Leadership Coach, Speaker, and Writer

Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead

Image © Wharton Magazine

Image © Wharton Magazine

Of all the seasons of the year, summer is without question my favourite. From attending the various outdoor festivals that Montreal has become renowned for, to the annual summer vacation breaks with my family, there’s no question that summer is a time for renewal and rejuvenation.

Of course, renewal and rejuvenation is something that summer has also brought to my garden which, after several years of trying to grow various flowers and shrubs, is finally the kind of garden I had hoped to grow since we moved into our house many years ago.

The process of testing out what plants work best where, which ones failed and why, and how to replicate the past season’s growth successes brought to mind parallels in how organizations and their leaders also have to learn to adapt and evolve in light of changing conditions in order to successfully achieve their shared purpose.

To that end, I’d like to share these three steps leaders should take to bring out the best in their employees in order to drive the collective success of their organization.

1. Connect the changes you make with the vision you have for your organization
When I first started to build our garden, one of the things I had to learn along the way was adapting my vision for what I wanted to grow with the reality of what grew best in my garden. In some areas, low-light plants were needed; in others, pest resistant plants were the best to grow.

Naturally, this lead to a lot of trial-and-error in choosing plants for the garden, which also meant a lot of money wasted in those first years. As a gardener, I was willing to accept these losses, but for my wife whose not a gardener, this was money that could’ve been spent on other areas of the house.

After a few summers of some successes and more failures, my wife was understandably getting frustrated with the amount of money being wasted on plants that lasted for a few short weeks. As much as she wanted to make improvements to beautify our home, she began to feel our money would be better suited to other measures.

In order to get her on board with my vision for what I wanted to create around our home, I realized I needed to invest in more of the plants that were doing well to help her see how buying similar types would ensure repeated success going forward.

Sure enough, in time as our gardens began to fill year after year with the blooms of different varieties of the same kind of plants, she began to understand what I was trying to create, and she became more willing to accept the purchase of different plants that would accentuate the others.

Similarly, when looking at implementing changes in your organization, it’s important to Click here to continue reading »”Bringing Out The Best In Those You Lead”

This Is What Real Leaders Do


Over the past few weeks, I’ve had several fascinating discussions with leaders from different organizations and industries about the various challenges they’re grappling with within their workplace.

For some of these leaders, the major issue they face is how to improve employee engagement levels within their division.

For another group, the main challenge they want to address is how to make emotional intelligence a key foundation stone in their leadership within an organization whose senior leaders don’t see or understand the value of such measures.

And for the other remaining group, the primary focus of their efforts is how to lead their team within a gloomy organizational climate where toxic politics seem to drive efforts more than the overarching vision of the organization.

On the surface, what these conversations revealed is the wide range of issues leaders need to contend with in today’s faster-paced, interconnected global environment. On closer inspection, though, what we discover is that at the heart of each of these challenges is an underlying truth that every modern-day leader needs to come to terms with – that as a leader, it’s your job to protect your team so they can do the work they’re meant to do [Twitter-logo-smallShare on Twitter].

At the core of every successful endeavour there is a leader who understood how to foster conditions that will help them to bring out the best in those they lead. Key to creating those conditions was the efforts these leaders made to shield those under their care from political manipulations and ego-driven initiatives that risked taking the wind out of their collective sails to succeed in spite of what stood before them.

In looking at the actions and behaviours of revered leaders from around the world, we find unmistakable proof of how their focus was not on themselves – on building or strengthening their reputation, power, or prestige.

Rather, these leaders understood that the key to creating a compelling vision or goal that others would want to be a part of requires that we Click here to continue reading »”This Is What Real Leaders Do”

The Key To Promoting Organizational Growth And Success


Now that the first quarter of this year is coming to an end, many of us are naturally taking stock of how much progress we’ve made towards reaching those targets we set out to attain this year. This naturally leads to an examination of our current efforts to promote the growth and development of our organization and with it, new opportunities to broaden our scope and leverage our existing assets.

And yet, while many leaders are eager to find ways to foster growth-promoting initiatives within their organization, many struggle with creating those conditions that are necessary for supporting a sustainable, thriving workplace environment.

No doubt this is largely due to the disconnect between where most of their efforts are being placed and what’s really required to engage, inspire, and empower employees to become fully committed participants in the shared purpose that defines their organization’s collective efforts.

Indeed, in the past few years, there have been numerous studies which have conclusively shown that organizational growth and success in today’s interconnected world is no longer dependent solely on the various processes and measures we implement in our workplace.

Rather, the key differentiating factor is how well we’re able to demonstrate the connection between the everyday work our employees do and the overarching shared purpose that defines our organization’s raison d’être. That our employees feel compelled to bring their best selves to the work they do because they themselves derive a sense of purpose and meaning through the contributions they make.

Of course, while many of us can understand the value and importance of promoting purpose-lead work to our organization’s success and longevity, the challenge lies in how do we ensure we’re creating such conditions in our workplace, especially when the needs and requirements of our employees can be quite diverse.

To help you address this quandary, I’d like to provide you with a few questions that you can use to ascertain whether your current efforts serve to connect what matters to your employees with what matters to your organization, and thereby create those conditions that are necessary for the long term success and growth of your organization. Click here to continue reading »”The Key To Promoting Organizational Growth And Success”

How To Simplify The Way We Work


After the tough winter season most of us have had this year, it’s understandable that many of us are eager for Springtime weather to finally take hold so we might once again enjoy a warm sun under blue skies.

Of course, it’s not just the return of warm weather that many of us associate with the arrival of Spring. There’s also that sense of renewal and rejuvenation that comes with this time of the year; of being more open to making changes that will spur on new opportunities for growth and success.

This mood makes for a great motivator, not only for us to tackle the chores of spring cleaning where we clear our homes of undesired clutter, but also as a driving force for us to find new ways to streamline and better manage the unending demands on our time, energy, and resources.

Indeed, one of the hallmarks of our digital age is the pursuit of simplification – where we use our smartphones and other technological devices to help us simplify both the way we work and how we get things done.

In fact, one of the findings in this year’s Global Human Capital Trends from Deloitte found that some organizations “are starting to treat “time capital” with the same seriousness as financial capital”; that how we use our time is becoming an increasingly critical and prized resource that has a tangible connection to our collective success and long-term growth.

In many ways, this finding is not surprising as being able to simplify issues or situations helps us feel like we have a better handle on things. Through simplification, we can gain a better vantage point to understand what’s going on and what we need to do going forward.

So in keeping with the themes of spring cleaning and simplifying the way we work, I’d like to share this straightforward framework that can help you ascertain how you can go about decluttering the way you and your employees work in today’s faster-paced and ever-changing work environment by asking yourself the following three questions. Click here to continue reading »”How To Simplify The Way We Work”

Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting


One of the wonderful benefits of our digital age is not only how we’re able to discover the talent and artistry of people we might have otherwise overlooked, but also how we’re now able to peek behind the curtain to learn what inspires them; to discover and understand what guides them to create these moments of engaging insights that linger in our mind’s eye.

It’s a concept I recently appreciated when I came upon this video by comedian Michael Jr. where he shares what he views as being the moment where he had his big break as a comedian. His description of the big break in his career is not only a heartwarming and revealing look into the art of stand-up comedy, but it also shines a light on an important lesson for today’s leaders to embrace.

Now granted, it may seem weird to pull a lesson on leadership from a comedian talking about laughter and comedy. But it becomes a bit clearer when we find out that Michael Jr.’s big break as a comedian wasn’t when he performed on The Tonight Show or at the internationally renowned Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival.

Rather, as Michael Jr. describes in the quote below, his big break was something more internally-driven and personally significant:

“The big break was at a club and right before I got on stage, I had a change in mindset about comedy. Normally, when a comedian gets on stage, he wants to get laughs from people. I felt a little shift take place, where I felt like I was to go up there and give them an opportunity to laugh. Now I’m not looking to take. I’m looking for an opportunity to give.”

Now although this comedian is referring to the relationship he has with his audience and his shift in how he views that dynamic, there is nonetheless an important message to learn here regarding the dynamics we have as a leader with those under our care.

Specifically, it compels us to ponder the following: when we go into those meetings with our employees, when we have those conversations with those we lead, are we walking into that moment with the goal of getting something for us, or do we see it as an opportunity to give something of ourselves to those we lead?

As leaders, it’s easy to fall into the trap of Click here to continue reading »”Why Successful Leaders Focus On Giving Over Getting”

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