Friday, February 26, 2016

The Little Engine That Could!

Not sure why exactly, but February always is a challenge to me…it’s the longest, shortest month of the year. Living in the Chicagoland area my entire life, February typically holds the coldest and snowiest days where everything seems to be gray and dismal. The workday begins and ends in total darkness and warm blue skies with white puffy clouds and green grass seem to be an elusive memory. Plain and simple…I hate February! It’s hard for me to focus on anything positive except for the hope that March will arrive sooner rather than later with the return of LIFE…

Apparently, I’m not the only one suffering from Februaryitis. I’ve come across several articles lately that deal with depression and the effects of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).  As leaders we know the power of leading with optimism, as those we serve need to feel hope that things can and WILL get better. Successful leaders instill hope, not discouragement.  We must remind ourselves that the glass IS half FULL; although I just read whether half full or half empty isn’t the point…the point is the glass is refillable. So…to that point, what can we do to increase our optimism when our tank runs low and things become cold and dreary?

In his blog “Leadership Freak,” Dan Rockwell suggests these 7 steps to help find optimism when our vision is clouded:

1.       Find gratitude. Make a gratitude-list for every teammate. Write five things they’ve done that inspire gratitude beside each name. Share them.

2. Find praise. Never allow weaknesses to overshadow character and strength. Make a praise-list for every teammate. Write five praiseworthy qualities by each name. Say them in public.

3. Find the future, not the past, when exploring new opportunities. A negative past doesn’t build a positive future. Think about where you’re going more than where you’ve been.

4. Find courage. Fear is an opportunity for courage. What will you do to answer fear. The operative word is “do.”

5. Find competence. The future is built on things we can do, not things we can’t.

6. Find what you like and let yourself enjoy it.

7. Find small steps forward.

I’m reminded of the children’s story…The Little Engine That Could…I think I can…I think I can…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, February 19, 2016

Time For Your Followers To Leave The Nest?

One of the joys I have in “retirement” is mentoring emerging leaders.  Most, if not all, have a commitment and desire to become great leaders, leading from the front, showing the way, hoping that all who are called will follow. There is a need in many to show their followers that they “can do it all.”

When asked what it looks like to lead from behind, I usually get the stare as though I have three heads as leading from behind sounds a bit confusing.  But the truth lies in the notion that when leaders move out of the way and let others on the team take over; real growth can take place.

It is said that when parent eagles feel it’s time for the young to leave the nest the elder eagles begin removing the soft materials with which the nest was originally constructed. As the baby grows the nest becomes smaller…less comfortable…and eventually there’s a need for the fledging to “take flight” on their own.

As leaders, there are times we too may have to make our people uncomfortable in order for them to take flight and realize they too can “fly”.  This is what is meant from “leading from behind” the ability to stand back and watch others take the lead. By allowing others to step forward they become valued, and far more creative and productive. Can things go wrong???? ABSOLUTELY…but don’t we all learn more from our mistakes???

Great leaders create more leaders…not followers…just sayin…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, February 12, 2016


Have you ever thought that you have spent more energy and time with those you serve rather than the ones to whom you go home each night? Certainly it’s easy to get entangled in the day-to-day challenges that face each of us every day, only to go home and collapse or stay up all night trying desperately to resolve all the problems the day offered…often…all too often, at the cost of being “present” with those who love and support us at home.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I’d urge you to take the opportunity to “stop and smell the roses” and rekindle that relationship in which you find the most solace, joy and nurturing. You deserve it, but more importantly, so do they…

Be good to yourself…and Happy Valentine’s Day…

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hittting The Nail On The Head

It's always a delight to hear from those receiving "Krause's Quips" telling me how a particular Quip has touched them or those around them in one way or another. On occasion, I receive a quote or a story from them which resonates with me. The story below is from a colleague in Mexico which "hit the nail on the head".

A very true saying "Life is a do it yourself project." Give it a thought...

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer, a building contractor, of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

His employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but it was easy to see that his heart was no longer in his work. He had lost his enthusiasm and had resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and his boss came to inspect the new house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built for ourselves. If we had realized, we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Who could say it more clearly? Your life today is the result of your attitudes and choices in the past. Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Be good to yourself...