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Looking Back: Some of our most Popular Leadership Articles

With all of the new subscribers we’ve been picking up I thought it was a good time for a look back at a few of our most popular articles. Enjoy!

Civilian or military, leadership rests on the same basics

A good leader doesn’t have to bark orders to get good work from their team

Cracking the whip yields only short-term results and even children often get resentful when the only reason for doing something is, “Because I said so.”  The days of command-and-control leadership are over!

All the way back in 1879, Gen. John Schofield told the graduating class at West Point that, “The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an army...” Unfortunately, some executives still think that leadership means barking orders, and many a frontline supervisor is fond of fear, sarcasm and ridicule as the motivational tools of choice. Maybe that’s the environment they saw as they came up through the ranks and they are emulating the only models they know. But if you want your organization to sustain peak performance, you must break that cycle.

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Three Secrets to Being an Influential Leader

Influence: the ability to affect the behavior of others.

Is influence one of your leadership skills? With the trend toward virtual teams and matrixed organizations, leaders often find themselves in a position where they don’t feel they have real authority. Years ago I was in a leadership position in which I was responsible for supporting many other organizations across the country. My team was also expected to enforce certain standards and requirements. What made the job especially challenging was that the position came with no real authority. None of the organizations reported to me and I had very little ability to cause them to do anything they didn’t want to do. How was this going to work?

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Leadership 101: Planes, Bombs, and…Leader Awareness?

We were on final for a practice bombing run 300 feet above the Arizona desert going about 540 knots (620 mph). My back-seater was blissfully unaware how close he would come to dying that day.  What followed was a lesson-learned that has stuck with me in the years since that I nearly didn’t get to enjoy…

Leaders are usually managers as well, and things do demand their time. But if we focus too much on the stuff, we run the risk of missing something important in the leadership situation. For most of us, leadership is a learned skill, not an innate talent. Just as a pilot practices flying AND doing the mission, so too must leaders practice staying aware while attending to their other duties.

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Leadership 101: Team Dynamics and the New Hire

“I’m not sure about that new guy. He doesn’t seem to be fitting in and doesn’t seem to know what he’s doing. Why’d you hire him?” Ever have someone walk into your office and say something like this? Ever find yourself wondering why a new person on the team isn’t fitting in? On-boarding a new hire can be stressful. In teams that are well-established and performing well, the stress can be even greater.

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