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

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...

There’s One in Every Group (And How to Make Sure It’s You)

One of the many fun things about my work is the patterns I get to observe from working with lots of leaders in lots of different organizations. The best part of that is when I see helpful things in the patterns that I can share with my readers. That’s what I want to do in this post – share a pattern I’ve observed that can help you lead and live at your best.

If you’re like most of the managers and executives I speak with in my presentations, workshops and programs, you’re operating in a do-more-with-less environment. When it feels like your to-do list at work (and at home) is getting longer and longer, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only way out is to put in more hours on your work. The majority of the leaders I talk with have that mindset as a starting point. The problem with that is there will always be more work to do than you have hours to do it in.

Here’s where the pattern takes a turn, however. There is almost always one person in every group who doesn’t do it...

We Should All Live By Boy Scout Values—All of Them

On Monday night, President Trump gave a political speech and also told some stories about New York cocktail parties he’s attended to around 40,000 11 to 18-year-old Boy Scouts at their National Jamboree in West Virginia. You can read the details in this article from the Washington Post.

I made a promise to myself a few years ago that I was going to stay away from political commentary on my blog. However, as an Eagle Scout, I can’t let this one go.

Scouting played a big role in who I am as an adult. Nine years ago, I shared the story of my grandfather, who was a Scoutmaster and is still one of my heroes. I was active in Scouting for 12 years as a boy. I went to a World Jamboree in Norway, a National Jamboree in Pennsylvania, served on the staff of my local Scout camp, piloted leadership development programs for the Scouts and was a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow.

When my two sons were of age, I served as a Cubmaster for a few years and filled other volunteer roles later. Long story short, while I recognize that, like...