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Author: John Stevenson

Presence

In an over-scheduled day of breakfasts, lunches, meetings and phone calls, how can you stay present? For leaders, staying in the moment is not a choice, it’s a necessity. Important decisions and topics require focus and attention. You owe it to your people to be fully present and make the best use of the time …

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Transparency

No one wants to be treated like a mushroom – kept in the dark, and fed a bunch of shit. This is just one analogy for obfuscation but feel free to use your favorite: “the cover up is always worse than the crime (or crisis)”; “you can’t manage a secret”; “the truth is the easiest …

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No

Saying “no” is hard for most of us because “no” often feels like rejection. It’s a denial of a request. It can displease. And we routinely associate dissent with hostile disagreement. But turning things down or going against the grain is how you preserve your character and the shape of your life. If you don’t …

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Optimism

We all have pessimists and optimists in our lives, and we likely fall into one category ourselves. There’s the guarded grouch who’s always warning of impending disasters. And there’s the glass-half-full individual who’s always brimming with positive enthusiasm. Pessimism runs in families but it’s also one of the most changeable character traits, according to Martin E.P. …

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Herb

Herb Kelleher, the late founder of Southwest Airlines was famous for his straight talk and warm humor. Right up to his death last year at the age of 87, he was an unapologetic Wild Turkey drinker and cigarette smoker, who was still tickled by Southwest’s success over the years. Clearly, he had a feel for people and the confidence to …

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Small

We’re often praised in our personal and professional lives for thinking big, not executing small. “Go big or go home.” “Set big hairy audacious goals.” “Swing for the fences.” But big goals are more burdensome and overwhelming. They require daunting effort. It’s easy to fall behind. And falling short deflates us. Furthermore, it causes a …

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Likability

Winning, accomplishing and striving for individual achievements are admirable qualities to cultivate in ourselves and others. But there can be long-term detrimental effects to overemphasizing these traits. One of these is a deficit in caring about others. Adam Grant, a leading authority on the links between helpfulness, kindness, likability – and overall life success – …

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Blame

The blame game is an easy one to play. It feels good, it can be justified, and it’s the perfect cop out for giving up and giving in. Blamers exaggerate the negative, feel like victims, and are quick to point fingers at everyone but themselves. It’s also the number one career limiting weakness according to Kerry …

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Timing

When we do things matters. There is a clear ebb and flow to the human day and it pays to be aware of it and plan accordingly. Dan Pink’s latest book “When – The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing” has some fascinating research that backs this up. Students do better with exams in the morning …

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Conflict

Teamwork is not always a happy and harmonious endeavor. But a certain level of disagreement and tension is good. We all know what conflict aversion looks like: ballooning priorities because no one says “no;” meetings-after-the meeting to “take if offline” for fear of debate; and inefficient workarounds to accommodate an under-performing team member. Frustration festers …

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