Those of us who never knew or interacted with the late David Carr can do little to add to the tributes from the past few days.

Those of us in media can try to be better editors, reporters and writers in his vein, but we’re not likely to be that good. Not me, or most of us. And most of my readers here and in the Leadership newsletter don’t work in media.

So why am I writing about him? Because of the profound legacy he has left as a mentor and developer of talent. Because he was also an addict and a dealer, violent toward women, deep into some of the darkest pits of despair and desperate and despicable behavior one can imagine, endangering not only himself but his children.

Because, improbably, he emerged from that, became a success, even a minor celebrity, and yet did not let himself forget what he was, why he got there and how lucky — unfairly lucky, perhaps — he was. (read more…)

Every leader had to start somewhere. That’s true about the shift supervisor on the shop floor and the head of a multinational corporation. Rarely is a great leader just born; no one walks into the workplace with all of the skills required to manage a team, inspire people and help grow a business.

Unfortunately, many leaders fail to develop past the point of mere competence. Often, they will skate by on their effective management skills, but either aren’t given the chance or don’t have the drive to achieve more. They’re good leaders, sure — but they’re not great.

Certain transitions have to take place to turn good leaders into great leaders. I’ve seen it a few times in my career, and I’ve noticed there is a pattern. There are changes that take place, things that leaders simply must do better to become more than merely competent.

Here are three of those transitions:

Learning to delegate effectively

This might seem basic. (read more…)

Tracey starts her new job today. She is the incoming director of quality for a manufacturing organization, and she’s ready to hit the ground running. Tracey is going have a successful first 30 days in her new role. Why? Because she has made the transition into new organizations on several occasions, and she’s learned a few things about how to go from unknown entity to respected leader in short order.

Tracey’s plan for success started well before her first day on the job. She brings with her a solid track record — having garnered national industry awards for her previous company and high employee-engagement scores on her organization’s annual employee-satisfaction survey. So she knows that being “ready to roll” on day one requires some preparation and coalition-building. Here’s what Tracey did to prepare for her new gig:

Created space between the old and new job. Planning for a new job while wrapping up your current one can be can physically and emotionally exhausting. (read more…)

None of us succeed without some kind of setback.

Too often, we don’t acknowledge our ability to deal with the negatives. As a result, we may stay negative, or too self-critical, and, as a result, not recognize the inner resolve that fuels us.

Defeat may always lurk around the corner, but it’s how we deal with it that defines us as the individuals we are, and can become. (read more…)

Did your New Year’s resolutions include being a better leader? Perhaps not exactly, but if you’re like the many people who want to “get more organized” — it’s the No. 2 resolution, according to research by University of Scranton — then there are opportunities to up your leadership game. But it won’t happen automatically: a mere 8% of people say they fully adopt their New Year’s resolutions, so leaders need a system to stay the course.

If you’re one of the 92% already feeling the tug of inertia overcoming your resolution, take heart: you can get back on track. There are many reasons that resolutions fall by the wayside, and one of the biggest barriers is “no time.” To help overcome the fade of resolve, I use a planning technique called “60 x 6” to inject a quick shot of energy back into a newly set goal.

Here’s how it works: 60 x 6 uses 60 minutes of laser-like focus to lay the foundation for your goal, which then continually moves you forward throughout the coming six months. (read more…)