Leadership Mints Sampler: Leveraging Your Laughter

How do you build trust as a leader? Laugh a lot.

Poet Maya Angelou observed that she couldn’t trust anyone who didn’t laugh.

Laughter spawns an authentic response,reaffirms your sense of humanity and attracts others.

That’s why “laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” noted comedian Victor Borge.

Laughter is also a quick stress reliever.

When you laugh you literally take a “breather.” You expel the bad air in your mind and body.

Then your laughter generates a 25% increase in your brain’s oxygen supply so that you can  breathe more fully, think more clearly and ride the rocky road of life more comfortably as author Henry Ward Beecher noted: “a person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”

 “Humor is a vital tool  of leadership”

       No wonder that humor is a “vital tool of leadership,” says leadership development researcher  Gerald D. Bell.

        At least that’s what the data showed when Dr. Bell’s researchers surveyed 2,700 employees over two years on what traits contributed most to an effective leader.

         Having a good sense of humor and a strong work ethic were mentioned twice as often as any other trait of the most effective leaders.

          Maybe that’s because humor helps us “to overlook the unbecoming, understand the unconventional, tolerate the unpleasant, overcome the unexpected and outlast the unbearable,” according to Rev. Billy Graham.

            At any rate,  9 out of 10 executives in a Robert Half International survey believe a sense of humor is important for career advancement.

                                     For more insights on the value of humor in general and  laughter in particular to enhance your leadership skills purchase a copy of THINKING Like a Leader from Amazon.com ($15 paperback and $8 E-book).

THINKING LIKE A Leader is the first book in The 3-book Leadership Mints Series designed to help leaders refresh their feeling for leading on-the-go with stories on leadership principles called Leadership Mints that like the candy are easily accessed,  quickly digested and immediately refreshing.

The other two books in the Leadership Mints Series focus on leading with empathy (LOVING Like a Leader) featuring 77 more Leadership Mints (stories) and leading with civility featuring 52 Leadership Mints (stories) (SPEAKING Like a Leader)

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Leadership Mints Sampler: Cashing In On Two Dimes

As a youngster, I remember my dad included two dimes in every greeting card he gave my mom throughout their near half-century together.

And no doubt the symbolism reflected in those two dimes  on her birthday —or their anniversary, on Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day every year etc. — in some way played a role in my penchant to study trust-building relationships throughout most of my leadership development career.

Although it has been more than a half-century ago I can still see the anticipation in my mom’s eyes as she cupped her left hand to catch the expected two dimes after opening the envelope and reliving the experience as if it were her first time.

The dimes would cascade into the palm of her hand and her face would always light up in sheer delight.

In gripping those dimes, she also reaffirmed her grasped on her marriage’s long running experience of commitment, trust, integrity and respect that cemented their near 50-year marriage before my dad passed away.

Those dimes rekindled a commitment of caring and sharing, respect and understanding that to my young eyes flared the proverbial fire in their love for each other.

Anyway, this Dimes-Throughout-Time love story began     Continue reading “Leadership Mints Sampler: Cashing In On Two Dimes”

Believe In Your Staff When They Screw Up

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea that will build enhanced performance throughout your organization.

         Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! The young corporate helicopter pilot screamed into the radio over Lake Michigan shortly after taking off from Chicago. Equipment failure. The blades stopped turning and the helicopter began dropping like a rock out of the sky.  The pilot’s heart sank just as fast.

       After all, he was flying four executives on their corporate helicopter. All he could think of as he carefully and skillfully ditched the helicopter into Lake Michigan was that if he didn’t die in this helicopter crash he certainly would be fired.

       Somebody’s got to take the fall for a screw-up like this and with only two years seniority on the job he was most likely to be the fall guy.

      Splash! The helicopter safely ditched.  Lake Michigan quickly swallowed up the helicopter.  All four executives and the pilot were safe. There were wearing their life-vests and bobbing in the 54-degree water as the sun was setting on a cool autumn day. Within an hour, the Coast Guard rescued all five. They were cold but not hurt. The Glad-to-be-Alive-Five took alternative transportation that evening back to their corporate headquarters. All were back to work the following day.

      Continue reading “Believe In Your Staff When They Screw Up”

Trust: Gap Analysis of Another Kind

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you generate enhanced synergy.

         Rocky Balboa, the struggling boxer in the movie Rocky, explains the apparent mismatch in the relationship he has with his girlfriend. Adrian is so very different from him — in personality, in behavior, and in habits:

Rocky and Adrian together have no gaps

         “I got gaps. She’s got gaps. Together, we’ve got no gaps.”

          And together, their synergy is exemplary.

          I’d like to think that leaders do what lovers do. They fill the gaps between individuals to create  meaningful, interdependent relationships—teams — that brings out the best in each other where the sum is many times greater than the parts, where the individuals become so much more potent in working as a team.

        Meet Charlotte and Leonard. Theirs is a special relationship, one born out of mutual love that draws them from opposite ends of the county. Continue reading “Trust: Gap Analysis of Another Kind”

Conflict Management : Throw ’em a LIFE line

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mint Guy

Here’s an idea to get your proposals approved in a negative environment.

         “I don’t like it one bit,” groused the president after reviewing a  proposed policy from one of his vice presidents. The vice president stood firm as the president shot his proposal down like a  gunslinger in those old Western movies in a duel at high noon. The vice president fired back but his bullets of information seemed to bounce harmlessly off the president.  The vice president left the office depressed and dejected. The president felt misunderstood and abandoned. Nerves fried. Egos frayed.

         Resolving conflict in the executive suite is modus operandi. As leaders we know that we are supposed to first seek to understand then to be understood as Stephen Covey conveys  so well in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. But you and I both know that resolving conflict is easier said than done.

        We jab and jaw to get our ideas heard, understood and acted upon, yet too often our ideas are dead on arrival. Here’s a way to pump LIFE in to those proposals . LIFE is an acrostic for: Listen, Investigate, Feel, and Explore. Continue reading “Conflict Management : Throw ’em a LIFE line”