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

Are You Ready to Change the Way You Think About Leadership?

When you think of the word “leader” what comes to mind? For lots of people, the picture that comes to mind is the charismatic visionary that sets a direction that people want to follow. All too often, that model of leadership fails because the followers inevitably end up disappointed and disengaged when the leader is incapable of delivering everything he or she promised.

Harvard Kennedy School professor Dean Williams, my guest on this episode of The Next Level podcast, offers a different way to think about and practice leadership. In his new book, Leadership for a Fractured World: How to Cross Boundaries, Build Bridges, and Lead Change, Williams makes a compelling case that the most effective leaders are the ones who help groups identify the adaptive challenge and take on the work of change themselves.

Leaders who do this are what Williams calls “global change agents.” As he says in our conversation, it’s not that they necessarily take on global-scale challenges but rather that they look at the world and act in an integrated way. Global change agents stand in contrast to those who practice what Williams calls “the big man” model of  leadership. "Big men" and "big women...

What Are You More Likely to Remember?

So the original plan for this past weekend was to get caught up on some work while my wife, Diane, was away at a conference in Las Vegas. To some degree, that was the plan for both of us. We have a couple of big new projects coming on line so Diane took her computer with her and planned on doing some work in the evenings as well.

And that’s pretty much how Friday night went down. She had dinner, played roulette for an hour or so and went back to her room to work on our website. Meanwhile, I was in our apartment in Los Angeles clearing out emails and other tasks while an HBO documentary on Sinatra played in the background. It was when Diane and I had a good night FaceTime call later in the evening that I knew that could not stand.

After we were done talking, I asked myself, “Do you really want to be doing this again tomorrow night when you could be hanging out in Vegas with the love of your life?” The answer was easy and obvious -- hell, no. Then the little voice inside my head countered with, “Yeah, but there...

Three Signs That You Have Too Much Executive Presence

It’s common for leaders who want to make a bigger impact to work on building their executive presence. It’s so common, in fact, that my company offers a seven month group coaching program for high potential leaders slated for executive roles. Our goal in that program is to make the often discussed but rarely clearly defined topic of executive presence a tangible and actionable thing to develop.

We try to move away from the “I know it when I see it,” definition of executive presence by focusing on specific behaviors and tactics related to factors like showing up with an appropriate amount of confidence, tailored communications, building great teams and working with colleagues to get bigger things done.  Along with all of that, we focus on the idea that it’s possible to have too much executive presence.

Too much executive presence? How, you may ask, could that possibly be a problem? It’s a problem when the leader’s executive presence creates distance between them and the people they’re leading or working with. In my experience, this usually happens when the leader puts too much emphasis on “executive” and not enough emphasis on “presence.”

Is it...

Five Simple Ways to Feel Better and Perform Better

Sitting at your desk for hours on end can take a toll on a lot of things—your mental performance, your overall outlook on life and your general health and well-being. There’s a reason that researchers have concluded that sitting is the new smoking. Unfortunately, for many of us, the nature of work today leads to a lot of sitting and the subsequent declines in health.

And it’s not like sitting is a stress free endeavor. After all, you’re not just sitting to take a load off your feet. You’re sitting there trying to solve one or more problems and the constant stream of all of that can leave you in a low grade state of chronic fight or flight. When that happens there are systems in your body that either elevate or de-elevate and, over time, they compound the effect of all that sitting with high blood pressure, digestive problems, stress-hormone-induced insomnia, anxiety and weight gain, blood clots, decreased immune response and premature aging. Yikes! Not a pretty picture.

All of this is on my mind today after reading New York Times article that reported that, for the first time in 16 years, the...

Five Ways to Clear the Decks

I’m a little late writing this post this morning because I’ve spent the past 45 minutes clearing the decks.

When I sat down at my desk this morning, it looked like it had been through a hurricane. I’ve got lots of reasons (excuses) for that. I’ve been away on business a lot this past month, we have multiple projects underway, there have been deadlines to hit for clients and, finally, we’ve had a ton (that’s probably a literal word) of stuff to sort through that’s come back into the house following a fire in our storage units last year.

The effect of all of that is that stuff has just been thrown on my desk by me and others in my family for weeks as the incoming exceeded our capacity to generate the outgoing. When I sat down this morning, I knew something had to give. The mini-mountains of clutter were distracting, demoralizing and draining my focus. I could either try to keep ignoring them or I could remove them. I chose the latter and, wow, do I feel better.

My guess is that I’m not the only one who faced a...