6 Steps to Confident Presenting for Leaders

Today’s guest author is Beverly Flaxington, a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA), and career and business adviser. She’s the author of five business and financial books, including the award-winning, Understanding Other People: The Five Secrets to Human Behavior, and her latest, Make Your SHIFT: The Five Most Powerful Moves You Can Make to Get Where YOU Want to Go.

By the time you get at or near the top of the food chain at your company, you’ve made hundreds of formal and informal presentations to employees, investors, managers, clients, and others. Chances are, however, that the last time you worked on your presentation skills was back in B-school.  

How effective are you, really? Do your presentations consistently motivate others to action? Are they inspiring?  Continue reading


6 ingredients for making a good decision

“It’s official in my mind…my boss is a total jerk. He told me this morning he thinks my decision to implement the automated expense tracking system was a bad one.”

“Did he say why?”

“He says it’s going to create problems with the field sales staff because I didn’t consider other options or involve other people.”

“You did those things, right?” Continue reading


Thrown any dead cats lately?

If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny in a sick kind of way. I’ve been wrangling with the local post office for two months over a book. I have no doubt the book was delivered somewhere; it just wasn’t delivered to me.

In my first chat with the local pooh bah, Mrs. W. promised to immediately check into the matter and call me the following day. Of course, she didn’t call. When I called her a week later, she was shocked to learn that no one in her department had contacted me with an answer. She’s been similarly shocked three more times. Continue reading


Address Email Overload, Don’t Eliminate Email

Today’s guest writer is David Grossman, consultant, speaker, author, one of America’s foremost authorities on communication inside organizations, and founder and CEO of The Grossman Group, a Chicago-based communications consultancy focusing on organizational consulting, strategic leadership development and internal communications for Fortune 500 clients.  For more information and resources related to the 2012 Work-related Email Perception Study click here.

Workplace email. We love it, we hate it.

It’s the most commonly used communication tool in virtually every organization today. Yet as leaders we know all too well the serious ramifications of email overload for both individuals and our organizations: increased stress, reduced productivity and efficiency, impacts on work-life balance and so much more.

Consider this: Continue reading


Dealing with the idea stealing, credit-taking boss

Art from Winking Cat Comics

Claire looked pale and drawn as she slid into the lunch booth, joining her work colleagues for their weekly Friday “lunch bunch.”

“Hey Claire, what’s up?” asked Patsy. “You’re not looking so good.”

“Patsy, I’m pretty freaked out. Remember that big project proposal report I did? The one about the new product line I was proposing? The one I was wondering about because my boss never mentioned it again after I turned it in? Now I know.”

Claire slid several clipped pages across the table.  The top document was an email from the CEO of the organization to Claire’s boss, congratulating him on such an innovative idea and well-thought plan of execution that would drive significant revenue to the bottom line. There was even mention of a big promotion for him. The next page was the email from Claire’s boss to the CEO that introduced him to the product concept and the report. This was the page that had floored Claire. In the email, her boss claimed all the credit for the new product idea, using phrases like ”I thought of…I wondered….I talked to…I explored…I,I,I.” The only mention of Claire was a brief comment about  her “administrative” contribution.

Given that many of us have probably experienced something similar, let’s agree Claire’s boss is guilty of ego-overload and certainly isn’t walking the leadership talk. So what’s Claire to do?

3 ways to handle the boss who steals your ideas

1) Get your attitude under control. Treating your boss like crap might sound appealing as a way to get even, but unfortunately you’re the one who will pay (and not in a good way) with this approach. This is where you suck it up, continue to produce excellent work, and generate even more ideas.

2) Avoid the showdown and back-stabbing chatter. The reputation of being an “idea stealer” usually spreads pretty fast via water cooler chats and the office grapevine. Stay above the fray by keeping your cool and behaving professionally. If/when the project does move forward. of course the boss assigns you to the work so you have the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise to the organization.

3) Be smarter next time. Involve others within the organization as you begin your next new idea. Interview department heads and other key stakeholders/players as your work is unfolding. Create ”quiet visibility” around your proposal as you pull others toward and into your work. Use a variety of mechanisms to spread the word, like asking people to read your report and comment on it.

Taking the high road is your surest bet. What say you?


Can you hear me now?

“I told my boss twice that our position on the harassment lawsuit was pretty good. So I don’t get why he went off the Richter scale when I told him about the proposed settlement offer. Sometimes, there’s no telling with that guy.”

“You know how he is about money. Had you told him that a settlement was one of the possible outcomes?”

“I think our attorney might have mentioned it early on…”

While this scenario is rich with opportunity (I just love that phrase!) in a multitude of areas, let’s focus on the gaps in the communication process that contributed to the boss going off the charts. John Maxwell has a great quote that comes into play here:

“Many communicate, few connect.”

In the communication process, the sender of the message is in control up to time the message receiver begins to decode the information delivered.

Yet many times we, as the messenger deliverer, fail to take full ownership of the communication process, which is what happened here. The only way to know if a message was received and decoded (the way we want it understood) is to ask, not assume.

5 leadership responsibilities for communicating well

To communicate — and connect — consider:

We want to be understood…yet fail to verify that our communication was successful by requesting feedback.

We want acceptance and agreement from others…yet don’t take or make the time to identify their communication style so we can connect in a way that’s meaningful to them.

We want to understand others…yet we evaluate the messenger rather than their message.

We want action or a response from the other person…yet we fail to let them know what specific outcomes we are looking for from them.

We want to be heard and listened to…yet we fail to concentrate on quality of our message or to give gift of our attention.

What part of the communication process will you take ownership for today? What tips and pointers for effective, meaningful communication and connection do you have to share?