10 Signs You’re a Scary Leader

jackolanterns10 SIGNS YOU’RE A SCARY LEADER:

  1. Conversations stop when you walk by.
  2. People laugh at your jokes (even when they’re not funny).
  3. All of your brainstorming ideas are “good ones.”
  4. Your 360-degree feedback comes back with all scores 5 out of 5.
  5. Employees avoid sitting with you at the lunch table.
  6. No one comes into your office, even when the door is open.
  7. People don’t come to you with problems.
  8. No one ever tells you you’re wrong.
  9. You’re not invited to social gatherings.Halloween bat
  10. People flatter you a lot.


Even if you’re not this scary, you are probably scarier than you think. Merely by being in a leadership position, you have power over others that can be intimidating. For example, if you call someone into your office without a reason, that person may think they are in trouble—even if you’re calling them in to give them praise. Your positional power can also make your statements appear more intimidating than what you intend. A whimsical comment can be taken seriously by your employees. For example, if you say in jest “someone should bring donuts to our meetings,” you might find that someone actually does bring donuts to the next meeting because they took you seriously.

Deep voices and tall statures can be intimidating to others as well. If you have either (or both), you may need to take extra steps to set others at ease with you—especially when you are the leader. Sitting down and talking in a quieter voice are ways to make others feel more comfortable. A smile, an open posture, and small talk are further ways to warm up the room and help people feel comfortable talking to you. “How was your weekend?” or “Do you have anything fun planned for Halloween?” are easy questions to stimulate conversation. Statements, such as “It has finally cooled down to a comfortable temperature out there” or “I love the fall weather we’ve been having lately” are other statements that usually cause others to reply in a comfortable, easy conversation.

Many leaders strive to have a stronger presence as they move up the ladder. While that may be necessary to gain respect among peers and leaders at the next level, it is still important to maintain the rapport with your team members. Showing confidence and jumping into the conversation may get you ahead in your meetings with peers, but it may set you back with your direct reports. Being approachable, supportive, and attentive will earn you trust with your team and that will motivate them to work harder for you. Scaring them is, well, just scary.

How I Turned my Sitting Desk into a Standing Desk for Less than $35

baby at computerIt’s really becoming clear how unhealthy it is to sit at your desk all day and type on your computer. “Sitting is the new smoking” I’ve heard on more than one occasion. Do I want sitting to cause me to have an endlessly miserable old age? Right in the center of middle age, I’m already starting to feel stiff and hear creaks when I get up after sitting for a long period of time. The writing is on the wall. It probably is for you too if you open yourself to the possibility.

What are the problems with sitting? Sedentary behavior is the biggest one—not moving can lead to weight gain, muscle atrophy, bone loss, and joint stiffness, among other things. On top of that, a seated posture puts pressure on your spine, squishing the discs into each other. Even worse is what bad posture can do to you. Continue reading How I Turned my Sitting Desk into a Standing Desk for Less than $35

2 Things Well-meaning Parents Do that Make their Kids Less Successful at Work

Parents helpingParents usually want the best for their children.  Sometimes what’s best, however, doesn’t make them feel better–at least immediately. Well-intentioned parents want to help their kids, but helping can actually hinder them in the long run. Here are two common things parents do that can stunt their children’s growth.

  1. Solve problems for them.

Picture this. It’s Thursday night at 5:00. Your child tells you they have a class project due tomorrow. What do you do? Do you let your child fail? Do you get on the Internet or go to the library and do the research for them? Do you rush out to Staples before they close to buy a poster board and other supplies? Do you stay up till the wee hours of the morning putting the finishing touches on the project while your child gets some sleep? Or do you simply give your child some advice on what they can do to put together a project in one night and let them take care of it?

There is a tendency for parents today to solve problems for their children. We want our children to excel academically. It’s so important to get good grades to get into college to get a good job. It’s so hard to watch our children fluster, fall, or fail. However, if kids don’t learn how to solve their own problems, they won’t be able to take care of themselves in the long run.

Workers need to be able to solve problems. Continue reading 2 Things Well-meaning Parents Do that Make their Kids Less Successful at Work

Leaders Open Doors – Guest Post by Bill Treasurer

Bill Treasurer 2For over two decades I’ve been a contributor to the leadership complexification business. It started way back in graduate school when I wrote my thesis on—take a deep breath—the efficacy of the initiation of psychological structure through the use of directive leadership styles as a negative correlate of role ambiguity and positive correlate of employee satisfaction in workplaces that have undergone a recent reduction in force. Whew!

As a senior ranking officer in the Legion of Leadership Complexifiers (LLC), I can confidently say that leadership is the most overanalyzed, thoroughly dissected, and utterly confused topic in business. The challenge is, we leadership experts have made the topic of leadership far more complex than it needs to be, which causes people to opt out of the chance to lead. The checklist that we’ve constructed gets longer, more idealized, and more complicated with every passing year. We expect leaders to be bold and calculated, passionate and reasonable, rational and emotional, confident and humble, driven and patient, strategic and tactical, competitive and cooperative, principled and flexible. Of course, it is possible to be all of those things…if you walk on water!

It took my five-year old son, Ian, to bring me back to what matters most about leadership. Ian is a pre-schooler at The Asheville Montessori School in Asheville, North Carolina, where we live. Each Monday his teachers pick one person to be the “Class Leader” for the day. One sunny afternoon Ian came bounding up the stairs proclaiming, “Guess what, Daddy? I got to be the Class Leader today!”

“Really? Class Leader? That’s a big deal, little buddy. What did you get to do as the class leader?”

Ian’s answer was simple, funny, and in its own way, profound.

“I got to open doors for people!” Continue reading Leaders Open Doors – Guest Post by Bill Treasurer