Sustainable Business: Trends and Challenges

Sustainable Business Trends and Challenges

At the University of Denver’s Sustainable Business Symposium recently, we heard about several trends and challenges, including not only advances in renewal energy and carbon emissions reporting but also a backlash against ESG, greenhushing, and pushback against DEI efforts. The challenges are real, but so is the progress. But first, the context.   The Ethical … Read more

The Telltale Actions of Courageous Leaders

These days, we find ourselves with a dearth of courageous leaders. Too often, we have cowardly leaders who duck, dodge, and go along instead of leading from the front. This comes with painful consequences, from low trust in organizations and institutions to low respect and engagement in the workplace. We can—and must—do better. We need … Read more

10 Benefits of Credibility in Leadership

When many people think about what makes a leader, too often they think about things like vision, inspiration, and charisma. They think about knowing what to do and getting people to do it. Or they think about confidence and decisiveness. Sure, these are important sometimes. But there are many other aspects of leadership that remain … Read more

The Telltale Signs of a Bad Boss

What’s the deal with all the bad managers out there? According to a Gallup study of 7,272 U.S. adults, one on two had left their jobs at some point in their career to get away from a bad manager. A YouGov and MHR survey of 2,006 workers found that 80 percent of U.S. workers have … Read more

What I Learned about Leadership from Playing Sports

I’ve been reflecting lately on lessons I’ve learned from playing sports over the years. Last week, I wrote about what sports taught me about life, so here I’m addressing leadership lessons from sports. We all know how sports can help build our character as well as our fitness, how we can learn about teamwork, and … Read more

Good Leaders Learn to Say No

It's OK to say no

Article Summary: Many leaders agree too quickly to the many requests they receive. Such frequent assent can undermine key priorities. Good leaders learn to say no. Here’s how. +++ Many of us are bombarded with requests, opportunities, and decisions to make. Our subordinates and colleagues make compelling cases for things they want or need, and … Read more

How Good Leaders Drive Execution in Their Organization

Article Summary: Creating an execution-driven organization is essential for leaders. There are specific tasks leaders can do with strategy, people, and operations to align their organization to execute well. Good leaders embed excellent execution into the culture of their organization. +++ Execution entails carrying out a strategy, plan, directive, or course of action. Good leaders … Read more

How Good Leaders Handle Factions and Office Politics

Article Summary: Factions and office politics are common in organizations. Good leaders learn to bridge such factions and address the politics to help create unified and aligned organizations that excel. +++ Factions are small, dissenting groups within larger groups. Many factions take a contentious approach, fueled by their self-serving agenda and narrow and stubborn view … Read more

How Leaders Can Become Better Listeners

listening

Article Summary: Good leaders make sure they don’t talk too much. They listen more and listen well. On the benefits of being a better listener and the best practices of listening, including how to build a culture of listening. +++ Many leaders talk too much. After all, they’re in charge, and people want to know … Read more

The Art of Giving versus Taking Credit: A Primer

Article Summary: Deciding when to take credit versus give credit for accomplishments is a more complicated issue than many people realize. Generally, it’s best to give credit to others, but there are some scenarios where it’s more nuanced. +++ The issue of giving versus taking credit for accomplishments is a tricky one for many leaders … Read more

Leaders, Do You Have Your People’s Backs?

Article Summary: Good leaders tell their people, “I’ve got your back”—and mean it. They make good on that promise. They protect their team, in the process building loyalty and trust. Do you have your people’s backs? +++ In the film “A Few Good Men,” Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee, played by Tom Cruise, defends two dedicated young … Read more

The Power of Dialogue for Leaders and Groups

Article Summary: Dialogue is a rarely used but potentially transformative gathering and communication process that can help groups tap into their collective wisdom, realize new insights, and bridge divides. +++ Good leaders are effective communicators. One powerful but rarely used form of communication is dialogue. Dialogue is a special form of respectful conversation between people … Read more

Good Leaders Believe in People–And Show It

Do you believe that most people are basically good, want to do the right thing, and have inherent talents? Good leaders have that mindset. They believe in the inherent capabilities of people. “I bring you the gift of these four words: I believe in you.” -Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, and writer Or … Read more

Leadership Lessons from the Great Works

Article Summary:  A wealth of life and leadership wisdom is readily available in the great works of literature, film, theater, and oratory. We’re wise to plumb this fount of extraordinary knowledge. +++ We can learn much from the great works of history, including classic books, films, great poems, theater, and speeches. Thomas Jefferson created lists … Read more

Are You Too Focused on Yourself?

Article Summary:  Are you more of a giver or taker? Too focused on yourself? On ego versus service and focusing on ourselves versus something bigger. +++ Are you a giver or a taker?   We all give and take to varying degrees, but what’s the greater tendency in your life? Are you more of a … Read more

Why All the Bad Bosses–And What to Do About It?

Article Summary:  Why are there so many bad bosses? Why are so many organizations bad at choosing managers? How to distinguish between bad bosses who can be redeemed and those who can’t? +++ “Surveys show that one in two people at some point in their careers have left their job to get away from their … Read more

Good Leaders Demonstrate Self-Control

Article Summary: Self-control can be learned and developed. Good leaders demonstrate self-control, mastering their impulses and emotions. +++ Self-control is our ability to manage our impulses, emotions, feelings, and desires to influence our behavior, especially in difficult situations. It’s a form of self-discipline that helps us address our weaknesses, avoid undesirable behavior, and pursue what’s … Read more

Good Leaders Say “And” More than “But”

Good Leaders Say "And" More than "But"

You’re in a meeting with your boss and colleagues discussing an important issue. You have a new insight to share on how to solve the issue, so you speak up. How would you feel if everybody ignores what you said and just moves on in the conversation? Or if the next person to speak says, … Read more

Leadership as Art and Science—But More Art

Article Summary:  Is leadership an art or a science? That debate has gone on for decades. We believe it’s both—but more of an art, especially in challenging circumstances with risk and uncertainty. +++ People have long debated whether leadership is an art of science, or both, and whether it’s more of one than another. The … Read more

How to Use Questioning to Drive Innovation

When business executive Edwin Land was on a family vacation decades ago, he took a picture of his daughter, who was three at the time. She wanted to see the picture right away and asked him why she couldn’t see it right then. That simple question from a child pushed Land to carry the inquiry … Read more

The Importance of Judgment in Leadership

The Importance of Judgment in Leadership

Summary: Judgment is an essential leadership quality. We outline why some leaders make bad judgments and how to develop good judgment. +++ Judgment is the ability to make good decisions. It’s a complex phenomenon requiring the ability to observe and understand things, draw upon knowledge and experience, form an opinion, and reach a decision. It … Read more

Courage and Leadership

courage and leadership

Courage is essential for great leadership. Without courage, leaders can’t do the things they must do. Courage is the mental and moral strength which helps us venture forth, confront danger, face our fears and challenges, and persevere. Aristotle taught us that courage is the virtue that is at the center of—the “golden mean” between—foolhardiness (excessive … Read more

Why We Need More Coaching Leaders

Article Summary: A coaching leadership style is on the rise to help organizations be more effective with today’s workers and our current challenges. +++ Coaching leaders provide guidance and support to people to help them achieve their goals and reach their full potential. They invest their time and energy into developing people. Coaching leaders identify … Read more

Spirituality and Leadership in Action–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Article Summary: Here we profile Martin Luther King, Jr. as an example of someone who has incorporated spirituality into his leadership with great effect. (This is part of a series on spirituality and leadership.) +++ In recent articles, we covered “Spirituality and Leadership—Leading with Heart and Love” and “How to Bring Spirituality into Your Leadership.” … Read more

Spirituality and Leadership in Action—Modern Examples

Article Summary: This article profiles several prominent modern leaders who have incorporated spirituality into their leadership, from JFK and Mother Teresa to Jane Goodall and Indra Nooyi. (This is part of a series on spirituality and leadership.) +++ In recent years, there’s been a growing interest in spirituality and leadership—and the related efforts around workplace … Read more

Spirituality and Leadership in Action–Historical Examples

Spirituality and Leadership Historical montage

Article Summary: This article profiles several prominent historical leaders who have incorporated spirituality into their leadership, from George Washington to the Dalai Lama. (This is part of a series on spirituality and leadership.) +++ In recent decades, with big challenges like a pandemic, climate change, global financial strains, political division, wars, and concerns about the … Read more

How to Bring Spirituality into Your Leadership

How to Bring Spirituality into Your Leadership

Article Summary: Incorporating spirituality into our leadership can be powerful for people and organizations. Here’s how leaders can go about it. (Part two in a series on spirituality and leadership.) +++ Our previous article, “On Spirituality and Leadership—Leading with Heart and Love,” addressed the power and many benefits of spirituality and leadership. Bringing spirituality into … Read more

On Spirituality and Leadership—Leading with Heart and Love

Article Summary:  On the relationship between love, spirituality, and leadership—and leading with heart. The first in a three-part series on spirituality and leadership. + + + Many of the derailers that inhibit the effectiveness of leaders concern matters of the heart and spirit that have gone awry for these leaders. For example, our Leadership Derailers … Read more

Love-Based Leadership in Action

Love-Based Leadership in Action

Many executives today lead through fear to protect their power and influence. Or they’re closed off and distant from their team. Others lead with love, which entails connecting, caring, recognizing, appreciating, giving, forgiving, having fun, and more. Leading with love can be powerful and even transformative for organizations and the people in them. In recent … Read more

How to Bring Love-Based Leadership to Your Workplace

How to Bring Love-Based Leadership to Your Workplace

Article Summary: Love-based leadership can be transformative for people and organizations. Here’s how leaders can bring it about in their workplace. +++ Our previous article, “The Case for Love-Based Leadership,” addressed the transformational power and many benefits of love-based leadership. Leading with love entails connecting, caring, showing compassion, recognizing, appreciating, giving, forgiving, having fun, and … Read more

The Case for Love-Based Leadership

love based leadership

Article Summary: Love-based leadership can help transform ourselves and our organizations. It has many powerful benefits. +++ Love-based leadership belongs in our workplaces, but it’s not what we often think of as love. Love can mean different things. We can love our spouse or child, or a friend, or a book or film, and more. … Read more

The Four Types of People in Any Organization (Beware the Fourth)

I was co-captain of the soccer team and we were flailing. Things weren’t all bad. We had good players—some great—and were doing well in league matches. But for some reason this season, several players were rebelling against the coach. Perhaps some of it was resentment about the intense focus on fitness, with brutal sprinting drills … Read more

What to Do If You Work for an Unethical Organization

What to Do If You Work for an Unethical Organization by Triple Crown Leadership

Article Summary: Here we describe what you can do if you work for an unethical organization, including specific tips and actions. +++ What should you do if you work for an unethical organization? In a previous article, we outlined how to determine if you work for an unethical organization. In that article, we described toxic … Read more

Are You Working for an Unethical Organization?

Article Summary:  Some organizations are unethical. Here we outline how you can determine if your organization is unethical. Our next article will outline what you can do about it. +++ How can you determine if you work for an unethical organization? No organization is perfect. All leaders are fallible. But some organizations are downright unethical, … Read more

Ethical Challenges Across Industries—Implications for You

Ethical Challenges Across Industries

Some industries are ethically dirty, with widespread corruption, while others are clean. Most are somewhere in between. What are the signs of ethical challenges in an industry—and what to do about it? Many industries get good marks overall, including consulting, education, electronics, health, nonprofits, and more. Other industries are known for having ethical challenges. Examples … Read more

The Best and Worst Bosses: Implications for Leaders

Article Summary: Here we describe the worst bosses and the best bosses—and we suggest what can you do to become more like a best boss. “Bosses shape how people spend their days and whether they experience joy or despair, perform well or badly, or are healthy or sick. Unfortunately, there are hordes of mediocre and … Read more

How Ego and Pride Derail Leaders

How Ego and Pride Derail Leaders by Gregg Vanourek

Article Summary: If you think you don’t have a problem with your ego, watch out. That’s when leaders are at the greatest risk of losing their bearings and credibility. +++ Aristotle defined the “golden mean” as the desirable middle between the two extremes of excess and deficiency. For leaders, there’s an essential golden mean to … Read more

Character-Infused Leadership

Character should be the cornerstone of your leadership. “Great leadership is a product of great character.” -Abraham Lincoln   The Future of Ethics Professor Corey Ciocchetti led a conference recently on “The Future of Ethics” at the University of Denver (DU). It was superb. His keynote address focused on “character-infused leadership.” The Daniels College of … Read more

How Leaders Should Address the Unique Challenges of Our Times

How Leaders Should Address the Unique Challenges of Our Times

It’s no secret that leadership can be brutally hard. Think of all the things that can lead to organizational breakdowns as well as all the derailers that inhibit our leadership effectiveness.   Today’s Unique Challenges But that’s just table stakes. As if those problems weren’t already enough, today we have additional challenges unique to our … Read more

A Tiger Team and Its Breakthrough—The Pathfinder

A Tiger Team and Its Breakthrough—The Pathfinder

In our last post, we wrote about Tiger Teams–temporary special action teams created and empowered to attack problems and exploit opportunities. Bob first witnessed the power of alignment and flow with the Pathfinder team at Monarch Marking Systems. In the early 1980s, retailers were rapidly adopting bar codes to scan at checkout. Rather than fight … Read more

Ditch Frozen Structures for Tiger Teams

Ditch Frozen Structures for Tiger Teams

The vast majority of organizations today have a traditional hierarchical structure.* They may be organized by function, division, geography, or some other variable, but they’re hierarchical. Given their long history, it’s no surprise that hierarchies can be useful. Organizations, especially large and complex ones, need structure to avoid chaos. “Hierarchy works well in a stable … Read more

Getting Results with Steel or Velvet—A Critical Leadership Practice

Getting Results with Steel or Velvet— A Critical Leadership Practice

Triple crown leaders—those seeking to build organizations that are excellent, ethical, and enduring—go beyond their natural leadership style, flexing between the hard edge of steel and the soft edge of velvet, depending on the situation and the people involved. (See our related article, “Steel and Velvet Leadership.”) They acknowledge their varying approaches referencing the organization’s … Read more