“Now, remember, Ben likes to shake things up; don’t be afraid to stand up to him.”

This was my boss, Eric, coaching me on an upcoming first-time meeting with a powerful VP in our organization. I was an ambitious young professional, recently hired from the outside and ready to make my mark at the new company. Eric realized my potential and arranged a meeting with Ben so that I could demo some new training materials that were being set up for Ben’s area of responsibility.

The meeting started well enough but then devolved into a train wreck as I struggled to maintain my composure with Ben’s “shaking things up.” He poked holes in my assertions, challenged my ideas and didn’t let up for almost 45 minutes. I left that meeting thinking, “I will never work for that man. He’s a tyrant.”

I received no sympathy from Eric. “I told you he was going to be tough,” my typically easy-going boss said in stern reproach. (read more…)

Your Leadership StoryThis post is an excerpt from “Your Leadership Story: Use Your Story to Energize, Inspire, and Motivate,” by Tim Tobin. Tobin is vice president, global learning and leadership development, at Marriott International. He is responsible for leadership development strategy, programs, curriculum and activities. His previous work includes Baker Tilly (formerly Beers + Cutler) and Booz Allen Hamilton. Among the recognition Tobin has received is the 2014 Chief Learning Officer Global Learning Award, 2012 Chief Learning Officer Learning in Practice Innovation Award and the 2005 Future Human Capital Leader award from Human Capital Magazine. Connect with Tobin on Twitter @TobinLeadership.

Stories have power. They move people in a way that facts and figures can’t. Many leaders use stories as a tool, but most have no idea what tale their own leadership is telling. By thinking of your career as a narrative with a plot, characters, and an arc — you can increase your awareness of yourself as a leader and become more effective, insightful, and inspiring. (read more…)

There is no guarantee that doing the right thing will lead to personal success. In 30-plus years as an ethics consultant, I have seen ethics undo more than a few brilliant careers. But I have also seen leaders whose ethics helped them succeed.

You may think that rising to the top with your ethics intact is a matter of luck. But my observation is that ethical leaders follow a conscious strategy for incorporating ethics in their success. Here are a few steps that have helped others make ethics a part of their success.

Choose whom you work for. If your ethics and the ethics of your employer significantly disagree, your career success is likely to be limited. Organizations seldom promote individuals outside of their cultural boundaries, which include its ethics. You can’t expect perfect agreement between your ethics and the ethics of an employer. But a vegan who works for a meat-packing company is not likely to go far in the company. (read more…)

A significant investment is made each year on studies, training, portals and programs related to career development; yet, the return on this investment continues to disappoint organizations, leaders and employees alike. And it’s unfortunate, because what’s needed doesn’t cost even a dollar. What’s needed to ensure healthy, sustainable career development is creativity.

“Creativity” and “career development” rarely come up in the same sentence. In fact, many organizations have inadvertently wrung a lot of creativity out of career development through the creation of complicated systems, processes, step-wise tools and forms. Yet what they’re discovering is, the more sophisticated the individual development planning process, the less creativity is actually allowed.

As a result, many managers and employees are painting by numbers when it comes to career development. They do what’s expected of them. They complete the forms. They meet the deadlines. And they continue to complain about the lack of authentic career development in their organizations. (read more…)

About 10 years ago, I was participating in a leadership program with area principals and other organizational leaders. As part of the training, we were instructed to undergo a 360-degree assessment. There were many revelations for me from that process, including important feedback about how others viewed my leadership capacity. But one insight that has remained with me the most had to do with our group as a whole.

The consultant who processed the data told us something that surprised me quite a bit at the time. Our group was comprised of communal leaders, people who oversaw many others and interacted routinely with tens if not hundreds of people each day. When he reached the area of extroversion and introversion (terms used by C. G. Jung to explain different attitudes people use to direct their energy), I was not expecting to hear that our group was collectively skewed towards introversion.

recite-2ajppjMy surprise emanated from a simple misconception. (read more…)