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Use It All



We have so much capacity that we do not use. Like a warm spring day that goes by without a refreshing walk, once the capacity is gone, there is no getting it back. We renew each day, and then each day is gone. We develop and deploy our skills and opportunities to use those skills inch by us when we're not looking.

The problems in front of us -- those that are not hiding, give us no excuse for not using those skills. High performance leaders apply their strengths in order to take the energy of those problems and convert it to some good.

Problems. Every leader has them.

How many problems could stand up to you using all of your clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion?

-- doug smith



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Controlling Anger

Do you get angry?
Doesn't everyone? A temper is a terrible thing, because it harms the owner the most. When we are angry, our target may not even know it. But, we sure do and that energy feeds on itself.
I do not like being angry. I've had too much practice. Anger has hurt me and it has hurt others I never wanted to hurt. While anger can have its purpose -- defending someone in danger who has been abused or gathering the energy to right a wrong -- most of the time it is energy that could be better spent in repair. Better spent in building rapport. Better spent in building relationship.
Anger fools us. Anger taunts us. Anger misdirects us.
We might tied to work just to make sure that our anger is not part of the reason for our anger.
Because many times, it is.
What should we do? I humbly offer this distillation from wise advice of others. Breathe. Pause. Breathe again. Give your brain time to quiet the defensive posture and clearly see what's going on. What's going on? Breath…

Leadership Character

What goes into developing leadership character?
Values - how you choose to live your life. Ethics -- how you operate. Morales -- how you respect other individuals. 
It's also willingness to learn, willingness to hear feedback, willingness to listen. Add more to that (what do you think?) and the list of qualified leaders with positive character gets small. And yet, we need leaders with character. We need leaders who will do the right thing. We need leaders who consider the needs of the whole team, organization, and (yes) planet when making decisions. 
Leadership character matters no matter what you lead.
-- doug smith

The Benefits of Supervisory Training

When was the last time you had any leadership training?
How often do the supervisors in your organization get training?
If you are like most organizations, it's never enough. Some teams go without any supervisory training at all and expect supervisors and managers to learn as they go, on the job. Unfortunately, while it is memorable to learn from your mistakes, it comes at a high cost. People get tired. People leave. Important accounts go away. Customers complain. And teams struggle without the skills and knowledge it takes to build cohesive teams that are capable of solving problems, improving performance and achieving goals.
Admittedly, I can be expected to support training since I'm in the business. Still, take a closer look at your own leadership career and decide for yourself. Are leaders better off with more training and development or with less?
Supervisory training can generate benefits that pay off long after the training is over.
Here are just a few of the things supervi…

A Creative Leader's Approach to Boundaries

How firm are your boundaries? Are you willing to try new things, even if they are so new that they seem frightening?

When I worked at GE there was a lot of talk about creating more boundarylessness. Yes, they made up the word. The broke a semantic boundary in service to their notion.

It's not that there are no boundaries. We need those. It's just that our boundaries tend to get fixed into configurations that constrain us unnecessarily. We need to break those boundaries, or simply pass thru them without breaking them. They become (again, as we referred to them at GE) as permeable boundaries.

Nature knows all about this. Got a fence? Nature will find a way around it or over it or thru it. Build a wall? Nature will find a way to slowly knock it down. Cities and states? Nature doesn't care. If a storm is headed your way, those artificial boundaries that you think are so sacrosanct will not protect you.

Be like nature. Test your boundaries. Cross those borderlines sometimes. I…

Stay Courageous Through Resistence

What is the typical reaction to courage?

Often, people respond to true courage with resistance. They push back. They run away. They refuse to change.

That should not surprise us. We should expect it. I've worked on projects where the biggest part of the goal achievement involved working through the resistance. People didn't want to change software. People didn't want to print less. People didn't want to move from Chicago to Trevose, PA. But in each case the change was inevitable, and embracing that change was necessary. For those of us driving those projects, we had to maintain our courage and conviction even when people were unhappy and rebellious.

Courage is more often resisted than appreciated.

You won't always get an award. In fact, you will seldom get an award for your courage. But, your courage is still required.

Of course it's not easy. It wouldn't take courage if it was.

How courageous are you prepared to be to achieve your goals?

-- Doug Smith



Quick Quote: Motivation

What motivates you, moves you.
-- doug smith

Caring About Our Team Members

What would you say if a news reporter asked you how much you cared about your team members?

Do you think about them when you're not at work? Do you enjoy the time that you do spend together?

I've had some wonderful team members in the many jobs I've held. Some that made work feel more like play. Some that remembered things about me that made my life easier and happier. Some that set such good examples for me that I emulated their behavior and became a better person as a result.

Team members are a big part of our lives. It's not just work. It's important to care about our team members as well.

We spend too much time with the people we work with to pretend that we don't care about them.

What does caring about them mean? Treating them all with respect and dignity. Speaking openly. Accepting, and giving both positive feedback and feedback for improvement. Laughing. Sometimes, even crying together. We're all people and the more that we recognize that the more hap…

Maybe Keep It To Yourself?

Have you ever said anything that you regretted? That expression "put your foot in your mouth" resonates a bit more when you wear size 13's. I do. And yes, I have sometimes said things that I regretted.
Because you know what? When you say something that hurts someone do you know when they'll forget it? 
Never.
They will never forget it. The damage is done, and just keeps on echoing through the years.
That's why I've learned (well, OK, I'm working on it) to pause before saying something with an edge, something with anger, something even passive aggressive. The payoff is bad, and lasts forever.
Words meant to hurt are better left unsaid.
'nuff said.
-- doug smith

No Hiding The Truth

What happens when someone tries to hide the truth?

It pops up, unexpected, full-blown and often unforgiving. There is no hiding the truth. The truth always bubbles to the top.

Pushing down what we regard as worth hiding, even when it's clearly true, simply delays the inevitable. The truth comes out, and then whoever attempted to hide it looks doubly suspicious and unreliable.

Also, when we try to hide the truth we suddenly limit our possibilities. What can we say? What should we suppress? Where are we headed? Who can know and who cannot know? Did we tell the wrong person already? Maybe we should just keep quiet...

Truth we try to hide becomes our tallest wall.

It's a weight we carry around wondering when we can let it go. It's a wall that prevents us from seeing the beauty that belongs in all truth, even the truth that troubles us.

What secret truth are you carrying around? Isn't it time to let that go?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

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