PROVE or IMPROVE – My pride in the 9912/15/14
You can make the same shift as 99 students of whom I am greatly proud. They inspire me to make the same choice that I commend to you today. They chose to improve, rather than to prove. I’ve had a 100 undergrads this semester. I […]
Leading — Into the Holidays – 5 Simple Tips
Leaders always lead in context. But context we forget. So, here are 5 simple reminders as our context is shorter days, dropping temperatures, and some mounting pressures. Finish strong by clarifying realistic yet stretch goals. Re-read that sentence...
Leading and Bias
As I thought about Reading for Leading this week, I asked someone, “Is there anything else to say about Ferguson?” They said, “No!” We’re weary, aren’t we? Weary of the ripping story we’ve had with us since the ’60s, since, well since the Civil War,...
5 Things Leaders Do When Emotions Are High
Last week, I noted that any leadership problem that’s worth its salt will have emotion bursting through it. Whether that problem’sa “rebellious teenager,” the Israelis and Palestinians, employee layoffs, or controversial strategy. I asked your...
If Emotional Leadership Isn’t an Oxymoron
A week ago today a 20-year old man was found dead in a fraternity on campus. I felt compelled to touch on it in my leadership class. All sixty of my students write papers weekly that reflect their desire to lead and grow as leaders. […]
Celebrating a Veteran – Questioning our Assumptions
One of the favorite classes I teach is on giving feedback. It’s an art. And it’s a science, whose inner laws were taught me by my friend and mentor Mary Ann Hastings. I keep learning to “paint” with the feedback brush and to refine my […]
Stupid Rules – How to Figure if Yours Are
A “Reading for Leading” reader — I’ll call her Ann — pushed back in a private email to me. She wrote these two paragraphs: In a future newsletter, you may want to distinguish between rules to be broken and those that should be honored. To […]
Why is it so hard to get people to take initiative?
I asked my students this question: “How many times were you told to take a risk or break a rule by a teacher in a classroom?” “Call it out,” I said, and I cupped my hand behind my ear and looked down to concentrate on […]
A Simple Way to Simultaneously Learn More and Strengthen Relationships
I’m reading a great book calledDialogue: The Art of Thinking Together, byWilliam Isaacs who teaches at MIT. (While Harvard has its big name and often big ego), I’ve always admired those MIT folks. They tend to bring an underlying and wonderful...
Why Mistakes Can Be Great – Even Real Whoppers
I had a perfectly good explanation. But I had NO EXCUSE. Professionals don’t show up late when they’re presenting – sufficiently late that the program had to be rearranged. I’d hurried in, plugged in my deck and was ready to go in 30 seconds, but […]
A Story of Human, Humbling, H-Amazing Everyday Leadership
Longtime readers ofReading for Leadingknow that I tell (perhaps way too many) stories from my own experiences leading. Specifically, leading in the place that matters most to me — leading my children. I take consolation in the fact that I try to be...
Practice Leading Where It Matters Most
For the moment the furor has died down. NFL players who abused their girl friends, spouses or children have been rightly suspended. For the moment my furor has died down. Once again last week I said things to one of my family members I wished […]
Leadership and Seventh Grade – Are You Ready
At the beginning of every class, I literally throw Kudos to students. (Tragically M&M Mars is discontinuing the not-so-tasty food bar, so I’m open to suggestions of new prize tosses.) I especially look for new insights or for people going outside the...
How You Can You Make Democracy Work – At Work
At the end I share 5 quick things to do to make your workplace more democratic. But, first, are you sold on it? And does your organization need it? Do people still not get the power of a democratic workplace? I arrived early for my […]
Where Leaders Don’t Hang Out and Maybe They Should…
…At the Notre Dame vs Michigan Game, that’s where!… (leaders don’t hang out and maybe should). The few thousands of my fellow Michigan fans — among the tens of thousands of Irish fans — were sour and only soured more. By the end of the […]
Bring Confucius to Confusion
Last week I started teaching my undergraduate leadership course. I gave all the students a blue 3×5 index card and a gold one. “Write a blue card if something made you feel the blues in here,” I told them, “and a gold if something madeyou […]
Leaders Question Lines
I begin today’s brief blog in a plane at 36,997 feet above the earth, specifically above Yellow Knife, Northwest Territories. I’m mesmerized by the dynamic map on the monitor in front of me. It’s made up of shades of: greens, blues, browns, and a lot...
Are You Mature? Test Yourself.
Back in the day (about 5th grade, as I recall, yet heading forward towards high school), we spent a lot of time putting other people down. Sometimes it was public. Most times it was when you were walking to school, from a game, or milling […]
Bosses Forget They Have Permanent Megaphones
My friend Miss Take – the professor of the school of lessons-from-experience — taught me a good one again this week. It was a “dad mistake,” but reminiscent of “boss mistakes” I’ve seen and boss mistakes I’ve made. In short, I forgot that central...
How to Purify Your Power for Good Leadership
In 1985 When Ron Heifetz taught me about “systems thinking,” I realized that leaders have a scary power to inadvertently use group power to ignore, blame or even punish victims, and marginalize the most outspoken for raising difficult issues — issues...
- Lansing, MI