Recently I had the pleasure of going on a fishing trip on Lake Michigan with three of my sons. This was our first such fishing charter, and it turned out to be a great experience all around.

Clearly, one of the most common words on a shipping boat is “catch,” as in the fish that is brought in during the trip. When used in the workplace, the term can be used to reference a great new resource, such as a new hire or tool that has the potential of adding value to the workforce and its efforts. Proactive managers and employers can also catch their workers doing something right and praise such conduct as a form of reinforcement.

On the negative side, the term “catch” can refer to the way in which employees are oftentimes evaluated, as in being caught off-guard with critiques (or worse) that stem from unstated or unclear expectations. (read more…)

Q. What is one bad management practice nearly all entrepreneurs are guilty of at one point?

The Young Entrepreneur Council is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

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yec_Brittany Hodak1. Looking for “clones” to hire

As entrepreneurs who were once solo-preneurs know, when you hire someone to take over the work you were once doing yourself, it can be difficult not to jump in and say, “I did it this way” on occasion. It’s important to hire people who know more than you and can look for new, innovative ways to solve problems that you may not think of instead of training new hires to think and act like a mini you. (read more…)

If you are a sucker for great leadership movies like I am — “Invictus,” “Coach Carter” and “Moneyball,” just to name a few — it’s easy to assume that all leaders embody the same qualities as those in the movies.

After all, who hasn’t idealized business leaders to be strong, confident, make tough decisions and stand their ground no matter what? While those leaders do exist, they are a minority. In working with leaders for 30 years, I have found that the reality is shockingly different.

Most leaders take on their roles with the greatest of positive intentions. Yet, along the way, they get lost. Not by conscious choice. Rather they are derailed by an underlying dysfunctional pattern called co-dependency.

Co-dependency is a set of beliefs and behaviors that prevent individuals from having healthy, mutually beneficial relationships. At first glance, the term “co-dependent leader” seems like an oxymoron, yet this dysfunctional behavioral pattern is rampant within the business world. (read more…)

Leaders should show a sense of vulnerability.

This is advice I have given to many senior leaders because it shows a sense of humanity and openness, even transparency. It brings people to them because it shows that the senior leader does not have all the answers.

But does this advice apply to those in middle management and below? The answer is yes, but! Leaders who understand their limitations but know how to solve problems are those that senior leaders look to give greater levels of responsibility.

  (read more…)

To some, being a leader is just a job. But to others, it’s a choice, a calling even, to inspire others to engage, perform, and achieve. The women and men who make this choice are skilled in a number of areas that bring out the best in everyone and everything. They’re leaders who get it.

Their secret sauce? They’ve chosen to:

1. Be well-mannered mavericks who know when to go with the flow and when to go against it. Leaders who get it have the insight and courage to buck the status quo when it’s gone awry and are willing to assume the personal risk involved in doing so. “Business courage is not so much a visionary leader’s inborn characteristic as a skill acquired through decision-making processes that improve with practice,” notes University of Southern California professor Kathleen Reardon.

2. Be kind. These folks have closed the book on the view of leaders as flinty heroes who unsmilingly save the day and double the bottom line. (read more…)