Believe In Them and They Will…


Do you believe the best in your employees? Are there some that are underperforming? If you changed your opinion about the underperformer to a favorable one, do you think their performance will follow?

There is a theory, somewhat old now, that believing in the best in people actually does improve their performance. It is called the Pygmalion Effect.

Some argue that the effect is self-serving. For example, if you intentionally treat someone better, does their performance actually change or is it simply a change of perception that colors your view of them?

Store level retail is full of entry-level associates. Many have no background in retail, and their adaptation may be slow. This could lead to an unfair perception that they are not the right material.

How can you show them that you believe in them?

When we believe the best in them, what would they become? Here are four suggestions to help you put this theory to the test:

  1. Give them a task or project that is essential yet difficult.

Give them the proper training and encouragement, and let them try. Tell them you believe in them. If they get stuck and come back to you, ask them what they feel their barriers to success are. Ask them how they can overcome those barriers. Encourage them to go with their own solution.

  1. In the interview process, outline the path to management level.

Let them know that many employees started in the same position, and you believe that the person you hire will have that capability. After you hire them, tell them that you will commit to giving them the training over time if they commit to give their best.

  1. Constantly ask them, “What would you do?” when they ask you for direction.

In the beginning, there is a need for clear direction. However, after a few months, there is a good chance the employee already knows the answer. When they look for direction after gaining experience, ask them “what would you do?” When they reply, unless their answer is outlandish or violates company policy, tell them that it is a good answer and encourage them go do it.

  1. Frequently inquire about their future.

If they indicate a future that is with the company, ask them what they would like to try next. Unless it’s not feasible, make it happen for them.

The worst case is that the employee fails you. However, when they fail, give them a hand back up. It’s OK to fail as life’s best lessons are often learned this way.

Retail has a high degree of turnover, and much of it is due to lack of engagement. When you express your belief in them, I believe you’ll see reciprocation in engagement. With your belief and their engagement, so much more is possible than before!

I would like to hear your thoughts or comments!


The Best Leaders Are Futurists?


There are people out there who study the future and try to plan for eventualities. Their vision is so forward looking that they are called futurists.

I didn’t really understand the word until recently. My interest was peaked by a passage written by Alan Loy McGinnis, Bringing Out the Best in People.

He wrote, “The best leaders are more than optimists (though almost every good motivator is a strong positive thinker). They are also futurists. That is, they love to live in the future, dream about the future, talk about the future – and they are always urging people around them to do the same.”

It’s a curious thought. I think the benefits of being a futurist leader we would be:

  1. Sharing your vision is the same as inviting those around you to participate. By trusting your employees to your vision, they feel included in the journey.
  2. Employees understand the Big Picture. This helps them pull in the same direction as you.
  3. Talking out loud allows questions. Your employees can help you understand some other considerations that are needed. Better yet, they can help you with those considerations.
  4. Optimism is better than gloom. Have you ever felt that somehow your bad mood negatively influenced an employee? The opposite would have to be true. Your optimism about the future should affect your employee positively leading to better engagement and less turnover.
  5. Your connection with your employees will grow. They may start to share their own dreams with you thereby deepening the bond.
  6. Help others deal with the change. Change is so much easier when you know it’s coming. Futurists expect change, and you’ll better prepare your team for it.

What do you think about being a futurist? Does it have benefits? Please share your thoughts.

Disclaimer: No one has paid me to mention this book. It is one of my favorite books to keep around and browse through every once in awhile. You can pick up your copy on Amazon or Barnes & Nobles. For your convenience, here are the links:


Helping the Team Do Their Best


Trust is a value I hold dear. It’s equally important in a working relationship. As an employee, I trust my manager will give me a chance to do my best. As a manager, it’s vitally important that I uphold this trust and give them a chance to do their best.

Keep the following leadership principles in mind when helping your team do their best:


Give your employees the opportunities to make decisions and to solve problems that they see. Empowering is difficult to do as it takes patience with your employee as they may make mistakes. Be understanding and ask them what they would do next time. Then encourage them to go do it. Speaking of making mistakes…

Let Them Fail

Often times failure leads to the most learning opportunities. When they make a mistake, offer your employees a hand up and an ear to listen. Don’t make the consequence severe unless the result is severe. Reiterate you believe in them.

Remove Obstacles

Some obstacles are difficult or impossible for employees to overcome. Some of them are simple and easy for you to see. Remove them. Don’t force them to go through the ring of fire unless it’s necessary.

Give Them a Stretch Goal


Provide goals that both encourage learning new skills and build a path for them to whatever the next stop in their career is such as moving up in the company. Have the confidence and delegate one of your duties to them. Give them the one-on-one training they’ll need to do it. They will love this time with you and the opportunity to take on more responsibility and learn new skills!

Give Them Credit (Publicly)

Ensure you give the employee(s) involved 100% credit when an employee earns recognition for the unit. Knowing that you won’t assume credit will build trust with you and naturally encourage them to keep achieving.

What are some other ways that you help your team do their best? Please share in the comments! Thank you for reading!

My Favorite Leadership Blogs


None of us are perfect. But how often do you leave time to understand where you can get better at leadership? Time is precious. Time is not unlimited. Fortunately, there are ways to maximize your time and get a little better at leadership every day.

The following blogs help me understand leadership better and only take minutes a day. It’s the list that no one asked me for, but I insist that you check out my favorite blogs!

Michael Hyatt

I must thank Michael for turning me on to social media. His book, Platform, was a revelation. I read this book as part of my school assignment, but I didn’t know that he also shared a passion for leadership – Intentional Leadership as he calls it. He provides straightforward steps on how to intentionally lead people, and his blog is published daily. Like podcasts? He does them, too. He even gives away free e-books!

Dan Rockwell

A prolific blogger with strong takes on leadership, he dishes reality on leadership. His blogs are short and to the point. He gives authentic takes on how to handle difficult topics. It’s not fantasy advice; it’s reality advice. He responds to comments on his blog, and he will give you a jolt of confidence that you can get better at leading people. He’s a Leadership Freak!

John Maxwell

John has been blogging for about 7 years, and we are lucky to have his insight. As a successful business leader, he breaks down the basics for us weekly with real world insight at a level we can all understand.

Ken Blanchard

Author of the One Minute Manager, Ken’s blog is adept at simplifying leadership trials and travails and how you can succeed at it. His blog comes out bi-weekly.

Suzanne Lucas

Suzanne makes HR issues simple. She provides insight that helps new to seasoned managers. Always an interesting take on HR issues!

And if you’re in retail like me…

Beth Boyd

Beth is passionate about GREAT leadership in retail! She’s seen enough bad leadership that it doesn’t sit well with her. As such, her advice is aimed at those looking to be GREAT. Do check her blog out often as she usually writes two or more times per week.

Bob Phibbs

The Retail Doctor! His blogs are definitely aimed more at C-suite execs, but it is also great for those interested in retail strategy. Bob keeps my industry knowledge relevant!

What are your favorite leadership blogs? Share them in the comments!


Leadership Lessons Learned in Childhood



I recently pondered my own ideals and their origins. I found great leaders hugely influenced me in childhood. Upon reflection, I wonder if you would feel the same?

My father

He always believes the best in me. He trusts that I will make good decisions. He’s happy if I’m successful. I can’t think of better traits to have in a leader. The day that I feel I disappointed him the most is when I was picked up by the police for a vandalism crime that my friend committed. When he got home from his over one hour long commute, his look of disappointment on his face struck deep to the bone. When he learned I was not responsible, he was relieved. Leaders believe in you!

Ronald Reagan

He was my president growing up. When he addressed the nation, he did it with such sincerity! I felt like I was part of a great nation. Leaders are often great communicators!

Mikhail Gorbachev

He did what was right for his people and decided that friendship and understanding was better than hostility. It wasn’t easy to make an unpopular choice in having dialogue with Reagan. It was even more difficult to decide to bring down the wall. Leaders make the right choice no matter what!

Walter Payton

I watched him break the NFL rushing record. He was everything you wanted in a football player – a great teammate, worked hard, and he represented his city. He was everything you wanted in a running back – could run, catch, block, and even throw. He finally won his Super Bowl, and he was Chicago sports to me. When he retired, he could have had all of the spoils that come with the glory of being a Chicago sports legend (see Mike Ditka). Yet, we rarely heard from him as he quietly went along still doing great works of charity in the community. Leaders do not need glory!

Michael Jordan

Everyone knows about Mike. He was the fiercest competitor team sports has seen. Leaders are fierce!

Scottie Pippen

When number 23 retired (Michael’s first retirement), he stepped up his game. He had career highs the following year in points, blocks, and rebounds. He was third in MVP voting also. He was one phantom foul on Hubert Davis away from likely leading the Bulls back to the NBA Finals.



When the leader goes down, real leaders step up!


It may seem silly to include him on the list, but he had a profound impact on me. He makes the right decisions all of the time. His loyalty is unwavering. He is brave regardless of the odds. He has a positive attitude in the face of danger. While life sometimes doesn’t have a happy ending/outcome, he’s made me believe in happy endings. Leaders believe in happy endings!

What are some of your childhood influences on leadership? I would love to hear about them!

A Simple Leadership Principle


I once had a boss who performed magic! His mere presence on the sales floor seemed to always enable us get the job done in record time. Whenever an important merchandising project rolled up, his presence instantly doubled our strength. He wasn’t mean. He didn’t yell at us. He made work fun. He made it hard to spot the general by working like a soldier. It was simple.

The principles of great ‘Leadership’ can sometimes be broken down into smaller pieces. One of the often-missed smaller pieces is leading by example.

Leading by example is as simple as:

  1. Working side-by-side with employees showing them how to do it. The employees will also appreciate the time they have with their boss.
  2. Volunteering for the tougher assignments. By showing that you have the courage to take on a tough assignment, your followers will be more apt to volunteer when you need to accomplish something big.
  3. Doing the dirty work first. Your employees should see that you aren’t afraid to do the unfavorable ‘grunt’ work.
  4. Changing your mindset first. When upper management makes a decision that requires change in your team, let them know it isn’t easy. But tell them how you will change yourself to accommodate the request.
  5. Sharing your own struggles. If an employee is finding it hard to execute at their job, share with them a similar experience you’ve had and ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them overcome it.
  6. Failing in front of them. Do not hide your failures. When you fail, let them know you did, and it’s ok because you will get better.

What are some examples you have of leading by example? Please share them in the comments below!


volunteer-1326758_1280Nothing builds a greater camaraderie with your work team than volunteering together for something that you are collectively passionate about.  You may already know of some passions of your team, such as a coworker who volunteers.  You can try to help recruit others in the workplace to join you to get behind a great cause.  Wouldn’t it be great to get behind what they are passionate about?  Wouldn’t it be great to get behind what you’re passionate about?

My colleague, Debbie, is rallying her team behind a great cause, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada. In turn, her team will be able to “toss their boss”: she and some of her team will be able to rappel down the side of one of our area’s tallest buildings, the Grand Sierra Resort!  Over the Edge, an organization that helps non-profits raise money with these types of events, conducts this event.

My colleague is doing what she’s passionate about, by helping Big Brothers Big Sisters, and she’s building camaraderie within her team at the same time.

There are people and organizations that you connect with that need your help.

If you’re an animal lover, the Humane Society could use you.

If you would like to help an elder, check out the AARP or local organizations on Google.

If you or a loved one has been affected by cancer, volunteer for the Relay for Life.

If you want to make a big impact in a child’s life who needs your friendship, consider Big Brothers Big Sisters.  The children you would be helping might be living in a single parent home, be in poverty, or do not have their parents there to raise them. Helping children, indeed helping people, is a great calling, and I will be signing up for Big Brothers Big Sisters next month when my academics are over.

“To ease another’s heartache is to forget one’s own.”
– Abraham Lincoln

What are you passionate about?  Do you currently volunteer for any organizations?  Please let me know and leave a comment below.

If you would like to help Debbie raise money for BBBS, please follow the link below: