Leadership: What not to do

by Susanne Biro

In my career, I have learned more about exceptional leadership by being on the receiving end of its opposite. Here are three fundamental things I have learned never do to others, simply because I know first-hand how damaging they can be.

1. Don’t lie. This includes blatant lies, half-truths and errors of omission. If you make a mistake, own it, clean it up, and apologize to all impacted. If you don’t know the answer, say so. Be transparent, sharing your thinking and your decision making process. Share what you can, as soon as you can, so people don’t need to make up a story. Be brave, pick up the phone and have the real (and often hard) conversation with the person you need to have it with. Live your values, as everyone is always watching. Call yourself on your own bull. This is perhaps the most important one, as few human beings handle power well. Keep your ego in check. When you need help, ask for it. Be human alongside the rest of us mortals. Remember whom you serve. Keep your promises. Be your word. Address reality. Discuss the undiscussables. Do the right thing. I repeat: do the right thing. You will not be trusted otherwise. And trust is the only thing you have. Continue reading

Should I stay or should I go?

The topic of counter offers is an interesting one. I am sure you have seen articles and thoughts about the subject and they are usually one person’s perspective on the topic. For a somewhat different approach, we’ve reached out to people in our network to gain their thoughts and perspective on the topic.



We asked:

You have just received an offer to join a new firm. You are giving notice to leave your current position and your employer makes a “counter offer” to keep you from leaving. You start to think about whether or not to take that “counter offer.”

Why would taking a counter offer can cost you more in the long run?

Read their responses below:

“My experience in being on the other side of the counter is that they only delay the inevitable.  Whatever, led that individual to go as far down the path as getting an offer at another firm (in most cases) will not have fundamentally changed. They will just be paid more to tolerate whatever it is that they didn’t like before. So now if they turn down the other offer they’ll be back in the market again in 6-12 months or less and most likely unable to go back to that original firm that recruited them.”

                                                                      Monty Hamilton, CEO, Rural Sourcing

” I think the reason few people accept counter-offers is simple, you have exhausted all avenues of resolution with no resolve.   If you are underpaid given the market, then either your employer isn’t in tune with the market or does not feel you are of value.  You shouldn’t have to threaten to leave before someone is willing to do something.  If you accept the counter, what is going to change, all of the same conditions still exist and it could be to your detriment as you could get pegged as a problem person.  Further I think the same thing could be said for any reason you would want to leave, career progression, problem co-worker, etc.  If you have a good people manager and a good HR department then your issues would have been addressed and you wouldn’t be looking for a new job.  And if your HR department and people manager can’t work together (or around each other if one of them is the problem) to remove appropriate obstacles then you don’t want to work there anyway.”

Peter Magladry ,Client Relationship Director at Willis Towers Watson

“Don’t take the “counter” of equal pay unless it comes with a fast-track commitment to greater responsibility.”

Reed Keller, Former PWC Consulting/Vice Chair.

“It has always been my perspective that if the person you are trying to keep is absolutely critical to your operation, and he or she comes to you to say they are taking a competitive offer then shame on you for not recognizing their value up to that point. You may be able to keep them  for some period of time but you have lost a piece of their heart and passion to work for you. 

From the employee perspective, unless the employer makes the counter offer so good and you were not sure about the other company, then by all means consider the new offer from your current employer.

But prepare yourself to be able to walk out that door in the future because your current employer obviously doesn’t really value you on a day to day basis. If they really valued your contribution to the team, they never would have put you in the position of looking to the outside. I have only left an employer when the passion I needed to succeed at my job has been lost. Rarely has a counter offer ever brought the passion back to keep me for the long term.”

Tom Mezera, Mezera Consulting LLC

This is the first installment of this series. We hope you find these perspectives interesting. If you would like to share your thoughts on this for future blogs, please let me know.

Larry Janis, Managing Partner, ISSG, janis@issg.net

Why Leadership Is So Important To Millennials Right Now

By Sarah Landrum

As Gen X and Baby Boomers cede more and more economic control to Millennials, the world must also contend with a shifting of values.

With young people graduating from college and joining the workforce for the first time, some of us are taking our first looks at a more global and more swiftly changing world than the one in which our parents grew up.

In several specific ways, Millennials bring a new perspective to the very idea of leadership — not just in the workplace, but also across society in general. Let’s discuss the two kinds of Millennial leadership and what they look like in, and what they mean for, the future of work.

Leadership Of The Self

The “why” is complicated, but Millennials are at the forefront of a leadership movement. But the most visible part of this transition isn’t dominion over others, but rather leadership of the self.

It’s not a new idea, but Millennials are giving it new life as they come of age. The idea is simply that we endeavor to become more in touch with who we are, what we’re capable of and what we want out of life. It’s true that as the world has grown more global and interdependent, it has also grown more decentralized — that is, we’re increasingly less likely to work for organizations with strong singular physical presences and more likely to do what we do from a variety of locations.

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Cultivating the essential ingredient in leadership: Energy

By Brett Steenbarger

There is a very simple measure of the health and culture of any team or organization: its energy level. Among high-energy groups, we witness motivation by inspiration. There is a buzz in the air. Individuals and teams are innovating, displaying enthusiasm and optimism about their work. In lower-energy organizations, we see motivation by tasks and timelines. There is a sense of busy-ness, but little excitement about the business of the group.

In this article, we will examine the role of energy in leadership, including the novel perspectives of a military Special Operations leader who has lived leadership on the battlefield and in the boardroom.

Leadership As Focused, Directed Energy

When we examine the writings of those who have worked extensively with leaders and organizations, the energy factor pops up repeatedly. Tom Peters, in his book The Little Big Things, explains that “the ‘business’ of leaders at all levels is to help those in their charge develop beyond their dreams” (emphasis mine). Consider what this means: the effective leader perceives strengths and potentials that may be invisible to team members. Such leadership is more than instrumental; it is grounded in a vision. It transforms.

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Keeping your team innovative requires leadership finesse

By Dr. Rachel MK Headley

Although often draped in HR-y words like “retention,” the success of your team is entirely in your hands. Their ability to execute on your vision is a choice that you make, and knowing how to leverage their strengths based on who they are will revolutionize your approach to leading your team.



The Challenge

I count myself among a growing group of entrepreneurial CEOs. We work crazy hours, want to create constantly and are eager to solve problems.

Entrepreneurial CEOs have special challenges when it comes to leading their team. There’s a constant level of change within their organizations. And, although your team knows that there is a dull roar of constant new ideas, this level of chaos can be difficult for your team to maintain for any length of time.

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