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Get into the leadershipzone – practical tools and ideas you can use to improve your effectiveness as a leader or manager

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Advanced Boss Taming: Better leadership from the ‘Ugly’ Boss

I’ve written about the good and the bad, then there’s the Ugly Boss. 

Which is why I was driving into the cold wet night to meet up with a client.  This boss believes that the carrot and the stick both work.  If you break the stick over a team-member, hit them with the carrot.

This boss doesn’t bother to find out what motivates his team.  He’s quite frank about it.  He simply doesn’t care.  He pays you to deliver and when you do he won’t congratulate you or give you the pat on the back you deserve.

Illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt at

Illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt at

He may deliberately (or unwittingly) practice ‘divide and rule’.  Belittle you because you’re his target this week.  Buy 2/3 of the team the latest laptop.  Leave the rest of you to struggle with new systems without the firepower or the back-up.  Continue reading


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The Good, the Bad & the Ugly of Leadership – Boss Taming part 2

On Sunday I posted part one of this blog – ‘Good Boss, Co-Create’ – now we begin to get into a little less comfortable area of leadership – so let’s see what we might do….

The Bad Boss – Check for Checks and Balances

I’ve got those Spaghetti Westerns cowboys in mind.  A rough figure in a poncho.  Sombrero tipped off his head, half-covering the rifle slung across his back.  Liable to pull it into action at any minute.  Or fire off from one of the pistols at his hips.cowboy

This is a sharp-shooting leader of my acquaintance.  Oh, and he’s a she.  Busy building her own career with the politicos and external stakeholders, she’s driving her posse from one poorly-thought-through project to another.  Continue reading

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Boss Taming – the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of leadership

My alter ego is an ‘Emma Peel’ figure from the ‘60s British TV series The Avengers.  I see myself jumping into a red Mini Cooper, probably emblazoned with the motto “Coach on a Mission”.  I pack my Boss-Taming kit in the tiny boot, and deal with the good, the bad and the ugly of leadership.

The boss tamer's top hat

The boss tamer’s top hat

This is a longer blog than usual.  So I’m going to share it over three days – and give you time to think about the different elements. Continue reading

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Boss Taming on the UN International Peace Day

21st September is the UN International Peace Day and I was fortunate last year to be at a European Parliament conference where a number of organisations pledged to undertake peace initiatives.   I met a range of people from different countries and institutions all focused on this theme.  Jeremy Gilley, the Founder of the Peace One Day movement was there and there were discussions about education, eliminating domestic violence, using ceasefire as opportunities for health initiatives, and reducing conflict, amongst many other ideas.  It might come as no surprise, however, that Boss Taming wasn’t on the agenda, as most of the people there were leaders in their organisations.

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Leadership & Boss Taming How four easy listening steps benefit you

When I worked in a global banking and insurance organisation, someone told me I had the Cassandra Complex.  No, not the European electro-goth-industrial band, but the inability to convince others of the validity of my arguments; named after a character in Greek mythology.  So in the last 15 years I’ve spent a lot of time working out how to best influence others.  If I had a penny for everyone who said “my boss just doesn’t listen” I’d be writing this from my yacht moored by the Mediterranean Sea.   The phrase that would also pay for the penthouse in the harbour is “my boss talks too much.”  These phrases create frustration as they dis-empower us and reduce our emotional resilience.  So how can you benefit from listening to your boss and be more successful at boss taming, as well as improve your leadership? Continue reading