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What Scares a 4-Star General?

The four-star general in the United States Army –all 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds of him – was scared. Not on the battlefield.  After all he led the US coalition of troops from 30 countries to victory in the Persian Gulf War in 1991. No, General Norman Schwarzkopf was even more scared of unarmed men who couldn’t or wouldn’t cry. “Frankly, any man who doesn’t cry scares me a little bit,” Schwarzkopf admitted to Barbara Walters on ABC television’s 20/20 program in March 1991. “I don’t think I would like a man who was incapable of enough emotion to get tears in his eyes every now and then. That person scares me; he’s not a human being.”

(This is an excerpt of a newly relaunched book titled LOVING Like a Leader now available on Amazon.com Continue reading


Doubling Down on Your Dubitatio

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to enhance your trustworthiness. Reading time: 3:12

      “Fishing Tickle.”  The sign in the fishing bait store window was misspelled. On purpose.

       campbell'sLikewise the print ad for the Campbell Soup Company headlined a factual error. On purpose.

       What’s going on here? Incompetence? No, dubitatio.

       Rhetoricians define dubitatio as a personal form of aporia which is doubt or ignorance – feigned or real—used as a rhetorical device to make the speaker/leader seem more human, more real and ultimately more honest.

       The most effective leaders double down on their dubitatio.

       The more vulnerable a leader the more venerable they can become in the hearts and minds of followers (a.k.a. customers).

      Large corporate entities seem more human when they make easily-discovered mistakes in public. Then followers (a.k.a. customers) parlay that vulnerability into building a more intimate relationship with that big conglomerate. And sales soar.

     That’s what happened when Campbell Soups  listed 22 different soups in a print ad. But the headline screamed “21 kinds of soup.” Continue reading

Playgrounds: Proving Grounds for Leaders

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy
Here’s an idea to motivate leadership behavior. Reading time 3:57.

                                                                                       Playgrounds are proving grounds for leaders.

     a playground2   On the playground, these emerging leaders  engage their followers: they get other kids to play with them with something more  than simply a suggestion “Hey let’s play tag.”

      They also lead by example.  They are  quick to model the behavior (“You’re it!), tagging and running off.

       And soon others congregate, collaborate and innovate around the make-believe camp fire and share the warmth of their collective sharing and caring together, their leadership for and with each other.

      But then the emerging leaders on the playground take their game to the next level. They embrace change. They leverage change. They anticipate a need to change.

     Continue reading

Leaders Label to Enable

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to spark greater performance. Reading time: 3:02

             They were third stringers doomed to sit the bench for most of their college football careers.

             labelingBut then new coach took over – a leader who understood his role in coaxing as well as in coaching, a leader who leveraged his emotional intelligence, his sensibility as much as his ability.

             And that leader would go on to turn those no-name third stringers into first-line ringers against woeful odds. In pre-season polls pundits sentenced the team to the bottom half of the standings. They cited the team’s lack of overall size, depth and experience.

           Nevertheless, Coach Paul Dietzel methodically coaxed and coached Louisiana State University to its first unbeaten, untied football season in 50 years. His feat in 1958 still resonates with leaders more than a half century later.

         He is still teaching leaders the magic in doing more than simply motivating  others to THINK  they are better than they really are. He also stimulated them to ACT on that pretense with amazing competence. When you motivate, you persuade. But when you stimulate, you lead.

          The most effective coaches lead. They stimulate ah’s and oh’s more than simply motivate with x’s and 0’s. They enable with a label. That’s what  Coach Dietzel did in labeling his third stringers. He labeled his third stringers  “Chinese Bandits” and enabled their awesome performance against overwhelming odds. Continue reading

Saluting the Sanctity of Stagehands

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to stimulate productivity. Reading time: 3:46

      “All the world is a stage,” said William Shakespeare. If so then the most effective leaders must really be leading stagehands.

       a stagehandThink about it. You can’t have a performance if you don’t have the right lighting, the right environment, the right working conditions.

       The stagehands—the leaders—are vital to the performance. They can engineer, design and develop an environment that makes a performance exhilarating or exasperating.

      Are you creating an environment that your staff needs to flourish? Or are you too focused on your own comfort and security, your own job requirements?

    Too often the two work environments are mutually exclusive and productively falls as quickly as morale. The stage play closes. Abruptly. It doesn’t have to be that way.

       Consider becoming a stagehand like Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Continue reading

Tofu & You: Sauteing Your Leadership Entree

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to remind you are who you associate with. Reading time: 2:26    


     The Tofu sizzling in the vegetable stir fry looked bland in the pan yet tasted grand on the tongue. How come?

Tofu stir fry

Tofu stir fry

     The answer just may do more than expand the versatility in your tantalizing palate.  It just might also broaden the diversity in your leadership palette to solve problems more creatively and productively.

     Think of Tofu as an aromatic sponge that soaks up air-borne smells in a Marinating Magic Show and provides us a metaphor to brighten up and your leadership skills no matter how bland you may feel now doing ordinary work in an ordinary job.

      Like Tofu, your leadership skill sets, sizzle in a skillet, especially when you are stirred around in a variety of diverse flavors, tastes, vegetable juices etc.

       Call it the Tofu Tango.

       Indeed, the more you dance with the stars –leaders in their own fields–the brighter you feel.

       You become a part of all you touch and all who touch you impart something of themselves in you that lasts over time and shapes your thinking, guides your soul and alerts your mind to the opportunities and obstacles ahead.

       Continue reading

Feeling Your Way to the Bottom Line

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you enhance employee relations. Reading time: 3:16

       The team leader brought in his project on time and slightly under budget.

        softballHe drove the contractors hard to make sure the opening of the new company softball diamond would be ready for tonight’s season opener.

       No wonder the team leader was feeling great as he drove up to the field a few hours before game time to do a final inspection. But then he felt like someone had kicked him in the stomach. “Bleachers! Who ordered those bleachers?”

      No one knew. Finally the team leader rushed into the CEO’s office knowing he had failed to stay under budget, knowing that it will seem to the CEO and other decision makers at this billion-dollar, privately-held company that he was deliberately lying to make his numbers look good.

      Now the team leader had to practice crises management 101 to save face. He had to be the first to tell the CEO that someone spent unauthorized dollars on this softball diamond project.  “I don’t know who authorized this but I will get to the bottom of this,” the team leader gushed to the CEO. “I had this under control. I swear. I will find out who did this to me.” Continue reading