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

Learn from a Leader: Leading from Your Lane

There’s no one way to lead. Don’t worry about whether you’re doing it right or not. Focus on staying in the leadership lane that feels most comfortable to you and and if you're encouraging others to lead give them a comfortable space to lead.

Personally, I’ve led from the front of the room. (My 8-year-old self was frequently “volunteered” to go first at piano recitals.
 
I've led from the back of the room. (When you’re the only female in a room full of football officials, just being in the room is leadership.)
 
I’ve led when no one is watching. (By continuing to work after everyone goes home to ease the workload on a colleague.)
 
I've led when everyone is watching. (Thousands of people watch my post-game interviews after milestone games.) 
 
You can lead in a number of different ways. It starts by how you lead yourself as former NFL General Manager Randy...
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Learn from a Leader: Negotiating and Communicating

This is the time of year NFL free-agent deals make headlines. It's easy to look at those dollar amounts and think you'll never been in those kinds of conversations - except negotiating is a skill leaders use every day.

Creating buy-in is a form of persuasion and negotiation. Without it you won't foster the type of teamwork needed to be successful. Being a successful negotiator comes down to a few basic communication skills.

Sports agent Kelli Masters joined Learn from a Leader and shared her overall strategy for negotiating NFL contracts and it isn't about the numbers - it starts with knowing your stuff and being able to see different points of view. 

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner negotiating his own contract in 2019. Most players prefer to let their agent handle the details and have the tough conversations. Those conversations could include the employer (the team) telling an an employee (the player) he isn't as valuable or important as he thinks he is. Who wants to hear...

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Learn from a Leader: Believe in Yourself

The statement is simple, but it can be the hardest to grasp.

It can be equally difficult to differentiate between feedback and validation. Having a sounding board and getting feedback on your ideas, execution and concepts is important, but if you’re initiating those conversations to get validation you’re undermining your impact, expertise and capabilities. It’s part of the conversation I had with Elaina Herber, President and CEO of the Ascend Hospitality Group, during her Learn from a Leader session in February 2021.

That attitude of knowing what you’re capable of was on full display during the two weeks I spent at Mariners Spring Training. Not a single athlete I talked to or interviewed will entertain a conversation about their shortcomings getting in their way of their success. Every single one of them knows what they’re capable of and that’s their focus.

It doesn’t mean they’re not coachable. It doesn’t mean they’re not...

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Learn from a Leader: Sacred Selfishness

Self care is a popular term, but what if you take it a step further and practice "sacred selfishness?" Leaders need to place high value on taking care of themselves so they can lead others. 

And according to Jonni Ressler, CEO of Eleven 11 Solutions, it's one of the best habits you can develop as a leader.

For me, I’m selfish with the first 60-90 minutes of my day. I use that time to workout, journal, read have a cup of coffee and review my to-do list for the day. It’s the only quiet time I’m guaranteed to get every day so I make the most of it. 
 
What does sacred selfishness mean for you? 
 
Jonni joined the Learn from a Leader series earlier this year. Get access to the full interview and entire library of interviews by joining the series
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5 Quotes to Inspire You to Find Your Voice

How do you find your voice?

It’s a topic I’ve shied away from in the past because I didn’t have a good answer and quite honestly wasn’t even sure if I’d found mine. Unless the question was directed at finding my voice as a broadcaster. I know how that came about.

I remember how unsure I felt early in my on-air career at hearing the sound of my own voice. It’s a weird feeling, even if it’s the job you’ve prepared for and the role you’ve always wanted. Hearing yourself on TV or radio sounds different that you might and it’s unnerving. 

I felt pressure to say the exact right thing and to sound like a broadcaster in the process. As a result, I didn’t sound like myself, I wasn’t connecting with the audience and I was too preoccupied to enjoy the moment and just have fun.

It took time, years as a matter of fact, to find my voice as a broadcaster both in what I said and how I said it. It took being on TV every day...

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Learn from a Leader: Thought Leadership

Thought leadership is more than being seen as an expert. It's a way to drive business. An ongoing study by Edelman and LinkedIn found:

"Companies with the best ability to produce timely, thought-provoking thought leadership content are much more adept than their competitors at capturing their customers’ attention and turning that attention into positive results."

Positive results for a company = sales.

Positive results for you as a leader = influence and power to persuade. 

Thought leadership isn't reserved for a select few at the top of a company. Anyone can contribute by being thoughtful, timely and persuasive in their messaging. 

It's a lot like being a newspaper columnist. Well written columns are designed to get you to think and persuade you to see a different point of view. Jerry Brewer, sports columnist for The Washington Post does this on a weekly basis. He joined the Learn from a Leader series in July to describe how he approaches thought leadership and...

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Learn from a Leader: Chaotic Decision-making

Choosing not to make a decision is still a decision. 

Even if you made that decision because you were waiting for more information to make the "real" decision. 

Waiting for more information isn't always the best course of action, especially when dealing with the uncertainty caused by a pandemic. The best leaders take action and create options and flexibility. That's as true now as it was when the pandemic started. 

I think it's great advice, but I'm a little biased since it comes from my dad. He knows what he's talking about a number of years in the C-suite. 

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Practicing Leadership: How do you Talk to Yourself?

“Are you talking to yourself again?”

I’ve lost track of the number of times my husband has asked that question during quarantine.

It’s something I do when problem-solving or trying to remember something. I usually ignore him because there’s no pretending I’m not carrying on a full-blown conversation with myself.

But there is something I won’t ignore anymore the use of certain phrases that should be canned from how we describe what’s happening right now – unprecedented and new normal.

My background as a TV producer leads to me believe emails have been sent from executive producers to writers and producers across the country telling them not to use those words or phrases. (That happens occasionally when words get overused and lose their meaning or aren’t providing an actual description of anything.)

Let’s be honest, by this point we recognize we have all experienced something unexpected that will reshape the way we do...

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Learn from a Leader: High School Student Athletes on Leadership in Uncertainty

Outcomes determine winners.

In sports, it's the final score or the fastest time that indicates a win. But what happens in the absence of outcomes, during a time of uncertainty? 

Winning looks different. 

For high school seniors unable to finish out their sports careers, winning can't be defined by games, races or matches. "Winning" becomes about their leadership skills in a time of uncertainty, their willingness to continue showing up for teammates and their  ability to show gratitude for coaches, teachers and parents. 

I recently spoke to a group of high school seniors from Bellevue Christian School to learn how they've been affected by COVID-19 and how it's helped them develop leadership skills. 

Each one talked about the sports lesson they've leaned into during a time of uncertainty and serves as reminder that sports is more than outcomes. It's an opportunity to lead and provides a blueprint for overcoming challenges and challenging times. 

Key...

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4 Ways Leadership Skills Show Up When Learning New Things

Leaders never stop learning.

I’ve always looked at the scholastic or philosophical side of that statement more than the technical or the tactical. 

Reading articles, books, or studying the habits of other leaders is what came to mind most often, and then I was forced to learn a new website platform.

I’ve spent countless hours over the last three weeks trying to figure out how to use all the features, adapt what I had been doing to what’s now available and cursing under my breath in frustration because it just shouldn’t be that difficult.

It’s called learning.

And I don’t have as much patience for it as I thought.


You can know something without it being a learned behavior or habit. For that to happen, you need to actually do the thing. 


The whole experience reminded me that I can read all the articles I want and study other leaders but unless I put myself in position to practice a new skill it won’t actually be something I learn.

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