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Five Reasons You Should Rip the Band-Aid Off Fast

Unless you’re a sociopathic (and I’m sure none of my readers are), you probably don’t enjoy delivering bad news. It could be announcing that the quarterly numbers aren’t on target, letting someone know that they underperformed, admitting that you made a mistake or telling someone that they no longer have a job with your organization.

Working up the courage and intestinal fortitude to do any of those things can be tough. So tough, in fact, that many people find it easier to rip the proverbial Band-Aid off slowly. You know, one excruciating arm hair at a time. You sit on the information. You agonize over what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. How much should you share at once? How will people react? Pluck, pluck, pluck. Ouch, ouch, ouch.

This post is an argument for ripping the Band-Aid off fast. It’s going to hurt either way, so why not get it over with? Here are some thoughts on how and why to do it fast.

The subject of Band-Aid ripping has come up in our house recently as my wife, life and business partner, Diane, has been trying...

Those Emails You Send From Home At Night Are Creating More Problems Than You Know

There's an epidemic no one talks much about because it's rarely seen that way. Even so, it makes no distinctions from one industry to the next; I've seen this bad habit infect the ranks of Fortune 500 companies in technology, retail, manufacturing, health care, pharmaceuticals, hospitality—you name it. The good news, though, is that it's easy to diagnose.

In my experience of working with managers and executives, that starts by asking a single question: "How many of you send out emails from home at night?" Nearly everyone raises their hand.

Reading that may only inspire a shrug—you probably do the same thing. And you might roll your eyes to learn that the pernicious habit of answering work emails after hours is the widespread problem I'm talking about. Far from being news, we've grown amazingly adept at discussing overwork in general and email overload in particular.

But there's one thing that might surprise you about that late-night emailing habit: It's overwhelmingly voluntary, and therefore largely avoidable.

You’re Doing It To Yourself

After the resounding yesses I usually elicit by asking professionals about their evening email habits, I'll pose a...

Five Things That Changed My Life Over Five Years

Today is my 55th birthday. Yes, I said it. It’s part of my new policy of radical transparency. There was a time in my life when 55 sounded really old. Now that I’m there, I realize how relative that is. Old compared to what or who?

It seems especially relative when I consider all that has happened in the five years since I turned 50. I was looking back yesterday on a blog post I wrote then. I pretty much still agree with everything I wrote five years ago but am struck by how much my life has changed since then. Five years ago, I lived in Herndon, Virginia. Now, I live in Santa Monica, California. When I turned 50, I was just beginning to figure out to manage the multiple sclerosis I had been diagnosed with two years earlier. Today, for now, I know much more about how to take care of myself. Speaking of the MS, five years ago that was a secret that Diane and I shared with only a few very close friends and family members. We were scared that if we told everyone, people would think I couldn’t be depended upon to...

Three Simple Steps for More Mindful Leadership

Every so often I have the nice surprise of talking with someone who was in one of my leadership programs a few years earlier. It happened again last week when I was conducting colleague feedback interviews for an executive coaching client. As I started one call with a guy named Ben,  I said, “I don’t think we’ve had the opportunity to talk before have we?” Ben graciously reminded me that he was one of the participants in a Mindful Leadership workshop I conducted at his company a couple of years ago. I apologized for missing the connection and he couldn’t have been nicer. He went on to say that he is still using and benefiting from a number of things we went over in the workshop.

I always love hearing that and asked Ben to share with me specifically what he was doing. It didn’t take him long at all to come up with three examples. Interestingly, they are three of the things that are on the short list of takeaways that past participants almost always tell me they’re still doing when I have the opportunity to talk with them down the road.

Since they...

Nail Your Next Public Speaking Gig With These Three Tips

If you’re in a leadership role of almost any type, the odds are high that you have to do some sort of public speaking on a semi-regular basis. It could be a staff meeting, a board presentation, a town-hall meeting or a conference keynote. Your public speaking possibilities are endless, really. Do you enjoy them or dread them? Nail them or muff them?

It seems like most people dread them and usually don’t feel like they’ve nailed it after speaking in public. As someone who delivers 40 or 50 speeches and presentations to clients every year, it’s a good thing that I actually enjoy speaking. I’ve worked hard over the years to get better and better as a speaker and take the feedback I get from audiences seriously. The feedback has gotten better and better over the years, so it seems like the work I’ve been doing is paying off. There are three things in particular that I’ve learned to focus on when speaking. They’re simple but powerful ideas. In the hopes that they’ll help you too, here they are:

Mindset: Several years ago, I was booked for my first keynote...

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