Category Archives: Leadership Lessens

Leadership: Do you have a legacy to stand on?

What is your legacy as a leader?


Even if you are just starting out as an assistance manager at the local convenience store it is time to think beyond yourself, beyond the current time, to your ultimate legacy. Do you want to be remembered as the leader who put the slur in slurpee or the ho in hoagie or do you want to be remembered as the leader who courageously and religiously never let one of those scary hotdogs be skewered in the rotating oven for more than 21 days?

A lot of people are confused with legacy. Read this: “legacy” is not a pejorative. Do not use it as such. Please consult your dictionary. A legacy is something that is left to another in a will; a bequest of personal property. The word is derived from the Latin “legare”, meaning “to leave by way of a will”. That’s it. By itself, it has neither positive nor negative connotations. 

Some people confuse legacy with Emeril Lagasse which is also wrong. But his legacy of food and the word, BAM may live on.

So if your are not Emeril how do you cook up your leadership legacy. Here are the 5 key questions to create your personal big BAM:

  1. Determine your defining contribution to the workplace beside the bowl of jellybeans in your cubicle (Don’t try to become Ronald Reagan, become more of who you already are — maybe try a bowl of m&ms)?
  2. Ask who will miss you after you retire? If the answer is nobody then you have a legacy issue that needs to be addressed.
  3. What will they say you did around the office (besides bringing donuts for your loyal followers)? Craft your legacy litany by signing all your emails with Bob: The guy who got things done. By the way, this works best if your name is Bob and you actually did something.
  4. How did you make a difference? Were you courageous enough to stand out? Perhaps you wore a bowtie when all those around you dressed in drab business casual?
  5. Serve the people you lead without taking credit for your service so that when you are gone people will say, “who was that masked man?”

Dr. Z. reminds you: Get a leg up on leadership by ensuring your leadership has a legacy to stand on!

Picture credit: Your actions create a legacy for others to follow by

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Filed under inspiration, leadership, leadership humor, leadership institute, Leadership Lessens, leadership traits

Thought Leadership: Snap snap, grin grin, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more?


Have you noticed the rise of a new term in leadership. Thought Leadership.

According to Wikipedia (the on-line source to decrease the need to think):

Thought leader is a buzzword or article of jargon used to describe a futurist or person who is recognized among their peer mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights

Translation: If you are a thought leader it means you can’t be bothered really doing anything but you can sit for long hours and think and think some more and then tell others what to do based on your distilled (about half a bottle of gin) insights.

Because thinking is so important to leadership, second only to getting large stock options, Dr Z’s Leadership Institute will be offering the following 6 Cognac and Cogitation Thought Leadership Seminars this fall.

Blinking Thinking. We will read an excerpt of Malcolm Galdwell’s book Blink, contort our eyelids to go up and down like fast moving elevators as we blink out Morse code messages around the seminar room.

Finking Thinking. We will think about leadership ethical dilemmas and figure out how to fink on someone who did something wrong without them being able to identify who finked.

Linking Thinking. We will embark on an Internet search and start following so many links that before we know it we will be sending money to someone who knew our deceased distant relative in Nairobi who died and left us 2 million dollars but our agent in Africa will need us to send them $2633.21 to cover the postage to ship that money to us. Proving that if you can’t think, you can always link

Oinking Thinking. We will learn to ham up our leadership style by thinking outside the pen and realize that oink does not rhyme with think even thought it looks like it should.

Pinking Thinking. Following the insight of Daniel Pink we will develop A Whole New Mind. There used to be a movement that when I am old I shall wear purple and now Pinking Thinking Thought Leaders will wear Pink and use empathy, symphony, story, design, play and meaning to create a hole in the mind that will let out really good ideas which followers will embrace as they storm the nearest hill for no apparent reason.

Winking Thinking. Of course or on the course we all need something completely different, such as Monty Python’s Nudge Nudge wink wink innuendo thinking. If you know what I mean.

If you register early you will receive Dr. Z’s custom designed FOLLOW THE LEADER t-shirt and THOUGHT LEADERSHIP IS LIKE A YO-YO, YOU’VE GOT TO KNOW HOW TO SPIN THINGS coffee mug. 

Photo credit: Fisserman is infallible by


Filed under humor, leadership, leadership institute, Leadership Lessens, thought leadership

The 5 Stages of 360-Degree Leadership Feedback: From Zeus to Zero


Dr. Z. prides himself on his knowledge of the historical development of 360-degree feedback.

At the institute “Doc Z”, as the students call him, conducts a leadership boot-camp on The Historical Development of 360-Degree Feedback from Cro-Magnon Man to Al “Chainsaw” Dunlap.

Here is the executive summary from his soon to be written Harvard Business Review article proposal on The Zeitgeist of 360-Degree Feedback – From Zeus to Zero: Undermining Leadership Through Spineless Anonymous Feedback

– Executive Summary –

Don’t mess with Zeus: Zeus would never have stood for the audacity of some minion or lesser god thinking he should give Zeus feedback. Zeus turned Pandareus to stone, killed Salmaneous with a thunderbolt, and changed Chelone into a tortoise, and that is just a small sample of his wrath. Zeus did not stand for feedback and he made Al Dunlap look more like a guy with nail clippers than a chainsaw. Standing next to Zeus, Al’s moniker of Rambo in Pinstripes would have to be changed to Pollyanna in Pajamas.

The first wheel: The earliest recorded 360-degree feedback was heard shortly after the first wheel was invented. After standing the heavy stone up, the 360 degree shape made it roll over the project leader’s foot crushing his toes. The leader was heard to say something about who’s dumb idea was it to make a wheel and that 360 degree means what goes around comes around and he rolled the wheel back at his direct report. The direct report was never heard from again but it is believed that his descendants were responsible for the invention of the motorized Segway vehicle – a modern day horseless chariot.

Typewriters and temperatures: Shortly after the typewriter was invented 360-degree feedback turned around and began to mean that employees would give leaders feedback because the leader could not recognize the person’s handwriting. At this time 360-degree feedback meant turning up the heat. Let’s say that someone put something negative about your leadership – perhaps they didn’t like your orange argyle socks – in an employee suggestion box. Because this feedback was unsolicited and because the person giving the feedback remained anonymous it was important as a leader to nip this behavior in the bud. Each day as a leader you increased the office thermostat another 5 degrees and announced that until someone came forth and owned up to this feedback the temperature would continue to rise until it got to 360-degrees. You never had to get to 360-degrees to melt out a confession and release the employee who gave the feedback to opportunities elsewhere.

I am a rock. In the humanistic movement of the 1960’s employees would have a group hug with their leader and then sing Paul Simon’s song I am a Rock changing the words to “You are not a rock, you are not an island,” as they lay flowers at the feet of their leader. After this they would spin the leader around and around in tight 360 degree circles and once the leader was dizzy they would literally write feedback on the back of his white shirt such as: groovy, peace and love or you are even nicer to us than Topo Gigo. After this, everyone would go watch Ed Sullivan and the boss after reading the feedback would, kess-a-them goodnight! By the way, Topo Gigo, the Italian mouse,  played the role of Scurry in the Italian translation of the management classic:  Who Moved My Cheese.

360-degree feedback today. Today, there are a plethora of HR firms that specialize in going behind a leader’s back and getting people to say all kinds of things about the leader. They get a “coach” to tell the leader what everyone said and 360-degree refers to the leader finding ways to keep everyone going around and around in circles of nonstop busyness and transformational change for about 18 months. Employees are so overworked and overloaded that they forgot what they said, the coach moves on to real coaching losing a little league state champion game in the 9th inning, and the workplace moves on to the next great idea, for example Project MELT IT – Measuring Emotional Leadership Traits In Turkeys or how to be a Butterball Boss and not get basted!

Dr. Z’s Leadership Point-to-Ponder: When you go 360-degrees you end up where you started and your leadership legacy is – Zero!

Picture Credit: different by


Filed under 360-degree feedback, humor, leadership, leadership institute, Leadership Lessens

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

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POP the Secret in the Power of Praising

Praise be leadership and leadership is about praising. Did this sound sarcastic? Learn to spot sarcastic praise before you say it or hear it.

Dr. Z has scoured the Internet for the latest resources on T-POP: The Power Of Praising. Dr. Z. has brought this You Tube video to you to unlock the secret of praising. This secret has been locked up tighter than the next Harry Potter novel. By the way the last word in the yet to be released novel is “scar.” So don’t be scared by praise in leadership.

Take this 1:28 min video LEADERSHIP LESSEN from The Onion.

Dr. Z was “so glad you could join him” to pop the secret power of praising.

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Filed under Harry Potter, leadership, Leadership Lessens, praise, The Onion, The Secret