Category Archives for "2-Team"

A Heartfelt Thank You to the Jerks I have Worked For

We've all had them.  Great leaders that inspire us, stretch us, and help us achieve things we never thought we could.  And...we've had bosses who don't have a clue.  They do things that make us slap our foreheads and go..."OMG."  You may be working for one of these jerks right now.

A Couple of Examples:

  • Like the one who said, critically: "You're doing too much leadership."  Still scratching my head trying to understand what she meant by that.  I asked and she didn't have an answer.


  • The ex-marine CEO whose top priority was to rappel down the elevator shafts of his office building to see if there were open spaces between floors that could be used for storage!!!

Early in my career it was common for my colleagues and me to complain and laugh at these absurdities.  But, after a while, I realized that the complaining was like a short-term sugar hit that just left us feeling worse a short while later.

What I Did:

I decided to turn things around and learn from these events. I said to myself, " I

may not know yet exactly what I should do, but when I get my shot at being the

boss, - I sure know what not to do!"

The Result:

This shift accelerated my on-going growth as a leader. I was able to learn and grow

into leadership by observing both the positive things the good bosses did and to

equally learn what not to do from the bad bosses.

Oh, and by the way, this new way of observing also allowed me to catch myself

and course correct when I made some bonehead move.

So - Thanks Jerks – little did you know that you made me a better leader.

Action Step:

  • What have you learned from a bad boss?
  • How has it changed you as a leader?

Leave your reflections in the comment box below.

Charles St.John

P.S. Want to see another strange example? Check out “Weirdest Memo Ever”

An Extraordinary Film that Will Inspire You as a Leader

Need a boost of confidence and energy? Here’s a film that I watch whenever I want to be reminded of why I chose to be a leader and what can happen if I continue to work at making my small part of the world a better place.
WATCH - The Man Who Planted Trees also known as The Story of Elzéard Bouffier, is a tale by French author Jean Giono. It was adapted as a movie and has earned many awards including an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The creation of this film was remarkable – it took 5 years and 20,000 drawings to bring the story to the screen.
CHECK OUT - this Amazon link for additional info about the original book and other adaptations.
It seems particularly appropriate to share this resource with you during the holidays. A time to reflect, be thankful, and look to the new year and new beginnings.
If you are already familiar with this film – view it again and be inspired.  If it is new to you – you are in for a treat.
Action Steps:

  • What thoughts came up for you in watching the film? How are you like Elzéard Bouffier or how could you be?
  • Share the link with your team (and family?) and ask about their reactions.
  • Discuss how your team's work is like planting trees and what the long-term impacts may be as a result.

What other films have inspired you as a leader?

10 Crucial Deliverables Your People Expect from You As a Leader – Or You’re Toast!!

This post is based on an actual list of expectations 75 middle managers of a large company asked me to convey to their senior executives. The wording and the order of the 10 items are exactly in their words – I haven’t edited them. Interesting that they didn’t feel it was safe to pass the message on themselves.

Since then I have used this list in workshops over many years. The response I always get is “Yeah, I wish my boss did these things, but they hardly do even one or two of them.” Any manager who understands these 10 things and acts on them will substantially improve their relationship with their team and their team’s performance. How do you stack up?

  • 1
    To Understand the Larger Picture  
    Help us understand how our part fits meaningfully into the whole.
  • 2
    To Be Heard
    Create two-way communication – not just top-down.
  • 3
    To Be Informed
    If you can’t release a decision, give us the status.
  • 4
    To Be Respected 
    Show us that our opinions count. Create a safe environment for us to raise questions and take risks.
  • 5
    For You To Be Human 
    Be open, approachable, and flexible – not just focused on the numbers.
  • 6
    To Be Recognized
    Acknowledge and reward us when we do things right – and quit whacking us when we don’t.
  • 7
    To Be Shown the Way
    We understand leadership concepts but it’s hard to know how to do them under daily pressures. We need role models.
  • 8
    For Vision and Values to Be Real
    Let’s move beyond these statements as slogans and bring them alive. Let’s walk the talk.
  • 9
    To Be Given Support
    Help us be successful – don’t hang us out to dry.
  • 10
    For You To Have a Sense of Humor
    Lighten up – what we do is important but there’s more to life.

Action Step:  Start anywhere on this list and do something about it today, however small.  Just asking your peoples’ opinion about one item, like “when you are successful at something on your job – how do you like to be recognized?  In person? In private? With a certificate, a pizza, a round of applause…?  What would make you feel appreciated?” Listen to their answer – you are likely to be surprised.

Get your FREE copy of the "10 Crucial Deliverables" which expands on each item in the list and includes specific action steps.  Click Here (Downloaded separately).