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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 Get Your New Team Off to a Strong Start

If you’re a leader in your organization, there will be multiple times in your career when you have to get a new team off to a strong start. One of the critical steps in that process is when you bring the team members together for the first time. That’s a rare opportunity to define the purpose, build trust, establish the ground rules and set the priorities. Like they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Make the most of it by giving some thought to that first team meeting and taking some time to prepare for it.

One of my executive coaching clients recently faced this exact situation. He’s leading a startup team and has been in heavy recruiting mode filling the key positions on the team. After months of hard work, he’s gotten everyone hired for his leadership team. In talking through what he wanted to accomplish in his first leadership team meeting and how he wanted to approach the meeting, we came up with a simple four-part agenda that would work for almost any first meeting of a team.

It’s built on four one-word questions. Feel free to use ...

Pope Francis' Nine Rules for Happy Living

In case you haven’t been paying attention, it turns out that Pope Francis is one of the most popular people in the world. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that he has a 90 percent favorability rating among U.S. Catholics and a 70 percent favorability rating among all Americans. Another Pew study at the end of last year found that he has a median favorable rating of 60 percent across 43 nations and only an 11 percent unfavorable rating.

Timothy Egan’s recent column in the New York Times, "Pope Francis and the Art of Joy," does a great job of explaining how the nature of the pope’s positive personality helps make him a transformational leader. It’s definitely worth five minutes of your time to read.

For now, though, let me share a slightly reformatted quote from Egan’s column that I found particularly compelling.  Egan wrote that last year the Pope was asked about his secret to happiness. He responded with nine rules that I have listed here (again, big hat tip to Timothy Egan for sharing these):

1. Slow down
2. Take time off
3. Live and let live
4. Don’t proselytize ...

3 Simple Ways to Be More Aware This Week

If you’ve been reading my posts, articles or books for awhile, you know I do my best to keep things simple. Most of us have too much on our plates to make life any more complex than it already is. Hence, my emphasis on simplicity.

For instance, the definition of leadership presence I introduced in The Next Level breaks that concept down into three sets of behaviors: personal presence, team presence and organizational presence.

For another example, when I coach people who want to be more effective leaders or less stressed in their lives, I encourage them to start by focusing on doing one or two things that are in the sweet spot of relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference. If that works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.

As yet another example, the definition of mindfulness that I offer in Overworked and Overwhelmed is that mindfulness equals awareness plus intention. So, in this week’s Mindful Mondays post, I thought I’d go a little deeper on the first part of that equation – awareness. Here are three simple ways you can be more aware this week:

Listen: This week, look ...

What Do You Have to Share?

The news from the devastating earthquake in Nepal this past weekend is tragic and heartrending. It’s a natural impulse at times like this to want to help. Most of us, of course, are not qualified to offer help on the ground. Fortunately, there are organizations with volunteers who are. If you want to contribute to their efforts by sharing some of your own resources, this link provided by The New York Times will provide you with the donation links for over two dozen organizations that are moving to help the people of Nepal.

Tragedies like the one in Nepal spark our desire to share what we have with those in need. On a day-to-day basis, you likely have other causes that are important enough to you that you share your time and resources with them.

As we begin another week, I’d like to encourage you to also consider what you have to share with the people you come in contact with everyday. I’m talking about the people you live with, work with and come in contact with in the normal course of life. The situations I’m thinking of aren’t particularly dramatic; they’re just little ...

What's the Difference Between Executive Presence and Leadership Presence?

The title of this post is a question I was asked yesterday during an interview for the book summary service Get Abstract. While I guess I’ve thought about the difference between executive and leadership presence over the years (I wrote a book on the latter after all), I have never had the question put to me that directly.

My answer was that, depending on the situation, executive presence can be a subset of leadership presence. As I unpacked my answer, the interviewer referred a couple of times to Don Draper of Mad Men as someone who embodies executive presence. As a fan of the show, I could see what she meant. No one wears a business suit better than Jon Hamm as Don Draper. When Don Draper is sober and in full pitch mode he embodies what the very traditional picture of executive presence looks like.

And that, in essence, is the difference between executive presence and leadership presence. The simplest distinction between the two is that executive presence is about how you look and leadership presence is about what you do. If you want to take it further, executive presence is about how you talk and leadership presence ...