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Serving and Leadership
" We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give. " - Winston Churchill
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Fighting Self-Delusion in Leadership

Fighting Self-Delusion in Leadership | Serving and Leadership |

“In a time of drastic change, it is the learners who inherit the future.”—Eric Hoffe

People who become executives begin their careers as functional or technical specialists. A specialty is the basis on which to grow new, diverse expertise and ultimately either choose to stay on the specialist ladder or move to management.


As a person moves from first time manager, to managing others, to managing groups, to managing an organization; work continuously broadens, organizational dynamics and politics become increasingly complex and require an evolving set of priorities.


A leader’s awareness and their speed of adaptation in a new role influence the organizational culture, employee engagement, client loyalty and financial results.


The keys to a leader’s success?


Knowing yourself; assessing preparedness and requirements of work, being clear about internal and external measures of success, being honest with oneself about personal readiness, ways to maintain resilience and creating trusted connections with others.


Mentors and role models all serve to give feedback, provide perspective and increase awareness. They can be our trusted advisors and the ones who we can rely on to tell us the truth. They can become the accelerator of a leader’s success.

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Character and Conscience in Leadership

Character and Conscience in Leadership | Serving and Leadership |

We talk much here about character-based leadership. Our definition for character-based leadership is leading from who you are rather than your power or position. Often, people ask if we have some religious slant on character. We do not. People sometimes check to see if we’re going to be “character-cops” – making lists and judging whether or not someone acts with character. Hang around a while and you’ll see we don’t want to “police” character in anyone but ourselves.


But often, the lower, softer side of who we are would prefer not to be challenged. Our lazy side would prefer to be left alone. We don’t want to get out of bed early to exercise. We can find any excuse in the world to avoid challenges from either outsides ourselves or inside.


On our inside, in our character, there is this faculty, a feature, built into us that calls us to be our highest self. It calls us to be our best us. That’s our conscience.

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Coaching: Empowering the entire workforce

Coaching: Empowering the entire workforce | Serving and Leadership |
Steve Fiehl argues coaching should now be an option for all members of staff, not just a select few.


Coaching has traditionally been reserved for the elite. Whether it is destined for a few cherry-picked ‘high potentials' or company leaders across the business, the cost is high and the results often intangible. In times of crises of course the world needs strong, inspirational leaders. But in the 21st century, it is extraordinary to think that any organisation that recognises the value of its staff and intends to keep its people motivated, would attempt to justify extravagant spending on a privileged few at the expense of the rest.


In a 2.0 era, when information is democratised and where employees are increasingly demanded to be more and more self-starting and autonomous, empowering the entire workforce with training seems only natural.


Reserving a large chunk of the training budget for the elite doesn't work for modern business models.


Organisations are no longer pyramid shaped, change now comes from the bottom up (via social networks and internal communities). Traditional hierarchy is fading in to the past to make way for companies which are able to adapt and respond quickly to increasingly competitive market demands.


The frontline of the business is no longer at the top, it is spread far more equally across the organisation and each individual employee must become more responsible, and play their unique and critical role in the business.

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5 Leadership Lessons From the Trenches

5 Leadership Lessons From the Trenches | Serving and Leadership |

In the age of Pinterest and Instagram, 11 years in business seems like a long time. Here's what longevity has taught me.


Forget five things; I could probably write an entire book about all the successes and failures I've encountered since I opened the doors of my e-mail marketing company, VerticalResponse, in 2001.


How we did business back then was vastly different than the way things are now. (For one, this little thing called Facebook didn't even exist!). Customer expectations have changed, and the technology we have available to us is certainly more advanced now.


After 11 amazing years growing my company from four people to now over 110, here are some things I've learned:

Via Gary Morrison
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Charismatic Leadership

Charismatic Leadership | Serving and Leadership |

The charismatic leader is maybe the most thrilling as his leadership skills are usually attributed to robust personality, feats of excellent strength and heroism or divine guidance.


The Charismatic Leader


Most charismatic leaders posses equivalent traits and behavioral characteristics. Several are observed to have virtually supernatural powers and are worshipped by their followers. We see this in A lot of of the far better-recognized evangelical leaders such as the Reverend Billy Graham or Joel Osteen. In addition these leaders tend to create virtually instantaneous trust amongst their followers such as Ghandi or Martin Luther King. Lastly they earn their leadership not since they hold an critical position in a firm or government but simply because of their capacity to attract followers naturally.


The Positive Traits of the Charismatic Leader


Most charismatic leaders are in a position to get other individuals to fully grasp their vision or targets by way of the use of basic stories that every person can fully grasp. And far more importantly, charismatic leadership makes it possible for the followers to clearly see their glorious spot inside this vision so they are a lot more most likely to vigorously defend their leader.


The charismatic leader makes use of his charm, imagination, and inspiration to create a utopian future.

Via Susan Bainbridge
Susan Bainbridge's comment, May 22, 2012 5:08 AM
Glad you liked the post Renee.
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The Second Question

The Second Question | Serving and Leadership |
Image source Managers first ask, “How can we best leverage current resources to achieve desired ends?” The second question is, “What do team members love doing – within the parameters ...


Managers first ask, “How can we best leverage current resources to achieve desired ends?” The second question is, “What do team members love doing – within the parameters of desired ends?”


"People doing things they love aren’t working."


Provide a channel that enables people to do what they love doing. People doing what they love, perform better and stay with organizations longer.


"Great managers keep people doing things they love."


Lousy managers fix and control. Great managers leverage strengths and release. Accept weaknesses as long as they don’t hinder individual strengths or hamper the team.


“The (person) who always knows what people cannot do,but never sees what they can do, will undermine the spirit of the organization.” Drucker


Great teams compensate for each other’s weaknesses. Teams that don’t accept – even laugh about – each other’s weaknesses never achieve great results.


The greatest management skill is finding alignment between things people love doing and the goals of the organization. Managers succeed when they help people employ their best strengths in making meaningful contributions to organizational objectives.

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10 Ways to Eliminate Distractions

10 Ways to Eliminate Distractions | Serving and Leadership |

One of the fundamental principles of productivity is that in order to get things done, you gotta focus.


And that necessary focus requires that you eliminate as many distractions as possible — not always an easy task with the Internet, coworkers and busy phones calling to you from every direction.

Here’s how to block out the Siren’s call of distractions, in 10 steps.

First, let me say that there should be room in your life for distractions. Work should be fun, and without a few distractions, things can get boring.


That being said, when it’s time to do a task, there’s no reason to do it while handling a million other things. You’ll never get things done that way. When you’re ready to work on a task, block out all else, and really focus on it. Do your best on that task, and get it done as quickly as possible. Then reward yourself with distractions.

That’s all easier said than done, I know. So here are 10 of the best ways I’ve found to eliminate distractions and really focus on a task.

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Dishonesty: The Fall Of A Leader

Dishonesty: The Fall Of A Leader | Serving and Leadership |

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about the CEO of Yahoo, Scott Thompson.  He was in the news because he had only been with Yahoo for a short time and already was making major layoffs.  Well, once again he has gotten himself into the spotlight.  This time it is for his dishonesty.


Over the last few months since Scott Thompson took over as CEO, Yahoo has continued to struggle.  In a recent regulatory filing, it was encountered that Scott’s resume erroneously said he had earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science when in fact he only had a degree in accounting. 


What was even worse was that he tried to cover it up by first claiming innocence.  Scott blamed the erroneous resume on the executive search firm.  From there, Wall Street Journal Article Yahoo CEO’s Downfall states, “Ultimately, Mr. Thompson’s comments, some of which were disclosed on tech blogs, angered the search firm, which the CEO didn’t name but which is Heidrick & Struggles International Inc. The firm placed Mr. Thompson as chief technology officer of eBay Inc.’s PayPal unit in 2005. To clear its name, Heidrick struck back by calling Yahoo and showing documents it had received from Mr. Thompson containing his inaccurate biography, said people familiar with the matter.”


In line with my post yesterday, honesty is extremely important.  Ultimately, Scott Thompson’s downfall came because of his dishonesty...

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You're Wired to Be a Leader

You're Wired to Be a Leader | Serving and Leadership |
You were born with seven brain attributes for effective management. How much you turn the volume up or down depends on you--and what you want to accomplish.


Jeff K. is the chief executive of a growing financial services company. So when Warren, a key investor, stopped returning Jeff’s phone calls and emails, Jeff came to me looking for insight.


Jeff, a long-term client of mine at the organizational development firm I founded in 1991 to connect brain research to leadership styles, had worked with me on building his leadership strengths using his unique brain profile for years. I already knew he is very personable and gregarious—and quite successful. He has developed work habits that have served him well for more than 30 years as a business owner.


So I was pretty shocked when Jeff told me he felt he wasn’t effectively communicating his expertise and Warren’s trust was eroding.


We sat down and went over how Jeff’s engrained brain attributes play into his work.


Research tells us that there are seven brain attributes—thinking and behavioral tendencies—every leader naturally takes advantage of to a greater or lesser extent, and finds they’re effective to a greater or lesser extent depending on the traits of the individuals they interact with.


These neural pathways are etched in the brain over many years:...

Via David Hain
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The Most Desirable Leadership Skills and Traits

The Most Desirable Leadership Skills and Traits | Serving and Leadership |

What are the twenty leadership qualities and leadership skills common to most organizations?


You are in for a surprise. I think you'll find this leadership skills list very interesting.


Working with others who inspired us, sometimes it’s hard to put their leadership qualities into words.

Via syednazirrazik
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How to act like a leader? | Peter Borner

How to act like a leader? | Peter Borner | Serving and Leadership |
What impacts the perception of your ability to lead inthose around you?


Often it is the little things that impact how others around you perceive your ability to lead. There are a few basic rules that, in my opinion, go a long way towards helping set the right perceptions:


Be accountable – It is not always possible to get everything right every time.  Playing the blame game is a sure sign that you are not a leader. Wear your Integrity proudly – Always be truthful. Nothing demolishes your credibility like being caught out telling lies, being insincere or simply not being genuine. Once you have lost your credibility, getting it back is an almost impossible task.



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6 Habits of Truly Memorable People

6 Habits of Truly Memorable People | Serving and Leadership |

In order to succeed, almost everyone—whether business owner or employee—must be memorable.


While you don't have to be The Most Interesting Man in the World, being known is one of the main goals of marketing, advertising, and personal branding.


Out of sight is out of mind, and out of mind is out of business.


But if your only goal is to be known for professional reasons, you're missing out. People who are memorable for the right reasons also live a richer, fuller, and more satisfying life. Win-win!


So forget the flashy business cards and personal value propositions and idiosyncratic clothing choices.


Here's how to be more memorable—and have a lot more fun.

Via F. Thunus
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Remarkable Leadership

An inspirational leadership poem by Kevin Eikenberry set to music. It is about leadership and you. Watch and be inspired!

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Three simple steps for staying focused and getting things done

Three simple steps for staying focused and getting things done | Serving and Leadership |
How to use three simple steps to complete your tasks and projects.


There are many things I want to do and I’ve been known to multitask (as recently as last week!). When time seems elusive, it can be easy to get caught in the trap of doing too many things at once.


Fortunately, I have a simple, three step process that helps me focus on one thing at a time and to be more realistic about how much I can actually accomplish.


Here it is:


1. Write a short, specific list

2. Create a realistic and reasonable plan

3. Select a reward


One of the reasons this process works for me is because I enjoy writing to-do lists, and I usually get more done when I hand write them. I like apps like Toodledo (especially since I can set reminders), but I love crossing tasks off on a paper list. Like Erin, sometimes I put things I’ve already done on my list just so I can put a line through them.

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The First Rule Of Leadership

The First Rule Of Leadership | Serving and Leadership |

During the past week and a half my family and I were on a road trip. Whenever we go on road trips my daughter likes to watch movies on the computer while we drive to pass the time. Today, she watched A Bug’s Life.


While she was watching it, there was a line that stuck out to me. There was a point when Flik made a mistake and spilled all the food into the water. Hopper got really mad and went straight to Princess Atta. He began asking Princess Atta what had happened and why the error occurred. Princess Atta claimed she didn’t know what had happened and that it wasn’t her fault. To that Hopper replied, “The first rule of leadership – It’s always your fault!” This is very true!


There are three things a leader should do to be able to take the blame.

Leaders should know what’s going on.

As the leader, you should know what your projects your employees are working on. You should know what their responsibilities are and how well they are keeping up on their projects. You should also know their workload and understand when they are getting overloaded.


It can be a challenge, but as the leader you should be in constant communication with your employees to stay on top of things.

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Long Term Goals: How To Create And Achieve Your Long Term Goal

Long Term Goals: How To Create And Achieve Your Long Term Goal | Serving and Leadership |
Long term goals may be more important to our sense of happiness and well-being than many people come to believe. They direct our actions.


They provide us with a sense of purpose. They even shape our attitude towards objects, people and circumstances that surround us.

In the recent psychological study conducted by Alberta School of Business, researchers made a mind-blowing discovery – once we set a long term goal, our subconscious mind will never “erase” it. No matter where we live, what we do and how old we are, our subconscious will continue actively searching for ways to achieve our long term goals.
Once set in motion this mechanism can not be stopped. Not by multiple failures. Not by negative social conditioning. Not even by your conscious decision to stop trying.

Good news is that you have been programmed for success. Not-so-good news – you will still have to do the work to achieve it, but it is hardly the reason to get discouraged.


Having (and achieving) long term goals actually holds a myriad of life-long rewards.

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
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Character vs. Charisma in Leadership

Character vs. Charisma in Leadership | Serving and Leadership |

Charisma can become a counterfeit for character.  Charisma, defined by Wikipedia as a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others, can help character-based leaders.  When a leader has charisma, their charm inspires others.  Charisma works like an emotional intelligence that enables leaders to be graceful in relationships.


But if that charisma masks the truth, it becomes a counterfeit of character.  Our world is one where image matters.  Character-based leaders try to fix the true person, the source of the inspiration, influence and leadership rather than simply trying to mask it.

Character is what’s truly on the inside – the real you.  If we believe in the power of character-based leadership we won’t substitute charisma. 


Our character will dictate the charisma.  Maybe we’re not very charismatic. 


Character-based leaders don’t need charisma.  Charisma makes a few things easier.  But in the end, true character inspires, especially when bundled with a great idea and excellent execution.  True character creates true influence.


To generate influence through any other means is simply manipulation.


True character creates true influence.

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Whose Opinion Matters

Whose Opinion Matters | Serving and Leadership |

All leaders constantly hear opinions. 


It seems everyone knows what you should do. When I hear advice I’m always asking myself, “Why should I go with your opinion rather than mine? What makes your opinion better than mine?” Some advisors are arrogant and self-centered; others noble and selfless.


Whose opinion matters? In the end, your opinion matters most, even when you adapt to someone else.

Via Richard Andrews
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It Only Takes A Moment To Change The Course Of Your Life

Are you thinking about changing your life? Great example of a simple idea with high visual impact.

Via Ana Cristina Pratas, Gary Morrison
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Leaders …Let Go!

Leaders …Let Go! | Serving and Leadership |

Many days run together in business and as a leader our job is to separate out what we do and what others can do for us …or with us.  The way to do this is to let go. 


Not something that comes easy to leaders; most of whom like the control that comes with the title, especially if it is your name on the outside of the building.


Letting go is hard.  Letting go takes courage. Letting go means planning and following up.  Are you prepared to do this?  It is easier said than done!  What if the task is not done the way you want it? What if the time-lines are not met? 


What if they do it better than you do?  Well, so what?  Think about that for a minute; new ideas, new perspectives, new solutions, the chance to develop someone else – could you ask for more?  And yes – it may take longer to let go and delegate the first few.  The fact is, in order to let go, you need to have the instructions, the explanations,  and the planning come out of your head and into someone else’s. 


Eventually, they will get what you mean.  As time goes along, you will find that the follow up becomes more important and providing feedback and recognition is really where the growth comes in.


The benefits of letting go far outweigh potential issues that can arise.  Let’s look at just a few of the benefits of letting go:...

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What I learned about Leadership from Mountain Biking

What I learned about Leadership from Mountain Biking | Serving and Leadership |
Reviewing the mountain bike ride and think about my own business I learned two lessons about leading and leadership (Brand recognition is building when people who have never met you know who you are.)...


Julio Olazas is his name. He is a mountain bike guide a native from Huaraz, Peru. For the last 17 years, he has offers mountain bike rides in his home town in the highlands of the Andes Mountains. I found Julio on the Internet ( and booked 4 days with him. I don’t regret it.

I just got back from the 4th day biking with Julio. We got a shuttle ride up to 3900 meters above sea where we started our incredible ride in front of an amazing panorama, over 10 glacier covered peaks, over 6000meters high. We ride our Specialized full suspension bikes on single trails through meadows of corn and wheat, along eucalyptus trees, through small villages, uphill and downhill, crossing sheep, pigs and cows. It’s amazing mountain biking experience. The adrenaline kicks in. I am thrilled.


What makes the ride enjoyable is the fact that Julio knows the trails. There are hundreds of small trails, crossings. It’s easy to get lost. But Julio is the local guide and knows exactly where to go, leads the way, shows the direction. I have full trust and follow him with confidence.

Contrary, it wouldn’t be fun if I had to search for the trails on my own, being afraid to get lost, walking back up the hill because I took the wrong turn.

After 3 hours of riding and sweating, we arrive back at the hotel, exhausted, dirt covered, scratches on the legs from the bushes and falling, but happy. It was fun.


Reviewing the mountain bike ride and think about my own business I learned two lessons about leading and leadership:...

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Great Leadership: 3 Ways to Improve Your Positive Intelligence

Great Leadership: 3 Ways to Improve Your Positive Intelligence | Serving and Leadership |

Your mind is your best friend, but it is also your worst enemy, involved in self-sabotage. To illustrate, when your mind tells you that you should prepare for tomorrow’s important meeting, it is acting as your friend, causing positive action. When it wakes you up at 3:00 a.m. anxious about the meeting and warning you for the hundredth time about the many consequences of failing, it is acting as your enemy; it is simply exhausting your mental resources without any redeeming value. No friend would do that. 

Via Kenneth Mikkelsen
John Michel's curator insight, January 16, 2013 7:18 PM

Positive Intelligence is a concept taught at Stanford University designed to help you take control of your thinking so you can mazimize your ability to achieve positive results in all you do. Without a strong foundation of Positive Intelligence, attempts at improving performance or personal fulfillment are analogous to planting elaborate new gardens while leaving voracious snails free to roam. The wise investment is to work to raise Positive Intelligence first. The results are often reported to be gamechanging for the team, and lifechanging for the individual.


John Michel, experienced leader, humanitarian, visioneer, and renown status quo buster, is the author of the ground breaking book, Mediocre Me: How Saying No to the Status Quo will Propel you from Ordinary to Extraordinary. Check out his blog at or drop him a note at

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Em-pa-thy | Serving and Leadership |

How many leaders do you know (yes, please count them and let me know!) have the ability to understand another person's point of view? What happens at your boardroom table when it comes to differing perspectives?


By the age of two, children normally begin to display the fundamental behaviors of empathy by having an emotional response that corresponds with another person. Sometimes, toddlers will comfort others or show concern for them as early as age two.


So, why do adults in the workplace show little or no empathy to others? Many executives seem to have no concern for the people that work with them, in fact, their emotional response sometimes is more like a two year-old having a tantrum. What happened to their cognitive capability for empathy?


by Mary Prefontaine

Via Edwin Rutsch, David Hain
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Boringness: The Secret to Great Leadership

Boringness:  The Secret to Great Leadership | Serving and Leadership |
Until recently, I hadn't really known any great leaders. As a writer, the highest-ranking people I deal with are editors, and they're pretty much just writers who have gotten lazy. The only thing an editor has ever led me into is a bar.


So my images of leadership were based mainly on movies and sports. I figured great leaders did a lot of alpha-male yelling and inspirational speechmaking.


To me, the epitome of leadership was when a baseball player is yelling at the umpire and about to get ejected and his manager runs out to the field to jump in front of him, so he can yell at the umpire and get thrown out of the game instead.


In fact, I always thought baseball-team owners were awful people for not getting on the field in front of both the manager and player and getting ejected in their place. I may have felt this way because my favorite team was owned by George Steinbrenner.

But after spending time with a range of leaders for my new book, Man Made: A Stupid Quest for Masculinity, I learned that my vision of what makes a good leader was all wrong.


I spent hours working alongside fire chiefs, army captains, Boy Scout troop leaders, and others who guide teams. To my surprise, the best of them tended to be quiet listeners who let other people make most of the decisions. They weren't particularly charismatic. Or funny.


They weren't the toughest guys in the pack. They didn't have a Clintonian need to be liked, or a Patton-like intensity. They were, on the whole, a little boring.

Via Susan Bainbridge
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How Far Do You See?

How Far Do You See? | Serving and Leadership |
A quotation by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that challenges us to thing about the future.


In the middle of the NBA playoffs, I found a great quotation from one of the greatest NBA players of all time.   He’s talking about basketball players, but he is really talking to all of us.


Read it for yourself.  Read it as a leader.  Read it as a parent. Read it as a citizen. Go ahead, it’s only two sentences long.


“It’s hard for young players to see the big picture. They just see three or four years down the road.”

- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hall of Fame basketball player


Questions to Ponder How far ahead do I see? In what part of life does this quotation have the most meaning for me? How can I see a bigger picture?

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