Jim Bohn, PhD.

Principal Consultant and CEO, ProAxios

Free Business Speaker in Milwaukee

  • Overcoming Leadership Blind Spots: What you can’t see can hurt you.

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Business

    The most important thing I learned in Driver's Education was 'check your blind spot.' That bit of coaching has literally saved my life multiple times throughout the past several decades. Not checking a blind spot can mean destruction while driving a car, but I often wonder whether leaders take the time to check their blind spots. MORE >

    1. "My way or the highway." Unidirectional leadership is an oxymoron. While leaders may think this approach demonstrates leadership, they may be losing the very followers they need to be successful.

    2. "I don't need any feedback." Those who do not want to hear about character flaws that may be impeding their success are especially vulnerable to this blind spot. Think 'ego on steroids'. As the old Proverb says: Pride comes before a fall.

    3. Feigned commitment. Leaders who nod their heads in approval during key meetings but only do so for appearances, are sending a message of disinterestedness which damages credibility.

    4. An unwillingness to get one's hands dirty when the chips are down. Leaders who are 'above all that' send a powerful message about their true concern for the challenges facing their team.

    5. Demonstrating an "Illusion of participation". In organizational behavior, we coach leaders to refrain from asking people for input unless they plan to use it (Think employee surveys, for example). Leaders erode follower confidence in their sincerity when they act as if they're interested in someone's advice without including those thoughts in a solution. Loss of sincerity = loss of trust = loss of influence.

    6. Assuming others know what we know. Sometimes leaders think about a decision for days, weeks, even months ... but when they decide to act, they forget that their team has not had the time to process what they've been thinking about, causing confusion and frustration in the ranks.

    Blind spots can be remedied with candid leader openness to criticism that articulates the danger of the blind spot, the short-term impact of the blind spot, and the long-term, career damaging blind spots that can run someone off course forever. What are your leadership blind spots? Have you considered what they might be? Have you asked for sincere criticism of your style by a trusted colleague?

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  • Everything I learned about leadership by playing in a rock and roll band.

    TOPIC CATEGORY: Business

    Everyone wants to be a rock musician. We call great sales people “rock stars” for a reason. Rock musicians ‘own’ the world. They have immense influence, they can have a crowd of thousands eating out of their hands, and they get perks most humans can’t even dream of, including wealth (and special parking!). MORE >

    In some ways, I believe many people want to be musicians because musicians exemplify freedom of wide open expression, creativity, significant influence, autonomy, and the power of being valued. In some ways, musicians are a special window into humanity. They are what many people aspire to be, and so their behavior tells us things about human nature. I have worked with many musicians (and I confess I am one myself!). I may have learned more about management from working with musicians than from classes or business projects. They are a unique breed but their behavior provides us with special insight into the human condition.

    Learning Objectives

    1. Autonomy is critical to creativity. You simply do not tell a musician what to do. You need to work with their natural and deep motivations for success and recognition.

    2. Musicians build efficacy through failure and regrouping.

    3. Musicians invest a lot in their craft … but expect something in return.

    4. Musicians are heavily self-invested.

    5. Working with individual musicians is a far cry from working with a band!

    6. Business and Music are not so far apart!

    The dreaded band meeting is the place where all the egos converge. It is a place where the bored don’t want to discuss the mundane details of managing logistics and getting to gigs on time. It is a place where everyone has an idea of their own about how things should be done, according to their own creative impulses and views of the universe, and their own motivational desires for achievement.

    When you stop to think about it, musicians are just the rest of us on stage. That’s why everyone wants to be a rock star.

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