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  • January 10, 2024 Giving Bullies Power with F-words

    It’s natural to crave power if you feel empty and weak. And there are countless ways to feed that monster. Most bullies would have to face the cold, dark reality of their low self-esteem if they didn’t have someone to push around. Making others feel small, excluded, or afraid is their currency. Unfortunately, they are all-too-often empowered by their work environments. Usually, the culprits are found in three ‘f-words.’

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  • February 22, 2023 When Insecurity Shapes Leader Behavior

    There are two reasons behavior that undermines team and workplace culture gets tolerated. Most often, it’s because it has become normalized over time and woven into the fabric of day-to-day interactions. Sometimes, it’s because the actions that make the workplace cautious or unsafe are being executed by those in power where they can’t be challenged. It’s a form of bullying. Usually, these two sources of toxicity join so what is tolerated gets eventually sanctioned. It becomes okay to treat others poorly when it cascades down from above.

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  • April 1, 2019 Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

    Teachers seek students. Students seek teachers. There is a natural synergy in the teaching-learning relationship. The traits that describe the best teacher and the best student are similar: open mindedness, willingness to challenge, hunger for growth and solid preparation to name a few. Take a look at the best mentors, coaches, professors, advisors and counselors in your life. What do they have in common? Consider these qualities when building your team.

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  • December 6, 2017 Values-driven Decision Making

    Change takes many forms. You can grow or shrink. You can give or take. You can fight or flee. You can accept or reject. You can attract or repel. You can be honest or lie. You can feed or starve. You can keep trying or give up. You can engage or resist. You can take a risk or play it safe. Each choice unfolds into a different future. What’s the role of your values?

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  • August 8, 2017 The Partnership Impact

    The wellness of a team is often determined by the health of the partnerships in leadership. In families, the quality of the marriage has a significant impact on the life of the children. In business, the relationship with the chief executive and his or her operations leaders usually shapes the delivery of the organizational mission. Likewise, dysfunction in these partnerships is the fastest way to undermine a team’s effectiveness. What if you could quickly assess the health or sickness of your most important partnership?

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  • March 21, 2017 When Stress Disables Coping

    Effective decision-making is harder under stressful conditions. Our body chemistry mobilizes as if there’s a crisis and the most primitive part of the brain takes over. Rather than calmly weighing options and considering past experiences, we react in the moment at a maturity level we might later regret. Adaptable leaders know how to reboot the central nervous system to maintain poise and clarity. Try these tips the next time your coping is disabled.

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  • November 7, 2016 Follow the Leader

    Election Day is one of the few times we get to participate in choosing a leader. Most other days, we inherit our leaders. However, you also exercise this choice when you decide to stay in a job or pursue a career change. Among the criteria for staying or leaving an organization is an assessment of whether the leader can be followed. Workplace culture cascades from leadership whether healthy or sick.  Let’s play follow the leader.

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  • July 14, 2016 Leader Behavior, Team Culture, and your Career Path

    The behavior of the team leader can drive employee engagement more powerfully than the mission statement. We all become complicit with the leader’s words and actions by our choice to work in an organization. Healthy or unhealthy, our career path choices are de facto endorsements. All too often, reasonably minded colleagues stay in situations that are making them sick. Some have limited options when workplace culture falls out of alignment with their purpose. Others become free agents. What we tolerate, we sanction.

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  • January 28, 2016 5 Steps to Mending Divided Teams

    Leadership transitions stir anxiety in the workforce. Often, it’s not disagreement with strategic philosophy that makes teams uneasy, but the simple fear of change. Even when the organization isn’t healthy, it’s easier to normalize the pain than it is to brace for transformation. A typical coping maneuver is to create factions within the team. Choose your side by the way you expend energy – adapting to new circumstances or trumpeting how horrible it is that we’re not who we used to be.

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  • October 7, 2015 The Leader Your Team Wants to Follow

    Take all the leaders you’ve been privileged to follow and name their most compelling attributes. Imagine all those qualities combined in the character of one super hybrid leader. He or she would be inspirational yet practical. Integrity would be a must. Humor would be a bonus. Consider how the following competencies might be valuable to your organization from the team’s perspective.

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  • January 2, 2015 The 3 Sources of Poise

    Is it nature or nurture? Poise during the final seconds of an expiring clock in a sports contest often separates winners from losers. Hitting the high note in a solo during an orchestra performance in front of a packed house frequently distinguishes the virtuoso musician from the unprofessional. Making the tough decision at the head of the leadership table usually differentiates the effective chief executive from the ineffective figurehead. Are these leaders born with such composure under pressure or are these learned behaviors? A little of both is the likely answer. So, assuming the gift of nature – the lucky wiring handed down from generations of genetics – is part of the package, where does the nurture – the learned ability to remain graceful when it counts most – come from? Let’s look at the three most likely sources.

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  • September 18, 2014 5 Steps to Diversity-Friendly Leadership

    The audience for the recent “Women in Technology” keynote bore little resemblance to the demographics on the convention floor at CTIA’s 2014 Super Mobility Week in Las Vegas. While the exhibitor booths were commonly staffed with more men than women, female attendees of the workshop represented greater than a 9-to-1 ratio. The elephant in the room was not the fact that the keynote speaker was man. The travesty was the glaring absence of male participants in an industry needing to “get” the diversity advantage.

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  • June 20, 2013 Leading From Behind

    In retrospect, the ambitious project was probably a test. The project manager’s boss wondered about his ability to lead from behind. In the past, his creative mind and boundless energy had distanced him from his teammates. Often, his pace and focus prohibited him from hearing feedback or seeing alternate perspectives. The test project would become a tipping point for his career since it could only be accomplished if he was able to empower the leadership of his peers. Not surprisingly, he got off on the wrong foot.

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  • December 29, 2011 The Gift of a Soldier’s Return

    The week between Christmas and new Years has been brimming with stories about soldiers returning from tours of duty to be reunited with their families. Seldom does the news of the day so aptly capture the dichotomous essence of relationships: the delicate balance between attachment and loss.

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  • May 1, 2010 The Business Case for Effective Teams

    Welcome back to the Team Clock Institute’s monthly newsletter. Each month, Breakthrough Teams will invite readers to participate in an Ask/Apply/Act model:

    Ask: this month’s team challenge

    Apply: example story

    Act: action steps for consideration

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