It is rather odd how leadership lessons bump into me. Just last week when I was helping with a mussel restoration project at our lake, two leadership lessons converged in my mind. More about those lessons in a moment. Mussel Restoration Project. Our ...

Steve on Leadership

Credible Leaders Repel Parasites

It is rather odd how leadership lessons bump into me. Just last week when I was helping with a mussel restoration project at our lake, two leadership lessons converged in my mind. More about those lessons in a moment.

Mussel Restoration Project. Our lake, which my family has been on since the late 1800’s, is located in western New Hampshire. By all measures our lake is one of the cleanest in the state. However, in recent years we have noticed a modest reduction in clarity and an increase in algae growth. And, until last week, we had no freshwater mussels.

Prior to the mid-1960s, when our lake was chemically treated to kill the over-population of invasive fish, our lake had hundreds or thousands of freshwater mussels. Mussels are important...

READ MORE »

Is Work Culture Just a Plumage Word Used to Recruit?

We live in a world where each of us creates our own subjective reality. In doing this we are susceptible to believing misinformation that fits our reality. My daughter, Alie, gave me this cute Father’s Day card last month, which reminded me of how we fathers might be the worst offenders of spreading misinformation.

Last week at the end of an interview with a young management candidate, she asked, “How would you describe your culture?” Several of us answered her, and, understanding that “culture” is really a myth and perhaps an example of misinformation, I said something like, “Our culture is based on our teams.”

Fresh in my mind were the lessons I had just learned in Chapter One of the new book Nine Lies About Work by Marcus...

READ MORE »

Moon Landing – Lesson in Why Manual Skills Matter

Even if you are not interested in Space exploration, I trust you are enjoying some of the reflections this week about the first Moon landing 50 years ago this Saturday. I have been fascinated with not just the wonderful reflections, but in learning more about the skillful, manual maneuvering by the astronauts, especially Neal Armstrong, in those days when automation and computer glitches failed them and created messy situations.

I’ll come back to a few lessons about manual skills in messy situations in a moment.

If you are over 55, where did you watch the moon landing? Over the summer of 1969 I was a Boy Scout counselor at Goshen Scout Camps in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. On Sunday night July 20th my tentmate, Ken Crowley, and I...

READ MORE »

July 4th – A Leadership Holiday

Every year on the 4th of July I think about leadership. This year as I look around at all the leadership chaos around us, I am even more amazed at what happened on that Thursday 243 years ago.

Two books help me understand the leadership lessons of 1776:  Revolutionary Summer by Joseph Ellis and Washington, A Life by Ron Chernow. Here are three leadership lessons that stand out:

  1. Senior leaders who set a clear overarching goal and stay focused on it will achieve great things.
  2. Smart and tactical leadership, in this case political, helps inspire the formation of front-line troops or workers, who will get the work done.
  3. Leading people who have nothing to lose is hard. But when done effectively they will outlast and defeat standing and...

READ MORE »

Entitled Leaders May Help Homo Sapiens Go Extinct

Photo of Referee Scott Foster by Isaiah J. Downing

It has always bothered me how the very leaders who refer to government programs as “entitlements” behave entitled themselves. By entitled I mean they act as if the laws, rules, and ethics they talk about apply to everyone else, not them.

And entitled people hate referees, but more about that in a moment.

What concerns me today is how our younger generation is being impacted by the increasingly visible entitlement behavior displayed by their parents, politicians, celebrities, wealthy business leaders, and professional athletes.

I ask myself, “If we do not want to raise an entitled generation, where is that leadership going to come from?”

  • This leadership is not coming from...

READ MORE »