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Month: August 2012

What’s your leadership REALLY teaching people?

Many psychologists tell us ‘we teach people how to treat us.’ Something worth reflecting on. Recent conversations have made me think about what some leaders or organisations are teaching people how to treat them. The written policies, protocols and espoused norms and expectations can be quickly undermined by observed standards that contradict any spoken or written ones. In the past 6 months, I’ve had more than one person tell me:

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Healthy settings for the DSLR camera of life

Last month when I was in Doha, I used my evenings and weekends to learn and experiment with the settings and features of a DSLR camera. In the process, my camera taught me a very important lesson about pro-actively exercising our choices in life. One night at dusk, I went outside our apartment building to try a few combinations of settings. The dusk lighting obscured the details of the buildings and trees around me. I took the first picture on the Auto setting. While it was a bit better than what my ‘point and shoot’ camera would have produced, it was dark and didn’t capture the essence of the scene at all.

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Balance: casual vs formal

Do you sometimes forget to separate the role from the relationship or the person? It is easy to do and can lead to negative professional consequences. Alex, the Managing Director of a small finance company is a well respected, highly connected leader whose accessible, friendly style is balanced with high expectations of accountability and productivity. Two of his executives take a very casual approach to deadlines, email style and his one-on-one meetings with them.

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When a season ends

Ending a season

“Making a big life change is scary. But you know what is scarier? Regret.” Unknown

Many will know how much I love Doha, Qatar. Leading up to this year’s trip, I had a feeling this would be my last year working on the project that has taken me to the Gulf for the past three years. There were many indicators that this season was coming to an end.


What are you drinking?

What are you drinking?

Sometimes I picture life (especially at work) as though we each walk around with a glass in our hand which represents what we ‘drink in’ and believe. Everyone we meet has a bottle of something that they want to pour in to our glass. Sometimes it is the good drink of constructive solutions, goodwill, encouragement, or a balanced perspective on something or someone who is a big problem in our organisation.

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Myth of ‘ideal life’

Nobody has the ideal life

“It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” Lena Horne


Angie was one of those people who usually had a smile, saw the positive in even the darkest of work situations and rarely complained or gossiped. She was not a pushover. Well aware of the things that were dysfunctional and toxic in her organisation she used her authority as a senior manager to take constructive action.

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