“Don’t make me think about it!”

That was some advice an executive I know shared with one of his direct reports. The executive was not being flippant, he was letting his more junior colleague know that he wanted him to come with well-thought out plans of action.

He was delegating decision making to his subordinate and wanted this individual to pick up the ball and run with it.

Such advice is the opposite of micro-management; call it “I trust you” management. It is something that every executive needs to instill in his or her people.

By permitting employees to think and do for themselves, you prepare them for greater levels of responsibility.


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…)

In transitioning from the Navy to entrepreneurial life, I’ve learned that stress is relative. To someone who’s experienced life-or-death situations, a missed deadline doesn’t seem like a big deal. But for a recent college graduate working his first job, it can feel like the end of the world.

As an officer, I had many roles: boss, friend, drinking buddy, parent, financial adviser, and marital counselor. Stress management became a way of life: Not only were there physical dangers inherent to the job, but there were also countless emotional tests in the form of erratic schedules, long hours, homesickness, and moral dilemmas.

This experience taught me how to successfully lead sailors through stressful circumstances, and these lessons also apply to office settings.

Here are five strategies to create a team that excels under pressure:

recite-sm1uvq1. Don’t freak out. Faced with a high-stress situation, your team will use your actions to guide their behavior. (read more…)

Volatile equities markets, rising interest rates, international turmoil and instability, unstable monetary exchanges, shrinking resources, changing employee values — all of these factors seem to be creating the “perfect storm” threatening markets and the free enterprise system.

If ever there was a time for government and organizations to be resilient, its now. But how can organizations enhance resilience? Let’s look at the most current recommendations from the finest minds.

Residing within the National Academies in Washington, D.C., is the Institute of Medicine. IOM is a nongovernmental think tank that brings together the finest minds in the country to offer collective opinions on the pressing issues facing the country and the world. Recently, IOM was asked to provide guidance on how organizations can best weather the storms of adversity, economic downturn, and shrinking resources. According to the IOM report, organizations should prepare for adversity by developing an organizational culture of resilience.

An organizational culture of resilience may be thought of as a climate or general atmosphere within a group, organization, or community which fosters resilience in the wake of adversity. (read more…)

Pfizer, the multinational pharmaceutical giant, has become increasingly intentional about shaping its culture. You can see evidence of Pfizer’s commitment in Ian Read’s letter to stakeholders the year after he became CEO:

In 2011, we thoroughly explored what our culture is and how it needs to evolve. We engaged with leaders across the business and sought the candid input of approximately 11,000 colleagues globally. We concluded that we need a culture where colleagues behave like they are owners of the business, are not afraid to take thoughtful risks, deliver on their commitments, treat each other with trust and respect and work with integrity each and every day. Developing this ownership culture will be key to our success. I am personally proud of Pfizer’s colleagues. Pfizer people care. They embody our humanity and innovative spirit, and are determined to tackle some of the most pressing health care challenges of our time. We are committed to creating an ownership culture that unleashes the creativity of our colleagues around the world. (read more…)

Last week, I listened to the familiar laments of bright and dynamic professional I know. Working for a global consulting firm, he joins a new project team every three to six months. Eager to have steady career progression, he is usually left on his own to grow his skills. He asked me if it is reasonable to expect his pressured manager to be more deliberate in giving him opportunities to grow.

Having met and worked with scores of development-oriented managers, my answer is yes — some managers purposely engineer development for their team right into the project. These smart team managers aren’t necessarily altruistic; they have a lot to gain. They become talent magnets for high-performing employees who feed a cycle of more development and greater performance. One such manager told me, “Team projects have got to be the best opportunity to grow the greatest number of people all at once. (read more…)