What does a leader do when stuck with a poor performer?

The change of command was over and as the new commander I would soon be meeting my new staff. Truth was, I had been the operations officer, the second-in-command, and knew the staff fairly well. I also knew that I was inheriting what I was certain was the worst secretary in the US Air Force.  As the new boss, by gosh, I was going to do something about that! I…

How to be an Assertive Leader

In a recent interview on CNBC, Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo talked about a meeting with Steve Jobs where Jobs told her “If you really feel strongly about something — if you don’t like something people are doing — throw a temper tantrum. Throw things around, because people have got to know that you feel strongly about it.” For some reason that worked for Jobs, but such childish behavior is…

Are You Doing to Your Team What Drives You Crazy?

One of the most common sources of information on how to be a leader comes from observation of previous leaders. For many this is often the only source and it is very natural to emulate what we see. An exercise we use in our leadership development workshops is creating a Good Leader and Bad Leader list. Participants create a list of good and bad leadership traits, based on their own…

The Glass is Always Full

You’ve probably heard the question before; is the glass half empty or half full? It’s the wrong question. It’s better to ask, what the glass is full of. Unless it’s in a vacuum, the glass, or any container, is always full of something. Even the glass that is filled halfway with liquid is still full. The rest of the volume is taken up with air, dust, and other things you…

Are You Coachable?

The pile of boulders called Little Round Top is one of the most visited spots on the Gettysburg battlefield. It was there on July 2, 1863 that a thirty-four year old professor of rhetoric and his volunteer soldiers defended the vulnerable left flank of the Federal Army against repeated rebel assaults. When the menace was greatest and the enemy threatened to crush his line, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain led his men…