Category Archives: Leadership and Team Development

Read actionable strategies on leadership and team development that will help you become a better leader and those you manage become a better team.

3 Critical and Effective Cross-Functional, Peer Relationship Strategies

Critical and Effective Cross-Functional, Peer Relationship Strategies

Effective cross-functional (peer) relationships are among the toughest to build within an organization.

It’s not surprising because of the strong “not created here” mentality between work units, and the natural competition between groups which are often fueled by pay systems that pit groups against one another.

The ability to bridge this discord and build and sustain effective peer relationships is a “game-changer” for most leaders.

It is a true selection differentiator when it comes to consideration and success at the most senior levels.

That is, those who do this well usually go on to senior executive roles where they execute these roles successfully.

Those that don’t…simply don’t.

Their careers are often derailed at one level below.

Possible derailment factors, culled in studies done by V.J.Benz (1967) who did a 30-year study on the subject, concluded that one major reason for leader incompetence was their inability to form effective relationships, cross-functionally or otherwise.

Another study performed by Lombardo & McCall who were inspired by Bentz to conduct similar research in 1983, concluded that the most frequent reason for leadership derailment was insensitivity to others (read as peers)

Why is this?

Read More 3 Critical and Effective Cross-Functional, Peer Relationship Strategies

6 Steps To Effectively Address Employee Performance Issues

Employee Performance Issues

In a recent blog entitled The Paralyzing Effects of Poor Performance I discussed the psychological drivers behind why many Leaders become paralyzed in the face of taking action when faced with employee performance issues.

In this post I wanted to share 6 proven steps that if followed, will effectively address any and all employee performance issues a Leader will face while affecting change within your organization in a straightforward and non-biased manner.

Read More 6 Steps To Effectively Address Employee Performance Issues

Giving Voice To Values – How To Follow Your Moral Compass As A Leader

Moral Compass Banner

The following post is an excerpt from a recent Leadership Leverage radio show. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Today we’ll be exploring the topic of values.

And perhaps as important is the topic of values as it pertains to the individual leader.

In other words how effectively can you stand up for your values when pressured by your boss, customers or shareholders to do the opposite?

In a larger sense the ability to voice your values becomes the litmus test for your true ability to lead and develop followership.

Listen to the full audio version of this transcript or download the MP3:

Or Download the MP3

Why is it that as leaders we often know the right thing to do but have trouble implementing it?

How can we find our values’ voice and become a more effective leader?

What can companies do to better foster and reinforce value-based leadership?

To help us navigate this journey, our guest is the popular and distinguished Dr. Mary Gentile.

Currently Dr. Gentile is the director of Giving Voice to Values, a business curriculum launched by the Aspen Institute and Yale with ongoing support from Babson College.

Giving Voice to Values is a pioneering approach to values-driven leadership that has been featured in such magazines as the Financial Times, The Harvard Business Review, Strategy and Business, and in Business Week and is being piloted in over 100 business schools and organizations globally.

Dr. Gentile also recently released a book on the same topic: “Giving Voice To Values: How To Speak Your Mind When You Know What’s Right”.

You can read more about Dr. Gentile and her book here:


Giving Voice To Values

Dr. Denker: Mary I’m curious to know how did you first participate in developing this notion of giving voice to values. What led you down this path?

Dr. Gentile: I’ve been working in the area of business, values and ethics – and the social impact of business – for several decades now.

But a number of years ago around the late 90’s, turn of the century, I experienced what I like to call a kind of crisis of faith.

I began to wonder if teaching ethics in business schools was ethical.

For me this grew out of the fact that we would [have] these long conversations with students, we would examine these challenging values conflicts in business, some global challenges and people would go back and forth about what the right thing to do was.

But in the end at some point students might say, “Mary this is all well and good but in the real world you can’t really act this way, you can’t really do these things. The pressures on you are so great that you won’t be able to behave in alignment with your values.”

That was an answer that I found truly troubling and I actually stepped back from the work a little while and started to reconsider what I was doing.

And the book and the curriculum I’ve developed around “Giving Voice to Values” is really my response to that.

Read More Giving Voice To Values – How To Follow Your Moral Compass As A Leader

How To Understand and Grow Your Leadership Identity

Grow Your Leadership Identity

Leadership identity (how we view ourselves as a Leader) or what we refer to as our Leader-Self is never set in stone, but keeps growing and changing in one way or another over time.

Moreover, our “Leader-Self” (leadership identity) consists of many parts, although this might not be apparent to us.

Most of the time we are used to thinking of the Leader-Self as a single whole that defines us.

For example, we might say that we have a particular characteristic as a leader – for instance being highly competitive or perhaps being an effective problem solver.

However, in order to effectively grow as a leader, it is important to understand that the Leader-Self is not one thing but a complex collection of multiple definitions and parts that all have to grow and diversify into new areas to remain effective and become your leadership identity.

Read More How To Understand and Grow Your Leadership Identity

Power: Why Some People Have It And Others Don’t – Part 1

Black king in a chess set

The following post is an excerpt from a recent Leadership Leverage radio show. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Dr. Denker: I wanted to explore the topic of power – why some people have it and others don’t.

In our discussion today we’ll learn what power is, how to get it, and how to use it to bring about change to get things done, and how it can help you be a more effective leader.

To help us navigate this journey, we’ll be speaking with Dr. Jeffrey Pfeffer, a distinguished and popular educator, author, and international consultant.

Dr. Pfeffer is the Thomas D. Dee Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, and he’s the author, or co-author of 13 books.

Dr. Pfeffer’s latest book entitled “Power: Why some people have it and others don’t” is the focus of our dialogue today, and is a fascinating read as to the central message that intelligence, performance, and likeability alone are not the keys to career success.

Instead, self-promotion, building relationships, cultivating a reputation for control and authority, along with projecting a power demeanor, are vital drivers for promotion and success.

Read More Power: Why Some People Have It And Others Don’t – Part 1

7 Ways To Develop Your Company’s Millennials For Leadership

7 Ways To Develop Your Company's Millennials For Leadership

Doesn’t that manager look a little young?

If you’ve asked yourself or someone else that question recently, you may have good reason.

In many organizations, people are moving into management and leadership roles earlier than ever in their careers.

There’s a good reason why this is happening. Demographically, Millennials became the largest generational cohort in the U.S. workplace in March 2015.

US Labor Force By Generation Graph

At the same time, changes among previous generations in the workplace are opening up new opportunities for Millennials.

For example, baby Boomers are retiring at the rate of 10,000 per day, and Generation X — the group currently in their forties and fifties — are too small a generation to fill all the leadership slots opening up as Boomers retire.

What is a “Millennial”?

Demographers don’t always agree on the exact definition of the generational cohort called “Millennials. But in general, they are people born between 1981-2000.

Other generations are also defined as being born during a roughly 20-year period:

  • “Silents” 1928-1945
  • “Boomers” 1946-1964
  • “Generation X” 1965-1980

So, although the oldest Millennials are just in their mid-thirties, they are and will continue to be, moving into leadership positions earlier in their careers than their predecessors.

In fact, a study by Deloitte in 2013 indicated that 50% of Millennials already hold leadership roles.

In addition, a survey done by Deloitte in 2015 suggest businesses, particularly in developed markets, will need to make significant changes to attract and retain their future workforce.

What all this means is that organizations urgently need their Millennial employees to be ready to step up into leadership — now.

How can you make sure they’re ready?

Here are a few suggestions to consider and help your organization build and retain its Millennial leaders:

Read More 7 Ways To Develop Your Company’s Millennials For Leadership

The Truth About Executive Coaching:


The Truth About Executive Coaching:

An Honest, No-Holds Barred Look At An Often Misunderstood, High-Return Investment In Your Key Talent

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