Posted in Leadership



There is lots of information out there on being a coach instead of a boss. However, there are times when you need to be the boss. When to be a coach and when to be a boss is thoughtfully covered in a November 15, 2016 article by Brenda Smyth, 4 Key Ingredients to Managing like a Coach. P please enjoy these quick notes from the article on supervision.

Good coaches are

  • Humble
  • Compassionate
  • Passionate about their subject
  • Clear when to communicate without talking too much
  • Successful;  employees trust the coach and know the coach has a plan
  • Enthusiastic; makes employees want to be part of ‘doing great things’
  • Empowering employees by building their confidence AND competence; they don’t check and monitor, but the concentrate on employees reaching a higher level of performance
  • Knowledgeable when to turn into good bosses

Good bosses use the directive style (telling people what to do) when dealing with

  • New or experienced employees
  • Tight deadlines
  • Crisis
  • Dealing with problem employees
  • Running a meeting

Good bosses want to be careful of over-managing because

  • Employees don’t learn to think for themselves
  • Employees become disengaged because they believe they are not being heard

Good bosses/coaches

  • Provide direction by clearly defining the goals
  • Improve performance by creating a learning environment where employees are supported to continuously improve
  • Open up possibilities to develop employees to solve problems and make decisions
  • Help remove obstacles by staying close to projects by asking questions and confronting people who become obstacles to their employees


Posted in Blog, Leadership, Women

Timeless Leadership Advice


“How do you learn what you should do? You were not born to this yet you know when you should listen, and when you should command, how to make sure that they understand you, how to make sure that they do as they are told. I didn’t know a woman could do this?”

 “A woman can rule, but she has to do it with the guidance of God and using all her sense and wisdom. It is not enough for a woman to want power, or to seek power for its own sake. She has to take the responsibility that comes with it. She has to prepare herself for power and judge wisely. She must think and care about what she does.” 

The above conversation could have been held today. However, the quote is from a book based on the 1540s relationship between King Henry VIII’s and his sixth wife. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun. What do you think about this timeless advice?

Cite: The Taming of the Queen by Philipa Gregory

From Wikipedia:  Catherine Parr (alternatively spelled Katherine or Kateryn, signed ‘Kateryn the Quene KP’) (1512[1] – 5 September 1548) wasQueen of England and of Ireland (1543–47) as the last of the six wives of King Henry VIII, and the final queen consort of the House of Tudor. She married him on 12 July 1543, and outlived him by one year. She was also the most-married English queen, with four husbands. Catherine enjoyed a close relationship with Henry’s three children and was personally involved in the education of Elizabeth and Edward, both of whom became English monarchs. She was influential in Henry’s passing of the Third Succession Act in 1542 that restored both his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, to the line of succession to the throne.[2]

Catherine was appointed Regent from July to September 1544 while Henry was on a military campaign in France and in case he lost his life, she was to rule as regent until Edward came of age. However he did not give her any function in government in his will. In 1543, she published her first book, Psalms or Prayers, anonymously.[3] On account of Catherine’s Protestant sympathies, she provoked the enmity of anti-Protestant officials, who sought to turn the King against her; a warrant for her arrest was drawn up in 1545. However, she and the King soon reconciled. Her book Prayers or Meditations became the first book published by an English queen under her own name. She assumed the role of Elizabeth’s guardian following the King’s death, and published a second book,The Lamentations of a Sinner.

Posted in Blog, Leadership

 3 Keys to Great Execution


  1. Maintain a constant connection to the purpose, vision, and values. The functions of operational leadership are at their most effective – in fact, they only have meaning – when they are connected to the purpose, vision, and values. There’s another reason this connection is important, the stronger you connect to the organizational purpose, vision, and values as an operational leader, the easier you will find the transition from the operational to organizational leadership.
  1. Maintain a clear commitment to the critical success factors (CSF). The CSFs are the measurement of operational performance. Whatever operational leaders pursue and achieve must be measured against the critical success factors. Operational leaders are the guardians and champions of the CSFs every bit as much as the organizational leaders are.
  1. Develop a solid understanding of systems and process thinking. Process isn’t everything. Systems and processes are a critical component in the overall development chain. They help guide and shape the way people are developed, and the way people are developed in turn reinforces the effectiveness of the systems and processes. The need for systems and processes to be clearly tied to the way people are developed is important because you need people to run processes.


CITE: GREAT LEADERSHIP: What it is and what it takes in a complex world by Antony Bell



Posted in Blog, Leadership

 Ten Facts About Organizational Values


Ten facts about values

  1.  Values define an organization’s behavior, identified or not, every organization has values. An organization’s behavior is the sum of its values – often unrecognized, nonetheless very real. When you move to a new organization, your adjustment is primarily an adjustment to its values.
  2.  Values guide decisions. Unconsciously people use values to influence the way decisions are made. To uncover your company’s values, assess the way it makes decisions. To get people to make the right decisions, teach them to embrace the right values.
  3.  For every organization, some values are better than others. Not all organizations embrace the same values, nor should they; what is good for one organization is not necessarily good for another. Good values do not have to be original, but they do need to be authentic.
  4.  Strongly upheld and clearly articulated values free up an organization to creatively and flexibly pursue its purpose and vision. Far from confining your organization, clear values actually set it free. They provide the protective barriers that keep the organization from self-destructive behaviors, that is, from behaviors inconsistent with its purpose and vision.
  5.  Many conflicts in an organization are rooted in unclear values. Conflict is a healthy and normal part of your corporate growth, but conflict over values is much harder to reconcile. That’s why many mergers fail. People think they are arguing over brochures or something trivial when they are really arguing over values.
  6.  Leaders often have little trouble trusting people who share their values. In reality, you can only empower people when you as the leader know that those you are empowering value what you value.
  7.  Shared values generate trust. By the same token, clear values give your people a structure and framework that make them feel secure.
  8.  When an operational value conflicts with a moral value, let the moral value win. Whatever your core driving operational value – process excellence, customer experience, product dominance – it will at some point conflict with your stated moral values. Don’t sacrifice a moral value to honor an operational value.
  9.  A clear sense of values simplifies the task of defining a meaningful purpose statement. Defining your values can help you develop your purpose.
  10.  Hiring most frequently focuses on talents and experience, with little concern for the person’s values, setting up the possibility for a serious values crisis. If you wonder why you are having difficulties with a recent hire, it may be that the person has not bough into the values of your organization. Or, they may be challenging some values that should be challenged. If you are clean on your values, you will be able to tell the difference.


CITE: GREAT LEADERSHIP: What it is and what it takes in a complex world by Antony Bell


Posted in Blog, Leadership

 7 Elements in Every Organization


There are 7 elements in every organization

  1. LEADERSHIP – The organization’s capacity to provide leadership on all three dimensions – organizational, operational and people.
  1. PURPOSE AND VALUES – The sense of clarity in the organization’s purpose and values.
  1. VALUES – The organization’s capacity to not only set directions but think strategically.
  1. SYSTEMS AND STRUCTURES – The organization’s ability to align the systems and structures to support and further the purpose, values, and vision.
  1. PEOPLE SELECTION, DEVELOPMENT, AND SUCCESSION – The organization’s ability to align its selection, development, and succession processes to the organization’s purpose, value, and vision.
  1. EXECUTION – The structure and process in place to make sure that the organization’s purpose, values, and vision are translated into goals it can work.
  1. CULTURE – The personality of the organization and its impact, positive or negative, on the accomplishment of the organization’s goals.


CITE: GREAT LEADERSHIP: What it is and what it takes in a complex world by Antony Bell

Posted in Blog, Leadership, Spiritual/Religious

Ethics and Morality



“Mankind are very odd creatures. One half censure what they practice, the other half practices what they censure; the rest always say and do as they ought.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Ethics is defined by John Steinbeck via one of his characters who had to choose how to rule: When he begins to rule, he immediately faces questions of good versus bad, having to pick among the best of the bad choices, and having to compromise on what he wants to do or what he feels it right. He asks a trusted advisor, “What is a person to do?” His advisor replies that one usually does what one is.”

As a public servant, you will be tested. You will have to carry out orders that you believe to be wrong or unfair, and you will be asked to compromise your own integrity in order to further your career. How you handle these situations as a subordinate will shape the kind of leader you will become.

What leaders sow, they will harvest. How each government employee acts is essential to the outcome of the American government as a whole.

Every once in a while we will face a crisis that will test our deepest convictions about the system of our government. It will be easier for leaders to face this crisis if they have worked out their own ethical standards ahead of the time crisis.

Quoting Maslow the author discusses how there is in intrinsic conscience in our core that serves as a court of appeals for good and bad. There will always be a feeling of uncomfortableness that should be recognized as an alarm. Each time we conduct an act against our inner core, it is recorded in our unconsciousness and we begin to despise ourselves.


Cite: Ashworth, Kenneth (2001) CAUGHT BETWEEN THE DOG AND THE FIREPLUG: or How to Survive Public Service, Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press

Posted in Blog, Leadership, Team

Working for your Subordinates


When you become a boss, you will get much more accomplished if you learn to work for your subordinates. The level below you should be delegated with responsibility and clear expectations that they are supposed to be the ones to move the program forward. They are to keep the boss informed and ask for help when needed but they are the ones responsible for moving the business forward. Delegating in this way will take more of your time, but it will be creating subordinate leadership by instilling institutional knowledge gained from their work. Once you delegate, keep it delegated.


Cite: Ashworth, Kenneth (2001) CAUGHT BETWEEN THE DOG AND THE FIREPLUG: or How to Survive Public Service, Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press