Be a More Effective Leader in One Day

No one wants to follow a person who only has eyes for themselves.

It’s hard to make sacrifices for those who seem more interested in what they get from your efforts instead of what everyone gets.

As a disc jockey, I worked for a program director who installed a direct line into the studio to chew you out after every mistake.  Since you can’t have a telephone ring while a microphone may be open, this boss hooked the phone up to a 150 watt floodlight.

I can still feel the heat of that light flashing to this day.

A real leader begins with praise and honest appreciation.

This is the key to motivation.

It is impossible for one’s ears to remain closed when they are listening to some form of praise and appreciation.

So try it for a day.

No big announcements.

Just a little private experiment.

Try to use this one-two punch before asking someone to do something for you: 1) begin with sincere praise;  2) show appreciation.

Keep a tally and see if in one day you haven’t discovered what great leaders already know or as Dale Carnegie put it:

“Praise a man (person) for what he does well, then gradually help him with his shortcomings.  This method will work in an office, in a factory, in one’s home, with wife (spouse), children and parents, with almost anyone in the world.”

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Is There Such A Thing As Too In Touch

I heard a report on NPR yesterday that one-third of the 18-34 year old demographic confessed to using their mobile devices in the bathroom.

In fact, 9 percent of iPhone water damage comes from – well, accidently dropping their phones in the toilet.

I’m not sure there is much difference – except sanitary considerations – from reading a newspaper on the john and texting someone.

The real issue is not connectivity.

It’s balance.

And in a digital world people are so connected that it begs for more balance.

No time to disconnect and think.

This is personal and different for everybody.

As a Professor of Music Industry at USC I asked my students to give up their cellphones and iPods for two days.  They did it reluctantly.

When they reported back to their class on what happened when they went analog, many confessed to enjoying the respite although every student couldn’t wait to get their digital devices back.


Quality of communication instead of tonnage.

Manageable and meaningful social networks not just large lists from which to harvest “friends”.

These issues have always been critical to effective communication even before the digital age.

Scott Peck reminds us “You cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.”

We can multitask some things but we cannot multitask and effectively communicate.

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  • @Scott Simon Thank you, Scott.  I appreciate it.

  • Ah, the bathroom and media usage. Always used that when pitching radio in the old days, “Who can watch TV in the shower using electricity?” The battery is the most under-appreciated app!
    Jerry, love your articles. Good luck with your upcoming conference. I’ll pass along the word about it to people who really need a lifeline in their job and career.

The Gift That Really Keeps On Giving

There was an article in Tuesday’s New York Times about how dads are increasingly making the decisions on what toys to give to their children as part of the changing family.

According to the article:

“For the first time in Barbie’s more than 50-year history, Mattel is introducing a Barbie construction set that underscores a huge shift in the marketplace. Fathers are doing more of the family shopping just as girls are being encouraged more than ever by hypervigilant parents to play with toys (as boys already do) that develop math and science skills early on.”

Or as psychiatrist Maurene O’Brien, quoted in the piece and consulted on the new Barbie set said, “Once it’s in the home, dads would very much be able to join in this play that otherwise they might feel is not their territory.”

Actually, the toys don’t matter all that much.

What matters is giving the gift of time.

That’s what I always liked about golf as a divorced father.  Plenty of time to be together, play, talk, wait and bond.  Who said the game is too slow?

The gift that keeps on giving is always on sale for 100% off because it is free.

But in our workaday world where stressors mount hour-by-hour, we increasingly see relationship solutions as being mobile, digital and materialistic because we are so jammed on time.  Time is money and we often wind up spending it on the wrong things.

The father I saw dining with his two daughters in a Chinese restaurant in Scottsdale, AZ a year ago put on a clinic for how not to parent.

He was on his Blackberry for most of the dinner.  His young children chatted with each other while he was distracted – not their dad.

As the holidays come upon us, could this be the year that we realize that an hour spent visiting a person in an assisted living facility is a gift all by itself – one that will always be a hit.

That the toy you give a child almost doesn’t matter, but the time spent together does.

Splurging on presents for your spouses or partners is nice but non-distracted “face time” is the wrapping that makes it perfect.

Rick Warren says we must prove that our relationships are important by investing time in them:

“Words alone are worthless. My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love, which shows itself in action. Relationships take time and effort, and the best way to spell love is “T-I-M-E.”

We can give this present this year!

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Positives From the NFL Shooting

Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend and himself last week leaving their infant daughter without parents and his teammates devastated.

There are plenty of issues that have come to the fore:  the effect of head injuries, domestic violence and suppressing problems that need outside help.

But the thing that tugged at my heart was seeing fellow teammates question whether they had done enough to be there for their troubled friend.

Out of bad comes good, but it will not replace the two victims nor will it undo the hurt that their daughter will have to deal with.

Sometimes the good is separate and apart.

Like learning the value and necessity of being able to communicate positively at all times.

God knows we have more communications tools today than ever in the history of civilization.

My best friend used to send me a note each and every (and I do mean every) time we would meet for lunch or dinner.  Just a quickie to say thanks and share something positive.

I still have every one of his notes.

People want to know someone is listening to them.

That they care.

Now we can use Twitter and Facebook to say nice things to one another and let others know we are more than just quick “Facebook friends”.

Or email and text to say something quickly and positively.

Perfection is not attainable in this life.

Being human is quite enough as long as we all feel someone cares.

Take a chance and encourage a friend or family member.

Tell the world about a fellow worker’s accomplishments.

Get the accent off “me” and return it to where it belongs – “you”.

“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.”  — Ralph Nichols

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  • Jerry, Great commentary. Thank you for expressing your thoughts. I agree and believe that
    people in general, share this:  We all want to feel like we matter…to our friends and family,
    industry, society. Those who hold powerful positions have an even greater opportunity to make a difference.
    Thanks again for writing such a thoughtful piece.
    Valerie Smaldone

The Power to Empower

The great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar died last week at the age of 86.

His messages were powerful as he spoke to audiences worldwide – in his heyday speaking 150 times a year and even into his 70’s preaching the gospel of self-help 50 times per year.  He earned $50,000 a speech!

Messages like:  “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time” and “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile”.

At the core of Ziglar’s approach to motivation is this secret to empower others:

“Our whole philosophy’s built around the concept that you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want”.

But we live in a self-absorbed world where people increasingly and outwardly seek that which they want at the exclusion of others.

American politics is about no compromise.

Often employers adopt the take it or leave it attitude which has more than paved over their “my way or the highway” approach.

Empowering those close to us to achieve their goals, too.

Our fellow workers to be better because we are part of their lives.

Believing in our children enough to be their silent partner on the road to success and happiness.

It’s about relishing in the role of helping others get what they want as a ticket to getting what we want.

Ziglar said empowering others “works in your personal life, your physical life.  It works in corporate America.  It works in government.  It works everywhere”.

And some hints of how to begin empowering others as well as ourselves were revealed in Ziglar’s New York Times obituary:

Be grateful.



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