Leadership Must Haves

When I was growing up, one of our annual family gatherings was during the early Spring. We would all arrive at our family farm dressed in long sleeves and sturdy shoes. Each person had some sort of bag hanging from their pocket or fastened to their belt. We would spread out at the entrance of forest and walk in a line about 8-10 feet from each other.


Slowly and carefully we would take each step until someone yelled “FOUND ONE!” Once someone found one, we would all merge together to see exactly what it looked like. We were seasoned experts but we couldn’t resist taking a look to know exactly what we were looking for. What my family was in search of was the mysterious morel mushroom. This was an eagerly sought-out delicacy that our family and others enjoyed.

One Difference Making Word

I was waiting on a call that never came. Have you ever done that?

On another occasion the thing I wanted most was just beyond my reach. I hoped and prayed that it would come my way but it never did.

In yet another situation, it was obvious that things needed to be done differently and yet I sat and wondered what it would take for change to occur.

All three of these scenarios have one thing in common. Can you see what it is? These three situations are all encountered by a passive person… me. It has taken me way too long to learn one of life’s most crucial lessons: When you initiate you win.


When you initiate, you will have the conversations you need to have.

When you go first, you will move toward

Getting Buy-In

We vs. Me. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “We is better than me.”

You know, the concept of collaboration, team work, working together vs. doing it all by yourself? It sounds really nice doesn’t it? Easier said then done.

Lately I’ve been thinking that the shared vision and action of a group of people feels very un-American to me. “WE” might be better than “ME” but here in the United States, we have been trained to think and act more about ourselves than the team. I know I have. I have somehow caught that success, real success, is about me excelling.

In some cases succeeding is about competition… I am better than others.


In other situations it becomes about admiration…

Meeting One-on-One

Are you meeting one-on-one with your leaders?

Often, when we ask that question, the answers we get are; ‘yes, some’ or ‘kind of’.

When it comes to leading your people you cannot ‘kind of’ lead them. Your team, whether volunteer or paid, is your most valuable asset and although one-on-one meetings can feel small, the impact is huge.

You may be thinking that there are too many challenges getting in the way of establishing one-on-ones in your context.


Maybe you have looked at your schedule and thought that you don’t have enough time to have several individual meetings. You may also think that communicating via email or via announcement is more efficient and time-sensitive.

Accountability… the missing link?

I was sweating and hoping … almost praying as the agenda to the meeting drew to a conclusion. Not only was I uncharacteristically silent during the meeting but I wanted it to end more than any other meeting that I could remember being in.

It is not that the meeting was boring (although unfortunately all too many of them are). It was because I was unprepared. More accurately, I hadn’t done what I said I would do.

You see, last month I said that I would do something before today’s meeting. But I had completely forgotten about it until this meeting started.

I felt bad.

But not bad enough to bring it up.


I had excuses.

Of course I did.

The unspoken challenge of every leader

There are some situations in life that require silence.


  • When you see a woman who has gained weight and you think she might be pregnant … by all means, say nothing.
  • When you have boldly predicted that this year is the year for the Chicago Cubs … please shut up!
  • When the dinner on the table is a creative blend of Tofu and Kale … you might want to stay quiet. Especially if you want to order a pizza instead. I’m just hypothetically saying …
    Some situations in life seem to dictate the wisdom of verbal restraint.

    Other situations in life keep us silent, not because of wisdom, but because we just have no clue what to say … or do. There is one particular situation in our organizations that often leaves the leader silently shaking their head. What situation is that?

    The unspoken challenge of every leader.

    Coaching for Improved Performance

    Our team’s performance can often leave us wondering silently HOW to lead them better.

    Whether it’s under performance, a lack of effort, weak follow-through or an unfocused and distracted team member, improving the performance of our team can be challenging. And many leaders struggle with how to talk about it.

    I have struggled with it for years.

    The Leadership Fire

    Fire is fascinating. It is mesmerizing to sit and stare into a campfire or even a fireplace.

    I have lots of memories of fires … controlled fire.

    Unfortunately, many fires are not controlled. At least the leadership fires that we face.


    The “leadership fire” is a problem we face which threatens to keep us from moving forward.

    3 Confessions of a Procrastinator

    I have been meaning to write this post for a long time. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist…)

    A report is sitting in another opened document on my computer. It is half written and badly in need of detail and creativity. One of our clients is expecting it in two days. But as I was working on it, I found myself thinking of writing this blog post.
    So I left it alone.
    For now.
    I’ll come back to it.

    3 confessions of a procrastinator

    As far back as I can remember, I have put things off. After all, why do today what is boring, hard, or just not fun? If you think that sounds undisciplined and shallow, you are absolutely right.

    When I was young, I actually didn’t mind being a procrastinator. It felt freeing to me to just do things whenever I wanted to. But as I have become older, I realize I am not as productive or efficient as I want to be. What’s worse, I notice that others around me seem to be just as undisciplined as I am.

    So I am looking to…

    Oh, sorry I left and checked my email. A little “ding” sound emanated from my computer and I had to check it. Turns out that a new Groupon is available for me. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I was confessing my habit of procrastination.

    How do we do that?

    Life is so much better when you know what to do

    That’s a paraphrasing of the wisdom of Solomon, who said, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” (Ecclesiastes 10:10)

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    Check out THIS VIDEO!


    Skill brings success

    A manual of how to acquire the right skills should have followed Solomon’s words, but sadly we seem to be on our own. How do we learn the skills of leadership which bring success?

    Martin was caught in mid sentence. A simple question from one of his team members had stopped him in his tracks. The question was, “HOW?” “How do we do that?”

    Lead with Confidence

    Have a great day! Sounds very cliché, right? But when someone says this, they probably mean it, even if they aren’t really thinking about it – or about you – too closely. Most people who say this really do want you to have a great day. Can you imagine if someone said, “I hope you have a blah day?” A bad day?

    The thing is … we often say things we don’t mean. Worse, we sometimes say things we mean, but don’t know how to follow through on it. And when it comes to leadership, do we mean what we say? Say what we mean? Do what we mean?

    How do we even learn what we need to know?

    How do we learn to Lead with Confidence?

    There is a lot of talk of leadership development. Classes, seminars, webinars. The topic continues to be on the upswing. In particular, an increasing concentration on leadership culture is growing in popularity. To me, this is important. As we explored in our recent book (authored by my business partner, Brian Zehr), THOROCITY: The Seven Critical Components to Lead with Confidence, leadership is not a singular subject. The noun may be, but as we point out, the verb is not.

    The truth is – there are a LOT of tools and resources to describe leadership – but very few that explain HOW to lead with confidence in your own context.

    follow the leader

    What is Leadership?

    Our mutual friend, Mr. Google, defines Leadership as the action of leading a group of people or an organization, the state or position of being a leader, or the leaders of an organization, country, etc.
    Thanks to thousands of brilliant authors on the subject, the actual number of definitions probably boggles the mind.

    My challenge is that most of them sound like the definition of management.

    The answer (to me) is this: leadership is …