I’ve been hearing this way too often lately. “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” It’s catchy. It sounds just enough like wisdom to pass for wisdom. But does it have any substance? Does it give us any moral guidance?

I hope no one believes it’s always better to ask for forgiveness. That would justify, for example, date rape in cases where consent was not clear. So let’s consider the statement, “It’s sometimes better to ask forgiveness…”

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When interviewing managers within any given field, a common answer to the question, “What is your management style?” is this:

“I lead by example.”

But let me ask you – do you think that solely leading by example is enough to produce top-notch performance?

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Enthusiasm, energy and smiles are contagious. You’ve probably all heard this seeming rhetoric spouted by the most positive person in the office more than once. And you’ve probably also rolled your eyes at these people more than once. However, recent research1 by neurobiologists and neuropsychologists actually shows your emotions are, in fact, very contagious.

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One of the most common answers I hear to the question, “What is your management style?” is this:

“I practice an open-door policy.”

I invite you to answer this question: Is an open-door policy alone enough to create meaningful relationships with your associates as well as groom them for top-notch performance results?

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There is nothing more important for the long-term success of your team, department and company than identifying your pipeline and managing your high potentials. Whether you are thinking about who to promote, how to identify your successor or how to be a better manager, this list of things to consider along with some key questions to ponder is a good place to start. In this blog series, we are exploring 25 ways to keep your great employees engaged and help them continue to out-perform everyone else.

This week we examine the purpose behind leadership.

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