I hate enforcing discipline on my team. I find it really unpleasant and I always wonder if I did the right thing afterward. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way. When we avoid disciplining someone for engaging in misconduct, we set up a culture where respect doesn’t matter. The only thing worse than a leader who doesn’t discipline at all is one who does it arbitrarily and

We often hear that great leaders are decisive and the best leaders seem to make decisions quickly and easily. Some people are born with that ability but most of the rest of us have to learn how to do it well. One of the best ways you can develop this skill is by following a problem-solving framework. Toyota has their 8 step problem-solving model, the Air Force has adopted this

When you’re a leader, dealing with crisis situations is just part of the job. As much as we plan and prepare, sometimes a crisis is just going to come up. It doesn’t mean don’t plan and prepare and manage risk. When a crisis occurs we can’t start analyzing how we could avoid it. That’s important and that comes later. The most important thing to do right now is to solve

If you know anyone in the military, you’ve probably heard of a  “battle rhythm”. The clearest example I ever saw was the Air Operations Center planning cycle. I looked, but couldn’t find an official definition of battle rhythm. I’m just going to stick with my Air Operations Center example to get the concept across. In the AOC, every day we created the next day’s Air Tasking Order. The ATO told

Volunteers are becoming more and more common to help us reach our goals. In the Air Force, there were always community activities that wouldn’t have been possible without volunteers. Even in business, there are additional activities outside of people’s job descriptions that require volunteers. If you work for a non-profit or a community service organization, volunteers are probably doing most of your mission. These tips for leading volunteers will help

General Dwight Eisenhower said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable”. No matter how effort we put into a plan, we almost always have to modify it when we execute. Sometimes we have to throw it out entirely. A mentor of mine said it even more simply. “You’ve gotta have a plan before you can deviate from it”. There’s no way to plan for every possible outcome, but effective planning

Giving feedback is hard, a lot of us have an aversion to it. Partly because we have had some bad experiences getting feedback ourselves, partly because we don’t like to give other bad news and almost certainly because we want people to like us. Giving feedback doesn’t have to be unpleasant. We can take a few steps to make a conscious effort to give effective feedback. These 5 tips for

It takes a lot of preparation to make a convincing pitch, but the presentation is just as important. Last week we talked about the 10 steps it takes to do all the homework for pitching your ideas. All that work doesn’t matter unless we communicate our ideas effectively though. If you missed last week’s post, you can jump to it here also get the pitch worksheet that will guide you

We hear all through our lives that we’ve got to have the perseverance to meet our goals. It’s a fact, but not all of us have perseverance as an inborn, inherent trait. At a workshop yesterday I was reminded that traits like perseverance can be developed. Traits can be built and they’re a lot harder to develop in ourselves than a skill. Building perseverance is no different. I didn’t always

As we grow as leaders we start to set goals for ourselves and for our team. This can be a bit of a learning experience. Once we start setting the goals, we don’t have anyone checking up on us to follow through. After several years in the Air Force, I gained more responsibility and had more people working for me. I was the one setting the goals but no one