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Leading The Way In Times of Stress

I was talking to a coaching client — an internationally renowned healthcare leader — on the phone a few days ago. As you’d expect, we ended up talking about coronavirus. Something he said really struck me, “With all the work we have to do, and the crises in our halls and in our hospitals,” he said pointedly, “It’s hard to concentrate on leadership principles.” I understood what he meant, but I wanted to point out that it is precisely during times of crises, fear, and uncertainty that leaders must manifest excellent behaviors! Without proper leadership, we have chaos. Now,… Read More

The Blame Game: Everyone Loses

My client looked upset. Although widely-acknowledged to be a successful leader, he’d been berated, once again, by his direct manager. She rarely provided positive feedback. Her “style” was to beat down her direct reports, focusing on areas where they fell short. Her habit of disregarding areas of accomplishment and success left my client feeling uncertain of his standing with the company and, at a more personal level, about his own capabilities. What Kind of Leader Are You? What kind of leader are you? Do you dwell on the negative? Do you focus on other people’s failures and mistakes, rather… Read More

Why “Feedback” Doesn’t Get Results

There are occasions when individuals fall short of expectations. Maybe it’s a direct report who does not execute clearly established objectives. Maybe it’s a co-worker who disregards deadlines. Maybe it’s a teammate who pursues his or her own goals, rather than agreed-upon team goals. How do you respond to these situations? And more important, as a leader, how should you respond to these situations? I see many leaders and professionals struggle in these circumstances, sometimes because they’re unsure of how to respond. Many overreact. They may rant and yell, which leads to a fearful workplace where leaders are held… Read More

Diplomacy In The Office and At The Dinner Table

Successfully navigating tricky political issues in an organization requires the same skill needed to successfully navigate this season’s onslaught of holiday dinners and family gatherings – diplomacy. I recently coached an executive facing difficult organizational issues. Drawing on considerable interpersonal skills, he had to maintain excellent relationships with diverse constituents, while delivering absolute and defined results – the very definition of diplomacy. As we met, I was reminded of my college mentor, who was an actual diplomat – an ambassador to another country. Although I didn’t know the term at the time, I now recognize that this wise professor… Read More

Competition: Healthy or Destructive?

The president of a high-growth and successful service company recently confided that two of his top executives were not getting along. “They speak badly of each other to me, behind each other’s backs,” he said.  “They can pretend to get along in meetings, but when they’re with me one-on-one, they throw digs at each other. They don’t share information with each other that they should. I’m afraid this behavior is going to slow down a major project, and I don’t know what to do. They are both stars. I don’t know what happened.”I know what happened. After asking a few… Read More

How Culture Affects Leadership. And Visa Versa

I think we all would agree that corporate culture – a system of shared beliefs and values that influence “the way we do things around here” – influences every workplace. A positive and desirable corporate culture is highly beneficial – not just to morale and productivity, but also to recruiting, achieving long-term goals, and successfully navigating challenging business times. Is it possible, though, to have a great corporate culture under the guidance of an ineffective leader? Conversely, is it possible to have bad corporate culture, despite the guidance of a great leader?  At Ashlin Associates, we would answer, “It… Read More

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