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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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‘Clock watchers’ not ‘workaholics’ most likely to burn out at work

‘Clock watchers’ not ‘workaholics’ most likely to burn out at work | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

People who don’t get deeply involved with their work are more likely to suffer ‘burn out’ or emotional exhaustion and have lower levels of well-being, according to a new study but Kingston University Business School.

Researchers gave 227 British workers, mostly in their 30s, standard tests used to measure engagement and motivation. They found that the 15% who were watching the clock and felt the most withdrawn from their work also reported the highest levels of burn out. Feeling alienated at work caused feelings of frustration and apathy, often leading to lower levels of well-being, the study found.

Kerstin Alfes from Kingston Business School, who carried out the study alongside York University in Toronto and Kent University, said: "You might expect someone who is withdrawn from their work to be more balanced and less emotionally drained because they have time for other things in their life, but we found it's these people who are having severe problems with stress-related exhaustion.


Those who felt no major connection to their work had more sleepless nights and generally lower levels of well-being. Just as alienation from one's emotions leads to emotional exhaustion and lower levels of well-being, so too does alienation from one's work."

Via Fabrice De Zanet
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Proofreading and Editing Tips to Improve Your Writing

Proofreading and Editing Tips to Improve Your Writing | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Are you trying to develop better writing habits? Well, start by reading and writing every day. And make sure you proofread every piece to improve your writing.

Via Charles Tiayon, David Hulme
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What Has Become Clearer…?

What Has Become Clearer…? | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

There are many great questions in the universe. I continue to be amazed at the power of questions to take us places we’ve never been before. I’ve written previously about some of my favorite questions, but this post is about one that had fallen off my radar and now, it’s back.


”What has become clearer to you?”


My friend and mentor, Howard Hendricks, introduced me to this question many years ago. I’ve never asked him if this was an original question or if he got it from someone else. Regardless, this is an outstanding question. Our brains have the awesome ability to synthesize vast amounts of information – if we prompt it to do so.


This is a fun question to ask others, but it can also have great value if we ask ourselves! This question can prompt you to do at least three things of value.

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Following The Leader

Following The Leader | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Some of the best lessons on how to be a leader can be learned by being a great follower.


This can teach the leader how to work effectively in a team environment and to understand the interdependencies among people in the company. The leader as a follower will also appreciate what it feels like for others to follow them!


How have you been a good leader and a good follower?

Via Sparktheaction
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Is An Open Door Policy Killing Your Productivity? | Time Management Ninja

Is An Open Door Policy Killing Your Productivity? | Time Management Ninja | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

How do you get things done if your doors are always open?


Agree, doors should be closed to concentrate and focus on one task at the time. Walk outside your office to open spaces to socialize or meeting rooms for group work.


Not sure if it is working ? Try to track your interruptions on a piece of paper and log the time, who disturbed you and for how long,  how urgent and important was the question.


Not only you will realize you need to have a "non open door" time to be productive but you can teach and empower your employees to find the answers before considering you as a resource.

Via Anne Egros
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How to Recover after Being a Jerk

How to Recover after Being a Jerk | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

In the throws of conflict we all have cringe-worthy stories of when our actions and words were inappropriate or over-the-top.


You know the moment when you say or do something and you immediately think, “CRAP!”


At work recovering from those moments of being a jerk is crucial to your success. What’s more important is team effectiveness that enables success.


How do you recover and repair the damage?


Here’s a great place to start.

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What qualities do future leaders need to meet the challenges of the 21st century?

What qualities do future leaders need to meet the challenges of the 21st century? | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

To me, 21st century sustainability leadership is about courage, creativity and faith in people. It is a values-based leadership.


Sustainability opportunities and challenges are so complex, both of global scale and yet deeply rooted in people's cultures and beliefs, that tomorrow's leaders will need four core qualities to achieve success:


• systems thinking to identify paradigms driving change


• mediation skills to facilitate knowledge sharing, ensure stakeholders' ownership and foster innovation


• vision rooted in community service and ethical behaviour


• decisiveness in ever changing environments with blurred boundaries


To me, 21st century leadership is about leading with the heart and to serve rather than rule.

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
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What Matters Now

What Matters Now | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

What Matters Now by Gary Hamel is probably one of the most important books you could read this year.


It is an invitation to rethink the fundamental assumptions we have about capitalism, management, institutions, and life at work. It is, as Hamel describes it, “a blueprint for creating organizations that are fit for the future and fit for human beings.”


The book is divided into five fundamental, make-or-break issues that will determine whether your organization thrives or dives in the years ahead: values, innovation, adaptability, passion and ideology.


Here are some of his thoughts that become more powerful as they sink in:...


It’s time to re-invent our leadership. This book will help in that process.

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Leadership is About Understanding Why

Leadership is About Understanding Why | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Leadership is about understanding Why.


We tend to think that leaders can tell us Where we are going or How to get there. Some of them are very good at appreciating Who can help us move toward our goals, or When is the right time to make changes.


We tend not to recognize the essential motivating power of Why.


Why takes time, and we often get caught up in the urgency of When or How.


When you help me understand Why I am doing something, I participate at a much deeper level. Being part of your team is not about doing something well or getting a particular result. it is about putting my own core values into action.


My commitment to Why is much more significant that it is to Who or Where.

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10 Ways to Motivate Anyone

10 Ways to Motivate Anyone | Surviving Leadership Chaos |


I am often asked about how I keep employees inspired and productive. It’s an essential question since companies today must accomplish more, with fewer people. The most successful start-ups must be lean, nimble, and fierce.


In a nutshell, you should hire bright, energetic, innovative employees. Then offer them the right incentives–the ones that will impact their personal brain and personality types–to keep them mentally and emotionally invested in doing their best.


It’s impossible to talk about motivation without mentioning Drive, a book by best-selling author Daniel Pink. (His TED lecture was turned into a fabulous video.)


Pink notes that people perform best when they are given autonomy, opportunity for mastery, and the belief that their task is meaningful. He says money is not the best motivator, and that employees want to be “players, not pawns.”

Via Roy Sheneman, PhD
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Define Your New Competitive Advantage

Define Your New Competitive Advantage | Surviving Leadership Chaos |


Occassionally, it is good for a business owner to turn their thinking on its head, and consider their approach to competition from a completely different angle.


In the area of competitive advantage, the common approach is to define your business against the standards of others, and find your point of differentiation.


This excellent article, suggests ditching this approach to build a customer driven (rather than a competitor driven) definition of your competitive advantage, and it offers three steps you can take to achieve this outcome.



Via Daniel Watson
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Dos and Don’ts of Saying ‘No’ at Work

Dos and Don’ts of Saying ‘No’ at Work | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Great tips for tactfully saying no at work.


Saying ‘no’ to colleagues can feel counterintuitive. Of course, you want to come off as a capable, indispensable team player. But accepting every single request is kind of like inviting others to come and stomp all over your productivity.


Prioritizing is the first step to working smarter, not harder—and part of prioritizing is deciding when to say “no” to stuff that just doesn’t need your full attention right now.

Also, trying to please everyone will force you to spread yourself thin on your own tasks. Not to mention “those who hate to say ‘no’ become those who are imposed upon the most,” says Barry Maher, speaker, trainer, consultant at Barry Maher & Associates.


Don’t let this happen. There is a way to say ‘no’ to select requests and still be perceived as a stellar professional:...

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A Leader Is Someone We Can Believe In

A Leader Is Someone We Can Believe In | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
  When I ask others what they think a leader is, they have lots of different responses.


When I ask others what they think a leader is, they have lots of different responses. However, there is one that always inspires me: “A leader is someone I can believe in”. When we believe in a leader, it shows they are doing something – or a lot of “somethings” – right.


What behaviors do they exhibit that cause us to believe? Here are a few I’ve heard:


Count on them to do what they say they will. If anyone else has gone before them and done it, they know can do it. They may even be able to forge new paths, and do something nobody before them has done. No matter what, they will do it, and we can count on them.


Accept others. They see themselves as equal to those they lead, without the trappings of power that they could bring to their leadership. They recognize the humanity in those they lead, and are willing to accept them and work with them as they are...

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Leadership Malpractice

Leadership Malpractice | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
I was teaching a session to front line leaders this past week on how to coach, confront and correct employees when there is a gap between expected behavior and performance and the actual behavior and performance.


Understandably, confronting and correcting conversations are not easy on the leader or the employee which can result in procrastination, being too heavy handed or too vague in the feedback.

What if we were to apply the same coaching, confronting and correcting method to the leader who is not doing what is expected of him or her?


By definition, should a supervisor, manager or executive who doesn’t carry out his leadership responsibilities effectively be expected to suffer the consequences of his action or inaction?

Most managers, supervisors and team leaders think of themselves as being better bosses than they really are.


This lack of self-awareness means that leadership faults are not corrected. Most bosses have the best intentions but their behavior is inconsistent with those intentions.

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Stanley McChrystal: Listen, learn ... then lead | Video on

TED Talks Four-star general Stanley McChrystal shares what he learned about leadership over his decades in the military.


How can you build a sense of shared purpose among people of many ages and skill sets?

Via syednazirrazik, Roy Sheneman, PhD
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Lou Holtz’s 3 Rules of Life

Lou Holtz’s 3 Rules of Life | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
“Everybody needs four things in life: Something to do, someone to love, someone to believe in and something to hope for.”...


I wish I had said that, but it was my very close friend Lou Holtz.


I recently invited Lou to speak to a professional group I am mentoring and he was his usual outstanding self. It’s no wonder that the Washington Speakers Bureau calls Lou one of the best speakers in the world.

I’ve heard Lou speak a hundred times, and he still amazes me with his practical, down-to-earth, plain and simple advice.

For example, we have all kinds of rules and laws. We’ve got federal laws, state laws, corporate laws, bylaws … you name it.


Holtz simplifies things by following three simple rules.

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Leadership and Forgiveness, Part 1

Leadership and Forgiveness, Part 1 | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
I have become convinced that there is one leadership principle upon which companies and families and fortunes balance, but it is totally misunderstood by today’s corporate and political leaders.


This principle is powerful enough that it has redirected many of our lives in an eternal way, yet it is so ignored in our daily living that its absence has torn apart companies, families, nations, and civilizations!


You’ve heard of it before. It is called forgiveness.


Please understand that this blog entry is not about our own forgiveness, the kind that comes freely from God when we ask for it.


That is a spiritual concept. I am calling attention to what we have in our control when we are lying awake at night thinking about a specific person and what he or she said or did and how we responded, and what we will say if we see them tomorrow!


You see, forgiveness is a decision—it is not an emotion.

Via AlGonzalezinfo, donhornsby
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Leadership is a lonely place

Leadership is a lonely place | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Great leaders allow their team to be successful.


A friend recently tried to recruit me into a business he was invested in. It was in a market sector that I have absolutely no knowledge of and I felt uncomfortable with my lack of understanding of the firm and its products. I was told that collectively, the co-founders and the investors agreed that it was necessary to recruit a CEO capable of leading the firm to its next phase of growth. The board felt, and the co-founders agreed, that it was also necessary for the founders to stay focused on product design.


My friend said:


“First and foremost we want a great leader. We want somebody with a proven track record that can inspire the team to produce great products but knows that he needs the team to excel in order to do so. We want somebody that can sell, but knows he will never be as good a salesman as our head of sales. We want someone that is a good planner but can let go enough to allow the CFO to do what he’s good at. Mostly we want somebody that can set an achievable stretch plan and get consensus to achieve success. We need somebody that can attract future investors and can steer the ship into calm waters when the going gets rough. Deep domain knowledge is an unnecessary bonus”

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How Learning To Delegate Is Done Effectively

How Learning To Delegate Is Done Effectively | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Discover the benefits of learning to delegate to other team members. Delegation is an important business and leadership skill. Delegating to other will allow you to achieve more. Look here for other leadership tools and resources.


Learning To Delegate - you simply cannot do everything yourself if you want to grow your business exponentially. You must utilize your resources.


There is not a single management skill more critical to your personal and professional success as an entrepreneur, than learning to delegate.


There is much more to delegating than meets the eye. Delegation does not mean to simply hand out assignments to others. Effective delegation is an exercise in understanding one's own limits.


Some are lucky enough to accurately identify their areas of strength and weakness. It takes courage to let go and say "OK this is not my areas of expertise and here is where I need help."


We all have things we wish we were good at but somehow can not seem to fully grasp (not for lack of intellectual ability, but for lack of experience/exposure). We must learn to accept this fact.


In this fast paced world we live in, we must choose what it is we wish to conquer and what we need to let go of. A smart businessperson learns what she does best and does that to the best of her ability. She lives it, breathes it, and sleeps it. It is a passion. The rest can be left to someone else, provided she begins learning to delegate.


Networking or "relationship building", is the initial key component of learning to delegate.

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21 Things You Could Do In Just 5 Minutes

21 Things You Could Do In Just 5 Minutes | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

Life moves pretty fast.

Often, we let it slip by.

Bit-by-bit. Minute-by-minute.

Are you letting your time slip by?

The Potential of Just a Few Minutes

Want more time in your day?

I can’t help you there.

We all get the same amount each day.

But, you can make more of the time you have.

You can be more productive. Not letting life’s little moments slip by.

The few minutes before a meeting. The short time waiting for something or someone.

“5 minutes is more than enough time to get a small task done.

And small tasks add up to big productivity.”

Don’t underestimate the power to make the most of even five minutes.

You can get something done or even just enjoy being where you are.

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Servant Leadership: Flip The Org Chart

Servant Leadership: Flip The Org Chart | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
The importance of turning over the org chart and applying servant leadership throughout the organization.


I hear and read a lot of blogs throughout the web on the topic of servant leadership. It is a philosophy that I subscribe to, and I hope that those who I work with and for would agree with that statement.

Servant leadership is incredibly rewarding for the leader because it builds a level or trust and reciprocity that can never be created through a traditional organizational hierarchy.

For those less familiar, the tenants of servant leadership are really quite simple. The premise is built on an upside down organizational model where the top of the org chart is represented by the customer and then the front line workers and managers. It is at the very bottom of the organization where the executives and senior managers live. This is because in the servant leadership model the executives work for “the people.”

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How to Manage a Micromanager

How to Manage a Micromanager | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

If you’ve ever worked with a micromanager, you know how unproductive and demoralizing it can be.


This control freak is reluctant to delegate, may second-guess everything you do, and can shake your confidence in your own abilities. Simple tasks that you could accomplish quickly if left to your own devices take twice as long. Your efforts may be reduced to dust as the micromanager completely re-does you work.



Sure, you may be tempted to bolt, but at a time of high unemployment, you might not have that option. So better to master the art of managing the micromanager.

Start by understanding what causes someone to act this way. Often it’s a need for control that stems from insecurity: lack of confidence, workplace instability and pressure to produce–both individually and as a team.


Deep-seated psychological issues and problems at home can also influence the way people behave at work. Many of us have the propensity to be a micromanger, but some of us rein it in better than others.


With this in mind, here are eight practical steps you can take....

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
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About to Publish A Post? STOP! Read This

About to Publish A Post? STOP! Read This | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

It used to be that it was just us writer people that were responsible for publishing blog posts. But, my, how times have changed. As business owners, marketers, and social media mavens, we’re all responsible for publishing content on a regular basis. We publish posts to our own blogs to build our authority and search engine happiness, and we publish guest posts on other blogs to increase your readership and gain new eyes. With all the time we now devote to writing great content, we want to make sure we’re getting the most out of it that we can. And that means taking the time to optimize your content before you ever hit the publish button. Because search engine optimization always works better when it’s a priority, not an afterthought.


Before you hit publish on that post, make sure you’re hitting seven important points. They may just make all the difference.


Read more:

Via Martin Gysler
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Why We Talk About Ourselves: The Brain Likes It

Why We Talk About Ourselves: The Brain Likes It | Surviving Leadership Chaos |
Science has now proved what kindergarten teachers, reality show fans and Catholic priests discover anew every day: humans can't help talking about themselves. It just feels too good.


In a new study [PDF] published in the respected Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Harvard University researchers conducted a series of experiments to assess how much people liked talking about themselves and why.


In one study they scanned people’s brains while they either revealed personal information about themselves or judged the personalities or opinions of others. In another experiment, researchers tested whether people preferred to answer questions about themselves, other people or neutral facts — participants got differing levels of monetary compensation, depending on the question they chose.


Yet another study explored whether people wanted to share their answers with others or keep them to themselves.


No matter the test, the researchers, led by Diana I. Tamir and Jason P. Mitchell at Harvard’s psychology department, found the results pointed the same way: humans get a biochemical buzz from self-disclosure.



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20 Ways to Disagree with your Boss

20 Ways to Disagree with your Boss | Surviving Leadership Chaos |

If you never disagree you’re irrelevant. Here’s how to disagree successfully:


Ask what to do if you disagree before disagreements emerge.

Watch and learn when others disagree.

Avoid win-lose situations, it’s likely you’ll lose.

Know and embrace the boss’ goals. If you don’t align with the big picture, find another job.

Come with solutions and options or don’t come at all...

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