Recent Blog Posts

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, April 16th, 2019

"In the days of Glassdoor, Twitter, and other fast-moving social media, reputations build quickly and can be hard to change. We've seen seemingly minor missteps torpedo careers. It's a lot easier to avoid these behaviors than having to clean up your reputation after. Among the top missteps to avoid:

  • Being rude to receptionists, administrative assistants, and other people of perceived lower status. They will go out of their way to tell all their friends that you're someone to avoid.
  • Acting like a sycophant toward those in power. Confident leaders treat a CEO and a janitor with equal respect and graciousness.
  • Being disrespectful or annoying others in small but habitual ways.
  • Blowing up or losing your temper in front of people - especially those who you see rarely. Virtual teams and long-distance relationships are tough; every interaction is interpreted in the most paranoid light. Fraught interactions linger.
  • Ignoring or patronizing a colleague's spouse or children at an event.
  • Poor judgement in social media. Assume that anything you ever email, tweet, or put anywhere in social media will be seen by potential employers (p. 246-248)."


What other misteps can you think of that contribute to a bad reputation?

From: Botelho, E. L; & Powell, K.R. (2018). The ceo next door: the four behaviors that transform ordinary people into world-class leaders. New York: Currency.

By: Beth Flynn, Friday, April 05th, 2019

Dr. Emily Buck, Co-Director of the OSU Leadership Center and professor at Ohio State, says that her best leadership advice is “be willing to continue to learn from those around you”.  

Buck has been fortunate to experience this kind of positive mentorship on a personal level throughout her professional journey through her friend and mentor Kris Boone, director of Ohio State ATI.  

“She was the department chair in Agricultural Communication for a long time at Kansas State and was one of the only female faculty members in Agricultural Communication for quite a while,” Buck said. “I have always looked up to her, and she’s someone that I still reach out to periodically.” 

Buck has enjoyed additional recent opportunities which have allowed her to further develop as a leader, including a national leadership program for faculty in agricultural colleges. She also enjoys reading books and blogs to sharpen her knowledge, and has several colleagues that she meets with regularly to share ideas.  

Buck said that she has always enjoyed finding ways to encourage others and help them reach their full potential, and she enjoys seeing this passion come to life both in the classroom and at the Leadership Center. In the classroom, Buck loves getting to know students and watching them succeed in the variety of paths that they pursue after graduation. In her role at the Leadership Center, Buck has enjoyed being a part of re-branding and re-organizing, both in a visual/design sense and in terms of organizational structure.  

“We’re continually honing our skill sets and what we offer to create a better product for those around us,” Buck said.  

One quality Buck believes every leader should possess is humility. She stressed the importance of recognizing when you may not be the best person to carry out a specific task, and being willing to help find that person on your team during those times to ensure that everyone is successful.  

She added that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and letting others step up allows us to observe their unique skills and talents and appreciate them even more.  


Written by Courtney Fulton







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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, April 02nd, 2019
  1. “Assess individual strengths and behavioral preferences
  2. Select members using a plan to complement strengths and fill gaps to achieve balance and synergy
  3. Develop a charter, define roles, and align on the most important goals and rewards
  4. Proactively create an environment in which teammates can learn about each other personally to better understand their formative life experiences, what drives them, and ultimately build trust
  5. Establish a cadence of team training that incorporates real-world and mission critical challenges and obstacles
  6. Define lead and lag success metrics as well as a process to monitor progress
  7. Establish feedback mechanisms and norms for making decisions and holding one another accountable
  8. Clarify needed support from stakeholders
  9. Finalize rules of engagement and execute
  10. Course-correct via team work session (p. 56-57).”

What suggestions do you have to build a high performance team?

Rake, J. (2018). The bridge to growth: how servant leaders achieve better results and why it matters more than ever.  New York: Skyhorse Publishing.

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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, March 26th, 2019
  • "Individuals talk openly about their strengths and their weaknesses.
  • People offer both support and challenge in meetings, clarifying intention and asking questions without appearing judgmental.
  • People know more about each other than just their names.
  • There are references to people's lives outside the workplace (images, artwork, etc.).
  • People seem to assume positive intent with one another.
  • Competition is focused on winning in the market or against the competition rather than internally.
  • Team leaders and people managers walk the talk.
  • Talking to is balanced with listening to.
  • People admit mistakes and discuss learning (p. 172-173)."

What are some additional characteristics of trust-based relationships?


From:  Carrick, M. & Dunaway, C. (2017). Fit matters: how to love your job. Palmyra, VA: Maven House Press.


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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

 “Build skill in perceptive engagement, the capacity to take another person’s perspective and discern what would be helpful.

  • Cultivate capacity for attunement, which involves being aware of another person while simultaneously staying in touch with our own somatic senses and experiences. It heightens our sense of interconnection.
  • Develop empathic listening, the capacity to tune in to feelings of concern as we hear another person’s perspectives and experiences. It allows us to be present without needing to fix, solve, or intervene.
  • Foster mindfulness, an awareness of changing conditions in ourselves and others on a moment-to-moment basis. It helps us to remain calm and steady in the face of suffering - our own as well as that of others.
  • Empathy at work helps us to ‘feel our way forward’ together and motivates compassion (p. 123-124).”

What are you doing to encourage empathy in your organization?

From: Worline, M.C., & Dutton, J.E. (2017). Awakening compassion at work. Oakland CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Do ethical leaders influence their employees’ attitudes and behaviors? The answer is a resounding yes. Being an ethical leader is an important end in itself because it is simply the right thing to do to try to live in accordance with one’s values. But it also has tangible benefits for both employees and leaders. Research demonstrates that when employees view their leader as ethical, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and report greater commitment to their organization. Employees are also more likely to view their work as important and meaningful. Ethical leaders influence their employees’ behavior too. Ethical leaders promote behavior that is desirable, but not required by one’s job description, that aims to help others in the organization. Employees who are led by ethical leaders are less likely to engage in unethical behaviors, ranging from a minor indiscretion such as being late to a serious criminal offense such as stealing large sums of money. Finally, when employees report that their leader is ethical, they actually perform better on the job.

Why are ethical leaders so effective in influencing their employees? One explanation relates to the norm of reciprocity, which governs much of human behavior. It prescribes that when one person is treated well by another, they are obliged to reciprocate with positive behavior. Another explanation is that when employees are led by ethical leaders, they are more likely to identify with their group and organization, subsequently behaving in ways to help the collective. A final explanation is that employees often look to their work environment to determine the appropriate way to behave. Ethical leaders serve as role models, and employees learn how to act in their group or organization. Because ethical leaders engender reciprocity, an increased sense of identity, and serve as models for appropriate conduct, employees are more likely to feel good about their job and act in ways that serve the leader and the organization (p. 153-155).”

What are some ways that leaders demonstrate their ethics?



From: Dutton, J.E., & Spreitzer, G.M. (2014). How to be a positive leader: small actions, big impact. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, March 05th, 2019

"The first way that gratitude makes us resilient is that it keeps us hopeful. Gratitude is a game of contrasts. Our circumstances look a certain way; then something happens to improve them. Gratitude happens when we take notice of the distance between the two. Suddenly, we have something to be thankful for. That process teaches us something critical about life. While our circumstances might be bad, they can also get better. And our stories prove it to us again and again. Gratitude keeps us positive, optimistic, and able to keep coming back for more when life throws obstacles in our way.

Next, gratitude reminds us we have agency. Because gratitude involves giving thanks for what others have done for us, this might seem counterintuitive. But that's an illusion. You know what they say about unopened gifts. If we didn't use our agency to receive and act on what others have done for us, we wouldn't have benefitted.

Gratitude also improves our patience. A lot of times we take the easy way out because we're impatient. Achieving big goals takes time and effort. We're apt to cut corners or bail when we face difficulties. Thankfully, gratitude can keep us in the game (p. 119-120)."

What are ways that you show gratitude?


From: Hyatt, M. (2018). Your best year ever: a 5-step plan for achieving your most important goals. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.


By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, February 26th, 2019
  • "They are on time for meetings, for planes, for phone calls.
  • They make individual commitments (who is taking what actions by when) clear in meetings.
  • They follow up on agreed-upon actions religiously.
  • They make lists (to do, to read, mistakes, people to keep in touch with, useful resources, etc.) - and put those lists into action.
  • They are aware of their mood, words, and actions in their interactions with their teams - are their actions and words having the desired effect?
  • They keep the people who need to know in the loop, so that no one drops the ball (p.125-126)."

What other successful leadership habits would you like to add?

From: Botelho, E. L; & Powell, K.R. (2018).  The ceo next door: the four behaviors that transform ordinary people into world-class leaders.  New York: Currency.

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By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
  • Personalize recognition. Individuals, not groups, do work.
  • Make recognition motivating, not embarrassing, for star performers. Make those recognized part of an elite group - don't focus on the solo star.
  • Keep recognition a surprise, not routine. When employees become conditioned to expect rewards, they feel disappointed when they aren't acknowledged.
  • Make it clear why the person deserves recognition. Praise the specific performance, skill, judgment, expertise, or accomplishment.
  • Share stories with your group to help them understand the impact of their work on both internal and external customers. Show them that their work makes a difference!
  • Make the recognition personal and heartfelt.
  • Vary the reward (p. 116-117)."

What do you do to recognize your employees?

From: Booher, D. (2017). Communicate like a leader: connecting strategically to coach, inspire, and get things done. Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.

By: Beth Flynn, Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

"If you don't love it, you'll never be great at it. If you don't love it, you won't work to overcome all the challenges to keep doing it. If you love what you do, you won't quit when the world says you should. You will continue to show up every day, do the work, and discover that success is not created by other people's opinions. It's not created by what the media and fearful news says. It's not created by any of the circumstances outside you. It's created by the love you have inside you - love for what you do, for your team, for the organization you serve, and for the world you want to change. The love and grit you possess on the inside will create the life you experience on the outside.

Love powers grit, and it also powers you over fear. I've heard it said that fear is the second most powerful force in the universe because it's the one thing that can keep us from our vision, goals, and dreams. Thankfully, there's a force more powerful than fear, and it is love. People think that fear is strong and love is weak, but love is more powerful than fear. We don't run into burning buildings because of fear. We do it because of love. Love is the antidote to fear. Love casts out fear so where there is love, fear dissipates (p. 222-223)."

Do you love your job?  Please share why you love what you do.

From: Gordon, J. (2017). The power of positive leadership: how and why positive leaders transform teams and organizations and change the world. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons.