Get Out of Your Head to be a Good Leader

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Thinking Man - ShutterstockAs a leader, do you believe your job is all about using your intelligence? I work with a team leader who believes just that. I’ll call him “Martin”, and he manages a team that builds software. He thinks he’s a good leader because he’s really smart. He can recall facts that others have forgotten, he can quickly do math in his head, and he’s very articulate. The ...

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Three Keys to Creating a Powerful Purpose

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Business PurposeThe most powerful team purposes go way beyond satisfying your intellect and literally ignite high energy. I experienced this on a team I once led where an inspiring purpose tangibly brought them to life.

I was the CIO of a large trucking company and one of my teams was building a system to help truck drivers load their trailers more rapidly. I couldn’t have asked for a more capable ...

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Reduce Team Burnout with Music

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MusicScottish regiments of the British army have traditionally marched into war to the sound of bagpipes. Although many people may shrink at the wail of the bagpipes, Scottish soldiers hear it as a rousing call to arms. The most celebrated bagpiper of the World War II, Bill Millin of 1 Special Service Brigade, piped his unit onto the Normandy beaches on D-Day. As Millin waded onto Sword Beach, playing “Road ...

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Start Capturing the Benefits of Team Negativity

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Angry DavidOutspoken and aggressive, David Weiss, a web developer at General Engines, has always voiced strong opinions about the look and feel of the company’s website. When his manager, Nancy Colletto informs his team that she cannot approve their urgently needed budget request, David loses his cool. Turning red in the face, he shouts, “This company doesn’t give a damn about the customers who visit our website. They’ll take ...

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Beginners Mind: A Source of Innovation

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Beginners Mind and InnovationSome people approach each situation with a beginner’s mind, which is an attitude of openness and lack of preconceptions, even when they’re a highly accomplished professional. These people are more innovative than others, and you can facilitate this attitude in a team.

A great example of this comes from a team I work with that writes software to run the operations of a trucking company, which I’ll ...

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An Easier Way to Boost Employee Engagement

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Boost employee engagement thru team emotionsWhat if employees that we call “disengaged” are really just stressed, burned out, or simply bored with the routine. Then the remedies would be entirely different than the ones we’re trying.

What we commonly diagnose as an employee’s lack of engagement may really be due to primal emotional issues, which are best remedied at their source. Stress, ...

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How Much Team Diversity is Optimal for Innovation?

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DiversityI used to think that the purpose of creating diversity on a team was simply to give people of various races and orientations equal opportunities. When I create a team, my main concern is achieving the business goal, not being a do-gooder in society, so I never cared too much about intentionally creating diversity on a team. That was before I understood that diversity is a key requirement for ...

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Combat Negativity by Bringing the Positive to Life

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Enliven the PositiveDoes it seem like some people choose to be negative? In many ways it’s our basic nature, but it has damaging consequences to our creative and cognitive performance. Here’s a remedy for shifting a team’s emotions from negative to positive, but it requires understanding a bit about our conscious minds.

Understand Conscious Awareness

Our conscious minds are attracted to the emotional. Our cognitive and emotional systems constantly process a ...

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Enhance Creativity by Taking a Break

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Take a BreakIf you’re engaged in creative problem solving, you’re more likely to be successful when you have some downtime in which your brain is focused on something else. So allow for breaks, but understand that not all breaks are created equal. Here are three tips for taking effective breaks when you’re engaged in solving problems that require creativity.

1: Get the Timing Right – Creative problem solving requires insight, ...

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