I live in Washington, D.C., and go to about 15 Washington Nationals home games each year. I have an interest in the team’s performance and leadership, if only for all the hours and dollars I spend on the team.

As you may have heard, the team did not play well this year. Off the field, there were problems, and saying “the Nationals choked” had a more literal meaning than usual:

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After this disappointing regular season, The Nationals fired manager Matt Williams and all his coaches. Williams may be a decent fellow, but there is no one who says he was a good manager, and he too often made decisions that were wrong in terms of process and results. He struggled with in-game tactical situations, struggled to understand how his actions could have long-term repercussions, struggled in communicating with his team and struggled to explain his actions to the media and, by extension, the fans. (read more…)

“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…)

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

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Q: What is one way I can practice becoming more empathetic as a leader?

yec_Ross Resnick1. Ask yourself how you would feel

Empathetic leaders do one thing really well: they see multiple perspectives with authenticity. One simple way to do this is to remember what things were like when you were an employee. How did you feel when management did to you the same things you might be considering doing to your employees? By always asking yourself this question without bias, you’ll become a more empathetic leader immediately. — Ross Resnick, Roaming Hunger

yec_Brittany Hodak2. (read more…)

Seeking honest feedback from employees isn’t for for cowards. Honesty in the workplace can be daunting, especially for managers or leaders who haven’t always been open to feedback.

But you’ll find that the results are worth it. Here are five tips to help you get the feedback you’re looking for from your employees.

Be what you want to get

If your company culture has been marked by suspicion or a lack of transparency, that needs to change before you can expect useful feedback. Employees won’t be honest if they were punished for it or if they feel like you aren’t honest with them.

Even if you do feel that you have a culture of transparency at your organization, check to see whether leaders and employees are really on the same page. Leaders may feel they’re being transparent, but information may be delivered in such a way that employees are cynical about its intentions. (read more…)

Before you can earn the right to lead others, you need to “manage” yourself.

I know I’m not the first to use that phrase. Steven Covey wrote about it, and it’s taught in leadership programs such as those at my university.

It’s more than just another nice, pithy little leadership motto. It’s so true! But what exactly does it mean?

In plain language and practical application, it means that no one is going to follow or be inspired by someone who is an emotional train wreck, a red-hot mess and can’t punch themselves out of a paper bag without giving themselves a black eye.

In addition to the mixed metaphors, here’s what managing yourself means:

1. You know who you are and how you are perceived by others. We leadership development geeks call this “awareness of self”. It’s not as easy as it sounds — most people have “blind spots” as to how they are perceived by others. (read more…)