Recent Blog Posts

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)." 
 
Question:
 
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)."
 
Question:
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)."

Question:

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)."
 
Question:
 
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.

 

By: Beth Flynn, Monday, August 22nd, 2016
  • "Avoid sweeping statements.  Words such as 'always' and 'never' only make people angry, and defensive.
  • Focus on major responsibilities and performance standards.
  • Ask recipients to identify causes of performance problems.
  • Provide feedback frequently.
  • Discuss behaviors or results, not the person.
  • Specify what needs to be done.
  • Use both positive and negative feedback.
  • Coach rather than judge.
  • Fit feedback to the individual (p. 126)."

What other hints for giving feedback do you have?

From: London, M. (2014). The power of feedback.  New York: Routledge Publishers  

 

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, August 02nd, 2016

"As a leader, you will likely be required to compromise on some issues. You will have to take a stand or have a position about various subjects. You should have a clear understanding of those things on which you are unwilling to compromise. That is a natural part of leadership. And it is your job as a leader to build the best culture you can - one that is productive, collaborative, flexible, and fair, and delivers results that matter.

As part of this, you may find a few areas in which you are unwilling to compromise. These usually center on your core values. The likelihood is that you can act out of your core values in a variety of ways without having to compromise them (p. 32)." 

From: Tobin, T. (2015).  Your leadership story: use your story to engergize, inspire and motivate.  Oakland, CA: BerrettKoehler Publishers.

What are some of the areas (core values) that you will are unwillling to compromise?

 

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, July 26th, 2016
From: Dyer, W., Dyer, J.H., and Dyer, W.G. (2013).  Team building: proven strategies for improving team performance.  San Francisco: Jossey-Bass


"Do you have what it takes to create an innovative team?  An organization's most valued leaders are those who lead innovative teams - teams that generate and implement valuable new product, process, and strategy ideas.
So what are the characteristics of leaders - and teams - who excel at innovating?
  • A leader with strong innovation skills who leads by example and creates a safe space for others to shine instead of dominating them
  • Team members who possess a complementary mix of innovation and execution skills, as well as complementary expertise in multiple functions and knowledge domains
  • Team processes that explicitly encourage, support, and even require team members to engage in questioning, observing, networking, experimenting, and associational thinking as they hunt for creative solutions to problems
When a team has all of these qualities, it has the capacity to become an innovation lighthouse for an organization.  To realize this role, though, requires a leader fully capable of leading an innovative team (p. 183-184)."
 
What are some ideas you have about how to be an innovative leader?

 

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, July 19th, 2016
From: Ellis, C.D. (2013).  What it takes: seven secrets of success from the world's greatest professional firms.  San Francisco:  Wiley.
 
"In an old story, a pilgrim came to the construction site for what would become Chartres Cathedral and asked the stonecutters what they were doing.  One tersely said, 'Squaring this stone.'  Another proudly said, 'Squaring this stone to build a strong wall for a major building.' And the third, with joy in his heart, said with a wide smile, 'Building a great cathedral to honor the glory of God!' With which stonecutter would you want to work (p.5)?"
 
With which stonecutter would you want to work?
 
Which character in this story represents you?
 
 
 

 

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Tags: work, workers, leadership, leaders, management
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