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Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Access the Learn from a Leader Video Library

Leaders never stop learning.

And the best leaders learn from other leaders.

You have the opportunity to do that every single month. Invest in the Learn from a Leader series and you’ll get leadership insights and practical takeaways from a featured leader every month.   

  • Want to know how Amy Nelson, CEO of The Riveter, raised more than $20 million in venture capital? She walked us through how she gained the confidence and comfort-level to ask for money.
  • Curious about best-practices from the Seahawks meeting rooms? Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright pulled back the curtain.
  • Need new ideas on how to brainstorm with a team? Seattle Chocolate CEO Jean Thompson shared the way she does it with her team.
  • Struggling with a risk/reward scenario and looking for advice? Former Seahawk and current business owner, Lofa Tatupu provided two questions to evaluate the outcome.

 That’s just a handful of the leaders who have taken part in the series. You can access all of the...

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5 Ways to Develop Leadership Skills During the Holidays

Overwhelm and gratitude. The two seem to be competing emotions this time of year.

And it's no surprise when you think about the 11 months of deadlines, projects, revenue goals, performance reviews you've dealt with. Not to mention, preparing for everything that comes with the holiday season. 

Here’s a suggestion: Hit pause on the crazy schedule but not on being a leader.

It’s okay to scale back your activity level and it’s possible to continue honing your leadership skills at the same time.

5 Ways to Develop Leadership Skills During the Holidays

Delegate. You don’t have to prepare every meal from scratch, or wrap every single present or complete the holiday errands all by yourself. The best leaders know how to delegate. Practice with your family and friends. 
 
Listen. If you’re usually driving conversations and meetings at work, take a backseat in some of the family conversations. Give yourself space to just listen without feeling...

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Sports + Leadership + Community

Most athletes will never make it to the pros. But they can all become leaders.

Despite the amount of money pouring into youth programs and select teams the numbers are stacked against athletes, while being stacked in favor of executive leadership.

According to the NCAA, in most sports less than 8% of high school athletes become NCAA athletes and of those collegiate athletes less than 10% will go pro in their sport. Meanwhile, research conducted by Ernst & Young in 2016 showed a disproportionate number of CEOs played sports when they were younger. In fact, 90% of women surveyed among 821 high-level executives participated in sports.

 It’s no coincidence athletes become leaders. Teamwork, collaboration, accountability, communication and the ability to motivate are core competencies of winning teams. It’s true at every level: high school, select, rec-league, college and in the professional ranks. 

Leadership qualities show up everywhere in sports which is why...

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5 Communication Strategies Leaders Should Borrow From Sports

Stats, scores and outcomes.

That’s usually how sports conversations are approached. Throw in an occasional cliché or metaphor and people really think they’re “talking sporty” when, in fact, they’re looking at sports through a very narrow lens.

Sports provides the framework leaders can use to develop effective communication skills. I see this first-hand as a sports broadcaster with nearly 20 years of experience inside professional locker rooms. You see it too because these communication takeaways are evident every time you watch a game – if you’re watching with a critical eye and an intent around developing stronger communication and leadership skills.  

  

5 Communication Strategies Leaders Should Borrow From Sports

Have face-to-face conversations. The field of play is one of the only places face-to-face, real-time interactions are required. Coaches don’t send emails with an in-bounds play. Quarterbacks...

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How Clear Can You Be?

No one has time for everything.

You’re going to have to delegate some tasks and not in the wishy-washy, “Do you think, if you get a minute and it’s not too much trouble that you could help me out?” kind of way.

That approach won’t get you any closer to a completed task or greater productivity. Failing to make a direct ask leads to frustration, guilt, anxiety and stress and not because people around you aren’t willing to help, but because of the way you asked.

Giving clear directions doesn’t mean you’re bossing people around or acting like a dictator. It simply means you’re spelling out what you need, when you need it and getting confirmation on next steps.

I call it the E.T.A. approach to conversations. It stands for Expectation, Timeline and Action Item and it makes all the difference in being able to get things done.

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Leadership Lessons from My Past Life as a Football Official

leadership Sep 07, 2019

I grew up believing that hard work alone would get me where I wanted to go in life. That being loud was a character flaw to overcome. That blending in was best, because you don’t want to rock the boat or make anyone uncomfortable and that the best way to deal with conflict was to back down and somehow make it my fault because, again, I wouldn’t want to make someone feel badly.

Ten years as a high school football official changed those beliefs.

My time on the field gave me a blueprint for communicating under pressure, dealing with criticism, and demonstrated the importance of making some noise.

Lessons learned on the field went way beyond football. Being a high school football official provided a lifetime of leadership lessons.

Leadership Lessons Learned on the Sidelines

  1. When you stand out make it count.Being the only woman in a room of men during weekly meetings and the only female on the sidelines meant every person in the room and every coach on the field knew my...
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Practicing Leadership: 3 Ways to Encourage Up-and-Coming Leaders

leadership Aug 27, 2019
This is what leadership looks like. We see it on the field of play with our favorite teams and players. Those same actions and mindsets should be part of the way we approach leadership in our work environment. Just take a look…

Russell Wilson isn’t fighting for a spot on the Seahawks roster. He’s already the starting quarter and a team leader. He doesn’t need pre-season football – but several of his teammates do. They need the preseason experience to prove their value and be seen as a contributor in the organization.

That’s the reason Russell told members of the broadcast team (including me) he feels a sense of responsibility to give guys a chance and help them be their best. Borrow his approach when you’ve identified an up-and-coming leader who isn’t ready for a promotion but shows potential.

3 Ways to encourage up-and-coming leaders

Be intentional about giving unproven talent attention. For Russell that means, looking in the...

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5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master – Webinar Series

leadership Aug 24, 2019

Leaders know leadership doesn’t come through a title. It’s your ability to influence people that makes you a leader.

That type of leadership starts with the way you handle 1-on-1 interactions which is why Jen is bringing back 5 Conversation Skills Great Leaders Master.

The strategies in this series are:

Practical. Jen based them on the same ones she uses every day in sports and business conversations

Efficient. They take just 15-seconds to implement because Jen doesn’t have time to waste on TV and neither do you!

Results-driven. You’ll see skyrocketing improvement in the way team members respond and your overall productivity.

Register here for just $45! Can’t join live? No problem; it’s recorded. 

We’ll cover ways to:

1. Share success without bragging so you can better negotiate for yourself.

2. Deliver clear instructions without sounding bossy.

3. Motivate team members to take the “right” next...

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Mentorship Moments: The Importance of Relationships…and Doug Baldwin

leadership mentorship Aug 14, 2019
Holding a microphone doesn’t guarantee an interview.

Being a reporter doesn’t mean people will talk to you.

And even when you do secure an interview and get someone to talk – there’s no assurances they’ll make you look good. Every time I ask a question there’s an opportunity for an athlete to contradict me, correct me or just make me look bad. It’s why I spend so much time building relationships and why I’m especially grateful when they are intentional about making me look good – even when I ask a terrible question.

That’s how former Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin and I became friends.

My first interview with Doug took place during preseason his rookie year. I lost my train of thought during a question, tried to recover, but ended up stumbling around and spitting out something that in no way resembled a good question.

I knew it was a disaster.

I braced myself for his response… which was brilliant.

He answered...

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3 Ways Leaders Support Other Leaders – Advice from Seahawks Linebacker K.J. Wright

leadership seahawks Aug 06, 2019

Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s not a solo proposition.

The best leaders recognize buy-in and support is critical for success, which is why they actively seek ways to support other leaders within an organization. It’s what K.J. Wright does inside the Seahawks locker room because great leaders are good followers. They understand the importance of backing decision-makers.

Great leaders are good followers.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll is the ultimate decision-maker for the guys inside the Seahawks locker room. But the team is only as successful as individual players and leaders inside the locker room allow.

Leaders don’t have to be the ones calling the shots to take on a leadership role.

The same is true in your work environment. A CEO is only as effective as his or her leadership team allows. Winning requires support from other leaders.

K.J. Wright shared his approach to that responsibility in the locker room when he was a featured leader for...

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