We are entering the holiday season, and that means a lot of great things: fun memories, good food, goofing off. But it might mean some awkward, uncomfortable conversations, too. According to two economists from UCLA and Washington State University, “politically divided” families actually cut short their Thanksgiving dinners last year rather than wrangle over the […]
The Best Way to Deliver Bad News
If anything is certain in leadership—whether you’re leading a large company, a mid-sized team, or a family of four—it’s that bad things will happen. Ultimately, you will bear the responsibility of sharing the news. Shouldering the burden is the mark of a leader committed to gaining control of an unfavorable situation before it devolves into […]
One Essential Trait for Positive Leadership: Receptivity
When you think about how you receive feedback, what comes to mind? Initially, you probably feel defensive. Your brain immediately goes to the most painful part about it, the aspect that makes us feel uncomfortable and makes us want to avoid it all together. But that’s not how we grow, is it? Brain research shows […]
When Conflict is Brewing
How do you feel when there’s a difficult conversation brewing at work that you won’t be able to duck? Unless you’re a sociopath, the answer is usually “not good.” Most of us know the ill effects of dreaded discussions. A brewing conflict will make you more distracted and irritable, which has knock-on physical effects, which […]
The Right Way to Fire the Wrong Person
“Does it get easier the more people you fire?” someone once asked me. I’ve been in leadership for decades now, and there’s no escaping letting people go from time to time. But that doesn’t make it easier. “No,” I said, “it hasn’t. And I hope to God it never does.” But while frequency doesn’t translate […]
When Leaders Have to Speak Up
People have way more potential than we often think they do. They can change, but unless we find the courage to speak up, they may not have the opportunity. Here are three truths to remember when you are faced with having a difficult conversation.
Courage Is Not the Absence of Fear
Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the willingness to act in spite of my fear. Here’s how I learned this invaluable lesson.
Why You Must Confront Seemingly Indispensable but Disrespectful Team Members
When seemingly indispensable employees become disrespectful, you must confront them. This is never easy, but is essential if you are going to be an effective leader.
Finding the Courage to Speak Up
I don’t like conflict. In fact, sometimes I think I am conflictaphobic. (I just made that word up.) I will do almost anything to avoid it. However, soon after I became head of one of our publishing divisions, I had to confront one of my authors. He was pleasant and cooperative when I spoke with him. But he was demanding, uncooperative, and downright nasty to my staff. Finally, one of them came to me, nearly in tears, and said, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t take it any more.” I had to make a choice.