Communication

Set, and hit, your question mark

October 6, 2016
Q. I’ve been told that learning information about my counterparts—their preferences, fears, goals, strengths and weaknesses—is critical for success in negotiation. But I tend to feel unsure about the best way to learn about others, especially information that seems insensitive or private.

Pat Summitt: No mellow required

October 4, 2016
Known for a stare as sharp as two drill bits, Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt never mellowed until near the end of her career as the winningest basketball coach in NCAA history.

Why ‘It’s been crazy’ is not an excuse

October 3, 2016
The key to rescheduling is not being a jerk.

3 ways to drive your people nuts

September 29, 2016
We’ve all experienced a truly quirky leader and lived to tell about it. Try not to be any of these.

A hallway faux pas never forgotten

September 10, 2016
Decades before Chris Van Gorder became CEO of Scripps Health, he worked as a 20-year-old security guard at a California hospital. He had never met the hospital’s CEO, but one day he spotted the CEO walking alone toward him.

The leader’s lingo cheat sheet: Terms you need to know to survive

September 6, 2016
When you only have five minutes to get up to speed with what important people are talking about on a daily basis in meetings, books, magazines and on the Web, you need a cheat sheet. Let’s see if you can cruise safely through the rest of 2016 armed with these definitions.

How to deliver a 5-minute speech

September 5, 2016

You can say a lot in five minutes or less, but less time for a speech means more planning. Here are 3 tips for doing it.

Write your way to heartfelt praise

September 2, 2016

Anson Dorrance, the head coach of women’s soccer at the University of North Carolina, has an astonishing record. He has won more games than any coach in college soccer history, along with 21 NCAA Championship titles. Dorrance, 65, seeks to enhance each player’s character. He doesn’t just focus on winning; instead, he strives to make each player a better person.

After a bad day, a pilot gets a lift

August 30, 2016

Part of the job of a military leader involves helping raw recruits gain confidence so that they feel like they belong in the unit. Otherwise, their self-doubt can make them a liability to the team.

Part of the job of a military leader involves helping raw recruits gain confidence so that they feel like they belong in the unit. Otherwise, their self-doubt can make them a liability to the team.

As a new fighter pilot, JV Venable recalls the day he participated in his first operational fighter squadron. In poor weather, Venable was among four jets forced to fly a complex maneuver in the skies over Turkey. He did not execute well.

While he landed safely, he knew his squad noticed his shaky piloting. Because he was new to the unit, he worried that he had lost any chance to establish credibility.

In the van heading home, the most respected member of the squad, Bill “Blaze” Binger, exclaimed, “I got to tell you boys, that was one of the worst approaches of my life. I was all over the sky and never did settle into a smooth rhythm. It was mighty ugly!”

Venable suddenly relaxed. He figured that if the team leader felt so disappointed in his performance, Venable’s mistakes didn’t stand out as much.

“If someone with his experience and reputation could fly a bad approach, then maybe I wasn’t so bad after all,” Venable thought. 

Later, Venable realized that Binger had been flying right behind him—and could see Venable’s every bob and weave. It made Venable appreciate Binger’s self-criticism even more.

“To this day, I don’t know if he was really talking about himself,” Venable says. “Or if he was trying to let me know that even the best fall short every now and then.”

Venable went on to lead the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and a combat group of 1,100 airmen in the Persian Gulf.

— Adapted from “Building Commitment on Your Team,” JV Venable, www.greatleadershipbydan.com.

3 not-so-common ways to hold meetings

August 25, 2016
Sometimes, the best meetings follow an unconventional path. Rather than stick to an all-business agenda, some leaders experiment with different types of gatherings to encourage participants to loosen up.