Monday, October 7, 2013


Attitudes are the very essence of an individual’s relative success or failure on a human relationship basis. In most cases, someone with a bad attitude will struggle much harder for success at almost every level than someone with a good attitude. That being the case, we must understand what an attitude is, how it manifests itself and how others may perceive it.

One dictionary definition of an attitude is this: “A complex mental state involving beliefs, feelings, values and dispositions to act in certain ways.”  Or put another way, an attitude is the way we exhibit our feelings and concerns about something we strongly believe in.  The issue is not so much the fact that we have strong feelings about certain things. The problem is that when we feel challenged, we might react in a way that is repugnant to others, causing them to react negatively to us. Most of us have a bad attitude from time to time. However, when we maintain an attitude that others find socially or emotionally unacceptable, our attitude becomes our personal brand. At that point, we become THAT person...” the one with the perennially bad attitude”.

When individuals begin to say things about us such as, “I don’t like his attitude” or “she is a good worker but she has a bad attitude,” the time has come for us to consider whether our attitude is working for us or if, perhaps we should consider changing it.

Many of us hang on to bad attitudes as a defense mechanism. Just as some people are known for a loud laugh or a quick temper, others are known for a bad attitude. Just as those people who laugh too loud when they find something funny or get angry immediately that they feel threatened, others exhibit a distant, dark, unfriendly or aloof attitude when a certain stimulus invades their mind. When those unapproachable, standoffish or superior people are faced with a situation that makes them uncomfortable they immediately adopt their well-nurtured attitude in order to avoid the situation or to repel those who might make them even more uncomfortable.

Most people with bad attitudes are not truly bad human beings. They are simply people who have trouble reacting in a universally palatable manner in some situations. When faced with an uncomfortable situation, the area of the brain that controls the neural pathways that form external responses in these people sets up an irresistible need to exhibit an outward presentation that will protect them from harm. So deeply are these responses ingrained in the minds of these people that without even thinking, they will almost automatically exhibit a bad attitude whenever they sense or expect discomfort. They have little or no control at that point and the only way that they will ever be able to overcome their bad attitude response is through deliberate and consistent self-awareness and self-actualization. They will need to retrain their brains to allow a better response; (a good attitude).

The bad attitude response might be a result of past situations that the person found negative and emotionally hurtful. They might often find themselves thinking negative self-talk. Some of that self-talk might include thoughts such as, “I am not good enough; I can’t do this; they don’t like me, they don’t respect me; I don’t want to be here,” or any number of other things that people feel when put into situations where they might lack confidence. When the bad attitude has been part of their behaviour make-up for a very long time, they will no longer need to experience the negative self talk in order to respond negatively. The situation alone will be adequate to set off the negative behaviour response.

Negative attitudes can also be triggered by fear, hatred, envy, jealousy, distrust and a myriad of other stimuli. Those attitudes however, are usually confined to a specific source of discomfort and only rear their heads when an individual encounters something that they immediately find truly distasteful, frightening or unacceptable. Many people often exhibit a very good attitude most of the time and only show a bad attitude when confronted with an unusually unnerving situation.

Those people who have a generally bad attitude and want to do something about it must firstly accept that their attitude is impacting those around them and that it is harming their personal growth and development in one way or another. Many people spend a good deal of time thinking and saying things like, “I don’t need anyone else; You don’t have to like me to work with me; As long as I do my job my attitude shouldn’t matter,” and various other ideas that justify their negative attitudes. Before any improvement can begin, those people must accept that a huge part of every good work or personal relationship is a compatible, flexible and generally acceptable attitude.  

When a person has finally come to the conclusion that they need to change their attitude, they must accept that it might take hard work and that it will not happen overnight. They should consult with those around them in order to find out what it is about them that others do not like. They should ask co-workers, bosses, friends and family members how they truly are perceived and then listen to the responses without interruption. They need to keep an open mind and allow their ego’s to take a back seat as they hear some potentially very hurtful information about themselves. Only people who genuinely want to change will make it past this step.

If they make it past the ego-damaging last step, they must make a commitment to themselves to do something else. Essentially, when they feel their brain telling them to react in a negative fashion, they need to do the opposite. Instead of frowning, they need to smile. Instead of whining they need to cheer. Instead of being aloof they need to show engagement. These changes in presentation and thought seldom happen immediately, but when a person makes a decision to improve and works hard at it, success and happiness usually follow shortly thereafter.

Do you have a bad attitude? Do something about it now!

Do you know someone with a bad attitude?  Do something about it, by talking to them and letting them know that you are there to listen and help in any way you can.

Attitude Matters!
All the Best
Wayne Kehl

Monday, August 12, 2013

Workplace Bullying

Many studies now indicate that workplace bullying is a very real, all-too-common and incredibly harmful practice in workplaces world-wide.

Here are some shocking statistics:

  • Jacqueline Power of the University of Windsor’s Odette school of business indicates that 40 percent of Canadian workers experienced one or more acts of workplace bullying at least once a week for six months prior to the study.  
  • In 1999, the International Labour Organization declared that workplace harassment and violence affects 75 percent of workers world-wide.
  • The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) and Zogby International indicate that 35% of American workers experienced bullying first hand and that 62% of bullies were men. They go on to say that bullies can be found in all ranks of any organization but that managers, supervisors and executives form the majority of perpetrators.
  • WBI indicated that 40 percent of the targets of bullies never report the bullying to their employers and 62% of those who did report it indicate that their reports were ignored.
  • WBI reported that 81 percent of employers do nothing to address bullying or resist action when requested to do something.
Bullying leads to disengagement, poor performance and a resulting loss of revenue which reportedly runs into billions of dollars every year.

Interestingly, most of their targets are not the new, less confident or weak employees. Instead, bosses with “Type A” (forceful, aggressive, outgoing) personalities tend to focus their bullying on highly competent, experienced, cooperative and well-liked employees. Bullies tend to see those natural leaders as threats to both their ego and status in the organization. When bullying bosses come across employees that stand their ground and refuse to be intimidated or controlled, their bullying efforts often intensify. Bullying bosses need to win and they need to control everything in their purview, to the point of actually doing harm to their own organizations in order to establish their superiority.

People who are bullied suffer everything from stress symptoms to depression and from increased sick-leave to serious, life-threatening illness. Those symptoms can lead to reduced performance and career-damaging indolence.

 Bullying takes many forms but often it includes public put-downs, temper tantrums, unreasonable work demands, insults, taking credit for another’s work, threats of job-loss and discounting of accomplishments. Often, it will also include withholding of necessary information, exclusion from important meetings and general intimidation. Each of these behaviours is bad enough on its own, but when done in tandem with others, can cause serious psychological harm to the victim.

  1. When faced with a bullying boss, an employee can stand up for himself or herself in the hope that the bully will relent and back off. However, in the worst cases, if the bullying does not stop or actually increases, resignation might be the only cure.
  2. Under no circumstances should an employee actively work overtly or covertly against a bullying boss. Not only will that probably create an equal and opposite reaction which will only intensify the problem, but it will also provide the bully with a reason or an excuse for his or her bullying. It may also reflect negatively on any job-action or legal suits that the employee may wish to take in the future.
  3. As difficult as it may be, bullied employees should always take the high-road. They should respond politely, react passively, and ask questions in a professional manner. When feeling insulted or put-down, they should indicate that they did not understand what the bully meant by their comments and ask them to clarify. If the bully is shouting or attempting to intimidate the employee, they should ask the bully not to speak to them that way or indicate that the behaviour is inappropriate. The intent should always be to diffuse the bully rather than to retaliate in kind.
  4. The employee should ask to have a private meeting with the bully to discuss their differences. If the bully allows that meeting to occur, the employee should lay out his or her concerns openly, honestly and calmly. Keep in mind that when the situation gets to this point, the employee should be prepared for a negative reaction and might also consider being emotionally prepared to resign.
  5. All acts of bullying should be reported to the upper-echelons of the organization and legal action should be taken in the most serious of cases. Legal action should be the last resort but if the bullying is of serious significance it may be the best course of action for present and future employees.
  6. It must be recognized firstly that a bully is doing something wrong...Bullying is inappropriate and unacceptable. However, if you do not confront it or report it, it might never stop.

  • Always be on the lookout for bullies in your organization.
  • Take all reports of bullying seriously and investigate all reports when they occur.
  • Make bullying a “zero-tolerance” violation of corporate policy.
  • Let all employees at all levels know that you will not tolerate bullying and that it will result in discipline up to and including termination.
  • Finally, be prepared to follow through on your bullying policy in order to maintain credibility.


Wayne Kehl

Monday, March 18, 2013

Leaders: Succession Planning Matters

As a matter of age and evolution, every 10 to 20 years or so almost every business is forced to find new leaders to carry it into the future. As older leaders retire, replacements must be brought in to carry on their work. In some cases leaders quit, die, are promoted or transfer elsewhere. In all of those cases, they must be replaced if the business is to survive. Despite that inescapable truth, many businesses and organizations I work with are not properly prepared to replace their outgoing talent.

Often there seems to be a “head-in-the-sand” mind-set wherein, decision makers choose to leave well enough alone and hope that their current personnel structure will last forever or that a new, exciting leader will fall out of the wood-work on cue, when necessary. Unfortunately, wood-work is often populated by termites, ants and beetles...none of which offer any great organizational leadership potential.

In order to build a valuable and effective succession plan, decision makers must firstly, “always” be on the lookout for future leaders. They must be thinking at all times about perpetuation of their organization and what will happen when their current good or bad leaders move on. Succession should not be an emergency decision. It should be like a cougar on the hunt...ready, alert and waiting to pounce when the opportunity arises.

Here are some things to think about when planning for the perpetuation of your organization:
  1. In order to identify your future leaders you must accept that it is not always a good idea to buy your talent at the head-hunter store. In many cases, people who register with head-hunters have issues that have prevented them from finding work through other channels. You might want to consider them your last resort as they may be your potential undoing.
  2. Always try to promote from within. This is a commonly accepted business principle that is often avoided or overlooked. It takes much less time to bring an existing employee up to speed than it does an outsider. Current staff members know your business, your culture and your brand...and you already know them.
  3. Always promote or hire leaders who already possess your corporate values rather than trying to teach them your values after the employment contract is signed. Perform some professional skills and talent testing and utilize solid investigative interviewing techniques before you give them an office and an email address.
  4. Never promote people out of obligation. Organizations of all types tend to offer promotions to people who have hung-in-there the longest regardless of skills, talents or value. Tenure is NOT necessarily an indication of leadership ability and it should not be rewarded with a leadership position unless the person is actually a good leader.
  5. Always be on the lookout for “keeners”.  Keeners are people who love their jobs and quite naturally encourage others to excel in theirs. These people often offer advice and counsel to other even when not in a formal leadership role. There are many of them in many organizations and they often go unnoticed by the decision makers. They may or may not thrive in an elevated leadership position but if they are ignored or passed-over they will never realize their full capacity for leadership. Be a talent-scout within your own organization.
  6. Once you have identified a potential leader, talk to them. Let them know that you appreciate their work and that you see a bright future for them. Human beings of all personality types and skill levels love to be encouraged and they appreciate knowing that they have a future.
  7. Put your future leaders on a “career path”. Most people of the current younger generation want to know where they are going and how long it will take them to get there. Work with them to create milestones and expectations so that when the time comes, they can easily slip into a new leadership position. Really-good future leaders want advancement and if you don’t provide it, someone else will.
  8. Provide leadership training to future leaders. Although some people possess almost “natural” leadership skills there is a lot to be learned about leading that cannot be gleaned through osmosis or exposure to ones immediate supervisor or manager. Formalize your leadership training and offer it to anyone who wants an opportunity to learn.
  9. If you hire a new leader from outside of your own firm, never hire based on your “gut instincts”. Your guts might help you in a fight–or-flight situation or when you are selecting an item on a restaurant menu, but they don’t work well for talent selection. Always utilize good talent assessment tools and have a panel of your peers and/or employees participate in the interview process so that your decision is not tainted by your guts. Job applicants almost always adapt their behaviour to the interview process and what you saw is seldom what you get a month or two after they have settled into a new job.
  10. Never hire in your own image or enforce your own leadership style. Most of us tend to feel comfortable with people who are most like us. However, it takes many types of personalities to make a great team and one leadership style is not the “best” or the “only” way to lead. Take your personal feelings out of how a new leader should lead and allow them to deal with people in the way that works best for them. Give them an array of leadership tools and then stand back and watch them soar.

What have you done to ensure a successful succession process in your organization? If you have not started to build a leadership plan for the future, now is the time. 

In an increasingly competitive world you must have the best-of-the-best leaders if you want to have a commanding presence in the new millennium.

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


During my fourty year career as a senior manager in the general insurance industry in Canada, I was often confronted and confounded by the word, TEAMWORK. Almost every leader I met talked about wanting better teamwork or bragging about how great the teamwork in their area of influence already was. Regardless of the confidence, cynicism or optimism of the leaders, in most cases when I spoke with rank-and-file employees, I found that overall, corporate teamwork was either sadly lacking or non-existent. In all cases, it was evident that no one at any level really knew what an ideal “Teamwork Environment” looked like.

The challenge with TEAMWORK appears to be one of perception. What exactly is teamwork? Leaders (managers, foremen, supervisors, et al) often have a different view of teamwork than that of their direct reports.

·         Workers often feel that teamwork is the responsibility of the leader...in other words they believe that a good leader creates and manages good teamwork amongst his or her employees.

·          Leaders, on the other hand tend to feel that teamwork is the purview of the team members. In other words they believe that good employees should be good team players and if teamwork is lacking, it is a result of one or more of the team members not exhibiting the qualities of a team player.

The dynamic that prevents teamwork from occurring consistently, randomly and systematically in any organization is the lack of true symbiosis between leaders and employees.

Unfortunately, in most working groups, there is seldom a close working association and cooperative relationship between management and staff that can engender or nurture a strong atmosphere of pure TEAMWORK.

·         So how do we establish true symbiosis between leaders and employees?

TEAMWORK requires structure and hierarchy... Some experts would prefer to replace hierarchical structure with equality and a flat management style where everyone is a partner and everyone is entitled to share in the decision making process at all times, in all ways. In that structure all of the team members should assumedly be held accountable for challenges and failures, but unfortunately not all of them will be willing to take on that responsibility when the time comes. The result is generally a break in the chain and potential bedlam because only a few will feel the ideological desire to make final decisions and accept ultimate responsibility when things don’t work out.

My intention is not to tamper with the popular concept of servant leadership. In fact, I believe that all leaders should be servants...to a point. Strong leaders must lead at all times, they must be accountable for everything in their sphere of answerability and they must accept responsibility for the actions of their employees. They must put themselves on the line and work selflessly for a mutually beneficial end. Servant leadership is only possible when leaders are selfless and it should not be diluted by a structure where hierarchy is replaced by a confused and potentially chaotic lack of hierarchical leadership.

·         Successful military campaigns are lead by great leaders just as “Super bowls” and “Stanley Cups” are won by teams with great coaches.

Running a successful organization is really no different than winning a war or a game. In all cases, the players must be able to look to a leader for direction and they must have almost blind-trust and extreme confidence in their leader to make good decisions for them...But that is not the only factor that matters.

·         Good TEAMWORK is driven from the bottom up by great leaders.

A good business leader will not assume that his or her employees understand TEAMWORK. A good leader will talk to her or his employees about TEAMWORK, what it entails, and what is expected on an ongoing and consistent basis. A good leader will spend time learning the jobs of his or her employees and clarifying what is expected of each member of the team in each position.

TEAMWORK, (not unlike accounting and sales techniques) must be taught and learned. Symbiosis is not automatic and a generalized lack of engagement cannot be blamed on one or two “bad” employees.

·         When an organization lacks TEAMWORK, it lacks leadership and it is doomed to turmoil and potential failure.

Great organizations monitor their TQ (teamwork quotient) regularly and take steps to assure that everyone is onboard at all times. They know that without TEAMWORK they cannot advance as quickly as they would like and that every small step forward feels like a giant, muscle-pulling leap! In order to reduce employee stress and increase profitability, great leaders make certain at all times that every employee is pulling his or her weight so that the business train can keep chugging relentlessly up the mountain of twenty-first century business challenges.

What is the TQ like in your organization? Have you monitored

 your TEAMWORK QUOTIENT to make sure that your 

organization has symbiosis at all levels? It is never too late to 

put your Teamwork Train back on the track!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Monday, September 10, 2012

Time Management Factors

Many people complain that they do not have enough time and can never get caught up. I want to share something with you that you might not expect.

 “You will never have enough time for everything no matter how hard you try.”


As long as you are in the workforce, work will keep coming your way. If you are adding any value at all to your business, every time you walk through the door of your workplace a new challenge will be waiting. The first step to time management is to accept that you will never get everything done and embrace it as symptom of success rather than a symbol of failure or poor performance.

People who are always caught up and not busy at work usually become redundant fairly quickly and you don’t want to be one of those.


In order to better manage your time for maximum efficiency, you must understand and admit to yourself that the problem is not a shortage of time...it is ineffective use of time!

The most successful people manage their time effectively, and then take action to accomplish more every day.  Good time managers have a laser-sharp focus on their work and an abundance of energy to get it done.

If you are constantly distracted from your work by outside, intervening forces, you will never manage your time effectively.

If you are lacking in energy and find your work to be drudgery or just too much to handle, you will never get ahead.

When you are often pulled away from the task at hand you will find yourself in a constant state of crisis management which can lead to misdirected action and burnout. If everything around you seems to be going wrong, you need to evaluate why you are being distracted from your real work. It could be that you are being affected by old prejudices, bad influences from co-workers or a lack of clear direction. Anything that distracts you from your primary tasks must be eliminated if you want to enjoy good time management.
If you find yourself having constant interruptions from co-workers or family members that are not directly related to your immediate task, ask them to wait until a more appropriate time. I must repeat that time management requires focus and you cannot focus if you are paying more attention to other people than you are to your own job.


If you find yourself being regularly short of energy, you must evaluate what is causing it, and then do something about it.

Low energy levels can be physiological or emotional. I would recommend that if you are tired all the time, you talk your doctor to rule out any sort of medical condition. If your health is good and you are still lacking in energy, you need to consider whether your lethargy is a result of family matters, personal problems, or a lack of engagement in your work.

When you have low energy levels and low focus, you will procrastinate and show up in body alone. You will hesitate to take initiative to get things done...often until it is too late. It is possible that your procrastination is a result of having little or no belief in your own abilities, perhaps you have a fear of failure, or maybe you have had a negative experience in the past which is preventing you from taking action. No matter what is causing your procrastination, you must push past it because it is one of the greatest killers of good time management there is.


Disengagement can be identified by liberal displays of apathy, excuses and cynicism.

 People who do not enjoy their jobs tend to fall into negative moods which prevent them from enjoying their work. When that happens they will do what my Mom would call “busy-work.” In other words they will do all sorts of unnecessary, ineffective things in order to avoid the important, pressing issues before them. Disengagement is one of greatest killers of time management.

If you are not engaged in your work, you must determine why.  Some causes of disengagement include, (but are not limited to) feeling unappreciated, believing you are overworked or not being paid enough to make ends meet. If any of those things apply to you, there is a good chance that your energy levels are low. If that is the case, you need to make some changes in your workplace situation in order to recharge your batteries and bring your energy levels back to where they should be. That might include speaking with your boss about your concerns and working out a plan for improvement.


Without energy, you cannot have focus.

So, why do you need focus? When you have focus you:

ð        Are not prone to radical emotional reactions.
ð        You are less likely to become distracted by unimportant things.
ð        You place full attention on truly meaningful things.
ð        You are better able to manage your time.

Once your energy levels are up and you are able to focus on your work, your life will improve immeasurably.

Time management is not about the clock or too much work...Time management is all about you!

All the Best
Wayne Kehl

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Everyone Can Be Successful

Like so many folks of my vintage, on the day I reached my sixtieth birthday, I began an involuntary self-assessment and reappraisal of my life. This was not a dramatic or religious rebirth; it was not a form of salvation or psychological liberation, and I did not “find myself” or “recreate myself”. Instead, this was a gentle wonderment about what I had done to get this far and what value I might have brought to the world.


As I pondered my life and my place in the world, I came to the conclusion that although I had been reasonably successful in a business sense, I had never been fabulously wealthy or incredibly famous...and I think I am fine with that because I am not sure how well I would have handled those things... At this point I will probably never find out. My mind then wandered to some of the people I met along the way. For the most part, those who achieved fabulous wealth and fame missed the mark in one very important area...they often lacked a genuine spirit of fun or a feeling of joy for just the simple pleasure of being alive.

Rich folks who are “self-made” or who move from poor to rich through hard work, intelligence and personal effort seem to give up so much of their souls that they seldom sit back and spend time enjoying the fruits of their labours. Despite the fact that they exceed the norms in terms of effort and accomplishment, they often miss out on the very things they work so hard to achieve. They start out wanting more money so they can have security; a grand lifestyle and possessions galore but once they get those things they feel no joy from them. Instead of taking time out to smell the roses and float in a sea of secure tranquility, they work even harder in order to grow their portfolio of possessions. Even when they are happy, it is seldom because of their wealth or the things they have acquired...and yet they continue to acquire “stuff”.


Unlike the rich folks I know, the poor, struggling or mediocre folks I have met generally seem to display a greater sense of good humour or pure joy on a much more regular basis. They appreciate small wins and simple acts of kindness. Any new experiences are wonderful and fun for them because they cannot afford to do whatever they want, whenever they want like their wealthy counterparts. They find humour in their own struggles and they laugh when they inadvertently engineer small failures in their lives. They don’t take themselves too seriously and they admire people who are simply kind or nice. They often joke about their own lack of money and how they have trouble making ends meet. They are often selfless and think nothing of putting themselves out to help another person. In short, non-wealthy people find happiness in the simplest of things. They enjoy life and they appreciate every good thing that comes their way.


My evaluation of this phenomenon is that rich people set the bar so high for themselves that it is impossible to reach for even the most aggressive of them. When they reach one goal, they set another, higher one. When they seem to have reached their maximum potential, they don’t go home and enjoy their lives, they seek more and greater opportunities to create wealth. No matter how much material success they attain, they know that someone somewhere has something they do not have and that creates a need in them to work harder to show the world that no one can best them. Competitive to a fault, they are driven by their own minds to continuously improve their positions in life.


Unlike the very rich, non-wealthy, not-famous people realize that despite any potential they might have, they will probably never reach the heights that the rich and famous wallow in. They accept that they have self-limiting characteristics that hold them back. They understand that despite all of the books, blogs, coaches and consultants that bombard us with well-intended, success-creating-propaganda on a daily basis, there is only room at the top for a select few. Most people do not practice, the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” nor have they read that very popular book by Steven Covey. Most think that Tony Robbins is a great orator and brilliant thinker, but they really do not want to expend the effort or change their lives to the extent that he suggests in “Awaken the Giant Within”. For them, those concepts are for the not-so-regular people who float and fly about, making business deals and signing contracts on yachts or private jets. Those things are for “them”; “the others”; the “chosen few”. After all, if everyone on earth were rich, where would all of the money come from to overflow their bank accounts? Clearly we need a balance of rich, poor and middle-class to make our economy function for everyone.


Now that I am older and have very few years left to work, I understand that we all cannot be rich, but we all CAN be successful.

To those rich folks who are compelled by their minds to work tirelessly to create wealth, I say, “Good on you!” You make a difference!

To all of the non-wealthy people I say, “Great job!” You bring normalcy to the world and make all of us feel good about ourselves. You matter!


“Relative success is not about money or status. It is the measure of how others feel about you and how you feel about yourself.”

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Friday, August 17, 2012

Running in Donald Trump's shoes

Famed businessman and entertainment mogul, Donald Trump is loved, hated, praised and reviled concurrently on any given day. He can command respect while attracting derision with almost anything he says or does. He is generally known to be incredibly successful but he has seen his share of financial decline and uncertainty. He is an enigma who changes his presentation, mood and disposition with disconcerting irregularity. In short, Donald Trump simultaneously represents everything people in the western world want and much of what we find repugnant. So, how does he do it and why do we care?

What drives “The Donald” and why does he work so hard?

As a behavioural analyst, it is clear to me that Mr. Trump is a highly dominant individual. He has an overwhelming desire to win and he becomes very angry when faced with potential failure or disrespect. Dominance also provides him with a thick skin and an unusually large dollop of courage. It is clear that he is highly individualistic which means that he has an overwhelming desire to take control of essentially every facet of every situation, person, place, or thing he comes into contact with. In order to win, he knows that he must work harder than anyone else and he must never drop his guard. I doubt that many people reading this have worked harder or run faster toward success than Donald Trump.

The traits of dominance and individualism in combination provide him with an intimidating demeanour which he seems to savour. He often softens his overt criticisms with a smile or a joke in order to let his subjects know that he is not done with them yet. If he smiles at them, after tearing their egos to shreds, there is a good chance they will live on to win or fail another day. Despite his dominant nature he is quite empathetic and deep inside of him beats a kindly heart.

He appears to have a love of the arts and beautiful people. That trait is generally accompanied by a need for overall harmony in his life and business. When harmony is not present he will be compelled to take charge by reacting with dominance...usually in the form of anger or impatience. If he cannot regain control, he might feel the need to perform a decisive, extreme act...something along the lines of, “You’re fired!”

Why do we care about Donald Trump?

“The Donald” lives a lavish lifestyle and has the ability to do virtually anything he wants to. While the average person is driving a typical automobile, he is riding in the back of a stretch limo. While the average person enjoys a walk in the park, he enjoys building incredible golf courses. While most of us struggle a lifetime to pay off a small mortgage, he trades in billions of dollars of real estate daily. He has all of the things most of us want and he is unabashed about letting the world know about it.

Donald Trump’s “style” is one of strong mindedness, boldness, and self confidence. He could easily be accused of arrogance, but because he has a superior sense-of-self he probably sees himself not as arrogant, but rather cool, in-control and unassailable. In his mind, he is not arrogant...he is instead...poised and confident. He expects respect and when he doesn’t get it, he is quick to correct the situation one way or another.

Who among us would not like to live a life a wealth, free from worries about money or possessions? Which one of us would not like to be able to have what we wanted when we wanted it, all the while surrounded by adoring fans, employees and family members? Who can honestly say they would not want what Donald Trump has? We might not want to be him, but we would like to have what he worked so hard to get.

He has found the secret to success and turned it into a multi-billion dollar empire. He has taken the elements of his personality and turned them into a larger-than-life iconic character. He is “The Donald” and centuries from now, he will be remembered for his many accomplishments and his powerful personality.  Do we really care about him in a meaningful, personal way? Probably not, but we find him fascinating because he is so complex and so darned interesting.

Is Donald Trump a leader?

Anyone who has watched the television show, “The Apprentice” or the “The Celebrity Apprentice” can easily see that “The Donald’s” contestants, employees, and family members revere and adore him. Some of the most famous and beloved singers, actors, and comedians in the world insist on calling him “Mr. Trump” while fawning over him to gain his favour in the most obsequious ways. He only has to walk into a room and sit down in order to bring everyone to attention. His demeanour is that of a supreme-court judge...the only things missing are the long black robe and a gavel. The question might be: "Is that leadership or is it simple intimidation?" It appears to be a little of both, but many of the people who compete on his show have no need to be there other than for exposure and for the opportunity to get to know “The Donald” on a more personal basis. They could leave at any time, but they stay despite any scorn he might direct at them.

The non-celebrities who compete go through an even more rigorous trial than the famous folks. The ones who are successful are the ones who are most like Mr. Trump. They are the ones who are smart enough to understand what he wants, what he expects and what it will take to work with him. They are great followers who might one day become great leaders.

Great leaders lead by example and anyone who can successfully model themselves after Donald Trump stands a good chance of accomplishing some of his achievements.  He might not be a classic “nice guy” but he sets an example for success that is all but unequalled in business history.

If you want success, run a mile in Donald Trump’s shoes!

Open, honest disclosure: I must state that I have never met Donald Trump and my comments are opinions based only on my own observations and research I have done of publicly available information.  

All the Best
Wayne Kehl

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Can Anyone Become A Great Leader?


Please do not assume great leadership is required for success. Almost any organization can become financially successful through the application of excellent financial management principles, good research and development, professional marketing and strategic acquisition of highly qualified employees and managers. That however, is NOT leadership and the people who work in organizations that are not well led generally become disengaged over time. When that happens, performance wanes and sales decline.

Success without great leadership is a slippery slope that has caused many organizations to crash-and-burn despite fabulous market penetration and good financial growth.

Organizations with great leadership have staying power. They live on through all manner of market changes and economic woes. Great leaders run great organizations that are capable of remaining respected household names from one generation to the next.

Organizations with poor leadership are short lived. They eventually fade into distant memories of second-rate products, bad service and abysmal management.

 There is no replacement for great leadership.

Leadership is represented by the consistent application of the principles of:

·         Thoughtfulness,

·         Selflessness,

·         Integrity,

·         Compassion,

·         Respect,

·         Conscientiousness

·         And Courage.

All of these principles can usually be found in highly-regarded leaders. Does that sound like you? Does that sound like you at all times? If not, take heart...Leadership can be learned!

Great leaders, lead by example. Their unspoken intention is to consistently set a great example so that others may follow their lead. If you want to be a better leader, pay attention to great leaders and watch for the things that set them apart from others around them. Think about what makes them different.

If you observe revered leaders and analyse the things they do and say you will find some commonalities. Check out their mannerisms, their way of speaking, the time they give people and their smile patterns. You will notice that despite the gravity of any given situation they remain calm and focus on putting the minds of others at rest. In dire situations, when even they have no choice but to become emotional, they will quickly return to a more tranquil, composed state so that they may lead others to a safe and satisfactory end. Their sole purpose is to assist others and improve their lives.

Always Remember: The number one quality of a great leader is the desire to see others do well.

In order to put the principles of leadership to work in your own life, you must believe in yourself and you must be willing to change. Your mind and your very being must embrace three things:

1.       You must truly want to change.

2.       You must believe you can change.

3.       You must believe that change will improve your life and the lives of others.

If you are not a great leader and you are not willing to change, you are tip-toeing around the common definition of insanity: “Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” Although you may not be insane when you avoid change, you cannot improve without it. The word, “improve” indicates a change for the better and improvement cannot happen on its own. It requires an outside, intervening force. That force is you!

If you go to work every day expecting others to change so that they can accept your leadership “style”, you will fail. Leadership is not about the people who must follow...it is about the person who is trying to lead...it is about you. If your style is not working, change it! If you continue to rely on a failing style, you will continue to fail in ever-increasing increments.

Open up your mind and be willing to learn new things. Here are five simple things you can do to discover your own leadership style in order to become a better leader:

1.       Ask your peers to describe your leadership style to you.

2.       Ask your followers how they feel about your leadership style.

3.       Be willing to accept criticism calmly.

4.       Act on the criticism you hear, with an aim to improvement.

5.       Review your “style” often.

If all else fails, get a coach. I specialize in leadership training and I am sometimes amazed at what some people think good leadership is. These are not bad people. They have simply grown up in an environment where negative or ineffective leadership styles are the norm. They only need a small but powerful push to get them back on the right track.

No...Only those people who follow the principles of leadership, who are able to change and who are willing to do a lot of ongoing self-discovery will climb to the ranks of the great leaders of history.

What are you doing to improve your leadership style? 

All the Best
Wayne Kehl