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The Single Greatest Weakness in the Business World

3 minute read

Ambiguity: (noun) the quality of being open to more than one interpretation; inexactness.

I coach students in a variety of graduate degree programs at Vanderbilt’s Owen Graduate School of Management. Most have already spent anywhere from a couple years to a couple decades in the workforce, so we use a well-regarded “360” assessment in which students ask their peers, boss, and subordinates to rate them on 38 different leadership,

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The Most Overworked Word in Today’s Business World

5 minute read

During the past year, I’ve noticed that when I meet with a client and ask how they’re doing, the vast majority of the time their response is busy, really busy, very busy, got a lot going on, or something of the sort. Their accompanying tone often suggests to me that they perceive their level of activity is more than they want it to be, and that functioning at the level they are functioning should be the exception rather than the rule.

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6 Signs Your Boss Is Threatened by You

(And What to Do about It)

5 minute read

In our last post on mentoring, we talked about the idea of a “leadership gap,” which is often perceived as something negative, but is simply an opportunity for one person (usually a manager) to commit to and invest in helping someone else (their mentee/protégée/supervisee) progress. At its core, this is what the mentoring relationship is founded on. In our discussion,

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The Art and Genius of Mentoring

4 minute read

As discussed last time, mentors can help us manage performance anxiety. In fact, mentorship helps with much more than just anxiety; mentoring helps professionals at all levels do their jobs better. Mentoring is the tool we use to cover the Leadership Gap—the distance between where you are and where you want to be. Two questions determine whether a mentoring relationship is possible: Can you? And Will you?

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The Scary Secret in Every Workplace: Performance Anxiety

5 minute read

We frequently work with clients who experience performance anxiety at work. Often, progressing to the executive level can include more pressure to achieve higher outcomes, better margins, and larger deliverables. While promotion is typically regarded as a success, even positive stress can lead to overwhelming anxiety—which frequently goes unacknowledged and undiscussed in the workplace. As we have talked about in past posts, emotional intelligence is the awareness of and ability to respond skillfully to our own emotions as well as others’ emotions.

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Gravitas and the Executive Presence

5 minute read

When people talk about someone not “having what it takes” to be a leader, more often than not they are referring to executive presence. Not unlike a performer’s stage presence, executive presence is the ability to command and hold the attention of an audience, to own a stage space (whether on an actual stage, at a podium, or at the head of a boardroom [or even conference room] table),

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When You Don’t Want to Poke the Bear, Pet the Bear…

(And What to Do When You’re the Bear)

5 minute read

There are hundreds of internet memes out there about how pointless it is to tell an upset person to “calm down.” Telling an angry person to calm down works about as well as baptizing a cat. Never in the history of calming down has anyone ever calmed down by being told to calm down. Or for the purposes of our conversation today,

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When Passion Becomes a Liability

5 minute read

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you know we have worked with our fair share of executives who need help with emotional intelligence. Generally when we coach people on having more emotional intelligence, it’s about being aware of when they get emotionally hijacked and lose their cool (or how to manage around someone else who’s gotten emotionally hijacked). Most often, people get emotionally triggered when they feel threatened (professionally or otherwise),

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Our Language Creates Our Reality

3 minute read

Sometimes leadership coaching can drill down as far as helping clients choose their words wisely. One such case occurred with our client, “Matthew,” who sought our assistance with improving his relationship and communication with “John,” one of his supervisees. We set a date to meet with both Matthew and John and work through some communication tactics, and then the following month, we met with Matthew again alone. In the follow-up meeting,

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The Most Costly Management Mistake

4 minute read

In the course of nearly a decade of leadership coaching and advising, as well as two decades of executive leadership, one of the most agonizing mistakes we see managers make time and time again is being impatient in the hiring process. Hiring impatience occurs for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:

  • the department or company is short-handed, causing staff members to have to do the work of two people;

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