Category Archives: authentic

Sewer Workers: Flushed with Pride

The Harvard Business Review has an article in the latest issue: How to teach pride in “Dirty Work.” This is not a joke!


Here is the essence of the article. Employees in stigmatized occupations can be helped with an array of techniques to cope with or even feel proud of their jobs,

  • including developing an occupational ideology to confer a more positive image on the work;

  • creating social buffers such as professional associations;

  • and avoiding specifics in conversation with outsiders.

Trust someone in Harvard to come up with this gem of false pride.

This has left Dr. Z wondering how many sewer workers sit down to craft an occupational ideology. For example, “you know Joe if we are dwelling within the existential zeitgeist approach to sewers we are the new proletariat of the masses.”

Creating social buffers would involve more detour signs around a work-site and the professional association would meet at Moe’s bar after work for beer and lively repartee. Of course when someone outside the city sewer department walks past the workers at the bar they would stop the sewer flow of conversation and pretend to be an Amway group.

Of course remember that pride cometh before the fall…now, back to the sewer and further discussion of Friedrich Nietzsche’s, Thus Spoke Zarathustra role in creating self-actualized workers.

Picture Credit: The Sewer’s View by 


Leave a comment

Filed under authentic, conversation, humor, inspiration

How to PowerPoint – Watch the Video not the slide

Watch the following video by Don McMillan on how to capture your audience with PowerPoint.

1 Comment

Filed under authentic, humor, thought leadership

Dr. Z. Leadership Metaphor Power Made Easy


The leadership metaphor for this week is:

Leadership is like a blade of grass.

  • You often feel insignificant
  • Even when you are healthy you turn green
  • You often get stepped on

And here is Dr. Z’s Power Quotation to overcome leadership procrastination:

Don’t let the grass grow under your ass.

Picture Credit: Green blades of grass by

Leave a comment

Filed under authentic, humor, leadership, leadership humor, leadership institute, leadership metaphors

Leadership is like a…

Dr. Z. believes in the power of metaphor or similie (if you like that sort of thing).

Complete the following sentence:

Leadership is like ….

When you master metaphor you will master leadership. You can voice the metaphor during all occasions, people will be bamboozled by your ambiguity, others will salute you as a sage, and you will be like, cool eh.

In future posts, Dr. Z. will share some powerful leadership metaphors to prime your mind with the miracle of metaphor to take you to the next level of leadership.

For example, leadership is like a penny:

  • it makes cents
  • it often is ignored or undervalued, and
  • it doesn’t get you much anymore.

Any reader with a creative leadership metaphor is encouraged to post it in the comment section of this blog so other leaders can steal it can call it their own.

A penny for your thoughts…


Filed under authentic, leader talk, leadership, leadership humor, leadership institute, Uncategorized

The Leader-Talk© Program: The Top 5 Tips on How to Talk Like a Leader


Dr. Z has done extensive research on leadership communication patterns (he listened to leaders talk with each other as they went down a buffet line filling their plates with meat balls and mashed potatoes at a leadership conference). 

After this state-of-the-art research fused with rigorous analysis of the data and the composition of the meatballs, Dr. Z has concluded that leaders do not know how to talk like leaders.

Maybe you can walk like an Egyptian but can you talk like a leader?

To remedy this leadership gap Dr. Z has developed Leader-Talk© – A program to teach leaders how to talk so that someone —- anyone, will listen.

Here are Dr. Z’s top 5 tips to talk like a leader:


Open mind/open mouth. Do not talk with your mouth full of meatballs. If you do you will say, “I want the report on Tuesday” and your direct report will hear, “I flaunt the port on booze day.”


Listen. The top secret in terrific Leader-Talk© is to listen more than you talk. The more time spent listening the less time available for you to say something stupid.


Pair-a-phrase don’t paraphrase. Don’t paraphrase when you can pair-a-phrase. Notice how this last sentence was an empty paraphrase of the previous sentence. Employees are not looking for repetition they are looking for leadership. The 2 powerful pair-a-phrases are: “we’ll see” and “run that by Bob.” If you need something extra, take a quantum leap to a new paradigm by stating: “Did you know that two dimes makes 20 cents?” Upper management will respond well to your bottom-dime leadership approach.


Feelings. Empathy is such a rich way of expressing yourself as a leader. For instance, an employee is quivering like jelly and says, “I feel horrible and devestated that the KY project went done the tubes.” To demonstrate empathic Leader-Talk©, make sad puppy eyes and ask the employee, “How do you feel about that?” Employees love it when they know their boss is really listening to them.


Walk the talk. Learn the art of transformational  Leader-Talk© by going beyond talking to walking. If an employee asks if they can talk to you, just keep walking and say, “It is time for the rubber to hit the road and let’s forget about the talking and get with the walking.” Make sure you wear a pedometer to show how serious you are about your new leadership movement. ” Your employees will be sure to hold you in high esteem as a leader who walks the talk.

Photo Credit: Never Cease to Learn by

1 Comment

Filed under authentic, conversation, humor, leader talk, leadership humor, leadership institute

5 Ways To Be An Authentic Leader: Fake It Til You Make It.


Are you prepared as a leader to uncoil your authentic self?

Notice that the word “hen” is embedded in the middle of the word autHENtic. Even though hen makes up 1/3rd of authentic don’t be chicken about being who you are.

Practice Dr. Z’s 5 Pathways to Authentic Leadership:

  1. B.U. at work, all the time, with everyone you meet. Transform any lingering B.O. into a refreshed new self. Don’t become more like Jack Welsh strive to B.U. from the time you power up your Blackberry until you hug your schnauzer when you get home after a busy day of sitting in tepid meetings getting very little accomplished.
  2. Some people make their marks while others sign their names. An authentic leader does not leave a trace. Make sure you don’t hit the send button on emails and avoid doing anything that can be traced back to you. Ensure all your orders are verbal and that your staff are not secretly recording your verbal directives for a 60 Minutes bad boss expose. When people don’t know what you’ve said or have no record of what you said, they can’t hold you accountable later on for being inauthentic.
  3. When you are mad be mad when you are sad be sad. This is called being congruent. Although congruent sounds like something your would scrape off a plate of pizza that your teenager left under his bed for over 6 months it really means integrating your emotions fully into your expressions. Unlike six month old pizza, authentic leaders are neither cheesy nor crusty.
  4. Cry on command. Say one of your staff members experiences a significant personal loss. Put your arm over their shoulder and console them with your real tears as you think about how their lowered productivity may reduce your year end bonus.
  5. Model your career after the inspirational leadership style of Popeye. Popeye immortalized authenticity with his positive affirmation: “I y’am what I y’am and that’s all that I y’am.” Flex your muscles and devour spinach with your y’ams.

The road to leadership does not curve around the bend of authenticity. Dr. Z. reminds you, when it comes to being authentic: fake it til you make it.


Picture Credit: Arun’s advice by

1 Comment

Filed under authentic, humor, leadership, Leadership Lessens