Archive for the ‘authenticity’ Category

Your Title is NOT an Exemption

September 1, 2009 3 comments

Nothing frustrates employees more than supervisors, and particularly an org’s top leaders, who feel as though they are above the standards they set for others.  Managers who think this routinely drop the ball on projects, see a high turnover of staff, and often wonder why the team isn’t performing to its potential.

Examples I’ve personally experienced include:

  • asking subordinates to work late on a Friday to meet a deadline… and promptly leaving at 3:15 for “coffee”… and not coming back to the office until Monday at 10am.
  • scheduling “mandatory” meetings to get a project moving forward, only to schedule something else at the same time and attempt to play double-duty in both meetings. (Please don’t ever attempt to “run” meetings you don’t plan to attend!!)
  • making every request seem like a critical fire that needs immediate attention… and you work your butt off only to find out that it was only critical b/c the boss dropped the ball a few weeks ago by not passing the information along to the team at the appropriate time.

Read more from LeadStar:

Lead Star | News and Insights | On Our Minds | Title is Not an Exemption



Handling a promotion | IT Leadership |

August 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Recently promoted and ready to make some changes

I was recently promoted and now oversee the team that I’ve been a part of for 3 years. I’m glad to have the opportunity and want to make some changes of responsibility to increase our overall results. Additionally I know this isn’t going to sit well with a couple of individuals who will feel that they’ve lost some of their power (which is true). I want these changes to be as well received as possible and don’t want to create a bunch of negativity which might have the opposite effect. Suggestions?

– Cheryl in Sarasota, CA

This kind of problem is my favorite, because it’s all about human beings, and it can be resolved quickly, unlike a profit shortfall or major technical failure, both of which would usually require a lot of money, time, and committee meetings.

There are many books on the topic of leadership, but they go in and out of fashion with the frequency of teen girls’ clothing trends. I rarely come across one with real “nuts and bolts” tips to help someone move smoothly into a new job, but I think Kenneth Blanchard’s Leadership and the One Minute Manager holds up well even 10 years after it was written. It may provide you with some inspiration.

In most management situations, a lot of the hassles can be avoided if the boss would just take some time to treat team members with a little dignity and empathy. Unfortunately, most bosses are not that mentally honest. They avoid having the “tough discussions” hoping that people will get over it. But, that just makes things worse.

I suggest that you deal with this potential issue head-on: That means laying the groundwork and doing some pro-active damage control before making the general announcement. Schedule a time to talk one-on-one with those who are going to lose some of their scope. Let them understand that it’s non negotiable, but that you still value them and want their suggestions about how they could make the best contributions going forward. You might be surprised with their suggestions; some may even be really good.

Importantly, by talking to them beforehand, you show that you’ve got leadership skills and aren’t afraid to face challenging issues. Others will hear about what you did, and it will reinforce your new role. You’ll feel good about how you dealt with it, which will make you stronger. It’s a circle-of-success thing.

Congratulations on the promotion Cheryl. And now, as you’ve realized, it’s time to show why you deserve this new leadership role.


If you have a leadership question or need some advice on a leadership topic, email John at with “Leadership Coach” as your subject line.

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion dollar organizations and launching start-ups in both the U.S. and Canada. The author of two published books, he is frequently seen providing advice on TV, in magazines, and newspapers.

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Show ‘Em Your Inner Rockstar

One of the most powerful things a leader can do to build a strong organizational culture is to just be himself. For us lucky Double-Take employees, we have a great example at the top of our organization.

Four or five times a year, Double-Take Software CEO Dean Goodermote makes a drastic wardrobe change to entertain his clients. His necktie is replaced with love beads. His suit is replaced with a tight, sleeveless T-shirt, capri pants and bright orange-and-blue sneakers – an homage to the company colors.

Cluster-Funk at Tech Ed from DBTK on Vimeo.

Read more about ClusterFunk’s rockstar performance last night at the Conga Room in Los Angeles for the 4th year in a row at the Microsoft TechEd event.

Engaging Leadership

Truly engaged employees are committed employees. To get yourself to become committed to an organization involves truly believing in what the organization’s purpose, what it’s doing, and the people who are leading it.

Getting commitment takes more than the employee making the choice to be loyal and committed. It involves YOU leading them to the choice of being committed and engaged. To maximize your chances of getting long-term commitment from your people during trying economic times, be real and use Engaging Leadership. Here’s how:

  1. Tell people what you want to accomplish.
  2. Tell them what led you to believe it’s important to them and to you.
  3. Tell them your own struggles along the way.
  4. Tell them how long you’ve been thinking about “it”.
  5. Tell them you are committed to it.
  6. Tell them your plan for helping them be able to do “it.”

Then, give people a reasonable amount of time to think about it, question it, be uncomfortable with the newness of it, begin to accept it, and then be involved with how it will be implemented.

Sources: Center for Creative Leadership, All Things Workplace Blog


January 9, 2009 1 comment

People commonly tell me, “We need leadership training.” After digging deeper into what they call “leadership training”, I find what they’re typically looking for is management skill development.

The terms “leadership” and “management” are quite often used interchangeably, but there is a profound difference and both are important to your job today.

I’ve made my distinction between the two simple:

While management may be what you do, leadership is the way you think.

Of course, to be a good manager one must have many leadership traits. Good leaders are good managers and vice versa. Leadership and management are very much intertwined, so discounting characteristics of one is discounting the importance of the other.

However, they’re more than just intertwined. The combination facilitates your ability to get the resources you need, have the support you need, get the skills you need, build the relationships you need… to get your job done.

Getting an organization “to the next level” or competing in an ever-changing world requires mighty management and enriching leadership… but the true power to make a difference lies with the people that have both: Leadagers.

Let’s all be Leadagers.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on management vs. leadership vs. both.

(I attribute the term “leadager” to Miki Saxon of Leadership Turn, 2008)


November 19, 2008 Leave a comment

Here are some upcoming management and leadership development opportunities.

Thursday, 11/20 @ 12:00 (noon) EST
Taking the Fear Out of Feedback — Thought Leadership, The Ken Blanchard Companies
As we enter Performance Appraisal time, now is a prime opportunity to provide solid feedback to your employees.

Tuesday, 12/2 @ 2:00 pm EST
How Effective Leaders Coach with Compassion (vs. Coach for Compliance) — Richard Boyatzis / Human Capital Institute / MHS

Tuesday, 12/2 @ 11:00 am EST
BOOM! Play to Your Genius / Get it Done — Dr. Kevin Freiberg and Dr. Jackie Freiberg / Better Management

Play to Your Genius – Your work is your signature—make it a masterpiece. To know that your work counts is to know that you count. If you engage in work that makes you come alive, the world will beat a path to your door. Defy mediocrity and make yourself indispensable by playing to your genius and engaging in work that matters.

Get It Done – No one is paying you today for what you did yesterday. When you stop bringing something of value to the game, the game is over! Become a junction box for knowledge, find a way to get smarter, better, faster. Speak up, tell it like it is, think for yourself. People who get it done and make a difference, choose results over rhetoric and red tape.

Wednesday, 12/10 @ 11:00 am EST
Authentic Leadership — Gail Ostrishko / Better Management
This seminar will help you to listen, encourage, advocate and demonstrate shared values in order to cultivate a sense of ownership and accountability in yourself and others.