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.

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…

Duty – Beyond A Job Description

There is more to it than this!

Ask a veteran why they served and you will likely hear the word Duty in the explanation. The concept of Duty still runs deep in military circles.

Many people use the word Duty to describe the list of tasks in a job description. But the idea of Duty goes well beyond a “to do list.” Duty seems to be a forgotten principle outside the military. The concept of Duty needs a revival. Continue Reading…

Three Reasons People Don’t Trust You

Are you trusted?

His team didn’t trust him and Tom was confused. He was a good guy and an award winning salesman prior to being promoted. But, he and his team were not connecting. They liked him just fine. But, they did not trust him.

Trust is not easy. In today’s world, it takes more than just being a good person and being honest. The more I work with leaders (young and old) the more I see this same pattern. People want to be trusted, but they continue to do things that erode trust. Continue Reading…

When A Leader Should Fight A Policy

Leaders fight for what is fair

“Sorry. It’s policy.” This comment may be true, but it can also be a sign of a weak leader. Policies are not perfect – especially personnel policies. Leaders need to be willing to stand up and fight when needed.

Most companies have personnel policies, and the larger the company the more rigid the policies usually are. But, the rigidity of the policy does not always make it right. Continue Reading…

When The Past Hurts A Leader

How does your past affect you?

Be careful following a leader just because he has gray hair. The tenure or the age of a leader does not always signal wisdom.  Here is the question:

Is the leader growing in wisdom or growing in fear?

A lot of people let the past keep them from moving forward. But when a leader is dominated by fear, everyone they lead focuses on the past and becomes stuck in the present as well. Continue Reading…

Ping Pong & Culture At Work

This Isn't Culture

Business magazines publish article after article discussing a company’s culture.  The articles often focus on perks, the color of the office walls, or the fact there is a ping pong table where the conference table used to be.

Who cares!  I don’t care that I get to play ping pong at work if I can’t trust the guy I just beat to be honest with me later.  A pig with lipstick on is still a pig.  Continue Reading…

Building Team Culture: Marinate Your People

A LMT Culture Survives Adversity

When meat is marinated, it is soaked in a marinade for an extended period of time.  The marinade sauce penetrates into the meat and not only keeps the meat moist and edible when it is placed over a fire, but it also changes the flavor of the meat.  That flavor is maintained during the cooking process.

When I forget to marinate the meat and just place the sauce on the outside right before hitting the flames, the heat of the fire often burns the sauce.  There is a charred flavor on the outside, while on the inside the meat is dry and flavorless.  The fire damages the meat instead of adding to its flavor.

A Low Maintenance Team (LMT) has a culture developed by the leader actively marinating the people in the principles the leader wants the LMT to embrace and emulate.  This is how a LMT Culture is created and maintained. Continue Reading…

Confident Leaders Invite Arguments

Will you listen?

“Argue with me.” He said it, AND he meant it. As I watched this leader invite his team to tear down his idea, I was astonished, inspired and humbled.

  • Astonished: Because I had never seen a leader so readily open to criticism from the people he led.
  • Inspired: Because I watched his team argue passionately for and against the leader’s point of view.
  • Humbled: Because I realized I am not always confident enough to have my ideas torn down by others.

Continue Reading…

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