Defeating Leadership Skepticism

Defeating-SkepticismShould we be defeating leadership skepticism?

Skepticism takes on several forms; some are advantageous, and some are detrimental. In its truest sense, skepticism is a logical and rational challenge of ideas to get to the reality or truth about a specific issue. Leaders with such a constructive, critical eye possess a positive strength, especially in a fast-paced environment where many proposals compete.

But this sense of the word has been overridden in today’s culture. Have you noticed it? Within the last generation, the typical impression we have of skepticism pertains to a close-minded, doubtful, and hard-to-convince mentality. I have also seen leaders allow distrust or resentment play into this picture.

This kind of skepticism is damaging in many ways, and stifles organizations. Fortunately there are ways leaders can undo skeptical traits and adopt a better outlook. Read More »

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Leadership Give and Take: Don’t Be a Doormat

Leadership-strengthsWhen it comes to leadership give and take, “givers,” if taken advantage of too often, will eventually withdraw.

I’ve been writing about the paradox of leadership give and take. What I’ve seen in my coaching practice is that when givers become leery and withdraw giving to avoid being hurt, they become completely ineffective. Ultimately, the “takers” are granted control.

Fortunately, this “doormat” state is avoidable. Givers can learn to trust with greater discernment, spotting genuine givers from takers in sheep’s clothing. To do this, they raise their level of observation.

Discerning Trust

  • Get to know people and watch their behavior. Remember that agreeable people are not necessarily givers. Look for motives and values as true indicators rather than outer appearances. Wait for clues, such as shallowness or true genuineness. Observe how they treat others. Notice if they regard themselves highly or not.
  • Adjust your approach to suspected takers. According to Adam M. Grant, author of Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success (Penguin 2013), if there is a lack of reciprocity, become a “matcher,” someone who will give, but conditionally. Giving is done with the agreement that the other person gives back. Assertiveness is appropriate to require fair and honorable exchanges.
  • Learn to say no, but do it considerately. Giving leaders can reduce their exposure and find another resource to meet someone’s needs, and observe how that transpires. If there is cooperation and reciprocation, then the giving faucet can be opened up again, while continuing to assess the indicators.

Givers are a vital key to organizational success, and are responsible for the success of many others. They understand that winning doesn’t require someone else lose. There are enough credits and rewards for everyone. Takers draw life out of an organization, and leaders are wise to avoid those behaviors. A coach or trusted colleague can help with this.

Giving doesn’t require major sacrifices or deeds. It just requires caring about others and sharing what you have inside. Try to emulate the spirit of the giver, and see what good things happen.

What do you think? When it comes to leadership give and take in your organization, are there challenges with trust, boundaries, or assertiveness? I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here and on LinkedIn.

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Giving Leaders:
The Hidden Strength

Strengthen-ImageIs there a hidden strength in giving leaders?

I’ve been writing about the paradox of leadership give and take. Within this paradox, the majority of employees see their bosses fitting the mold of the “takers,” putting their needs first and working their way up the corporate ladder effectively.

Conversely, “givers,” who put their needs last, are seen as weak, interdependent, insecure, and not as likely to advance. Again, cultural experience makes some of these things seem factual, but looking deeper reveals another reality. Read More »

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Leadership Give and Take:
The Surprising Benefits of Giving

Surprise-GivingI’ve been reading about leadership give and take, and the paradox reveals surprising benefits of giving. Read More »

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Leadership Give and Take:
The Deception of Taking

Leadership-TakingI’ve been reading about the paradox of leadership give and take. The premise is that those who try and get as much value as they can, get what they want. They have an intentionality that achieves goals and maximizes opportunity. These “takers” make things happen for themselves, and for the most part, those around them, as they take advantage. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this happen all the time. Read More »

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Leadership Give and Take:
The Paradoxical Truth

Give and TakeWhen it comes to leadership give and take, are you a “taker,” or a “giver?”

Western leaders have been conditioned for generations to believe that the way to advance is to claim as much as possible, to take more than you give.

Many leaders make personal gain the objective of business life, and almost any means to achieve it is fair game.

Talent, passion, hard work and perseverance are certainly valuable. However, taking what you can, even if it’s from others, is often the method used to attain rewards.

But what if there was a paradoxical truth that showed the opposite to be the case… that by giving away what you have, you’ll get even more? There is substance to this truth, and it warrants examination. Read More »

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Friends at Work:
A Leader’s Guide to Self-Disclosure

friends-at-workFor people to become friends at work, it’s not enough to talk shop—both people need to share personal details about themselves. But how much is enough, or too much? As any relationship between two people grows, the level of self-disclosure needs to grow. Read More »

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Friends at Work:
Three Types of Friendships


Friends-at-Work Many of us have friends at work, while others, including leaders and C-level executives, seem to struggle making friends in a workplace environment.  Why is that? Read More »

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Great Leaders Make Friends at Work


Fun-at-WorkGreat leaders who have friends at work certainly seem to have more fun on the job. But did you know that leaders with workplace friendships make better decisions, are more engaged in work, more committed, and productive? Read More »

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How to Overcome a Good-Enough Culture

Good-enough-cultureYes; you can overcome a good-enough culture.

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care. ~ Theodore Roosevelt

I’ve been exploring how organizations suffer from a culture of “good-enough.” It’s typically a top-down job, and just like the frog in the kettle, can take you by surprise. But the good news is there is a remedy. Read More »

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