Don’t Raise Mushrooms

Shortly after arriving in the new organization, I asked why we were doing certain tasks that didn’t seem to make sense. This was my first job as an airplane mechanic. I was very young, impressionable and quite curious. So I was disappointed when another mechanic told me not to bother asking. He said we were like mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed, well, you get the picture. Was this…

Leadership and Smallpox

Did you know that the smallpox virus is a possible weapon in the fight against cancer? I didn’t. And what does that have to do with leadership anyway? A couple of years ago I was a volunteer judge for the speaking portion of the Health Occupations Student Organization’s contest. One of the young women spoke of this smallpox – cancer connection in her speech, saying that smallpox was being tested…

Leadership Development: A 9-11 Lesson for Team Leaders

As we reflect on the events of September 11, 2001, we remember the shock and horror of that day. But, we should also remember the days that followed. For a time, we put all our differences behind us and united as a single nation with common beliefs. That didn’t mean our differences went away; they didn’t, but we were able to put them aside and concentrate on a common issue.…

Five Leadership Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

No one’s perfect and when the average imperfect individual finds him or herself in a leadership position, there are suddenly many more opportunities to mess up. As the scope of responsibility grows, the likelihood of making mistakes increases. There are five common mistakes leaders make that have nothing to do with the technical aspects of the job. These mistakes are about people. Failing to respect subordinates. This is amazingly common!…

In a toxic work culture? Three thoughts on what to do.

Our leadership students come from many different companies.  Most come from companies with great cultures that take an active interest in their employees and develop them into engaged individuals with a vested interest in organizational success. Others…not so much.  I’ve had a number of students who, unfortunately, worked in environments that could best be described as toxic.  These environments have cultures that foster unethical or toxic behavior; as a result,…