The Humble Leader

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The concept of the humble leader sounds contradictory to what most people envision in the workplace.  The traditional leadership view (real or perceived) cast leaders as hard charging, take no prisoner and only out for themselves.

Humility: the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s importance, rank, etc. (

A true leader understands you lead people and manage programs.  Not the other way around.

A humble leader displays a level of self-awareness within the workplace to ensure growth for everyone.  A humble leader does not seek or need the spotlight to highlight the great work of the team.  The humble leader can inspire better team cohesion, eagerness to learn and a better performance outcome for their teams.

The process of leading by example and a leader with a humble approach when working with individuals and teams is an excellent example of this concept.  This consistent approach provides a template for others to follow and allows the team to perform knowing the true nature of their leader.

Humble leaders:

  • Build relationships
  • Listen
  • Enable trust in the workplace
  • Show appreciation
  • Reflect
  • Display authenticity

A humble leader puts the needs of others before themselves.  This could be a simple process of ensuring direct reports have the tools needed to perform their duties.  Sounds simple but how many times are work assignments delegated with deadlines, but instructions/tools needed to perform are not provided.  The humble leader looks to provide tools needed to ensure overall team success.  They are also not afraid to ask questions to ensure the assignment is fully understood.  Asking follow-up questions does not show weakness but shows the leader cares and wants to optimize time spent on a specific project.

Being a humble leader does not imply weakness.  Humble leaders are always looking to improve themselves and focus on larger, organizational goals—not just their individual goals.

A leader is best when people hardly know that they exist. (Lao Tzu)

What impact does humility have within your current work environment?  How would this concept enhance overall productivity in the work environment?






“Opportunities? They are all around us. There is power lying latent everywhere waiting for the observant eye to discover it.” – (Orison Swett Marden)


Who’s in your network?  No, really, what connections do you have to facilitate continued personal and professional growth?

Most people hear the term ‘Networking’ and immediately think of a stuffy, formal business event.  My view of networking allows you almost unlimited possibilities if you open your eyes and ears to the people and possibilities around you.  Networking opportunities are available in multiple forms, we must be open and ready for them.

Networking can provide a springboard to enhance goals, make contacts and potential employment.  People you meet provide a chance for you to network and share your story.  They may not be the direct person to change your world but can help introduce you to a friend, colleague or family member who may be able to help you Walk into the Future.

Networking 4

One of my mentor’s always says, “You’re networking even when you don’t know it”.  Strive to make a good impression on everyone you meet since this can be a critical component on how much or if they are willing to help.

Make a list of professional contacts, professors, mentors and friends who may be able to help with your networking goals.  Ask them out for coffee or lunch to discuss your situation and seek their guidance.  Networking in this way allows you to maximize your visibility and viability to others.

Networking can be done face to face or via technology.  The time you spend in the gym, at a coffee shop, or a formal networking event is a prime time for you to branch out and communicate with others.  My preferred on-line networking method is to utilize LinkedIn.  This platform allows you to ‘target’ search based on your desired outcomes.  You can search for contacts by name, by organization and by location.  There are other filters available, so find the best filter combination for your needs.

When working with students towards their employment goals, I always show them how to search for LinkedIn contacts at their preferred organization (Examples:  Google, General Motors, Proctor and Gamble).  We discuss the best way to introduce themselves to contacts and how to ask for the order (what do they want).    Creating an introduction script makes this portion easier (who are you, what are your credentials and what you want to discuss with the contact).  Remember, networking is more than what you can get from someone; convey how this interaction can benefit you both.

Local Rotary Clubs, Chamber of Commerce and other professional organizations provide avenues to network face to face.  Leverage the ability to meet and speak with locals in these networking rich environments.

Don’t forget to ‘listen’ to what others have to say.  Networking is not just you talking; allow other attendees to provide you with additional content to keep the conversations moving.  Again, an introduction script may enhance your ability to weave into and out of conversations.  Request business cards or other contact information to follow-up (thank you, informational interviews, mentoring) with individuals who may be able to enhance your current situation.  Remember to be respectful of others time but always look to ask for what you need from people in a networking environment.

Practice makes perfect and the process of networking becomes easier the more you get out there–make it happen.

What other networking techniques have you used?  How can networking help you advance in your field?

Networking 3

Run your pain away

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)


This is one of my favorite ‘inspirational’ quotes.  It speaks volumes about the power of the mind and the benefits of positive self-talk.  We sometimes talk ourselves into and out of multiple life situations, but Emerson brings a level of clarity by identifying we own the process.  We become what we decide we want to become.  Simple enough!

One area I use regularly with this process is my running program.  In the past I would say out loud “I’m not a runner” and wondered why my running program never provided the results I thought it would.  Using Emerson’s words created a mental adjustment, so now I leverage my runs to recharge mentally and generate positive outcomes for my Walk into the Future.

The physical benefits of running include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased endurance
  • Stronger lungs
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Muscle toning

Have you thought about the ‘mental’ benefits of running?

A running program can be used in a therapeutic way also.

Had a hard or challenging day at work?  Try going for a run to clear your head and generate positive thoughts you can leverage later.  It is very hard to hold on to negative thoughts as you run your troubles away.  You may find yourself generating new ideas once you remove the clutter of the day during your run.

Some runners identify the concept of a runner’s high while putting in the miles.   Endorphins are nature’s home-brewed opiates that act a lot like morphine (Runner’s World).  The chemical response running provides can help adjust your mood and put a smile on your face.  The release of endorphins is an extra benefit when I run and keep me looking forward to my next race.  Runners are a naturally happy bunch and you always can find them smiling and drinking beer at the finish line of most races.  The endorphins and the sense of completing a challenging run may contribute to most of these smiling faces.

Running can also be used as a stress reliever.  The boast in serotonin levels can provide a relaxing and calming affect as you run your problems away. It is extremely tough holding on to daily life pressures while also tackling a hill during your run.  Your full physical and mental attention quickly turns to help you get over the next hill or cover the next mile marker.  Your troubles don’t magically go away but they don’t seem as important while out for a run.  Run consistently and you will start to find running as a physical and mental outlet.

What other transformative and therapeutic benefits can running bring?  Thanks!

Benefits Of Running-03

Motivated or Inspired?

  • Motivation—the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. It is the set of psychological forces that compel you to act.  (


  • Inspiration—the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. (


Most people use the words motivation and inspiration as interchangeable concepts when trying to express something to the outside world.

Looking at the definition of motivation identifies it as something that comes from within.

You have to ‘act’ upon what’s motivating you for it to become manifested and seen by others.  There are many times when I see the words ‘motivational speaker’ and wonder exactly what that truly means.  It implies someone can provide a series of words that will suddenly motivate others.  Sure, hearing someone speak can generate a spark, idea or urge to go do something great.  But did that motivational speech give you motivation?  I’m sure in the short-term you may find a way to act on the concepts you hear.  The internal motivation must already be there for you to sustain this level of action.

Now, contrast the definition of inspiration as being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.

This identifies the concept of inspiration can be ‘provided’ directly to another person if they are ready to receive and have the internal motivation to act.  Again, contrast the motivational speaker versus the inspirational speaker.  The inspirational speaker can provide a level of mental stimulation on a subject (leadership, mentoring, goal-setting, etc.) and then walk away from their audience knowing the seeds have been planted.  It’s now up to the individuals who heard the inspirational speaker to decide to act or not.

Why contrast these two terms?  Well, I view myself from the inspirational concept.  Blog topics, emails, direct conversations with me are designed to provide inspiration to everyone I contact.  I cannot give anyone the internal motivation to act but can provide a platform to generate the inspiration needed to create an action plan to walk into the future.  I view my workshops, podcast contributions and conversations as inspiration to others.  Some branches of my tree will act on these things and others may not—totally up to them but I’ve done my part.

The biggest thing I want to do daily is make a difference in the world.  I do this by continuing to inspire my tree to grow daily and then reach back and help others.

So, what did you decided?  Are you motivated or inspired?  Curious to hear your thoughts!

Motivation_Inspiration combo

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