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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.
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Five Ways to Create Space to Think

A lot of thinking is really just reacting. On any given day, there’s so much coming at us that we just react or reflexively respond to the input. That’s not all bad. A lot of stuff gets done that way. But whose stuff is getting done – yours or someone else’s?

To get your own most important stuff done, you have to create space to think. How, when and where do you do it? I’ve been asking my clients a version of that question for years—where or when do you get your best ideas? The number one answer is in the shower. The next two are exercising and driving to work. Those are fine but the problem with all of them is it’s kind of hard to write anything down while you’re doing them. The other problem is that none of them really last that long. What if what you’re trying to do requires more think time than a shower or your commute? How do you create the space to think in a way that allows you to capture and build on your ideas?

I’ve just had a very solid week of...

How to Determine if the Balls You’re Juggling are Rubber or Glass

In my work as a coach and speaker to corporate leaders, I hear a lot of stories about how many balls people are trying to juggle at once. There are at least three big factors driving these stories. First, most leaders in most organizations are expected to continuously do more with less. Second is the ability to do practically anything from your smartphone that you could do at your desk. Third, is that, unless you set and enforce some boundaries, that smartphone can make you instantly available to anyone who has your email address or phone number.

Those conditions can make juggling all the balls a pressure-filled challenge. How do you keep all the balls in the air without dropping something important or driving your health and well-being off a cliff?

For years, I’ve been talking with my clients about the importance of understanding the difference between when something needs to be perfect and when good enough is good enough. They usually get the distinction between perfect and good enough, but often have a hard time determining when it needs to be one instead of the other.

Lately, I’ve started offering a different way to think about the...

Why Leaders Should Focus on Outcomes Instead of Solutions

Yesterday morning, before delivering a workshop on how to lead and live at your best, I had the privilege of watching a roomful of high-potential managers share what they’ve learned so far during their company’s multi-month leadership development program. There were a lot of good observations but the one that really landed with me was from a participant who said he’s become a lot more aware of the difference between solutions and outcomes.

He went on to explain that he’s been working on making a shift from focusing on solutions to defining outcomes. He’s realized this year that his job is to describe and keep the team focused on the outcomes they’re trying to create. He’s also learning that his job isn’t to come up with or prescribe solutions for how to get to the outcome. That’s his team’s job. His job is to make sure they’ve got the information, perspective, skill sets and motivation to do that.

I love that distinction between solutions and outcomes. Too often, executives and managers overlook the difference between the two. In those cases, they confuse their commitment to a particular solution with...

Micromanagement is Really a Trust Issue

I often hear from relatively senior managers that their bosses constantly expect them to have detailed answers for any question that might pop into their minds. As a result, they feel like they’re always preparing for a pop quiz and, consequently, don’t have much time or mental bandwidth left for higher value-added work.

You may have experienced this problem with your manager. Heck, you might be the source of the same problem for the people who are working for you. How do you break this cycle of micromanagement?

Start by recognizing that micromanagement is really a trust issue. Your manager doesn’t trust you. You don’t trust the people working for you. If you did, you wouldn’t be micromanaging them. So, now that you know this, what do you do about it?

Break it down. As the linguist Fernando Flores explains, trust is a function of three factors: sincerity, credibility and competence. If your boss doesn’t trust you or you don’t trust your people it’s because one or more of those factors is suspect. If you want to stop the micromanagement, you have to identify which of the three factors needs to be...

What Great Leadership Looks Like

In 2017, it can be difficult to find examples of great leadership. Today, though, I want to offer two of them.

The first is of neighbors, volunteers, first responders, law enforcement, the National Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard pulling together to rescue each other in the greater Houston area. Because of the scope of the storm and torrential rains that came with Hurricane Harvey, government authorities quickly became overwhelmed with the scale of the rescue effort. Fortunately, thousands of people are showing personal leadership, courage and compassion and stepping in to fill the gap. (You can help Houston and the Gulf Coast by donating to any of these organizations.)

The stories are remarkable. One that stuck with me was from a CNN reporter who was riding along with a crew of civilians in an airboat that had traveled from three hours away to come rescue people from the flooding. The reporter did a live interview with a family of four that the boat had just rescued from the roof of a car where they had been stranded for two days. They had lost everything they own but were beside themselves with gratitude for their rescuers and with joy...