Boundaries Blog — leadership

Surprising Ways Rewards and Praise Can Harm Others

Surprising Ways Rewards and Praise Can Harm Others

We sometimes reward (through actions) and praise (through words) our spouses, employees, children, and friends in ways that can actually harm them, even though it feels good at the time because it seems so positive. But what seems positive is not always what is best. A pizza slice or two is positive—but four can cause problems. These unwise reward/praise approaches, although well intentioned, create bad fruit. Remember—these are patterns, not isolated events. Doing these things every now and then would be all right, but when they become trends, they risk fostering attitudes of entitlement....

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Nice Guys Don't Finish Last

Nice Guys Don't Finish Last

I (Dr. Cloud) had a very interesting conversation recently with a leader who accomplishes a lot and is very driven and effective. I have always been a fan of his work. We were working on a project together, and he made a reference to a particular work habit of his, logging almost every thought he has about his work into a very complicated matrix in a journal, and I asked him about it. Nothing wrong with carrying a little book around and jotting down good ideas when they come. But this was much more; it was obsessive. He said, "I think it's probably part of my anxiety disorder."...

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The Secret Ingredients to Stellar Performance

The Secret Ingredients to Stellar Performance

Jack Nicklaus is the greatest golfer the world has ever known. His record of major wins is unsurpassed, even years after his last victory. Winning eighteen major tournaments is a record that is likely to stand for a long time. For those of you who are not golfers, that is the equivalent of more Super Bowls, World Series, heavyweight championships, tennis Grand Slams, or any other sports crown won by a single person or team. If you're not a sports person, just call it the Oscars and think Katharine Hepburn.

Of all of his feats, one stands out to me....

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Boundaries and Your Brain at Work

Boundaries and Your Brain at Work

Remember the old saying "Come on, this is not brain surgery"? It was meant to convey the simplicity of an answer or a concept, and often meant to prod people to get off their butts and do what is obvious. That is how it is with a leader's boundaries. It is profoundly simple. You do not have to be a brain surgeon to establish the boundaries that are usually made by a great leader.

But at the same time, underneath it all, it really is brain surgery, because the reason that a leader's boundaries work is that they actually make it possible for people's brains to function as they were designed....

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Five Practices of Successful Thinkers

Five Practices of Successful Thinkers

There are several dimensions to how successful leaders think that are important to know, but I want to focus on five especially. If you want to develop your thinking, the following practices will serve you well.

1. Know Your Cognitive Style

Your cognitive style refers to the way you process information from your environment. It has to do with how you read journal articles, how you listen to what others tell you, and how you draw conclusions based on how you observe the workplace. One key aspect of cognitive style is whether your thinking tends to be linear or nonlinear.

Linear thinkers are …

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