The Awesome Leader Blog

I write about anything that can help leaders gain a snappy, specific set of skills for managing up and managing teams.

Building Trust: WFH During 2021

Most of us agree that building trust is essential at all levels of our careers. 

And most of us don’t give much thought to how to go about building trust. We assume that people will see our work, see that we’re good at it, and then start to trust us. Bingo. Trust built! 

That's far from how it works.

Building trust doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s something you need to be aware of and be actively working to make happen. Since most of us are continuing to work from home, it’s even more important to ensure your employees know that you’re there still for them and that they can still rely on you.

During 2020 it was easy to think, “We just need to get through this year.” As a result, you might have put off some necessary and hard work around building trust with your team. 

I get it! It was difficult for me to wrap my head around the fact that how we had to work in 2020 was the way we would be working in 2021. 

I...

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Got Bad Managers?

leading management Feb 01, 2021
Raise your hand if you know a bad manager.

I can’t see the raised hands, but I know they are there.


Some of you are holding them up high. You shot those hands up as soon as you read my prompt. "Yes!" is what you’re saying aloud. "Yes! I know a bad manager!"

Some of you have those hands up, yet you’re sheepishly raising them. I’m guessing you’re at your "desk"--the kitchen, living room, or family room table--and you are cautiously raising your hand, wondering if anyone else can see you admitting to the truth: you know bad managers. You’re thinking, "Oh, no, don’t remind me about that. Ugh, yes, we have bad managers. I know bad managers."

I can’t see you and your raised hands, but here’s the deal:

Other people see the bad managers.

They feel the burden of working with bad managers.

They feel the frustration, anger, and sadness of working for bad managers.

Poor leaders. Difficult leaders. Bad leaders. Incompetent leaders. Call them what...
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"Get" to Do vs. "Got" to Do

Your Language is Probably Making Your Life Difficult

Happy New Year, everyone. 

"Got to do" vs. "get to do". That's what I'm talking about today.

This is an easy and fast tip to help you frame almost all of the work you do: in the "office" and at home.

Are you describing your work as "got to" or "get to"?

In other words, are you saying, "I gotta do that"/"I have to do that" or "I get to do that"?

There is a BIG difference between the two.

I first came across this concept in 2006 when I read Vance and Carol Ann Caesar's book, The High Achiever's Guide to Happiness.

This book is amazing. Every leader should read it. I once participated in a weekend retreat led by Vance, and he is a powerful speaker and thinker. This book is always the first one I recommend to my 1:1 executive coaching clients.

In the book, Vance shares a memory of how, when he was a teenager, a high school coach clued him into the difference between "get to" and "got to."

Is it an obligation? Or is it something you...
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You Made it Through 2020--Here's Your Ribbon

2020 leading management Dec 18, 2020

 

You Participated in 2020. Congratulations.


So, it's Friday, December 18, and the best thing I can say to all of you today is:
  1. Thanks for being here. For reading what I write and choosing to learn to be a better leader, and
  2. I'm happy to award this "Participated" ribbon to you!

I've had this ribbon around my office for a few years. I got it the same day I bought the demerit badge for whining (see below and BTW you can buy these badges here. I think I have earned the "caffeine addict", "chocoholic", "martini", "pizza", "I survived", and "overloaded" badges this year--perhaps several more).

This ribbon is a marker you can use to recognize the confusion, agony, waiting, refreshing your phone, voting, masking up, arguing, homeschooling, washing hands, ordering online, Zoom calls, and sanitizing you did this year. Congratulations!

You made it through 2020.

I really hope your 2020 was more than just making it, yet if you just made it through, that's fine. You were here. You...
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No Lazy Leaders, No Team Building, and Less Weird Small Talk

leadership leading Dec 03, 2020

The Year is Almost Over. It's Easy to Be Lazy as a Leader.

I find it very tempting to look at the date--December 3--and just wish January 1, 2021 were here. Wish that this year was over. Refund, please. Or, do-over, please. 

In 2021 we will still be wearing masks.

In 2021 there will still be a pandemic.

In 2021 there will still be uncertainty for many people: job, home, food, paycheck, money, safety, health, you name it . . . 

In 2021 there will be still a lot of the same, and so, it's tempting to sit back and let 2021 arrive. 

I think that's lazy. I think that's a lazy move for all leaders.
So, I invite you to join me for a webinar on December 9. An anti-lazy leader webinar. 

On December 9 at 9 am PT/12 pm ET/5 pm GMT, join me for a webinar titled, Plan Your 2021 Leadership (and Have Fun & Stay Sane at the Same Time).

Here are details:

  • You'll need a leadership planner, and I have you covered. Download my...
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It's Almost Over (This Year, I Mean ;) )

Uncategorized Nov 13, 2020
 
In this newsletter, I share some thoughts on the beauty of honest conversations, and I also invite you to join my November 18, 2020 webinar, hosted by SHRM.org.

First, The Beauty of an Honest Conversation & Why I'm Not the Jacka** Whisperer


I love the truth. I'm a little obsessed with it. And I think you should be, too.

I love honesty. And I love to share my thoughts . . . and yesterday, someone yelled at me about it. She was really angry I speaking the truth.

I wasn't always like this. I spent most of my school life (little kid through graduate school) allowing others to speak unless I was told I needed to talk or that I would be rewarded (better grade, more points, etc.) if I started speaking. And, then, honestly (ahh, I can't even keep the word out of this paragraph!), I only shared what others wanted to hear.

As an executive coach, I often share what people say they want to hear: the truth.

They say, "Just tell me" or "I'm ready" or "What do you think?" and I start...
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It's Not About Perfection

Anyone remember this game?

A few years ago, my mom was going through my "things" (what she calls stuff in my childhood bedroom), and she brought me a bag of junk (what I call that stuff). And in that bag was the game of Perfection.

I have it in my office now. I just played it earlier this week (literally and symbolically).

I reminded myself how much I despise the game yet secretly love the name and love the ambition of perfection.

The race against the clicking clock to get all those pieces in the right places before the whole thing goes "POP!"

Many days I feel as if I’m going to pop.

Is it because I’m racing towards perfection? I don’t so think, but I do know I'm trying to put lots of pieces into tiny holes all over, and I feel rushed and confused.

The holes are (now) smaller, they look and feel strange, and they are harder to find. And the time is loud, clicking by. It's like a nightmare inspired by the game of Perfection . . . POP.

And some days, I do it. I pop.

Alone in...

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A Webinar with Shellye Archambeau

Uncategorized Oct 08, 2020
Join Me for a Webinar with Shellye Archambeau, Author of Unapologetically Ambitious.
 
Hello everyone,

Today I'm reaching out with a short but important note: an invitation to join me for a special webinar on October 20 at 8 am PT with Shellye Archambeau, Fortune 500 board member, former CEO of MetricStream, advisor, and author.

Shellye is the author of Unapologetically Ambitious, which was just released this week.

In her book, Shellye draws on her compelling story of over 30 years of experience in technology. She was high tech's first African American CEO, and she currently serves on the boards of Verizon, Nordstrom, Roper Technologies, and okta.

Shellye is also a Forbes contributor and the protagonist of the Harvard Business School Case Study: Becoming a CEO. (OK, featured in an HBR case study?! Wow, right?)

I hope you'll join us on October 20 at 8 am PT as we talk with Shellye about:

  • Managing imposter...
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Join Me For a Webinar with Shelley Osborne

Uncategorized Sep 22, 2020

Join Me for a Webinar with Shelley Osborne, VP of Learning at Udemy & Author of The Upskilling Imperative

Hello everyone,

First, an invitation to join me for a special webinar onSeptember 29 at 8 am PT with Shelley Osborne, VP of Learning at Udemy.

Shelley is the author of The Upskilling Imperative, and she'll share ideas about how to provide continuous learning for your team members, your company, and you.

I'm a big Udemy fan. I have two workshops on the Udemy for Business platform, one on EQ and another on Goal Setting. In 18 months, I've helped 26,000 students develop their EQ and plan SMART goals.

The message is clear: people want to learn online and do it on their time.

In this webinar on September 29, Shelley will discuss how to turn feedback into fuel, how to think like a marketer, how to put learning into the flow of work, and more.

Webinar participants will receive a self-evaluation (sent the day before) to pinpoint where they and their...

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I Make the Rules

leading Sep 08, 2020
 
 
Make More Rules

I’ve always prided myself as a rule follower. Somewhat to the extreme.

I have trouble crossing the street when the walk sign is off. Even if there are no cars around.

Here’s my thinking. The idea of breaking a rule that’s been put in place to protect me, to keep traffic flowing (pre-COVID-19 you had places to be on time, right?), and—big-picture thinking—to help us all get along, well, that would be wrong.

On the sidewalk, I was that person, standing as others looked both ways (or not) and kept moving to their designations. I was waiting for the light to change. Waiting for it to be clear. Waiting for permission.

I see obeying the crosswalk as a rule that helps me. It’s a rule that works for me. It makes me feel safe, it makes me feel in control of my environment.

As a human, you don’t have to follow my rule.

But, as a leader, I think you need more rules.

You need rules to help you consider what work you do...
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