Leadership My Dad’s Way

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My dad, General (retired) James L. Anderson spent 24 years as the Master of the Sword at West Point. He currently speaks on leadership at the Lincoln Leadership Institute in Gettysburg, PA. He has dedicated his life to developing leaders of character wherever he serves. Click here to learn more about him.
The two of us will be sharing a father-son perspective on the leadership lessons he taught me, the lessons we both learned at West Point, and the unique perspectives we each have based on his lifetime in leadership in the Army, and my 20 years in the business world.

Culture: What Do Employees Want?

What makes a great place to work?

Would you recommend the company you work for to your best friend? The answer to this question says a lot about the culture of the company.

In the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex a survey involving over 82,000 employees and 315 companies asked this question and others to determine which companies were the best places to work in 2014.

Some common themes emerged that can help leaders in private, public, nonprofit or government organizations answer the question: “What do employees want?” Continue Reading…

Six Reasons I Like Humble People

What's Not To Like?

The world is full of self-important, self-absorbed, and self-promoting people.  I prefer humble people.  They are truly a breath of fresh air when I meet them.

Humility seems to be a virtue that is losing ground in today’s world.  Humble people do not make for good TV.  The media prefers to make the bold and the brash the lead story.  These are the people who make the headlines.

The bravado superstars show on Sportscenter or CEO’s demonstrate on MSNBC or Fox News makes for good ratings.  I just don’t think it makes for very good people. Continue Reading…

Three Traits Veterans Bring To The Workplace

Leadership-Duty-Adaptability?  Hire A Vet!

Leadership – Duty – Adaptability. These are three traits that make veterans great hires. The business world may call them Management Experience – Accountability – Problem-Solving.

Many who have not served do not understand the experience veterans have beyond what they see in the media and/or from Hollywood. Veterans need to get better at discussing how Leadership – Duty – Adaptability make them invaluable to an employer. Continue Reading…

Values – What Do You Stand For?

What do you stand for?

Why doesn’t my team act like a team? Why am I always dealing with politics, bad attitudes, and distrust among team members? Why haven’t we come close to reaching our potential?

I am always putting out fires. I never seem to have time to focus on bigger issues. The day-to-day tyranny of the urgent seems to overwhelm the more important strategic initiatives I always intend to focus on.

These soul-searching questions summarize what I see a lot of leaders struggling with in their organizations. This is when I like to ask them – “What do you stand for? And does your team know what you stand for?” Continue Reading…

Should Loyalty Trump Integrity

Which Is The Trump Card?

Loyalty and integrity are two character traits I think we all desire in ourselves and in others.  I like loyal people.  They are friends and co-workers I know I can depend on.  It does not matter how bad the situation may be.  I know I can count on the loyal people in my life.

I like people of integrity as well.  I like knowing I never have to question their words, actions, or motives.  What you see is what you get.  Their integrity makes trusting them easy.

But should loyalty ever trump integrity?  Is there a time when that is appropriate? Continue Reading…

Failure: The Difference Between An Excuse and A Reason

Excuses Shift Blame

“Making excuses is a bad habit.” Making excuses is a favorite topic of mine when I speak to groups about leadership and character. I am often asked, “Aren’t there legitimate reasons for a failure? Shouldn’t that matter?”

My reply: “Yes. It matters. As long as we know the difference between an excuse and a reason.” Continue Reading…

The Three Checkpoints Before Firing Someone

Should They Stay or Go

“I will do everything I can to help you be as successful as you want to be…right up to the point I realize I am working harder at it than your are.”

I developed this point of view as a result of hanging on to employees for too long. I believe everyone I work with deserves my best. But at times, my desire to help them goes way beyond their desire to improve.

I always use three checkpoints before I make the final decision to fire someone. If these three criteria are met, it is best for everyone – my company, my team, the individual and myself – to fire them. Continue Reading…

Three Times A Leader’s Feelings Are Irrelevant

How you feel doesn't matter.

The team was sure their boss had emotional issues. “He could fly off the handle at any minute! If he doesn’t like you, your life will be hell. He really has a bad temper.”

The leader was losing his team. He called it passion. They called it unpredictable. He did not want to ignore his feelings. They wanted him to be more predictable.

As a leader, there are times when my feelings are irrelevant. I give up the right to be controlled by my emotions when I take on a leadership role.

Continue Reading…

Inspirational Leadership is Risky Business

Risky Business

There was always a lot of talk, but there was rarely any progress. I was worn out at the end of every meeting. The leadership team was stuck. Therefore the whole company was stuck.

Leadership through risk avoidance inspires nobody! If a leader wants to have committed followers, the leader must be willing to take some risks. Otherwise, the whole organization will be stuck in a quagmire of fear and doubt.  Continue Reading…

Cultivating the Team Everyone Wants

What are you cultivating?

Do you want a “me first” team? Do you want a team filled with politics and positioning? Do you want a team that does the minimum necessary? Few of us want a work culture like this.

The word culture is derived from the middle English word cultivation. When I work with teams, I see the results of a leader’s cultivation efforts. The good and the bad cultures are a direct result of the efforts or lack of effort from the leader. Continue Reading…

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