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Four Steps to Leader Awareness – Hard lessons learned from flight operations

We were on final for a practice bombing run 300 feet above the Arizona desert going about 540 knots (620 mph). The plane was an F-16D which is a two-seat trainer version of the F-16C Falcon.  My back-seater was a flight surgeon logging mandatory air time and who was blissfully unaware how close he would come to dying that day.  What followed was a lesson-learned that has stuck with me…

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What’s the Best Leadership Style

Leaders often ask what sort of leadership style is appropriate. Authoritarian or relaxed? Different style for different people or always treat everyone the same? Years ago, Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard published their Situational Leadership model, suggesting a leader should adopt a style that is appropriate to a follower’s ability and willingness to do a task. Seems simple enough, but what does that mean for the leader. In order to…

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Dealing with Toxic Team Members

In workshop discussions concerning conflict management, inevitably the subject of dealing with “toxic” individuals comes up. I maintain that if you have toxic individuals on your team, you normally don’t have a conflict problem, you have a values problem. We’ve talked about workplace culture before but, in my experience, few things destroy attempts to build a positive culture more than allowing toxic behavior to go unchecked. That old adage my…

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I Want to be on That Team

Employee engagement is a concept that gets a lot of press these days. Leaders wring their hands about low levels of engagement and experts offer all kinds of actions and formulas that will fix the problem. All that angst isn’t really necessary, as engagement is a pretty simple concept. Few people are looking for brass bands and constant strokes. They just want to feel that what they do is important…

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Five Ways to Encourage Conflict on Your Team

Have you noticed a lack of social civility these days? Everywhere I look it seems people have self-selected into various camps and are not interested in what anyone else has to say. It seems impossible to have a civilized discussion on anything beyond the weather. This situation is affecting young people too. You know, the ones who may be joining your team soon. We hear of colleges who refuse to…