The Best of L2L Blogazine 2008-2009 (1-2)

The Best of L2L Blogazine 2008-2009 #1

How to Lead Ugly People

(April 12, 2009) by Tom Schulte

Just the thought of having to be around ugly people is enough to make me cringe. Now, you are going to try to show me how to actually lead them?



Now before you go assuming that you know what I am talking about, please let me explain what I mean about “how to lead ugly people.”

First of all, you are probably incorrect about what I am meaning and where I am going with this line of thinking about leading “ugly people.” So, to be perfectly clear, I am not talking about people who you think are physically unattractive, not appealing to look at, or downright “fugly” (very-ugly) in appearance.

Although people who fit this description in your mind might make it into this equation later for your recipe of success, let’s not take personal appearance into consideration for this journey. I will provide a definition of “ugly” in a bit…

Secondly, your definition of “ugly” is yours and nobody else’s. You can decide who or what is ugly to you. So, whatever you decide defines “ugly” based on your own tastes, your past experiences, or your formula for “yuck,” it is okay with me.

For the sake of brevity, let’s just use the word “offensive” for the word “ugly” so that we all can move on from any tangentory preconceptions.


So, how do you lead offensive people? The answer is breathtakingly easy. To give you perspective, let me ask you this question: “How do you lead the attractive?”

The answer to both of the questions is the same. You lead them in a way that is attractive to them to want to follow. You tap into their primary motivators and package yourself as something positive, desirable, and profitable for them to pursue. It really doesn’t matter if they are attractive or offensive. That is in your mind. Leading effectively is much more tactical and easy when you think about what the other person wants out of the equation.

Another way to phrase it was the way a client named Alex once explained to me. He said that his sister once told him this leadership advice:  “Just pretend in your mind that you want them to date you. By doing that, you will package yourself as desirable to them; you will behave in a way that is attractive to them and you’ll have a better shot at getting them to do what you want.” So, this is what Alex did. And it seemed to pay off.

Wow! Leadership meets The Dating Game.

Alex told me this leadership tidbit at an annual sales managers’ event. By my observation and interactions, he seemed to be one of the most liked andmost influential of all of the 300 managers at the event. I saw him interact with his direct reports and saw him implement his sister’s approach. His approach worked with anyone he lead. Alex was influential with everyone ranging from his top performers to the ones that he later confessed he didn’t like at all.

You see, to this leader, it didn’t matter if he personally liked his follower or not. He didn’t look at them in terms of how he felt about them. If they were a top performer for him (attractive,) or if they were somehow offensive to him (ugly,) he led them the same way. He thought about their point of view and groomed himself toward that.

Just like in dating, Alex applied a practical set of behaviors to get him what he wanted. He groomed himself for a relationship with the people he needed to perform for him. He did this on a very personal (but not too personal, mind you…) basis. Alex took the time to consider what would be attractive to each of the people he led and presented himself appropriately for each of them. He looked on their inside (their values, strengths, hopes, and dreams, etc.), not on their outside (their appearance, gender, race, opinions, emotional baggage, habits, past mistakes, and bad breath, etc.) and created authentic followers who worked really hard for him.

Essentially, Alex found out what “made them tick” and created an individual recipe for leading each of them.

So, how do you lead ugly people? You look past the superficial things that cause you problems and mature yourself to the point where you can view that one who offends you as a hurting person “who has some issues.” You lead them in a manner that is consistent with who they are and how they best fit within the program and agenda. You groom your attitude toward them to think of them as a qualified person who can add value to you, the project, and the intended goal.

Surprisingly, there is a present waiting for you when you go down this leadership pathway. When you adjust your attitude and set your sights on larger things, the ugliness in people seems to go away and you are left to just lead “people.”

So, how are you going about finding that next offensive person and adjusting your attitude toward them? How are you preparing yourself to know how to lead specific individuals better? How are you looking to people on the inside and not on the outside? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Tom Schulte is Executive Director of
Linked 2 Leadership &
CEO of
Recalibrate Professional Development.
Reach him at

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The Best of L2L Blogazine 2008-2009 #2

How to Be a Rockstar Leader

(March 31, 2009) by Tom Schulte

When you hear the word “rockstar,” what comes to mind?

Does it conjure up visions of a stage performance where adoring fans groove to the pounding vibe of a mega-celebrity with massive adoration? Does it evoke images of limousines, red carpet struts, and mega-attention?  Perhaps it makes you think of an indulgent lifestyle where someone “gets” everything in lavish doses because of their huge persona, swelling fan base and their ability to command an army of servants to grant their every wish? Maybe an image of Mick Jagger, Bono, or even Hannah Montana?

What about in a corporate setting? Have you ever heard of an executive on a rocket ride to the top in the organizational structure being referred to as a rockstar? If you have, does the image make you think of what that person gives, or what he or she gets?

Often times the images of a rockstar focuses mostly on their onstage performance and what they receive in return in the form of affirmation, applause, rave reviews, and lavish “things” that they get and get to do. Rarely does any attention focus on the mundane aspects of what actually creates their celebrity: hard work. (Yuck! Who wants to hear about that???)

If you ask someone if they would want to be a rockstar in their field of endeavor, that person would probably think of what they would get by being that rockstar, rather than what they would have to do and sacrifice to gain that position. Of course, this is probably normal. People think in terms of getting, rather than giving. It’s a much more pleasant thing to do.

When you think about what it takes to really become a rockstar, it boils down to talent, practice, creativity, hard work, enormous perseverance, and an intense drive to succeed. Because rockstars put in all the ingredients upfront is why they get the opportunities to succeed at such high levels. Look at the perseverance of Thomas Edison in creating the light bulb. That dude is a Rockstar! He deserves his name in lights!

So, Do You Want to be a Rockstar Leader?

If you answer yes, then start getting in shape, because it is going to take a Herculean effort just to get on stage. Probably, the biggest part of that effort is going to be in changing perspectives from one of a receiver to one of a giver.Give first, receive later is the very first set of “expectations recalculations” that will need to take place in your head.

And what do you give? You have to give a whole ‘lotta love.

Seth Goodin in a recent article about The Two Elements of a Great Presentersays that there are two ingredients in being a great presenter. I think that these two ingredients also apply to the formula on how to be a rockstar leader. He says this about being a great presenter:

The two elements of a great presenter

1. Respect (from the audience)
2. Love (to the audience)

There are no doubt important evolutionary reasons why this is true, but in my experience, every great presenter earns the respect of the audience (through her appearance, reputation, posture, voice, slides, introduction, etc.) and captures the attention of the audience by sending them love.

If you have ever experienced a rockstar presentation from a corporate or organizational leader, you certainly respected them greatly and they definitely poured out much love onto and into you. They showed up as a giver. They gave you what you wanted or needed in overwhelming quantities. They came to your table ready to feed you. And you adored them for it.

See this simple recipe entitled How to Become A Rockstar from wikiHow. The article tells you the behind-the-scenes steps it takes to get to a destination called “rockstardom.” It doesn’t go into details on how to smile for the cameras, or on eating caviar on your Cheerios. It talks about the selfless steps you have to take to reach something grand.

So, if you want to be a rockstar leader, go for it! You actually have a good shot at it if you give it a try. Like the article says on becoming a rockstar, focus much more on songwriting than on performing.

Do you dream of raging fans, adoring reviews, and your name in lights? Then start your journey by serving the very people around you today and see where that takes you.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Tom Schulte is Executive Director of Linked 2 Leadership &
CEO of Recalibrate Professional Development
He can be reached at

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