Everybody loves a great story.  Our favorite stories often involve a protagonist who is dealt a bad hand but who manages to rise victoriously above their circumstances because of their remarkable character and unconquerable spirit.  These are stories of a hero’s journey, and are stories that many famous leaders have lived. In our everyday life,…

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I served as the third-in-command in a large branch of a fairly dynamic service organization.  When I recently told my leader that I was transferring to serve as the second-in-command at a different branch of the same service organisation, he told me “Go show them what it means to be a first follower.”  I was…

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Have you ever had a boss who was a complete control freak? The type of boss who just had to have the final say on everything? When I was the director of human resources for a mid-sized construction company, I reported to the Executive Vice President. He was just like that: always insisting that the decision-making…

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I do it all the time. I’ve got too many things to do in too little time, so I’m running around doing the things that seem most urgent at the time. Invariably, I forget something or make a mistake that I wouldn’t normally make. It’s only when I stop to remember a lesson I learned…

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Have you ever known someone who is blissfully unaware of the things they do that grate on everyone else’s nerves? If this person is a co-worker, that may be annoying. But if this person is your boss, their unconscious quirks can easily become the bane of your work life. What’s worse is that their lack…

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Dictators don’t just live in North Korea and Russia. They are alive and well in the corner offices of many companies great and small. Sure, they may not threaten to blow up movie theaters or invade neighboring countries, but corporate dictators do rule their domain through the strategic use of fear and punishment. Here is…

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In the book the 8th Habit, business author Stephen Covey recounted a story told to him by Bill Marriott, founder of the Marriott hotel chain. Bill told Stephen that his son John was working in a hotel that Marriott had just acquired. John went into the hotel kitchen and asked one of the kitchen staff…

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Having the freedom to make our own decisions is one of our most fundamental human needs. It’s like oxygen for the soul. The desire to exercise our agency becomes acutely evident in toddlers as soon as they learn to say the word “no”. It is such a fundamental human need that restricting a person’s ability…

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New Year’s resolutions are usually things you want to start doing to improve yourself, such as working out more, eating more healthy foods, or reading more good books. But when it comes to being a better leader, it’s actually those behaviours that you stop doing that will bring about far more prosperity in the New…

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I used to think that arrogant people were attracted to positions of power because it gave them license to act out their true narcissistic nature. As it turns out, holding a position of power brings out the arrogance in all of us. Dr. Dacher Keltner, a leading researcher on the effects of power, asserts that…

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