Leadership Facts, Thoughts & Tips

Leadership Thoughts, Facts & Tips

Below are a few of my most recent thoughts, facts and tips about leadership in the modern era.  They’re published every Friday as part of our Daily Leadership Inspiration email and are free to receive.

Leadership Facts, Thoughts & Tips

This week we lost one of the greatest minds of our age when Professor Stephen Hawking’s light left this world. And we also lost a human who possessed an ironclad force of will.

The good Professor exerted sheer force of will to achieve his many accomplishments with his adult existence the very definition of mind over matter. This willpower enabled him to move gracefully from his role as brilliant scientist to scientific ambassador to the world, ending ultimately with his status as a cultural icon… after all, how many scientists do you know who’ve guest-starred on both The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory?

Hawking was brilliant and funny but without his iron-clad will he might have never realized his full potential. So today, consider the role that willpower plays in your life. With apologies to The Dude, and “in the parlance of our times,” you might also call it Grit, Drive or Discipline. Whatever you call it, though, ask yourself this question: “What can I accomplish when I unleash my willpower?”

Have a great weekend.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

If we’re connected on one of the social platforms, you may have noticed during the past week that I’ve been rolling out some changes. A new website, an e-book and more original content are all part of this initiative. By month’s end I’ll also be freshening up your Daily Leadership Inspiration, so stay tuned for more on that change.

Today, though, I have a few thoughts on strategy that involve airplanes and an eight-foot-tall plastic chicken.

Have a great weekend!

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

We’ve previously talked about confirmation bias and your bias toward products with a larger number of reviews.  Now add revision bias to your watchlist.  Revision bias occurs when you “prefer experiences and products that have been revised over time, independent of objective improvements over predecessors.” What’s more troubling is the fact that this effect holds true “even when less total effort was devoted to revised versions relative to beta versions.

In today’s collaborative, team-based environment where myriad hands want to “touch” the final result, your role as Chief Sniff-Tester becomes more critical. So remember: More revisions ≠ a superior product. Instead, those revisions may just be wasting everyone’s time.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

Today, take a moment and think about how you handle change.

Consider a time when something changed for you because of circumstances beyond your control. You didn’t like this change and your first reaction was to fight it. Yet you adapted… eventually.  How did you do this?

There’s a good chance that you spoke with friends, family or colleagues, one of whom said something that provided you with a new perspective. Or perhaps the passage of time enabled you to find a new perspective on your own.

Perspective is how we adapt to and “manage” change. Agile leaders understand that the method(s) and speed with which you gain perspective can provide a competitive advantage. They also understand that developing perspective is a muscle that must be exercised.

The next time that change “happens”, take a beat and deliberately exercise your perspective muscle. You’ll be amazed how strong it becomes with practice.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

Being an effective leader means being both reflective and deliberate, so today take six minutes and be a little of both.

First, using the initial two minutes, recall a leadership action you took within the past six months. The outcome could have been the one you desired or “other.” What matters is what you think about the action, why you took it and how it made you feel.

Next, take the second two minute block and think about who you are as a leader. Ask yourself questions like “How does my recent action reflect my leadership style?” or “What is my style?”

Finally, take the remaining two minutes and in two sentences or less write down the type of leader you are. (Remember, brevity is beautiful).

Your written leadership description isn’t a complete value statement or a life philosophy. Instead, let it serve as a self-reflective meditation on your leadership. Then, the next time you need to take action, consider your decision through the lens of your leadership statement and let that serve as a catalyst for your personal growth. Because you’re the only one capable of doing that hard work.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

Right now you feel anxious because you’ve sent an e-message (email, text, etc.) and you haven’t yet received a reply. But don’t worry, you’re not alone with feeling this way.

Face-to-face conversation response time is 200 milliseconds and, with e-messages being nearly instantaneous, we’ve fooled ourselves into believing that e-message response times should be the same as face-to-face. (Spoiler: They’re not.) Additionally, with text messages now the prevalent communication medium for Americans under the age of fifty, there’s never been more e-messages coming at us faster. So how do we put our e-message anxiety into check?

1. Recognize that you’re projecting your own set of priorities and expectations onto the recipient and that those two mindsets will never be identical.
2. Understand that part of your anxiety stems from a fear of rejection and that delayed responses do not mean that you’re being rejected or are unliked. (See Point #1).
3. Adopt a new mindset for e-messages. Think of them as a note left on your kitchen counter where the subject matter was important enough to write down, but not important enough to warrant a phone call or an immediate call to action.

E-messages aren’t going away and neither are their delayed responses. To stay sane, it’s time to reframe your thinking.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

No matter how smart, motivated or self-aware you are, making lemonade from lemons is rarely easy. The next time you suffer a setback, consider how to turn it to your advantage and best progress through these six stages.

Stage 1. Default You. You’re in your comfort zone, which provides you with the energy to face the world.
Stage 2. Setback. Disruption occurs and you lose perspective.
Stage 3. Anarchy.  Chaos ensues and both self-compassion and your support system become critical to future success.
Stage 4. Lightbulb. An epiphany occurs that jump-starts your personal transformation.
Stage 5. Iterate. Experimentation marks your movement toward a new reality.
Stage 6. New You.  Your expanded worldview allows you greater comfort with change.

For more information about how to turn a setback into an advantage, check out this article or Stephanie and Ama Marston’s book, Type R: Transformative Resilience for Thriving in a Turbulent World.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

Psychopaths thrive under abusive managers which is great if you’re one of the estimated 1% to 5% of the population with psychopathic tendencies and you serve under a Sith Lord… but not so great for the rest of us.

A recent study found that “abusive supervisors may empower employees with characteristics that hold strong potential to damage the organization and its stakeholders.” Translation: Abusive managers reward those with psychopathic tendencies and allow them to flourish, resulting in long-term damage to your organization.

We’re finally entering an era where we can openly discuss bad behavior in the workplace and take corrective action instead of attempting to excuse it. If you know a supervisor is abusive, it’s time to take action. Do it both for the non-psychopathic majority in your employ as well as for the overall health of your organization.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

You don’t take compliments well and you need to learn how to say “Thank you.

68% of us are embarrassed by positive recognition, yet feedback (both providing and receiving), is critically important to your growth as a leader. But what to do?

First, begin accepting feedback with a simple “Thank you.” Second, learn how “Thank you” is only the first step in the “Accept-Amplify-Advance” process for accepting compliments that Suzann and James Pawelski outline in their new book. Finally, learn about the most common reasons people struggle with compliments, figure out which of this negative programming has impacted you and correct your course.

Then, the next time you receive a compliment, remember to simply say “Thank you.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey

We often become overwhelmed by the tyranny of the immediate” is something that Paul Childs noted when he worked with our Vistage group this week.

You’re almost halfway through the first month of the year making now a great time to ask yourself whether the tyranny of the immediate is ruling you or whether you are its master. Put another way, are you thinking and acting strategically or are you spending your days fighting brush fires?

2018 remains a blank canvas spread out before you. Don’t let a focus on today’s battles lose you the opportunity to win the war tomorrow.

Factual Friday brought to you by Chad Harvey


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