Winning Well Southeast Asia Tour 2017

5 Top Leadership Articles for the Week of April 3, 2017

It’s a fun and busy time here at Winning Well headquarters. Karin and I are booking companies and association events for 2017 fall and 2018 spring. Email or call to bring us and Winning Well to your leaders.

Last week we spent several days with fantastic leaders in two international companies with headquarters in California. In two weeks Karin and I head to Southeast Asia to share Winning Well with leaders across the region. You can learn more here:

Winning Well Southeast Asia Tour 2017


Each week I read a number of leadership articles from various online resources and share them across social media. Here are the five leadership articles readers found most valuable last week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think, too.

4 Ways Millennials Are Rewriting Career Rules and Changing the Workforce by Ellie Martin

The opinions expressed about millennials are often divisive, especially when it comes to the working world. Some believe millennials are entitled, with tiny attention spans and careless attitudes. Then there are those who argue these digital natives are bringing about positive change with their affinity for diversity, inclusiveness, community and individuality. Whatever an employer’s bias may be, there’s no ignoring the up-and-coming generation’s vastly different perception of how work should be done. Millennials hop from one job to another after only two years of tenure, which is by far the shortest average tenure when compared to Generation Xers and the Baby Boomers. As replacing millennials is costly, companies are looking for ways to entice young workers. This desire to retain young talent has led to some small changes that could ripple into a much more significant shakeup of standard corporate culture.

My Comment: While I’m generally cautious about over generalizations regarding groups of people, there are fundamental ways in which the modern workplace is changing and generational differences are certainly a part of that. I particularly appreciate Martin’s highlighting the mentor vs manager approach to leadership. Accountability and results in the context of relationships and investing in your people is a recipe for lasting breakthrough results.

Make the Right Decision for You by John Baldoni

Have a tough decision to make?

Write down your options on small pieces of paper. Place them into a bowl. Place the bowl on a high shelf. Take a step back, take a deep breath and then reach up and pick one.

Read it. Evaluate how you feel. Glad or sad? Excited or dejected?

Likely you will feel a sense of relief. Why? Your instincts will take over and your heart will tell you whether you have selected the choice that appeals to your emotions.

Of course, you are not obligated to make your decision on emotion, but your reaction will tell you how you will feel about it. Whatever you decide, you must live with the outcome. Time will tell if you make the right choice. In the meantime, trust yourself. It is the best you can do.

My Comment: I’ve come to appreciate Baldoni’s approach to decision-making. As he says, you don’t have to make your decision soley based on your emotions. In fact, sometimes we won’t choose the option that feels lighter, but knowing how we respond a deeper-than-surface level can help immensely.

The Top 4 Traits Millennials Look for In Leaders by Melanie Curtin at

Leading Millennials can seem challenging. Often considered entitled, narcissistic, and suffering from unrealistic expectations, Millennials have sometimes gotten a bad rap in the workplace.

However, at 80 million strong, Millennials (those born from 1980-2000) are already at critical mass in that same workplace. To excel in today’s work environment, it’s important to understand Millennials and how to effectively work with them.

A recent study focused on “Early Millennials”, or those born between 1980-1991, and their thoughts on leadership. Asked what they most wanted from a leader, Millennials listed four distinct traits:

My Comment: The traits Curtin describes are sound leadership traits in general. After all, who could argue with ‘integrity’ as a desirable quality in a leader? However, the note about authenticity might come as a surprise if you think all younger people want to be coddled. I love this quote: “Millennials aren’t coddled – they just reject abuse as a management tactic.” I think that applies to everyone, not just the younger workforce.

Stop Trying to Own the Room by Justin Patton

We’ve all heard it before. A high-potential new manager receives advice on how to show up with stronger confidence and presence. She’s told that classic line, “Walk in and own the room!”

Please, stop saying this. It’s awful advice.

First, if the individual already knew how to “own the room” then she would. Second, your definition of “own the room” is probably different than her interpretation so without clarity on how you define that phrase you leave her even more confused and self-conscious.

My Comment: Like most cliché advice, this one probably had a time and place where it was appropriate…for someone in a particular time and at a particular place. However, Patton addresses excellent reasons why you’d do well to stop trying to behave this way or advise others to. In its place, he offers healthy suggestions on how to show up with confidence and humility in a way that will build your influence in an authentic and lasting way.

7 Ways to Communicate Better With Your Boss by Mary Kelly, PhD, US Navy (Ret)

Good communication with the boss is critical for a positive and productive work environment. Many employees, however, struggle to communicate effectively with their supervisors.

According to a Gallup poll reported in Business Journal, only 54 percent of employees feel they can approach their boss with a question. Supervisors who are open and approachable, not surprisingly, have better relationships with their employees, and more of those employees are more fully engaged.

However, we seldom get to choose our supervisors, so wherever we are in the organization, we have to communicate effectively with our boss. There are several techniques that can be used to improve communication.

My Comment: Your success depends in large part on how effectively you partner with your supervisor. Kelly’s suggestions will significantly help you with that relationship. I would draw your attention to #1 in particular: Communicate in the best way for your boss (and a corollary of this…teach your people how to give you information in the best way for you.) If I were to add anything to this list, it would be an extension of the fourth item. Karin and I strongly advocate a ‘no surprises’ rule – make sure your boss hears any bad news directly from you as fast as possible. This may feel uncomfortable, but it builds your credibility. Use the Winning Well DARN method: Be Direct, Accountable, describe your Response, and Next steps.

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