The #1 Way To Alienate Your Hard-Working Team

We’ve all been there — your accomplishment, which you’ve spent months on, gets credited publicly to your superior. She just smiles and nods, taking all the credit and seeming to forget that she has a team behind her.

And then the moment a criticism is levied, the same leader immediately turns it toward her team, skirting any responsibility.


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Having this reversed perspective on praise and criticism is the #1 way to undermine your credibility, destroy morale, and drive your team to start updating their resumes. After all, we know that people don’t leave jobs — they leave their boss.

Here’s the simple two-part rule for not being that kind of leader.

How to Handle a Crisis… and Come Out Smelling Like a Rose

Six minutes. That’s how long it took to realize that the flood of calls and emails meant that we were about to have dozens of angry constituents on our hands.

Now, a couple of weeks later, I’m thrilled that, rather than losing important relationships over the debacle, we’ve actually improved our reputation among most of the affected families. Here’s how we did it.


My Top 10 Posts of 2014

This has been a great year — a year in which, among many challenges and accomplishments, I’m thrilled to have launched this blog.


Photo courtesy of Dennis Skley on Flickr

I’m especially grateful for you, the handful of people who have come aboard and supported my journey into becoming a writer, in addition to a nonprofit professional. Your support and encouragement have kept me going!

As I look back on Year 1 (or should I call this Year 0?), I thought I might share the Top 10 posts from the year — those that received the most shares on social media and email and the most views on my website. I thought this might be especially helpful for those who have subscribed more recently — you may have missed some earlier posts that you might find interesting or helpful.

How to Give a Great Media Interview

As nonprofit leaders, we’re often called upon to speak with the media. For many, this can be one of the scariest responsibilities of being a leader. But with a little practice and a few key points, you can knock it out of the park.

How to Give a Great Media Interview

Please note: These suggestions are intended for general, non-crisis interviews.

Can You See Where You’re Going?

Last week, I took a couple of much-needed days off from work. It’s been an outrageously busy couple of months, and I needed a little “me time.” On my list one morning was to fix the cloudy headlights on my 11-year-old car — they’ve been getting so cloudy that it’s reducing the amount of light cast on the road ahead of me.


Photo courtesy of Aftab Uzzaman on Flickr

As I sat in the driveway buffing my headlights, I asked myself, “Why has it taken me months to get to this? What was more important than seeing where I’m going?

An Enduring Mark on Richmond

John Bryan retired this week after more than five years as the founding president of CultureWorks here in Richmond. For those outside Richmond, CultureWorks is the champion for arts and culture in the Richmond region. John is a mentor to many and a friend to all. Despite decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, he has a naturally inquisitive spirit and a lasting commitment to continuous learning. He has left a truly enduring mark on Richmond — in more ways than one.


I recently sat down with John to talk about leadership, our community, his tattoo, and his thoughts as he retires from his position with CultureWorks.

When You Make a Mistake…

Like it or not, we’ve all made our share of mistakes. It’s what we do next that determines our success as a leader.


Image courtesy of Byrne Reese on Flickr

Early in my career, I made a big mistake with a volunteer. He had done some things which forced the Board chair to remove him from his post, and it was my job to implement this action. However, the way I chose to do it was publicly disrespectful of the many years of service this gentleman had provided my organization. He was so offended that he responded in public.

When confronted with the outrage of the offended volunteer and his friends, I doubled-down, got hot-headed and defensive, and started to further escalate the situation.

Thankfully, someone pulled me aside and said, “You may be in the right, but your attitude and approach are putting you in the wrong.”

What’s the Point of Personal Productivity?

I have a whole series of articles cooking in my head about personal productivity: how to go paperless, how to use an iPad to tame your to-do list, how to regain your sanity by cleaning up your office, and more. But before we tackle any of that, we need to address a critical question:


Image courtesy of Jake Johnson on Flickr
What’s the point?