Leaders Must Always See the Big Picture

And Everyone on Your Team Needs to Hear You Talk About the Big Picture

After I recently guest lectured to MBA students at a local university, one of the students asked me a question about alignment. I explained that one of the most important things for a leader to do is to be able to connect long-term goals to short-term actions. And leaders can do that best when they can share the big picture.

big picture

As a leader, it is imperative that you always remind your team why they are there. Help them to understand the purpose behind your company. Give them a reason to see that the little actions they do every day are important to accomplishing a bigger goal. Help them to see that they are many artists contributing to one masterpiece.

No job is exciting all the time. There are times that every job will have its drudgery. You can either inspire your people to put in their best efforts in even the drudgery, or you can let them trudge on their own just for their paycheck. It’s your choice whether you will help your people see only the little areas they are contributing, or if you will help them see how they are contributing to the big picture.

Here are three ways you can remind your team of the big picture when they are trudging through their daily grind.

How to Give a Real Apology

And it’s not about how you can save face

In today’s culture, you don’t often see people give a real apology. They don’t even acknowledge that they have done anything wrong. They make excuses for their behavior, and they try to skirt around the issue. As a result, they say nothing of any importance, and their relationship with the offended party worsens.

real apology

Today nobody expects anyone to apologize anymore. People want to save face and pretend that they haven’t done anything wrong. Politicians say they are “sorry IF they have offended anyone.” But that doesn’t deal with anything and it doesn’t help their credibility improve.

So what does a real apology look like? Here are three steps to making a real apology and what you can expect to happen as a result.

How to Give Bad News

How to Say What Needs to Be Said

When I was a new manager, I had the hardest time giving constructive feedback to my assistant. When it was time to share with her what she needed to know to help her improve, I couldn’t even get the words out. It was so difficult for me to say, that I had to try multiple times just to be able to tell her—because I was too concerned about saying what she might have thought was bad news.

bad news

My early days as a manager showed one extreme of improper communication in giving performance reviews. Other managers think that yelling the hard truth is the best way to give bad news. They think that it’s OK to say whatever they think needs to be said, without thinking about what it would feel like to be on the receiving end of what they said. Clearly both extremes are not helpful.

So how should we give bad news? What’s the best way to help employees improve? Here are four tips for how to say what needs to be said, even if it’s bad news.

How to Deal with Problem Employees

How to Get the Most Out of Your Team

When you think of the difficult people on your team, what do you think of? How do you perceive the problem employees on your team? Could it be that you are looking at them the wrong way?

problem employees

I’m not saying that everyone is fixable. It may ultimately be better for everyone if certain people don’t work at your organization any more. I think it Abraham Lincoln got it right when he said that people are usually as happy as they make up their minds to be. Nonetheless, you may be the one to help those certain people change their minds.

Difficult people have been through difficult stuff. And hurt people hurt people. If you just pass them off as problem employees then you may be missing a huge opportunity—for them and for you.

I realize that you may not be the pastor-in-chief at your workplace, but you can develop a pastor’s heart for your team. Spiritual insight into their situation can help your team become more positive, more innovative, and more productive.

Here’s how you can get the most out of your team by training yourself in how you look at your problem employees.

Improve Your People to Improve Your Workplace

Why It Makes Sense (and Dollars) to Help Your Team Improve

To improve your company, it’s important to focus on continuous improvement. That’s obvious, isn’t it? But how much do you focus on helping your people improve—and not just in how they do their job?


If you help your people grow in one area of their lives, it will spill over into the other areas of their lives as well. They will reap the benefit, but you will too.

Here’s why it makes sense (and dollars) to make your team improve.

How to Create Good Conflict in the Workplace

Three Ways You Can Use Conflict Constructively

Most people hate conflict. Especially at work. They don’t want to be seen as someone who rocks the boat or causes problems. They don’t think there’s such a thing as good conflict. But conflict can be a very good thing when used constructively.

good conflict

Conflict will happen. Where there’s contact between people, there’s conflict between people. Let’s face it: conflict makes meetings interesting. And conflict is what makes stories worth reading.

As a leader, you don’t need to stop conflict at your workplace. In fact, if done correctly, conflict should be encouraged. As long as you do it within certain parameters.

Here’s what good conflict can look like in your workplace.

Three Soft Skills to Master as a Leader

Why Good People Skills Reign Supreme in Any Workplace

Many have debated the importance of hard skills and soft skills. When I went to school, everyone seemed to believe that hard skills were most important. Students had to focus on mastering the specific skills required for their particular profession. But today people change not just jobs, but professions—many times over—during their career. As a result, hard skills have been dethroned from their place of prominence. Now soft skills reign supreme.

soft skills

Don’t misunderstand me: hard skills are still important. A surgeon must know how to operate on someone without them bleeding to death. People must know what they’re talking about as a practitioner in their field. But becoming proficient in the soft skills of people relations will serve you well as you change professions during your career.

Here are three soft skills that are important for you to master as a leader, regardless of the profession you choose.

How Will You Change You in 2018?

You Will Be the Same Person in Ten Years—Unless You Change Three Things

As you think through what you want to do differently in the coming year, it’s important to think through how you will change you in 2018. You can’t change your circumstances until you change yourself first.

Change You

Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity. Do not do that to yourself. If you want to have different results, you must change you first.

You will be the same person in ten years that you are right now—unless you change these three things.

How to Influence Others by Expressing Gratitude

Everyone wants to hear someone else thank them. But how often are you expressing gratitude to others?

expressing gratitude

You might think it will sound forced or cheesy if you thank someone else, but you probably just feel awkward saying it. If someone else has genuinely thanked you, then you know how good that feels when someone thanks you. Since you want to hear it, learn how to overcome that awkwardness about expressing gratitude to the people around you.

Here are three guidelines for expressing gratitude.

Five Ways to Develop Better Relationships

How to Tear Down the Silos within Your Team

Many people want to have better relationships in their life, but they are unwilling to do what needs to be done to develop them.

better relationships

Good relationships don’t just happen. They have to be carefully cultivated. If you will have better relationships with your team or with your family, then you must be intentional and consistent in growing those relationships.

Here are five ways you can develop better relationships at work or at home.