I once worked with a VP of Operations who found it nearly impossible to praise the people who reported to him for doing good work.  Don’t get me wrong, he was a super nice guy.  In fact, he possessed the rare combination of a good natured, humble personality and an almost genius level IQ.  But…

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The annual performance review is widely believed to be the least popular practice in business.  An artifact from post WWII corporate America, performance reviews have been described as a “rite of corporate kabuki.”  Stanford University professor and leadership author Bob Sutton says that doing performance evaluations well is like “doing blood-letting well — it is…

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In my previous article on How To Cure A Passive-Aggressive Culture, I made the case that the essence of leadership is to “go before” and guide others to a destination.  The way leaders guide others is by constantly pointing to the destination and providing frequent feedback about how well individual efforts are moving the team…

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Few leaders have earned a reputation for being an exceptional talent developer… but they’re out there.  You may have heard of some of them.  In professional football, 20 of the NFL’s 32 head coaches trained under Bill Walsh or under someone in his coaching tree. In hedge funds, Julian Robertson, the founder of the investment firm…

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What do you think is the most important thing you can do to become a more effective, successful leader?  I often ask this question to leaders at all levels who attend my leadership training workshops.  I usually hear answers like, “improve my strategic thinking”, “become more persuasive”, and “be more motivational.”  These are all reasonable…

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Most business leaders believe that the key to rapid organic growth lies in the next big product, the newest feature, a unique service offering, or cost savings from the latest process improvement that will lure new customers.  In their pursuit of growth, business leaders frequently forget that it’s five times more expensive to attract new…

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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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The Denver Broncos are a championship team for a lot of reasons. Over the last several decades, they have made numerous trips to the Super Bowl led by great quarterbacks (John Elway and Peyton Manning, for instance). But any championship team will tell you that they couldn’t have done it without their coach. Championship coaches,…

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Possibly one of the least effective questions you can ask a candidate who is interviewing for a management position is “Tell me about your leadership style.” It’s just inviting the candidate to pluck the answer from the fantasy land of his/her mind. And inevitably the candidate will say something like “I believe in empowering my…

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Employees are all addicted to a chemical that is in short supply. When they get enough of it, their focus is sharper, their attitudes are better, and they become more motivated to carry out their manager’s requests. And best of all, it’s completely legal for managers to dole it out by the bucket-full. The chemical…

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