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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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How to Make Something Productive Out of Your Anxiety

As an executive coach, I often work with clients who don’t just have very full plates; it can feel to them like they’re spinning four or five full plates at once. (That sounds really messy.) When you’ve got so much to do that it’s hard just to keep track of what’s on the list, it’s really easy to start freaking out about how you are going to get everything done. The more professional term for that freaked out feeling is anxiety. When you have anxiety, you feel anxious. When you feel anxious, it’s really hard to keep the plates spinning. It’s actually really challenging to do anything productive from an anxious state.

The French philosopher Montaigne captured the essence of the anxiety challenge when he wrote that “My life has been full of misfortunes, most of which never happened.” We can get so spun up about what might happen that we don’t perform at our best right now. What if you could use your anxiety as a cue or signal to shift into a more productive mode? Here are some thoughts on how to do that.

A couple of weeks ago...

The Case for Radical Kindness

As I write this, it’s 6:30 AM on November 9, 2016, and, I think it’s fair to say, hundreds of millions of people around the world are asking themselves, “What  next?” Millions are asking that question with excited anticipation and millions more with overwhelming anxiety. Whether you’re on one end of the spectrum or the other, somewhere in between or haven’t figured out yet where you are, it feels pretty safe to conclude that the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States represents a seismic shift in the world.

So, what’s next? Who really knows? I think, though, that there’s another, more immediate question for each of us to answer: “What do I do now?” My humble suggestion is to, starting today, practice radical kindness.

No matter where you were on the presidential campaign, you likely agree that it was not our best experience as a country. Name calling, opinion shoving, sarcasm, condescension, and other behaviors that would embarrass most of us if we were watching a tape of ourselves doing those kinds of things became all too common over the past year. The campaign drove wedges between families, friends...

How Getting to Know Your Colleagues Could Make You More Productive

What difference would it make if you really knew the people you work with every day? Not just knowing what they do at work and maybe one or two facts about their life outside of work, but what they really care about, are passionate about, worry about or laugh about? What difference would it make if you could find the person behind the professional?

Chances are you’d connect with them more deeply, trust them more fully and work with them more productively. What you’d likely do less of is make up stories about why they do what they do. As you know, nature abhors a vacuum. The same is true with relationships. In the absence of real knowledge or information, we tend to fill the space by making stuff up. That rarely leads to positive outcomes.

I’ve been thinking a lot about personal connection after guiding a group of corporate managers through a day-long session last week on the topic of Leading At Your Best. As I often do at the beginning of a day-long small group workshop, I asked everyone to re-introduce themselves to each other by sharing where they grew up, how many siblings they...

How to Tame This Attention Span Killing Device

If someone tried to force you to take a drug that would reduce your ability to mentally focus by 33 percent, you’d probably do everything you could to get away, right? Yet, the chances are you’ve already done that to yourself over the past several years. Your partner in crime is your smartphone.

In a 2015 study commissioned by Microsoft, researchers found that the average human attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. A goldfish, on the other hand, has an attention span of 9 seconds.

So, what else was going on during the period that human attention spans dropped by 33 percent? The mobile communications era really took off. The first mobile email device, the Blackberry (remember those?) was introduced in 1999. The first modern smartphone, the iPhone, was launched in 2007. Is it a coincidence that attention spans have dropped during more or less the same exact period? Unlikely.

Smartphones kill our attention spans because they’re addictive. You know this intuitively, right? If you do, perhaps you’ll be comforted to know that, according to a 2015 study conducted by the National Safety Council, more than...

Three Leadership Rules for the Shark Cage

If you haven’t already seen it, watch this video of a great white shark attacking a dive cage. It runs about a minute and a half and is straight out of Jaws.

OK, now that you’ve watched it, we need to draw some leadership lessons from what happened there. (Great thanks and props to my client Brian Schools who CC’d me on an email he sent to his leadership team at Chartway Federal Credit Union in which he shared the video and some similar lessons.) Since no one got eaten by a shark, we can, with a clean conscience, break the video down into some takeaways for team leadership. You may or may not be leading a team in a physically dangerous situation, but no matter the circumstances, it can get pretty rough out there. So, based on a true story, here are some leadership rules for the shark cage.

Know who’s in the cage. We hear a lot in team settings about having each other’s backs. As the shark cage video demonstrates, you can’t protect somebody else’s back if you don’t even know where their back is.

Here’s the breakdown...

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