Nuggets of Wisdom from Leadership Caffeine

Posted 10.28.2011

My leadership blogging friend Art Petty has a new book out called Leadership Caffeine. It’s a series of essays organized by common challenges and opportunities leaders face. The caffeine metaphor comes into play because, as Art writes, the book is made up of “ideas to energize your professional development. Art is an executive coach and author who has been there and done that. He knows what it’s like to lead in large organizations and approaches the topic with a refreshing mix of realism and humanism.

His book is a fun one to dip in and out of. It’s easy to find little ah-ha nuggets of wisdom in it. Here are a few that made me think that I found this morning:

“You people don’t trust each other enough to succeed.” This quote is the kicker in a story that Art tells about a Board Chairman he once worked for. The comment stung, but it woke people up and got them redirected. It made me think about the value of calling out the elephant in the room and expecting people to work together to be as good as they can be.

“During every conversation and in every meeting.” This quote was Art’s response to someone who asked him when he, as a manager, found time to assess the performance of his team. He shares this story in an essay called “What the Boss Hears When You’re Talking.” It’s a good reminder that as a professional and a leader you are always on stage. There are no dress rehearsals.

“A better approach than engaging in ‘boss bashing’ with your co-workers involves using judo on the situation.” This is Art’s turning point line in an essay called “It’s Time to Quit Blaming the Boss.” It’s a fact of professional life that everyone is going to have a bad boss at least once in their career. The question is what do you do about it? Art’s first suggestion is to “Try increasing your efforts to be respectful and helpful, and to portray a genuine sense of empathy for the burdens this individual bears as a leader and as a person.” That seems to me like a reasonable place to start.

As I said, Leadership Caffeine  is full of little wisdom nuggets like these. If you liked what I shared in this post, check out Art’s new book. I think you’ll like it.

In the meantime, do you have nuggets of leadership wisdom to share with and energize the rest of us? What’s your favorite nugget?