humility in the workplace – a self-awareness issue

What does “humility in the workplace” mean? Why is it important?

For many, the word humility has many connotations. Some are very positive and some not so positive. It seems some people equate humility to weakness and being a “doormat”. I beg to differ from that view of humility. In true humility, there is great strength.

Regarding humility in the workplace, for me it means – An objective understanding, an awareness, of the strengths a person brings to an organization as well as an objective understanding, an awareness, of their gaps – their weaknesses or gaps in knowledge – thus an understanding of their need for others to be effective.

A proper understanding of humility results in an understanding of people’s need for others to be effective in their role in the organization (and life in general). That understanding should result in someone who greatly values collaboration and understands the need to be a good teammate at work.

Humility in the workplace is not weaknesses – it is a strength and wisdom.

Do you want to be more effective – try some humility at work (works at home as well!)

Have a great day!


“The Crisp Meeting” by Seth Godin

The Crisp Meeting is a great post by Seth Godin that gives you a framework for creating meetings that enhance your work instead of them becoming a drain on your productivity. Following is an excerpt from the post:

The crisp meeting is one of a series. It’s driven by purpose and intent. It’s guided by questions:

Who should be in the room?

What’s the advance preparation we ought to engage in? (at least an hour for every meeting that’s worth holding).

What’s the budget?

What’s the deadline?

The post has several more excellent questions to be asked in preparation for a meeting and some pithy thoughts as you might expect from Mr. Godin. It is worth a read in my opinion.



“Consensus is a Four Letter Word”

ACTS – an acrostic for leaders

Dave Kraft is a wise man and was my former leadership coach. In an excellent post he talks about the application of ACTS in a particular situation and this post is a worthwhile read in my opinion.

So, let’s look at ACTS in a general sense and how a leader might apply it to their life.

A – ACCOUNTABLE: Are you truly accountable to someone(s) in your life? Truly accountable? Is someone willing to ask you the hard questions and pursue you until you deal with those questions? Are they willing to challenge questionable behaviors in your life?

C – CONFESSIONAL: Do you confess and own your sin or do you try to shift the blame? Mature leaders accept rebuke, confess their sin, and own their sin.

T – TEACHABLE: Are you teachable as a leader? Are you willing to receive honest inquiries from those you lead? And others? Do you realize that there are many people smarter than you and some of them are on the team you lead?

S – SUSTAINABLE: Is the pace you are setting for your team sustainable? Are your expectations realistic? Are you providing the resources to your team that they need to meet your expectations? What about your team’s work-life balance?

Here is how Dave applies ACTS:

1. Good and genuine accountability, coupled with vulnerability and transparency.
2. A clear value in keeping short accounts, with sin being quickly confessed and owned.
3. An attitude of being teachable and open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
4. A culture of pacing that is realistic and sustainable, resulting in good morale and joy.

Now, how can you apply ACTS in your life?


candor is important for successful feedback – Ed Catmull

Candor quote

leading when you’re not the expert

Have you ever been in a situation where you were leading an area in which you had little or no expertise? Where many of your team knew much more about the area/industry than you? How did you handle yourself? What did you do?

For me, except for the first two years of my military life, that has pretty much been the case most of my working life. I now am once again in the situation of leading a team that has much more technical expertise in our area than I do. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a good leadership team who want to be even better. I have learned to choose to trust my team and to do my best to take care of them while they take care of business. Of course, I do learn the technical aspects in each new situation, but it is often the case that I will never catch up to the experts I have led and do lead now. So I have learned to give power away and to take care of my team. So far that has worked for me – not perfectly of course – but it has worked.

One of the best books on this subject, in my opinion, is L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around. Following is  TEDx Talk by David Marquet – it’s worth watching if you are interested in a better way of leading others.

why you should cancel your weekly staff meeting

Interesting article on The Muse about four reasons to cancel your weekly staff meetings. They just might make sense – what do you think?

1. Interruptions Are Productivity (and Potentially Profit) Killers

2. Instant Messaging is an Effective Way to Get Most News Out—Faster

3. There Are Other Ways to Meet

4. Every Meeting Should be Planned With Productivity in Mind

Click here to read the full article – it will make you think about how you do meetings.


how do you judge others?

Christmas ornament 2013Good morning! Icy and slick roads up here in northeastern Indiana today. I may be a tad late for work today as I have tried to drive on slick roads before and it was not an enjoyable experience.

How do you judge others? How about yourself? And what does that have to do with teamwork?

One saying that I have heard and have found to be generally true is that “We judge others by their behaviors and ourselves by our intent”.

Another thing that happens is that when we lack self-awareness and others-awareness we will often attribute the negative or frustrating behaviors of our teammates to their intentions or as a character issue while explaining away our behavior to the circumstances or our environment. This attitude or approach is toxic to teams.

We are all different – wondrously made by our Creator and in His image. Be careful to not attribute intent or character issues to things that are simply personality characteristics and they simply irritate you as you have a different personality. This is called the fundamental attribution error by the way.

Start assuming good intent with your teammates. Become a student of them, learn about their personalities and histories so that you understand how and why they react as they do. Do the same for yourself.

You will have a much stronger team if you do.

Blessings on your week!

a way to measure your team’s strength

Good morning!

This is a good article from the Inc. site entitled The 20-Minute Test That Measures Your Team’s Strength . What I like is the simplicity of the “test”.

Bring in a trusted outsider and have him or her ask an important, but not so obvious, question and then see how they respond. It will usually be one of four ways:

1. They will turn to the group leader and wait for the answer.

2. One or two strongly opinionated individuals will give their differing opinion.

3. Everyone will chime in with their own opinion independent of each other.

4. The team members will engage with each other in a rich discussion/

Of course, what you are hoping for is something closest to the fourth dynamic. That is an indicator of a healthy team. The closer to the first dynamic you are, the more trouble you are in.

How does your team operate?

Peace and grace to you today!

The Consequences of a Silent Lie

It is Friday! Hope you have a great weekend!

Does the following sound familiar? You are sitting in a leadership meeting and the team, led by a strong and persuasive leader, are headed down the path to a decision. It seems everybody is on board with the direction, but you keep having these doubts or “checks” about the wisdom of the decision. To you, there are some important unanswered questions or you have some deep concerns that you believe need to be addressed. Yet, everyone else seems to be on board and not asking questions and you sure don’t want to be the wet blanket on the meeting, so you simply keep quiet and nod in seeming assent as the meeting comes to a close.

You have just lied (a silent lie) and it is to the detriment of your team and organization. I have written before on the Silent Lie before and to read more on it click here.

I was recently told the story of the consequences of a silent lie by some leaders. The team was going down the path of taking an approach to an issue that was quite a new approach for them. There was excitement about the new approach and it looked like a promising answer to a particular challenge within the organization. However, one of the leaders, an important leader, had reservations about the decision and direction, but did not voice them due to the excitement of the other team members.

The result of the decision was not positive. The concerns that the one leader do not voice proved to be valid. The problem was that if he had voiced his concerns, it would have been a simple change that could have been easily worked out in the meeting. However, it later became an issue that involved people and their lives and became messy. The point is that there are very real and serious consequences to the silent lie.

Learn to speak up and voice your concerns – do not be guilty of a silent lie – other people’s live are affected.