of workers said that their managers led in a way that: meant they were empathetic; explained why organisational change was good to staff members as individuals; created workplaces in which employees felt rewarded for their efforts; and were self-aware.


Overall, 35% of respondents said that, when their organisation needed to change, their boss personally made them aware of the benefits. Just 33% said that their managers demonstrated self-awareness.


However, almost half (47%) of the 2,000 workers surveyed said that their managers made them feel threatened, rather than rewarded, and 85% said that their managers cared more about what they did than what they were feeling.

Via Roger Francis, David Hain
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The Seven Powers of Powerful Questions

The Seven Powers of Powerful Questions | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
If you or your organization is falling short, you may be asking questions that fall short. Ask questions with purpose.


Questions are the most powerful statements you make.


1. Questions expose. Your questions tell me who you are.


2. Questions invite thought. Answers end thought.


3. Questions enlighten.


“It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question,” Decouvertes.



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:Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do

:Eight Things Skilled Teachers Think, Say, and Do | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Founded in 1943, ASCD (formerly the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development) is an educational leadership organization dedicated to advancing best practices and policies for the success of each learner.

Via Grant Montgomery, Virginia Pavlovich
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11 Books Every Young Leader Must Read

11 Books Every Young Leader Must Read | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

From history to fiction, a reading list to guide your career.


Recently, I wrote that leaders should be readers. Reading has a host of benefits for those who wish to occupy positions of leadership and develop into more relaxed, empathetic, and well-rounded people. One of the most common follow-up questions was, "Ok, so what should I read?"


That's a tough question. There are a number of wonderful reading lists out there. For those interested in engaging classic literature, Wikipedia has a list of "The 100 Best Books of All Time," and Modern Library has picks for novels and nonfiction. Those interested in leadership might consult the syllabus for David Gergen's leadership course (PDF) at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government or the syllabus his colleague Ron Heifetz uses for his course on adaptive leadership (PDF).


But if I had to focus on a short list for young business leaders, I'd choose the 11 below. I've only included books I've actually read, and I tried to compile a list that includes history, literature, psychology, and how-to. Variety is important — novels can enhance empathy; social science and history can illuminate lessons from other times and fields that might be relevant to your own; and at the very least, reading broadly can make you a more interesting conversationalist. But I have tried to make all the choices directly relevant to young businesspeople interested in leadership.



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