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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

What Any of Us Can Learn From Pope Francis

Like a lot of Americans, I spent a lot of last week transfixed by the coverage of Pope Francis’ trip to the United States. I’m not Catholic, but found myself moved by his words and images several times.

The pictures were what really got me. The look of joy of people in the crowds as Francis passed by or moved to touch them was unadulterated. The happy grin of the pope as he waved to the crowds out the back window of his Fiat as it left Andrews Air Force Base was priceless. There’s a picture in the New York Times this morning of the white robed arm of Francis extended for a handshake with the tattooed, ID bracelet wearing arm of an inmate in Philadelphia. How can you not be moved by that?

Because I work with a lot of leaders in very visible, demanding roles (not the papacy obviously), I’ve spent some time thinking about what any of us who are trying to make the most of what we do in life can learn from Pope Francis.

As the pope was in New York last week, I had a call with a coaching client who...

How to Live a Life That's 'Beyond Happy'

Being happy is a fundamental life goal for most people. But is it possible that by setting the bar at “being happy,” that we’re aiming too low? In her new book, Beyond Happy: Women, Work, and Well-Being, Beth Cabrera makes a compelling case for striving for more. Better yet, she offers practical and actionable steps on how to do it.

Cabrera is a senior scholar at George Mason University’s Center for the Advancement of Well-Being. She is also an expert and has conducted extensive research on the particular challenges that professional women face in managing the many demands on their time and attention. She does a great job of summarizing what women are up against in the first couple of chapters of Beyond Happy. The strategies and advice she offers in the rest of the book apply equally to both women and men.

In the recording that accompanies this post, Beth and I talk about her approach to moving beyond happy. The preview is that it comes down to hitting the sweet spot between feeling good and doing good. If you’re interested in learning more about how to do that, listen to my interview with Beth.


The Case for Competitive Civility

The executive that signed professional golfer Jordan Spieth to a long-term endorsement deal with Under Armour should get a raise. In the year, since he signed on, the 21-year-old Texan has won two major golf championships, missed winning the other two by a total of four strokes and, with his second place finish in the PGA Championship yesterday, captured the No. 1 ranking in the world.

He did all of this while remaining calm, steady and friendly. In short, he’s an absolutely killer competitor who is, by the standards of any era, remarkably civil.

I paid more attention to the PGA Championship this year because I had the very cool opportunity to be at the tournament site in Kohler, Wisconsin, last week to speak at a program called Beyond the Green. It’s a daylong event the PGA puts on for women executives and business owners. The setting at Whistling Straits was so stunning and the organization of the tournament was so impressive that I watched whenever I could over the weekend.

Here’s what I noticed about Jordan Spieth in yesterday’s final round. He started the day three strokes behind the tournament leader, Jason Day. They were...

What’s the ROI on Your Leadership Capital?

The science of economics is often described as being about the division and allocation of scarce resources. Any leader has been through a corporate budgeting or capital allocation process has experienced this firsthand. A lot of time and attention gets spent on the division and allocation of financial resources. Decisions about how to deploy them often turn on a expectation of return on investment.

What many leaders don’t spend as much time considering is the return on investment on how they deploy their leadership capital. Like everyone else, leaders have only so much time and attention they can deploy in any given week. It just makes sense, then, to consider the return on that investment and to make an effort to deploy it in a way that generates the most leverage.

With their new book, Lead Inside the Box, veteran leadership coaches and consultants Mike Figliuolo and Victor Prince, offer a simple yet powerful framework for how leaders can get the greatest return on the time they invest in the people on their team. Working from the premise that one size doesn’t fit all, Mike and Victor teach leaders how to assess who they’re working with and...

The Surprising Benefits of Being More Fully Present at Work

Whenever we run a 360 or self-assessment based on The Next Level model of leadership presence, one of the lowest rated behaviors is usually “Gives others his/her full presence and attention during meetings and conversations.” If you take a little time to observe your own behavior and that of others you work or live with, you’ll understand why the behavior of being fully present is often rated so low. The increasing levels of addiction to checking smartphones and other screens throughout the day are well documented. If you’re paying attention to or distracted by what’s on a screen, you’re not fully present for the people you’re actually talking with. The same goes for picking up your phone and checking the caller ID when it rings during a meeting. Same thing with allowing someone to stick their head in your office or conference room to interrupt for “a quick question.”

Earlier this summer, I wrapped up a coaching engagement with a senior executive who, based on his 360 results, decided to work on being more present for his team. He made some simple changes during the day that were relatively easy to do and definitely...