Lead With Kindness: You’ll Get Better Results

What happens when we put kindness at the center of our leadership? There's plenty of hard evidence that kind leaders get better results. Emma Seppala, Ph.D, a Research Scientist at Stanford University and the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, details several studies in Being a Kind Boss Pays Off: A kind leader may actually be good for "followers" hearts. In fact, a study out of the Karolinska Institute conducted on over 3,000 employees found that a leader’s qualities were associated with incidence of heart disease in their employees. Employees feel greater trust with someone who is kind. Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth—even before establishing their competence—are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. Why? One reason is trust. Employees are inspired by kindness. Jonathan Haidt at New York University Stern School of Business shows in his research that when leaders are self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. As a consequence, the employees feel more loyal and … [Read more...]

7 Ways to Lead Like An Ass(umer)

Assumptions. We all make them, all the time. Or at least I assume you do because I do. "When you assume you make an ass out of you and me." You've heard that expression a thousand times. The ever-practical Ellen DeGeneres explains the expression: “You should never assume. You know what happens when you assume. You make an ass out of you and me because that's how it's spelled.” Got it, Ellen, funny. How often do you lead like an ass(umer)? Assumptions can be dangerous. If you don't realize how dangerous assumptions can be, look no further than Lemony Snicket's guidance: Assumptions are dangerous things to make, and like all dangerous things to make -- bombs, for instance, or strawberry shortcake -- if you make even the tiniest mistake you can find yourself in terrible trouble.” -Lemony Snicket, The Austere Academy Think about the last assumption you made. Was it the strawberry shortcake variety of assumption where you landed in a sticky little, lopsided mess? Or, did you make a whopper assumption, the bomb kind where something really threatening happened? Leaders may assume employees know exactly what they want. Family members may believe that others in the family … [Read more...]

Like Songs, Leaders Can Produce Earworms

I woke up today with an earworm. It’s driving me nuts. No doubt you’ve experienced annoying earworms too. You know, that “little fragment, often a bit of the chorus of the song, that just plays and replays like it's stuck on loop in your head,” explains Elizabeth Margulis, director of the Music Cognition Lab at the University of Arkansas and author of On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind. Researchers have found that over 91% of us get a song stuck in our minds—earworms—at least once a week. The term "earworm" originally comes from a translation of the German word 'Ohrwurm'. If you’re a songwriter, earworms are the stuff of dreams. You want your song to stick in people’s minds. Songs like "What Does the Fox Say?" by Ylvis, and The Baha Men's "Who Let the Dogs Out?" are tunes researchers say generate earworms. I've noticed that Meghan Trainor’s "All About That Bass" seems to catalyze earworms in old and young alike. But alas, (most) leaders are not songwriters. If we’re not careful, repetition of catchphrases or buzzwords become earworms that can blow our chance to inspire others or worse, close followers' ears completely. Earworms at Work As an entry-level employee, I … [Read more...]

Decide What Your Footprint Will Be: Irene Becker

Irene Becker is a thought leader and trailblazer. Irene's social media footprint is undeniable: Top 100 Leadership Blogs, Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness; Top 50 Sales Management Blogs-Ducati USA; Top 75 Human Champion-Switch & Shift USA; and too many other "tops" to cite here. Her story and the genesis of her 3Q Edge™ model, Against All Odds, has been read by over 500,000 people. An adept social media champion and strategist, her 3Q Leadership blog and social media channels have a following of 52,000+, of which I gratefully count myself as one. As the CEO of Just Coach It, she's heralded as a wise thinker, results-driven coach and inspiring speaker (read what people say about Irene here). Beyond others' professional accolades, let me simply say that Irene is an unbelievably generous person and a truly fearless female. It's my pleasure to share her Fearless Females 5Cs.  Fearless Females 5Cs with Irene Becker "Decide what your footprint will be then make the commitment and take the steps necessary to make it real." -Irene Becker 1. What’s the most courageous decision you've made? I think that all the decisions I made that put my life or career … [Read more...]

Leadership Guidance from the World’s Nicest Grown-Up

The "World’s Nicest Grown-Up," now that’s an enviable moniker. He's also been called the Dalai Lama of television, a Pied Piper, and even messianic. Think nice, sweater-addicts can't get ahead? With a U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Hollywood Walk of Fame Star, and 40 honorary university degrees, his net worth was over $8 million when he died in 2003. Welcome to Fred Rogers’ neighborhood, a place where leaders mine solid gold. Mr. Rogers' 15 Lessons for Leaders 1. Want to achieve ultimate success? Be Kind. “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.” 2. What to do in times of stress? Ask Questions, Listen With Heart. “In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” 3. Think you can have it all? Nope. Make Choices. “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are. ” 4. Want to grow your leadership? Embrace Problems. “It’s the very wrestling … [Read more...]

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