The Lead Yourself First Blog


Out Of Control: Three Reasons Why We Can’t (Or Won’t) Get Off The Work Treadmill

“There aren’t enough hours in the day.” …The catchcry for the busy professional who laments the fact that if it were possible to cram more hours into a day, he or she would make it so. When will the “crazy busy” (workaholic) lifestyle give way to a more “sane” way of being? If you were to ask most people to answer this question, the likely response would be “perhaps never”. Or, you may hear complete denial regarding the reality of life spinning out of control. Continue reading “Out Of Control: Three Reasons Why We Can’t (Or Won’t) Get Off The Work Treadmill”

Workaholism – A Sanctioned Addiction: A Message For Dedicated Slaves…And Slave Drivers

How do you extricate yourself from an unhealthy work situation? Is it more difficult to do when you relish a challenge? Can you tell the difference between being a workaholic and a hard worker? If you are an employer, are you treating your best people with respect, or are you rewarding hard work with more work? Continue reading “Workaholism – A Sanctioned Addiction: A Message For Dedicated Slaves…And Slave Drivers”

Leadership Lesson: Can You Motivate “Dead Wood” Employees?

“I’m done.” These are thoughts or words that indicate an employee’s time with your organization has come to an end. Of course, many people reach this point for reasons that have nothing to do with low morale, lack of opportunity or a dislike for their jobs. They are ready to move up, move on or begin a new chapter in their lives, once their careers are finished or their time in the workforce is over.

Scenarios like those above are easy to understand. However, the same cannot be said about an employee who shuts down, becomes apathetic at work, or sucks the life out of their co-workers by displaying negativity day in and day out. While there is little doubt that a lack of motivation manifests itself in various forms, there are often underlying issues that can be addressed positively and proactively. Continue reading “Leadership Lesson: Can You Motivate “Dead Wood” Employees?”

Understanding unconscious bias: Your perception becomes your truth

Spanish philosopher George Santayana said in the Life of Reason: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (1905-1906) If there is any truth to the notion that history repeats itself, then Santayana’s prophetic insights are as relevant today as they were more than 100 years ago. Continue reading “Understanding unconscious bias: Your perception becomes your truth”

Are you a Positive Influencer or a Chronic Complainer? Choose wisely.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting and working with an association that invited me to speak at their annual conference on the subject of influence. Although their membership is extremely diverse, the common denominator for all their members is the fact that they are in a position to profoundly impact their leaders, clients and co-workers on a daily basis. They were keen to learn more about the art and science of influence, and what struck a chord with me was the fact that they were passionate about making a positive difference in their respective workplaces. Continue reading “Are you a Positive Influencer or a Chronic Complainer? Choose wisely.”

The art of asking questions – Your biggest communication asset

Mark always prided himself as an exceptional negotiator and communicator, yet during a recent performance review with an employee, he was accused of reneging on a promotion offered during a conversation several months prior. Mark recalled the initial discussion, however both parties had a different understanding regarding the timeline for the promotion to take effect. His employee requested that a union representative also attend the performance review and Mark was informed in advance that a grievance would be filed should the matter remain unresolved.
Continue reading “The art of asking questions – Your biggest communication asset”

Resentment, Resistance, Rejection: Demystifying the Fear of Change

Nothing changes if nothing changes. The only constant is change. All great changes were preceded by chaos…Wise and witty sayings on the subject of change that have become popularized and shared through the ages. Yet, many of us continue to baulk at any organizational change initiatives, despite the evidence presented by leaders who tell us that if we don’t move forward and break from the past, we risk becoming irrelevant. Continue reading “Resentment, Resistance, Rejection: Demystifying the Fear of Change”

Group of young people

Three reasons why you aren’t winning the talent war

Although the buzzwords “Talent Management” were first coined more than 15 years ago, many organizations are still searching for ways to attract and retain the best and brightest in order win the talent war.

Attraction is arguably the easiest piece of the talent management equation. However, companies that spend energy creating the perfect cocktail of salary and tailored compensation packages are missing the point for long-term success. High engagement and retention, coupled with developing outstanding leadership skills are the critical elements for gaining the strategic advantage. Conversely, your business will continue to lag behind if any of the following conditions persist: Continue reading “Three reasons why you aren’t winning the talent war”

Three strategies to respond positively to negative feedback

“You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar”…Anon

If you have ever been at the receiving end of criticism, either from a co-worker or manager, it is likely you have found yourself struggling to respond positively…or worse, have defaulted to apologizing when you have done nothing wrong. Even if the criticism is warranted or offered inappropriately, you cannot control the other person’s intention, words or delivery. What you can do is respond in a positive fashion while maintaining respect…for yourself and the bearer of disparaging comments. Whether the feedback pertains to your work, your relationship or a specific situation that transpired between both parties, your goal is to rise above the negativity and respond, rather than react. Continue reading “Three strategies to respond positively to negative feedback”

Seven deadly mistakes that destroy employee motivation

Originally published in the Globe and Mail Leadership Lab Column

Don is the CEO of a family run business. His entrepreneurial roots span three generations and he is fiercely proud of his lineage . When “the good times” recently came to a grinding halt and the business headed into a rapid decline, a foreboding cloud of doom overtook a once, happy thriving workplace. With seventy employees on his payroll and a shrinking customer base, Don’s anxiety skyrocketed with each passing day. No one was immune from Don’s tongue-lashing as he grappled to manage his emotions and prevent his business from collapsing. Continue reading “Seven deadly mistakes that destroy employee motivation”