I was having a cup of coffee with a former work colleague who lamented over what happened at a meeting with his employer when the CEO said many things that were, shall we say, less than inspiring. The episode really called into question the leadership of the CEO in the eyes of my friend and his colleagues.

I stressed to my friend that, if he wanted to thrive there, he needed to look past this one event and try to find something about the CEO that inspires him and gives him confidence because you cannot work for someone for whom you have no respect. Consider this the worst that this individual can be, and remember that you got through it, and move on.

Contradicting myself, I then laughed and quoted the movie “Starman,” in which Jeff Bridges’ character tells a government alien-life investigator why his kind are interested in our kind — “Humans are a strange species … you are at your very best when things are at their worst.”

My friend quickly said, “Not all humans.”

That is very true. (read more…)

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from more than 190,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: If someone on your team hates their job, what do you do?

  • Nothing — it’s up to them to find happiness: 7.24%
  • Point out the good things about their role: 27.35%
  • Change their role to make them happy: 7.81%
  • Encourage them to find another role: 57.6%

If you don’t like the job, take action. We’ll frequently have team members who aren’t happy in their roles. Your job as their leader is to help them find their passion for their job. One way to do so is to help them see their work through a different lens and point out the good about their role. The second is to encourage them to find a role that’s better suited to them. (read more…)

9781118910665.pdfThe stress of having too much to do and too little time to get it all done is a wonderfully modern problem. After all, it can mean you wield great authority, are working on big and important problems, and, in many cases at work, you are well-compensated.

But being “Overworked and Overwhelmed,” as Scott Eblin named his latest book, is not just some problem we’d all love to have. Being overworked and overwhelmed means you are risking your health, your relationships and — despite your endless hours of work — your ability to be productive, to lead and to make smart decisions. You’re probably not prioritizing, not setting boundaries. You’re almost certainly rushing from one task and thought to another so quickly and so often that you aren’t listening to or focused on any of it. When’s the last time you took a deep breath (or three, as he recommends)?

What is this problem caused by? (read more…)

An article this summer in The New York Times quoted extensively from a research study conducted by Silicon Valley psychologist Stephanie Brown which refers to our collective fear of slowing down. Brown found that people who are alone with their own thoughts for more than a few minutes become agitated and seek any kind of stimulation they can find in order to avoid thinking.

“There’s this widespread belief that thinking and feeling will only slow you down and get in your way, but it’s the opposite,” she said.

Case in point: A study by Benjamin Baird and colleagues at the University of California, Santa Barbara, shows that daydreaming and fantasizing unleash fantastic amounts of creativity and allow people to problem-solve because they feel free to look at problems and challenges without deadlines and outside pressures.

Have you had a creative daydream lately? Would you like to? Here’s how to get started. (read more…)

I’m a big fan of old movies, and I especially like the dramas that focus on men and women who beat the odds. We say those characters have moxie.

Moxie sums up the guts and gumption a leader needs to succeed when times are tough and the circumstances are daunting.

Leaders with moxie are do-ers, enablers and achievers. Individuals with moxie are those who seek to make a positive difference in their own lives as well as lives of others around them.

Leaders with moxie are those with the courage to be counted, the get-up-and-go to take action, and the desire to get recognition for their teams as well as themselves.

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. (read more…)