The Fine (and Necessary) Art of Challenging Others

We avoid difficult and challenging conversations because we’re afraid of the negative consequences these conversations might create.  The problem with this avoidance is that the negative consequences of NOT having these conversations are probably greater than any consequences of actually having them. Because of our avoidance we:  Accept unacceptable situations and circumstances  Fail to grow into… Read the full article >>

Natural Leader or Naturally Dominant?

Recently, in one of our Path Forward leadership workshops, I heard one of our students describe herself as “not a natural leader.”   Why would someone describe themselves in this way? Even though I’ve heard people saying this about themselves throughout my long life, this hearing made me think, in what for me are different… Read the full article >>

Volunteer or comply? A huge question for leaders

For the moment I will put aside my frustrations at the people in our society who are refusing COVID vaccines, and instead I want to talk about an important leadership question related to compliance in the workplace. Over the years I’ve heard leaders struggling regularly with the question of whether or not it’s a leader’s… Read the full article >>

Some important people showed up for me today

My reaction to the inaugural ceremony today surprised me. I found it extraordinarily reassuring and it brought me to tears. When I started Path Forward Leadership 20 years ago, I established the mission of the business to be the reduction of human suffering. We live this mission by giving as many people as possible the… Read the full article >>

It’s OK to be p***** off

I sometimes have an anger problem, in that I don’t think I should be angry, so I stuff my anger in a box. I do this because I believe, wrongly, that anger is always a failure of character, that I should be in control of my life, and my emotions such that anger just doesn’t… Read the full article >>

How to Keep Working Relationships Vibrant During COVID

Regardless of the course that COVID takes in our world, one thing is clear: people will be working virtually more than ever before, even after we’re cleared to meet in person again. At Path Forward, we take a profoundly relational view of leadership – that is to say, we see leadership success coming directly from… Read the full article >>

4 ways to deal with your micromanaging boss

Is your boss micromanaging you? Here’s 4 ways to deal with a micromanaging boss: Be organized Anticipate Force choices Explain the consequences  

What’s the difference between management and leadership?

There is a lot of overlap between the two. Try not to think of them as separate roles. A good manager has some important elements of leadership, and even the most creative leader has to have some good management disciplines in order to be effective.

Why do leaders fail?

What are some of the most common reasons leaders fail? Were they in love with the status of their job? Do they rest on their laurels? Do they adapt? Here’s a list of 7 reasons why leaders fail.

Stop using your need for control as an excuse to express your distrust in others

Trust is such an interesting thing in business. Without it, your business will eventually hit the wall and explode.    For trust to exist between people, it must be both earned and granted.   If you have difficulty granting trust to others, there are many possible reasons. And apart from putting you on the analyst’s couch to discover your childhood traumas,… Read the full article >>

The sniff test – what do you really notice about your organization’s culture?

Many years ago, when I was leading a large regional service center, my boss came to town about once every month or so for a check-in. His name is Robin Cramp – still one of the favorite people I’ve ever met on this long career journey of mine. On one of his visits, I greeted… Read the full article >>

5 ways to strengthen your leadership in a work-from-home environment

Rethink meetings. I’m hearing that people are overloaded with meetings and that there’s a lot of Zoom fatigue setting in. I’m not surprised, and I’m feeling that fatigue as well. Now, we need to have better meetings than ever before. We’ll cover some essential meeting principles in a subsequent blog or video, but your leadership… Read the full article >>

The 100-year plan

In our leadership workshop, I will often ask our students what they think the likelihood is that their business will exist in 100 years. Most of them, if they’re being honest, answer “not likely.” And they’re right. The odds of any business lasting more than 100 years are pretty low. It’s not impossible for a… Read the full article >>

Why Do People Buy Our Stuff?

This deceptively simple question is one that leaders should ask their employees, again and again. Many years ago, I had a colleague who would call me and ask this question of me – usually at about 3 PM on a Friday. It was tempting to answer it by saying that our service was better, or… Read the full article >>

Finding a fit between employees and their jobs and why some policemen shouldn’t be policemen.

One of the most exciting challenges in leading an organization is achieving a good fit between the skills, character, and motivations of individual employees and the job you’re asking them to do. If someone wants a job as an engineer, we would naturally ask if they had the qualifications to be an engineer. Still, we… Read the full article >>

Available, or Present? There’s a difference.

Many managers have bragged to me over the years about how available they are to their peers and employees. “I’ve got an open-door policy,” or “people always know they can talk to me when they need to,” or “I’m all about my people.” Many of these people who tout these characteristics aren’t, in fact, “present”… Read the full article >>

The Humanizing Qualities of the Virtual Workplace

There are legitimate concerns about the loss of human connection in this increasingly virtual world. When we’re videoconferencing, we’re looking at two-dimensional representations of 3-dimensional human beings. We’re looking at pixels instead of flesh and blood. But my business partner Sarah pointed out to me this week that there’s a humanizing element to all of… Read the full article >>

Questions: ask thoughtfully, respond objectively

Photo by Emily Morter on Unsplash

I have to confess. When someone asks me anything that questions my thinking or decisions, I have to get over an immediate response of resistance before I can hear the question objectively. I think I’m able to get over that speed bump pretty well most of the time, but the resistance is almost always there…. Read the full article >>

Federal versus state control and how it relates to your business

Photo by Mackenzie Weber on Unsplash

The great debate about central versus local control If you’re a student of American history, you’re well aware the continuous and often acrimonious debate has been raging for over 200 years about the boundaries between central authority, in the form of the federal government, and local authority as represented by the 50 states and their… Read the full article >>

The cynical voice: how can we meet the deeper needs that our organizations and our world needs

Photo by Iva Rajović on Unsplash

Even as we optimistically try to change the world by advancing the cause of good leadership, the cynical voice – occasionally my own – will sometimes win the day. Human beings are exasperating creatures. We say what we want and then have a devil of a time taking even the most obvious actions to meet… Read the full article >>