Category Archives: Leadership

It’s about leadership, goob, what did you think?

You’re My Favorite, Sunshine

When you are in a position to play favorites at work, and you give in to the temptation to do so, you will destroy someone in the process.

Don’t do it.

And if you do, don’t be surprised when that loyalty you expected, that you live for in fact, isn’t there.

What shows up in place of loyalty is something worse. It is destructive. It is dangerous.


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Great Things

Why is it we’re always told to stop and smell the roses, but never to commit our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to a cause larger than ourselves?

Why do we love the founders but seek to be like those who stood on the sideline appreciating the music?

Why do we honor those who fall in battle but pray that our soldiers be kept out of harm’s way?

What great thing was ever achieved while we rested?

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Filed under Leadership, New Season

Body, Mind, and Spirit

If we do not recognize that human beings consist of body, mind, and spirit, we will be content with labeling each other based on behavior.

We will fail to teach our children their own language, how to reason in it, and how to use it to present their own arguments and to recognize others’ fallacious arguments.

We will become willing victims for the next tyrant to come down the street proclaiming himself as savior.

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Here I Stand!

Nearly all of us choose to work rather than become wards of the welfare state. We have an obligation to be happy where we are, and chances are good that in order to earn a living we need to spend a significant amount of time working.

The best of jobs can be made crummy by someone who should never ever be allowed to have authority over another person. Ever. Yet what do we see in the workplace? I’d venture to say over ninety-percent of those in leadership positions are at best incompetent and at worst cruel.

But we choose to work, and more often than not, wind up working for that ninety-percent. What to do?

First, discover what is true, then uncover the right thing to do.

Let’s say these three things are true:

1. We have an obligation to ourselves and our fellow man to be happy (or at least act like it until we are); and

2. Many if not most of us are working for somebody who is just this side of the troll who crawled up from under Billy Goat’s Gruff’s bridge (and the only immediately noticeable difference is that he wears a tie to work); and

3. We are not being physically abused.

Now what?

Do this: Stay put. Don’t cling to it as if you are a victim of work-abuse. Choose to stay.

Know that there are good and legitimate reasons to do so. (And there is every possibility that you can be happy there, too.)

Homework assignment: list one reason staying in your job working for the troll makes good sense. Consider reasons like “it pays well,” and “dental insurance,” and “I think the cute engineer down on the first floor likes me.”

Next post: a discussion of our obsession with work utopia.

Want to read ahead? Pick up the book Quitter by Jon Acuff. Read the first chapter for free here:

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Filed under Leadership, New Life, New Season

Volunteer, Not Junior Varsity

After a recently bad experience volunteering for a local organization that had professed to need her help but had in fact needed much more help than she could provide, Becky Codswallop made notes to herself such that, if she were ever in a position of leadership, she would know what to avoid. Volunteers are, after all, no less important than regular employees, aren’t they? She walked to a favorite spot at the park, a bench located off the beaten path near the creek, where she could talk to herself without being disturbed by anything other than the wind in the trees.

“One” she said, speaking as she wrote, “Make them feel welcome, and needed. Do this by training them appropriately, well, and training them yourself. Don’t leave a flunky, or someone who’s just learned the task themselves and may have missed something, or heaven forbid the punk who thinks he knows everything to train a new person.” She sat back and considered. “Although this may seem more time consuming than you can afford, the goal is to keep this new person with you for an extended period of time. It’s an investment” she said, grimacing at the word ‘investment’. It sounded inhuman and much too modern, as if she were writing a self-help manual. But it was, indeed an investment, in time, if not treasure.

“Two” she said. “Do not make your volunteer chase you down.” She scratched this out and wrote “Plan ahead and be where you said you were going to be.” She refused to write what came to mind just then: “Be Accessible.” That touched on the same tone as ‘investment’ and she refused to go down that path. Better to wait until some better words came to mind, words that weren’t so utilitarian. It was however critically important to make oneself available for questions, or even to solicit ideas. It was amazing how much wisdom people had if you just sat them down with a cup of coffee, asked a question, then shut up and listened. She made another note to herself, speaking as she wrote: “Honor the volunteer’s time and their expertise in other matters.”

The wind began to blow harder, picking up the leaves and scattering them across the bench and across her notepad. She looked up and though she appreciated the beauty of the gathering dark clouds she didn’t want to be outside underneath them when they let loose with what was certain to be a torrential downpour.

“Three” she wrote hurriedly. “Grow up and lead. Volunteer doesn’t mean junior varsity.”

She placed the cap back on her pen, tucked her notebook and pen into the leather bag she’d had longer than she’d had most of her friends, slung the strap over her shoulder and walked back to the car, satisfied that she had captured her own experience in a positive and helpful light.


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Don’t Be Afraid of Silliness

Leader, do not be afraid to be silly.

It does your heart good.

It’s fun.

My suggestion: gather a few select toys around you, and play with them periodically, in full view of your team. Wind-up crabs that walk across the desk; foam-rocket-guns; screaming-monkey-slingshots; all are worthy.

The biggest reason to play? It keeps you humble.

Beeker rides stop the camera bag during a recent visit to Balboa Park, San Diego. Ignore the look of abject panic; he had a great time.

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Leadership Truths, Continued

Note To Non-Leaders: Your Embarrassment Is Not An Emergency

A quick rule-of-thumb way to determine whether or not someone is a leader is to put them in a situation where they have to think of their people first rather than themselves, at the risk of their own consternation, confusion, and/or embarrassment.

A leader will wait until the person they must speak to can be called from their duties with dignity.

A non-leader will interrupt immediately regardless of the embarrassment or confusion to the other person. They will assault the person with jargon, accusations, and information irrelevant except that it exposes the non-leader’s embarrassment.

This is true virtually every time it’s put to the test.

If you happen to have a non-leader in authority over you, the best thing to do is to realize what is true. Then laugh.

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