Kevin Eikenberry

Achievers who are at the highest level have several things in common. Today I want to talk about one of those traits — one that when practiced as a leader has a multiplier effect. Let me start with some examples.

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Last week, I wrote about some of the challenges that keep us from delegating important work to others (and why John Wayne was part of the problem). Once you get past these challenges, there is really good news … you are freed up to do what you were really hired to do. When you aren’t trying to “do it all,” when you have empowered and delegated successfully to others, you can do the more important work of leadership — work that won’t likely get done otherwise.

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John Wayne taught (well, perhaps reinforced) the myth of the single hero. But the Duke’s world was a world of scripts and make-believe. The fact is that the only way for you to succeed as a leader is to bust that myth. You can’t do it alone, not if you want to succeed at the highest levels.

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When I ask people to list the qualities of great leaders, micromanager never makes the list. But if I ask people to list mistakes leaders make, micromanagement is always on the list. Are you a micromanager?

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Everyone reading these words has a place where they work. And most of you have a place where you work best. The goal of this article is to help you make sure those places are one and the same. If you work in a cubicle or office provided by your employer, you might think you can dismiss this article and move on to something else. Don’t …

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As leaders, we all have a lot of decisions to make, and since there are many, it can sometimes be difficult to stay on top of and feel confident about all of them. Would you like a framework, a process, a way to improve your decision-making effectiveness and your confidence in those decisions long after they are made?

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We see commitment and engagement all around us, yet, inside of our organizations we seem to ignore or forget the lessons. As a leader, our job is to encourage support and nurture the factors that lead to deeper commitment — helping people see the big picture, bringing the right people to the table, giving them a chance to make a real difference, letting them care.

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We need to talk about you and the success of your team. Part of that success comes from the level of commitment your team members have to the collective work. If you are reading these words, I know you understand that as a leader, you have a role to play in helping your team be more successful. This blog (and many others) exist, and trainers and consultants (like me) exist in part to provide you with tools, ideas and insights, but the reality is that the level of commitment that your team has to each other and the team itself starts with you.

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Ask most people what they think about when they consider creativity and innovation and most likely “structure” and “process” won’t be on the list. Would they be on yours? Most of us think about creativity as a free spirited, open-minded, capture-the-ideas-in-the-wind thing. We don’t associate it with words like discipline, structure, approach and process. If you value new ideas and innovation and you don’t include those words in your mental inventory, you are missing a (huge) opportunity.

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Last week, I did my best Jack Nicholson/Col. Jessup imitation to get you thinking about why you don’t have as much innovation in your team or organization as you wish. (You can read it here — but the short answer is that the challenge starts with you.) At the end of that article, I promised to give you some ways to support innovation in your organization this week.

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