Archive - Leadership RSS Feed

5 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Team

Often times with leadership we hear the warm and fuzzies or the great success stories. There are so many great books and tools at the disposal of leaders that growth and competency should be inevitable.  The challenge with that theory is it’s rendered “not always true” because of the simple fact that leadership deals with human beings.  Anytime you are dealing with people things are never that simplistic.

A key understanding to leadership placement and roles is this: people hire people, who hire people, who hire people. Somewhere within those three generations, there are people placed in roles of leadership that they are not capable of.  In my tenure working as a Deputy Prison Warden, before being promoted to Warden, I worked for a leader that definitely should not have been in her role.  She literally destroyed her staff and destroyed her team.  Not only did she destroy them, she didn’t have the self-awareness to make the necessary adjustments.

Unfortunately the “Leadership Destroyers” were not isolated to my experience, if you live long enough and work for enough people, there is a good chance that you will work for one of these destroyers.  To help identify how these leaders or managers destroy their teams, I have identified 5 ways.

5 Ways Leaders Destroy Their Teams

  • 1. My Way Or The Highway (MWOH):  Everyone has an opinion and often times people have thoughts, ideas and suggestions that can be helpful to those that are in charge.  MWOH is fueled by the insecurity of the Leadership Destroyer.  MWOH can create an environment of control, but not an environment of healthy success.  Listen to your team, involve your team, learn from your team and embrace the reality that the collective sum is much better than the Big-Headed MWOH Leader.
  • 2. All About The Numbers: The numbers do matter, the bottom line is important and if it doesn’t make dolla$ it doesn’t make sense.  In business, ministry or non-profit work, it’s important to measure things as it’s a great barometer for success.  Where numbers become a problem is when the Leadership Destroyer focuses on the numbers, bottom line and measurables so much that they forget about their team of people who are making those numbers happen.  They lose sight of the “how” because they are so focused on the “what.”  Number matter, but people matter more.  Focus on creating a healthy team and healthy numbers will be a natural bi-product.
  • 3. Talk But Don’t Listen: No one can get a word in or have an opinion because the Leadership Destroyer is always talking.  Not only are they always talking, they never listen. If people are not heard, they will cease to say the things that matter.  Shh (be quiet) Listen!
  • 4. Change Things For The Sake Of Changing Things: Change is good and sometimes necessary to create forward momentum.  The Leadership Destroyer takes this to another level by changing things just to let you know that they’re the boss.  They are unwilling to receive feedback or go back to what worked, even if their change isn’t working.  I heard a great thought from OSU Football Coach Mike Gundy from his press conference this week.  OSU is ranked #2 and they are rolling like a well-oiled machine.  Mike Gundy said, (paraphrasing) “I try to change things up a bit, just to justify my existence.  My team will come to me and say I think we need to stick to XYZ and this is why.  Often times what they are saying makes perfect sense and I change it back.” It’s important to survey the impact, timing and necessity of change.
  • 5. They Just Don’t Care:  The quickest way to destroy a team is to not care about the players on the team.  Team members know the difference between the fake stuff and the genuine care and concern for the individual players and the collective team.  Leadership Destroyers care more about their title, role, corner office and the fact that they have arrived than they do their team.  One of the things that the inmates used to say when I was a Warden in regards to leadership and life is this, “It’s All About Missouri!”  In other words, Missouri is the Show-Me State.  I’ll close with the words of John Maxwell, “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”
What Do You Think?  Share your thoughts and experiences with either of these 5 Ways.

Stop Worrying About What People Think

I’m always amazed at the wasted time, effort and energy people spend worrying about what others think.  It really is a huge waste of time and energy.  I’m not encouraging people to be oblivious and lose their sense of self-awareness…  I’m simply saying Stop Worrying About What People Think.

The reality is people don’t care that much, because they generally spend too much time worrying about themselves to worry about you. The more time you spend worrying about what people think and trying to be a people pleaser, the more you lose your sense of identity and God created uniqueness.

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss

Do You!  It’s a statement, not a question.

Step Up and Lead

GUEST BLOGGER: Today’s guest post comes from Chris Spradlin over at @EpicParent.  Chris provides great parenting content at (  If you would like to be a guest blogger for, click here.

Step Up and Lead

We live in a world that is driven by strong leaders, entrepreneurial genius’, innovative risk takers, and bold decision makers. We study the lives of pacesetters like Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Hillary Clinton, and Condoleeza Rice. We have learned the art of efficiency, empowering leaders, negotiations, confronting weak performance, leading through difficult situations, and leading from influence rather than position.

While we have become stronger and better leaders over the years, many of us have families that have been destroyed in the process!

  • The divorce rate amongst couples with no workaholic spouse sits at around 16%. By contrast, workaholic marriages crumble at a 55% rate
  • Children of workaholics grow up learning that promises often are not kept.
  • Kids of workaholics lead the way in drug use and teenage pregnancies

While you may have flair in the board room, today I am challenging you to STEP UP AND LEAD in the living room!

5 Strategies To Help You Step Up And Lead In the Living Room…

  • PUT DOWN AND PICK UP: I encourage all parents to PUT DOWN “Good To Great” and PICK UP God’s Word. Your kids desperately need you to deposit God’s Word deep into their heart, soul, and mind. You might be a success because you can lead executives through a book study but you’re a failure if you can’t lead your kids in a Bible study. Don’t try to change the world in one day, set a simple goal of making this happen twice a week.
  • PRACTICE SERVANT LEADERSHIP: We all know that an effective leader serves those he is leading. As I think about this, it’s interesting to me that we serve those at work but expect to be served at home. I encourage all parents to step into the pain and relentlessly serve their families…even if you just got home from work! I have also found this to be one of the greatest parenting tools in changing my kids’ attitude and behavioral challenges. One day I was at the end of my rope with my son’s attitude. The only thing left in my bag of tricks was to spank him every day for the rest of his life and put him under house arrest until he turned 35! Instead…I opted for the ridiculous strategy of serving him. I helped him clean his room, make his bed, and asked if he wanted to have a sleep over with five of his buddies. (I’ll never do that again) What was the result? Absolute character transformation! Step up and serve your family!
  • GIVE PERMISSION: So many of us try to create a culture in our work environment where our staff can be real, share their heart, and be brutally honest. I believe parents need to create this exact same culture at home. Give your kids permission to be real, share their heart, and be brutally honest! Give them permission to respectfully challenge your parenting. “Dad, you rarely keep your promises”, “Mom, you always say your too tired”, “Why do you work so much”. Give your kids permission. And this is a great time for you to shut-up and listen! Don’t hire an expensive legal team to defend your position.
  • USE THE “F” WORD: If you want to get your kids’ attention, stop them in their tracks and get them to listen to you…then I encourage you to use the “F” word! “Cole, I want to ask for your forgiveness for not keeping my promise”, “Kylie, will you forgive me for yelling”, “Tifton, will you please forgive me for making you listen to my LoverBoy album”…I think you get the idea.
  • PRAY: Last week I found my old skool MC Hammer cassette tape. Team Sprad pulled it out and listened to one of my favorite songs on the album…PRAY. I believe that all parents should make prayer a foundation in their home! My wife is in nursing school right now, so I am Mr. take the kids to school guy. Every morning on the way to school, I pray for and over Team Sprad. I don’t pray a weak “God help the kids today” kind of a prayer. No, I pray a bold… “God give my kids the power to change the world kind of a prayer”! If you want to lead your family…PRAY!

What did I miss? Share 1 way that you can start leading your family today.

12 Signs They Are Not A Good Leader

Most of us have worked for leaders that are for all intents and purposes were not very good.  I have worked with and for both great leaders and those not very good leaders.

To be honest, I actually learned a lot in my early days of leadership from some really bad leaders.  Not only were they bad leaders, they were oblivious to the negative affects of their poor leadership.   There are many signs that a leader is not a good leader and below are 12 Obvious Signs.

The reason I attribute these signs to not being a “Good Leader” instead of “Great Leader,” is due to the fact that a leader usually goes through the progression of being a “Good Leader” before they can become a “Great Leader.”

12 Signs They Are Not A Good Leader: (They could be you!)

  • 1. they are not willing to fail.
  • 2. they only talk and never listen.
  • 3. they don’t develop and produce other leaders.
  • 4. they micro-manage.
  • 5. they are generally insecure or threatened by those they lead.
  • 6. they are not willing to follow and learn from their subordinates.
  • 7. they are more focused on what people think about the results, than the results themselves.
  • 8. they don’t have a genuine care and concern for those they lead.
  • 9. they put policy over people, no matter the situation or circumstance.
  • 10. they are willing to make the wrong decision, for fear of fall-out from making the right decision.
  • 11. they take all of the credit and none of the blame.
  • 12. they only dream about being like so and so, instead of dreaming about becoming who God uniquely created them to be.

Share your thoughts on any of these “12 Signs.” What have been your experiences and struggles with any of the items on the list.   Feel free to add to the list.

Stop Trying So Hard!

I learned very early on as a leader the importance of simplicity and the importance of not trying so hard.  When I was a Prison Warden over 10 years ago, I remember having regular meetings with my key staff to discuss what could be done to simplify their job and to encourage them to stop trying so hard.  Many times the answers to the simplicity question would be things such as: minimizing paperwork, reducing bureaucratic log jams, streamlining of central office vs. prison facility processes…

On the other hand it seemed to take more time for them to understand the concept of “not trying so hard.” Often times they felt as though the inmates would respond better if they were “over the top” or their supervisors would notice them if they tried really hard.  They had to learn the difference between being a hard working, get er’ done, follow the rules and do what’s right type of employee and an employee that simply tried way too hard.  The reality was the employees that tried way too hard were the ones that caused most of the problems in our prison facility.

I’ve always valued cultures of simplicity and not trying so hard.  I also value cultures of high performance and although people may think the two are mutually exclusive, high performance and lack of the over the top “trying so hard” go hand in hand.  High performance and doing what’s right, the right way will begin to come natural.  Just think how natural it feels when the Chick-fil-A employees greet you with a smile and a “My Pleasure.”

When the leader falls into the “Trying Too Hard” category, it creates problems for everyone.  Relax, chill and Stop Trying So Hard!  The people that you are trying to impress can see right through that mess. Focus on creating a culture of Simplicity & Not Trying So Hard.

Some examples of ways to create a culture of simplicity and not trying so hard can include:

  • Stop trying so hard and making everything a”Big Deal.”
  • Help “over-the-top” employees find an appropriate balance.
  • Avoiding knee jerk reactions.
  • Embracing the “5 Minute 5 Phone Calls” concept.
  • Allowing your team to have some space, allowing your team to do their job. (Avoid Micromanagement)
  • Reducing the amount of paperwork, steps, hoops, processes…
  • Creating a culture of healthy conflict and the minimization of drama.

Share your thoughts, experiences, opinions on the importance of Simplicity and Trying Too Hard.  How have you seen either side of this coin play out positive or negative?

Leadership Is Like Riding a Bike

Although there are thousands of leadership books and leadership gurus, leadership isn’t something you can simply read about… you have to do it. It’s not rocket science, it’s a simple science.

Leadership is just like riding a bike — you can’t just read about riding a bike, you have to get on the bike, have someone help steady you, or maybe use training wheels, try to keep your balance and start pedaling. At first you will be a little wobbly and you may even crash a few times.

If you learn from your mistakes and stay after it, you will definitely get better. Although you may become a proficient bike rider, you must be mindful of the fact that there are plenty of new bike tricks to learn and different levels of bikes to ride.

Leadership is the exact same way, you have to get on the leadership bike, have someone help you get started, start pedaling, crash a few times, learn from your mistakes and continue to grow. Next thing you know, you will move from JoeToPro.

Leadership Is as Simple as Riding a Bike and boils down to these Simple Things:

  • Believe In Yourself
  • Believe In Others
  • Point The Direction
  • Provide An Environment For Growth
  • Inspire and Motivate Others
  • Move People From Here To There
  • dream BIG. think BIGGER.

Often times people make leadership more difficult than it has to be. Leadership is about trust, influence and relationships. Leadership Is Like Riding A Bike, Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu says it this way, “When the effective leader is finished with his work, the people say it happened naturally.” Simply put, it was simple.

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~Ernest Hemingway

Is leadership like riding a bike? Is leadership really that simple? Share your thoughts and experiences with leadership being made more difficult than it had to be.

FREE Training Guaranteed To Make You A Better Thinker

In yesterday’s post I shared a video from Seth Godin and in which he shared one sentence that really challenged me.
He was referencing the value of daily blogging and he said, “Having to say intelligent things about what you notice in the world makes you smarter.”  That is absolutely brilliant.

I have been blogging nearly every day for the last 4 years and I can actually say that I’m definitely a better thinker because of it. According to Seth Godin, not only am I a better thinker, I’m smarter.

Seth actually put into words what I’ve thought for quite some time.  The best learning and training we have is FREE and readily available to each of us.  This learning is at our disposal and it’s not about some sort of formal learning type situation.  We actually have the ability to learn, grow and develop from every-day, all-day situations.

Sometimes, I Can’t Stop Thinking; I may even go overboard, but I’m always thinking, learning, processing and orienting my world from every single interaction.  If I’m coaching my son’s football team, I’m processing, thinking and learning from 3rd and 4th graders. When I go through a restaurant drive-thru, I’m processing and learning from my interaction and their processes.  When I read tweets and blogpost, I’m learning.  As I type these words, I’m thinking, learning and processing this revelation of thoughts to paper.  The cool thing is that these interactions become lessons, sermon illustrations, conference talks, personal mantras, chapters in books and even helpful strategies for my clients.

As humans we have approximately 3,000 thoughts per day, some questions we must as ourselves is, “Are we learning from those thoughts?” and “What are we thinking?”  If you want to grow, learn from all of your interactions today, tomorrow and yesterday.  It’s all about taking your life, your lens, your values, your experiences and processing them in connection to world around you.

There is a FREE Training Guaranteed To Make You A Better Thinker…  that training is your life, your experiences and a willingness to learn from the two.

So what do you think? 

Do you make a conscious effort to learn from your daily interactions?  Share some examples of great lessons that you’ve learned from the most unlikely situations.

Seth Godin Talks To Dan Cathy About Writing, Leadership & Success

Great video of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy interviewing Seth Godin.  Seth shares some brilliant thoughts on writing, leadership and what success isn’t.

My favorite thought in this interview is, “Having to say intelligent things about what you notice in the world makes you smarter.”  What is your favorite thought from this video?

Tim Tebow, Chick-fil-A & The Anti-Christian

I have always been amazed by the hatred that Tim Tebow has received over the life of his public athletic career.  When he was at the University of Florida many people couldn’t stand him and the fact that he proudly represented John 3:16 on his eye black, his famous speech “The Promise” the incident with blood running down his face and the list goes on and on.  I always liked Tebow in college, simply because of how he represented himself, although I didn’t particularly like his coach or the Florida Gators.

Now that Tim Tebow is in the NFL this Love/Hate condition is even larger and on a more national level.  In the City of Denver Tebow gets ripped by Anti-Christian groups on a regular basis.  Yet, he gets cheered on by thousands of fans that have made his Jersey one of the most purchased Jersey’s in the NFL.  Tim Tebow is more than a quarterback for the Denver Broncos, he’s an iconic figure that’s represents Christian, good and wholesome.

Tebow appears to have gotten used to the criticism and has never once backed down from outwardly sharing his faith, as matter of fact he boldly ends every interview with “God Bless!”  People in the media and NFL analysts are publicly concluding that the hatred of Tebow is primarily based upon his outward showing of his faith and religious beliefs.  Inside the NFL host “JB” James Brown asked his co-host Cris Collinsworth a question regarding how Time Tebow is treated and Collinsworth was straightforward about his thoughts.  Collinsworth said, “It’s unbelievable JB, that one of the best kids – pure kids that’s ever come into the NFL, is hated because of his faith, because of his mission work, because of the fact that he wears it on his sleeve…”

In Matthew 10 in the Bible, Jesus talks about people hating you because of Him.  I think Tebow not only understands that but lives with the understanding of Matthew 10:32-33 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”

I recently experienced a similar Love/Hate relationship in regards to Chick-fil-A.  I was doing some consulting with one of my clients and I was using an analogy of Chick-fil-a with this room full of department leaders.  We had even discussed having lunch at Chick-fil-A, in order to observe and learn.  One of the leaders in the room was adamant about the fact that he didn’t want to go to Chick-fil-A and that he didn’t like them, their leadership, their Christian views and what they stand for.  It’s one thing to disagree with someone because of their views, however this hatred and dislike that comes from the Anti-Christian is superfluous.

No matter how much people hate on Tebow or Chick-fil-A for that matter, the bottom line is they win. After weeks of “Tebow” chanting fans in Denver, the 3rd string QB finally got his start yesterday against the Miami Dolphins.  He was back in Florida, somewhat of a homecoming and had both Miami and Denver fans cheering him on and his college coach Urban Meyer on the Miami sidelines.   Tebow started slow; however in the 4th quarter he led a very improbable comeback that only puts more fuel on the Love/Hate Tebow fire.  In his first start this year, Tebow rallied the Denver Broncos with two touchdown passes in the final 2:44 of the fourth quarter to force overtime, and Matt Prater ‘s 52-yard field goal gave them an 18-15 win Sunday over the stunned Miami Dolphins

For the Anti-Christian’s and those who hate Tebow exclusively because of his faith, I say get a grip.  Instead of always focusing on what you are against, take a play out of Tim Tebow’s playbook and focus on what you are for.  I’ll end this with a little wisdom and life perspective from a young NFL QB by the name of Tim Tebow who happens to be a man of faith,   “If someone asks, I’ll always be willing to share His will because I also know that there are a lot more important things than football and that is one of them. That ultimately overrides football any day of the week.”  

What do you think about the Love/Hate relationship with Tim Tebow and the Anti-Christian?  Why are so many people willing to loudly share what they are against and not so willing to do the same about what they are for?

A Life Changing Question

I was at a conference a couple of years ago.

Seth Godin was speaking.

I like Seth Godin.

Seth Godin asked the following question below:

Is your agenda about mediocre obedience or relentless curiosity?

I still think about this question.

Sometimes a great question is better than a great answer.

This question helps to define our current reality and our inevitable future.

What is your agenda?

Designed by EightDay Studio. Powered by the Standard Theme. Developed by Milk Engine.