OSU Leadership Center

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Recent Blog Posts

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

“When it comes to knowing yourself, you are likely to have some blind spots.  We all do.  Unfortunately, not seeing ourselves accurately can have negative consequences.  We may over-estimate our performance and then are surprised when we are passed over for promotion.  Even when the outcomes are not as consequential, we miss opportunities to change our behavior.  Underestimating our performance can also be detrimental.  We may have done well in others’ eyes, but having a low image of our performance can cause us unnecessary stress and may make us take actions that preclude opportunities that could have been open to us.

Fortunately, there is a way we can improve our self-knowledge. This is called ‘mindfulness’ – paying attention to our current experiences without evaluating them.  Being mindful without evaluating ourselves has two advantages: it gives us more and higher-quality information about ourselves and it overcomes our natural tendency to protect our ego (p. 38-39).”

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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, October 18th, 2016
  1. "Be a good coach.
  2. Empower your team and don't micromanage.
  3. Express interest in team members' success and personal well-being.
  4. Don't be a sissy.  Be productive and results oriented
  5. Be a good communicator and listen to your team.
  6. Help your employees with career development.
  7. Have a clear vision and strategy for the team.
  8. Have key technical skills so you can help advise the team (p. 72-73)."
From: Hurwitz, M. & Hurwitz, S. (2015).  Leadership is half the story: a fresh look at followership, leadership, and collaboration.  Guelph, Ontario: University of Toronto Press.
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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, October 04th, 2016

“You are a unique human being, and there is no one else like you in the world.  You have unique gifts, talents, and perspectives that you bring to your relationships with others.  You have experience and knowledge that position you to make the world a better place. 

Consider all of the roles you play in the work you do and the life you lead.  Think about the difference your efforts have made to your networks over the course of a lifetime.

Your belief in yourself can form a steady cadence that drives your movement through this world.  It can help you honor yourself: your inner courage, your willingness to take risks and open doors, your ability to be vulnerable and extend forgiveness.  It can put up a strong barrier between you and those who would ask you to compromise your inner spirit and what you know to be right.

Your belief in yourself can illuminate your way forward when you’re surrounded by uncertainty or confusion.  When you believe that you are a naturally caring person, that you want to do the right thing, and that you are on a search to become the best version of yourself (p. 186-188).”

What are two gifts/talents that make you unique?

From: Reina, D. and Reina, M. (2015).  Trust and betrayal in the workplace: building effective relationships in your organization. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

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Tags: talent, Leader, leaders, leadership, workplace, supervisor, managers
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By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
  1. "Credibility: the power derived from your professional standing and expertise.
  2. Character: the underlying traits, values and beliefs that shape your behavior.
  3. Presence: the impact you create and the feelings you stimulate when people meet you.
  4. Position: the roles you play and how you maneuver yourself into the limelight.
  5. Connections: the network of relationships you have around you and your work.
  6. Skills: those exceptional abilities you have that enable you to get things done.
  7. Agenda: the issues and priorities you focus your leadership attention on (p. 29)."
From: Gautrey, C. (2014).  Influential leadership: a leader's guide to getting things done.  London:  Kogan Page.


By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
"In today's collaborative teams, it's not always the manager taking on the leadership role; sometimes it's another team member.  The key is that leadership, regardless of who is doing it, is shifting more toward focusing on people than process.
In an environment where everyone can take on the leadership role, leaders don't dangle carrots and prod with sticks.  Leaders don't delegate.  Leaders don't get involved in assigning work or choosing people for teams.  The role is not so much to evaluate, rate, rank, review, differentiate, and recommend for promotion.  Rather, the leadership job is to coach, chart the path, clear the path, and help people have awesome experiences in the process.  It involves a lot of communicating, a lot of emphasis on goals, being clear on priorities, erring to 'yes,' and attention to the people side of things.  It means taking personal responsibility for continually advancing your people skills (p. 36)." 
What advice can you give about how leaders can focus on people, not just processes?
From: Hurwitz, M. & Hurwitz, S. (2015).  Leadership is half the story: a fresh look at followership, leadership, and collaboration.  Guelph, Ontario: University of Toronto Press.
By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
"Today, take a good old-fashioned recess in the middle of the day.  Go ahead and do your hardest or most dreaded work - or whatever you need to do - but after about sixty or ninety minutes of focused attention, honor your ultradian rhythms and take a break.  Rest.

What do you find relaxing or rejuvenating?  Is there an article you've been wanting to read for fun?  Does your most vivid fantasy involve a nap?  Do you want to spend a few minutes looking at pictures of pretty living rooms on Pinterest?  Perhaps you long to go outside into the great outdoors and let the sun shine on your face.  Just do it.  The only rule is what you do during recess must be restful or playful; it can't be 'instrumental' in any way.  Anything that you have to do anyway (shower, eat lunch) doesn't count, and neither does anything that exists on a to-do list anywhere.
Have fun (p. 50)."
What is one fun thing you are willing to commit to do to take a recess at work?
From:  Carter, C.; (2015).  The sweet spot: how to find your groove at home and work.  New York: Ballantine Books


By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
Effective leaders typically do the following (among other actions).
  • Have a clear vision for the future
  • Set direction
  • Inspire others to follow them
  • Enable greatness in others
  • Are able to mobilize teams and resources to deliver against that vision
  • Create followership through trust, respect and loyalty, among other things (p. 25-26)."


What additional items would you add to this list about effective leadership?  
From: Richardson, T. (2015).  The responsible leader: developing a culture of responsibility in an uncertain world.  London:  Kogan Page.
By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, September 28th, 2016
"Maybe you are the person with that burning passion to do well.  You come in early, are the last to leave, and haven't taken off a day or weekend since you started.  While you'd planned to scale back after you got the promotion or when the project was finished, you never did.  Consequently, it's five or ten or fifteen years later and you are burned out.
Face it.  You are a workaholic, or perhaps this sounds like someone you know.  No desire to hang out with friends much less expand your network.  Permanently stressed.  No longer performing at your best.  And it's become a chronic situation.
Exhaustion, frustration, lack of energy, and sleep deprivation are all signs that more demands and less resources have gotten the best of you.  In order to overcome the blahs, consider the following advice from Manfred Kets De Vries at INSEAD: take relaxation seriously, cultivate a rich non-work life, and consider unplugging (p. 131)."
What advice do you have to overcome the workday blues?
From: Willyerd, K.; Mistick, B.; Grenny, J. (2015).  Stretch: how to future-proof yourself for tomorrow's workplace.  Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
By: Beth Flynn, Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

"Leaders of organizations must be willing to create team-friendly environments for teams to function effectively.  This means that they must do the following:

  1. Identify the kinds of work activities for which teamwork is likely to prove essential to accomplish the task.
  2. Use the structure of the organization to reinforce team membership in accomplishing the organization's goals.
  3. Select team members on the basis of clear criteria for team membership.
  4. Train managers and team members on the dynamics of effective teams and team leadership.
  5. Reward team members for team performance.
  6. Set aside time for teams to be involved in regular team-building activities.
  7. Help teams develop a competency at team building.
  8. Use appropriate technologies, particularly in the case of virtual teams, to communicate, solve problems, and make decisions.
  9. Periodically review team performance, even if there are no apparent problems.
  10. Provide support to help managers and team leaders improve team performance (p. 270-272)."
What do you do create a team-friendly environment at your workplace?
From: Dyer, W., Dyer, J.H., and Dyer, W.G. (2013).  Team building: proven strategies for improving team performance.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
By: Beth Flynn, Monday, August 22nd, 2016

"Being persistent means that when things get in the way, as they will, you will find a way of overcoming them.  If people knock you down, as they will, you are able to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and return to your path.  It also means that when doubts creep into your mind, as they will, you are able to listen to their message without being distracted from your purpose.

At its best, persistence allows you to remain open to new ideas because you want to keep learning. If you are persistent, you will seek opportunities to bring people towards your purpose, even if that means modifying your route or some of the details along the way.  You hold true to your purpose (p. 260)."

Think of a time when you were persistent.  What outcomes did you have?

From: Gautrey, C. (2014).  Influential leadership: a leader's guide to getting things done.  London:  Kogan Page.