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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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5 Questions for Leaders Who Would Rather Be Effective Than Right

During the opening session of a new leadership development program last week, I asked the participants to share the biggest leadership lesson they’ve learned in their careers so far. There were a lot of interesting answers. One participant shared one that really stuck with me because I think it’s so true. The lesson was it’s not enough to have the right idea, you have to influence other people to believe that it’s the right idea.

The essence of the lesson that leader shared is captured in a behavior that we’ve been measuring in our Next Level Leadership® 360 Degree Assessment for the past eight years:

Chooses effectiveness as a more important outcome than “being right.”

You might have all the facts and logic on your side. The answer may be painfully obvious to you. That voice inside your head may be screaming, “What part of this do these people not understand?” You may be asking yourself, “Do I really have to keep explaining this?”

No, actually, you don’t.

If you’re more interested in being effective than in being right, quit explaining and start listening. Here are some questions you can ask to listen ...

What You Can Learn About Focus From the World Series MVP

If I ever write another book, I want to interview Madison Bumgarner for it. That dude knows how to focus and I’d love to know more about how he does it. As you may have seen last week, the San Francisco Giants starting pitcher came on the mound in the fifth inning of game seven of the World Series and pitched for the rest of the game. The scene was set in Kansas City, and the Giants had a 3-2 lead over the Royals when Bumgarner took over. He shut the Royals down pretty much exactly as he had when he pitched a nine inning shut out just two days earlier in game five.

As reported in this summary, the World Series MVP pitched a record 52 innings in the postseason with a 1.03 ERA. He threw 32.7 of the innings in the Giants’ 17 postseason games and 34 percent of the innings in their World Series games. In an era when starting pitchers typically work on a five-game rotation, Bumgarner pitched in three of the seven games of the series and allowed only one run.

Watching him pitch in game seven was mesmerizing. In a rocking ...

Take the Time to Focus In

When people ask me, as they often do, why my wife Diane and I moved from the Washington, D.C., suburbs to Los Angeles, I tell them the truth. When Diane, who grew up outside Philadelphia, was eight, her parents took her to Disneyland and she never got over it.  She’s wanted to live in Southern California for most of her life.  So, when we figured out how to do it, we moved. And, as I usually tell people, we moved in the most inefficient way imaginable.

We had been in our house in Virginia for 13 years and raised two boys there. Needless to say, there was a lot of stuff in there. Some of it we moved to our new apartment, some of it we sold, much of it we gave away and the rest we shipped to a storage complex in Venice, CA. Partially because we packed in a hurry and partially because the guys on the truck unloaded things really haphazardly, our storage units looked like they had been arranged by chimpanzees. It was a huge mess.

Months and months ago, we circled the third week of August as our vacation at the storage unit ...

Are You Fit to Lead?

The question posed in the title of this post is one that I’ve heard asked a lot over the years. Usually, it refers to someone having the right mix of temperament, ethics, experience and the like that’s needed to be an effective leader.

My guest in the podcast interview that accompanies this post would likely ask the question from a different perspective. Carol Himmelhoch is a professor of leadership at Siena Heights University and she’s recently published a monograph titled Transformational Leadership and High-Intensity Interval Training. If you’re familiar with CrossFit, you know what high-intensity interval training (HITT) is. Himmelhoch is a HITT devotee herself and started wondering about the connection between her avocation and vocation. She decided to explore whether or not physical fitness has an impact on leadership effectiveness.

Her research leads her to believe there is a connection. We recently had an interesting conversation about her work, which you can listen to here. Give it a listen and let me know what you think.

Play

Does the path to more effective leadership run through the gym or the CrossFit box?

(Image via wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock.com)

How to Feel Amazing in Five Minutes

One of the ironic effects of the hyper-connected age we live in is that there is very little true listening going on. As I write about in my new book, there’s a lot of transient listening in which we’re so preoccupied with all the thoughts of our multitasking minds that we hear each other but don’t really listen.

Higher up the value chain is transactional listening in which we’re listening with the goal of accomplishing something or solving a problem.That’s important but doesn’t really do much for the heart and soul.

Then there’s transformational listening which is when we slow down, focus and listen to another person just for the sake of listening. It’s listening without distractions or in service of a particular agenda.

In a lot of my workshops and presentations on mindful leadership, I ask people to practice transformational listening. It’s a really simple process of asking people to work in groups of three where the first person talks about something important to them (it could be a family matter, a trip, a book they’re reading, something at work, anything really). The second person just listens and ...