Thursday, March 23, 2017

Essential Communication Tips for Leaders

Communication TipsOne of the most powerful skills a leader should strive to master is communication. He or she may have brilliant ideas and the vision to solve problems and accomplish daunting missions, but if the ideas and direction can’t be communicated effectively to others, the mission may produce weak results and fall short of the goal. When that occurs, low morale among the ranks usually follows.

I recently came across a list in New Man Magazine of nine principles of communication every leader should adopt. To be the kind of leader that not only gets results, but also earns the respect and loyalty of those you work with, you will want to learn and consistently apply these principles.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Julius Caesar: If Only He Had Listened to Advice

AdviceRequired reading in high school English literature class often included William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. You may recall that Brutus and his cohort had been planning to assassinate Caesar and had set up a plan to hustle him to the Senate before anyone could report the conspiracy. To quote Cliff’s Notes, “Despite the conspirators’ best efforts, a warning is pressed into Caesar’s hand on the very steps of the Capitol, but he refuses to read it.” (Emphasis mine) Caesar had been warned to “beware the Ides of March” (March 15th) but he thought he knew better. The rest, as they say, is history. Caesar might not have been so surprised at the attack if he had paid attention to advice.

You probably don’t have anything quite as dramatic as an assassination attempt in your future, but you do have opportunities, challenges and decisions that come up in life that can have significant impact – especially regrettable if you make the wrong choice.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

How to Respond to Your “Lion”

LionYou’ve probably heard the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” While that traditional wisdom is meant for weather trends, I think we can stretch it to apply to some relationships as well. Do you know anyone who “comes in like a lion” – roaring and ready to devour anyone who gets in their way? Would you like to be able to hold your own when talking with them and possibly calm the situation?

Here are some tips for dealing with “lions” in your life:

Begin with yourself – your attitude, your response. Look past the behavior and see the person as a whole and valuable human being who may be acting out feelings of fear, frustration, anger, hurt or insecurity. Understand that there may be valid reasons for those feelings and try to exercise empathy. This will help you control your response when someone is coming on strong. It’s more natural to retaliate if you feel you’re being attacked, but remaining calm is essential.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tips for Conquering Fear

FearHave you ever felt overwhelmed by an irrational fear – so much so that it prevented you from doing something you wanted to do? Believe it or not, this is a common problem faced by many people daily.

Fear has the power to hold you back from taking risks, following your dreams, or becoming successful at anything you attempt to do. If you allow it to control you for long enough, it can eventually erode your quality of life and keep you locked in a prison of inactivity and regret.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Why You Should Have More Empathy

EmpathyEmpathy is simply defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. We can sometimes feel as though we already have too many feelings of our own, and that taking on the burden of feeling what others are going through will be overwhelming.

Interestingly, the opposite seems to be true. Let’s use an example most of us can relate to. You are driving to work when suddenly a car pulls out of a parking lot right in front of you, and you have to brake hard to avoid a collision. As your pulse races and you try to steady your breathing, how do you respond? Your answer to that depends largely on your ability and your desire to empathize with others.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Day for Celebrating Love

LoveToday is the day that sweethearts and spouses celebrate romance and give gifts to one another in an effort to show their love. And according to jewelry, fragrance and candy companies, you better go big or go home… alone. It often seems like designating one day a year for declaring and expressing love puts a lot of pressure on people.

I enjoy Valentine’s Day, actually, because my wife and I celebrate our anniversary at the same time. For us, Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the whole previous year of our marriage, in which we worked together, hammered out disagreements together, parented (and grand-parented) together, prayed together, laughed and played together and helped one another through the days when one of us was sick, tired, or grouchy. For us, Valentine’s Day is a fresh, new year of growing closer to one another and facing the daily grind together.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Do You Act like a Puffer Fish?

puffer fishHave you ever seen a Puffer Fish? They’re unimpressive little fish who blow themselves up to big, round, scary-looking creatures when they feel threatened. Some people do a pretty good imitation of the little Puffer when they feel threatened, too.

People who feel inadequate and insecure often try to compensate by trying to appear more significant than they feel. They may brag or exaggerate about what they’ve accomplished or who they know. They demand attention and often interpret other people’s actions or opinions as personal offenses. They often put down other people in order to make themselves feel better. Overcompensating for feelings of inadequacy has actually become a rather popular pastime as social media has greatly expanded the opportunity for people to be puffed up about something and elicit support, sympathy and attention. It feels safer to express anger to the world than to speak face to face with a perceived offender.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Escape from Groundhog Day

Ground Hog DayHave you seen the movie Groundhog Day? It features Bill Murray as Phil, a weatherman with a bad attitude who finds himself reliving February 2nd, Groundhog Day, over and over again with all of its petty frustrations, seemingly pointless activity and irritation. Do you ever feel as though you’re like Phil?

We have all heard the folk wisdom that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. While that definition doesn’t quite cover the whole concept, it does capture a part of it. It is definitely not “sane” (rational, logical) to expect things to change if you don’t do something to interrupt an unhealthy pattern in order to improve your situation. In other words, if you want something to change, you have to take the initiative to change it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Passion of Every Great Leader

Great leaders don’t often start out with a plan to make themselves great. In fact, it may surprise you how little great leaders think of themselves at all. Focusing on making an individual person great is a very small goal, but an individual with a willingness to sacrifice for something bigger can ignite passion in others and cause great things to happen.

PassionWe recently celebrated the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I was reminded of some of the ways he demonstrated great leadership. Here are five passions that drive some people to greatness and how we see them in action through the leadership of Rev. Dr. King.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Don’t Miss the Opportunity

OpportunityDo you have plans to spend some time with the people you care about the most? If not, stop what you are doing right now and think about something special you can do with your kids, spouse, significant other or friend that you will really enjoy.