You Want More… Announcing Exciting Changes

new blog announcement

COMING SOON… New look, new features, and a podcast!

 

It’s been over 7 and a half years since the launch of Leadership Insights. I have learned so much from the discipline of writing for this site.

We have welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors each month, conducted over 1,000 interviews with amazing people, and published many posts.

Our format and design have worked hard for us for seven years. Now, you have been telling us you want more…

  • “Your articles are so helpful.  I’d like the ability to ask you questions and see what others are asking.”
  • “Keep the quotes and ability to scan through the text. Make the posts easier to read.”
  • “I want the ability to print.”
  • “Please start a podcast! I really like to listen to them on the way to work.”
  • “I like the mobile design but would like it to be cleaner.”
  • “Modernize your site a bit and you’ll see increased traffic.”

 

“Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.” -Paul Rand

 

We listened. My team and I have been reviewing best practices, new blog tech and some design enhancements. We want to give you more great content, when and how you want it.

 

“Thinking about design is hard, but not thinking about it can be disastrous.” -Ralph Caplan

 

What’s Ahead

We are incredibly excited to share what’s ahead…

 

  • A newly designed website launching next week. (Don’t worry! All the old links will still work, all the great quotes and interviews will be right where you left them.)

 

 

  • How would I describe it? It’s fresh, modern and gives you more access to read, engage and share. And it’s incredibly easy to navigate. It will take us in new directions. Check out the preview above.

 

  • It also refocuses on my mission. I help individuals and organizations aim higher to achieve breakthroughs. And that leads us to…

 

  • A new leadership podcast named Aim Higher. It’s an ambition I’ve talked about for over a year, and I look forward to sharing it with you. It’s a way for us to get to know each other, share stories, and exchange leadership advice. We’ll talk about mistakes, successes and how to reach new heights. Check it out here.

 

“Change is the only constant in life.” -Heraclitus

 

The updated site and podcast will launch next week. Sign up now, be sure to visit, and it would mean the world to me if you would listen and rate our podcast when it launches.

 

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” -C.S. Lewis

 

Thank you for visiting, for your dedication to the Leadership Insights community and to becoming better leaders. I enjoy being on the journey with you!

 

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How to Create a Powerhouse Team

soccer

Winning Team

 

Playing midfielder for the United States Women’s National Soccer Team for over twenty-three years, Kristine Lilly knows a thing or two about winning teams. Five FIFA World Cups and three Olympic Games, an inductee into the US Olympic Hall of Fame, and the US Soccer Hall of Fame, four national championships, it goes on and on.

Wow.

Add this remarkable achievement and team insight with her co-authors, Dr. John Gills, Jr. (who is an executive leadership guru with LeadershipX) and Dr. Lynette Gillis (who is a professor at Concordia), and you know that you will have something special.

Their new book, Powerhouse: 13 Teamwork Tactics that Build Excellence and Unrivaled Success, combines practice and theory and mixes in numerous soccer stories at the same time. It’s an invitation for all of us to build powerhouse teams.

I recently spoke with the authors about their new book.

 

What makes a “powerhouse” team?

In this growing knowledge economy, organizations realize the critical importance of teamwork for sustained excellence. Yet, many organizations struggle with an individualistic culture, and employees have negative team experiences. Having consistently performed as a winning organization longer than any other U.S. sports team in history, the United States’ Women’s National Soccer team (USWNT) serves as a model of a powerhouse.

Powerhouse is defined as “a team having great energy, strength, and potential for success.” To build a powerhouse, there are four pillars:

  • Transform
  • Empower
  • Achieve
  • Motivate

 

“A Powerhouse team is a team having great energy, strength, and potential for success.”

 

Transform: How do you best align a team?

In the business world, a coach or manager aligns team efforts so that they can accomplish company goals. The manager provides an internal and external point of view to the team that helps the team assess processes, address existing or potential issues, and assist with team dynamics. These managers are forward looking, with a results-oriented perspective that focuses on goals. They help the team debrief and understand the team’s successes and failures. Like the coaches on the field, these business coaches are there to lead their teams to a “win” by collaborating and maximizing synergies.

Marissa Mayer, cofounder of Lumi Labs, and previous president and chief executive officer of Yahoo!, as well as a Google executive, said in Powerhouse, “When you give decisions to the team to make, this increases team participation, responsibility, and accountability, and it’s very strengthening to the team.”

 

“When you give decisions to the team to make, this increases team participation, responsibility, and accountability, and it’s very strengthening to the team.” -Marissa Mayer

 

Qualities of Leadership

How to Handle Conflict and Create Peace in the Workplace

peace at work

Dealing with Conflict

 

Are you uncomfortable with conflict?

What do you do when you see two coworkers who fight or just don’t get along?

It’s a common question, and I always enjoy talking with leaders and experts about how they handle conflict.

In a quarter century of training and coaching, Judy Ringer has worked with dozens of managers and leaders who struggle with this question. As a conflict and communication skills professional, she works closely with leaders of small businesses and corporate teams. Usually, the leader wants to solve a problem—to intervene between two people who are important to the company and who are not getting along.

In Turn Enemies Into Allies: The Art of Peace in the Workplace, Judy Ringer shares her four-phase intervention, one she’s been using to coach conflicting employees back to a centered relationship and that she’s convinced can as easily be used by the leaders themselves.

A third-degree black belt in the martial art aikido, Ringer uses aikido principles to bring to life key conflict skills such as self-management under pressure and appreciation of other viewpoints. Over twenty-five years, she has coached leaders and teams in startups and Fortune 500 companies. Turn Enemies Into Allies is her second book, and I recently spoke with her about her work.

 

“Because of the depth of the connection between us, it only takes one of us to make a change that both of us experience.” -Judy Ringer

 

The Influence of Martial Arts

How has your study of martial arts (specifically Aikido) affected your life beyond what you expected?

Probably the simplest way to talk about my relationship with aikido is that I fell in love with it—the physical art, the metaphor, and the possibilities it offers when you begin to see the world through its lens. From the beginning, aikido’s fluid, spiraling, and powerful movements offered a new way to manage physical conflict that I felt was equally applicable in nonphysical conflict—what we might call life’s attacks—such as arguments, everyday hassles, and the more serious problems we all face at some point in our lives.

While aikido is first and foremost a martial art, the goal is not to block a strike or otherwise prevail over an opponent. Often translated as “the way of blending with energy” or more simply, “The Art of Peace,” aikido’s goal is to render the attack harmless without harming the attacker. Its principles are used throughout the world to de-escalate conflict and build stability, flexibility, and presence.

In aikido, an attack is reframed as power that can be developed and guided. Our first move is to enter alongside the attacker in order to find his energy and blend with it. What would normally be understood as an act of aggression is instead seen as energy to be utilized and redirected, which changes the dynamic from resistance to connection.

Over the years, the practice of aikido became for me a practical tool for both physical self-defense and managing everyday conflict—the clashes of personalities, ideas, goals, and worldviews that happen at work and at home. The daily repetition of physical technique embedded aikido principles into my body and mind. While it’s true that conflict still exists in my life, the aikido metaphor gives me a system and skills to respond differently. Adversaries are transformed into partners for problem solving. Contests of will appear as opportunities to find common ground. And the energy of attack turns out to be a gift in disguise.

Whether I’m presenting workshops, coaching, or writing, aikido permeates my thinking and teaching, as well as the way I live my life.

 

“Helping your employees adopt the concept that conflict is neutral—and that it’s up to each of us to find the gift in conflict—helps the conflict resolution process immeasurably and provides the foundational metaphor for the work.” -Judy Ringer

 

Why We Avoid Conflict