New and Notable Blog Posts Did You know

Welcome to Merge's Monthly Mega Minute — a bite-sized, yet substantial and practical, nugget of information that you can use immediately to enhance your professional and personal success.

How owls hunt can teach leaders something about how to lead

Nature abounds with lessons, and I am always fascinated to discover that many of those lessons offer insights into leadership.

Did you know that owls don't hunt by sight or smell, they hunt primarily by sound? And nature has given them a very sophisticated and elegant way of ensuring that they can catch prey to survive and thrive.

The ears of many species of owls are asymmetrical, with one ear slightly higher but directed downwards and the other somewhat lower but facing upward. As a result, sounds that originate from below eye level are heard louder in the left ear, while those that come from above are heard more clearly in the right. The differences in volume and frequency allow to owl to find its prey, even in complete darkness. The owl's success lies in its ability to pay attention to what is happening both below and above it.

Which is not unlike what it takes to be successful as a leader. Leaders have to pay attention to what is happening both below and above them.

Below ... what are your employees feeling and doing? Are they excited and engaged in their responsibilities? Are they motivated to increase profitability and improve productivity? Are they talking up your department and organization to others? Or are they disengaged, demotivated, or irritated? Good leaders make it point to find out, frequently and consistently. And if all is not well, they take concrete steps to make things better.

Above ... what are your supervisor's urgencies? And what are his or her immediate manager's main concerns? Are there issues that are keeping your boss up at night? If so, are you focusing on addressing them? Effective leaders know that unless they keep their finger on the pulse of what the priorities at higher levels in their organization, and how they may be shifting, they cannot be successful in achieving their own and their department goals.

Unfortunately, unlike owls, leaders don't come with ear asymmetry, but that doesn't mean that you can't exercise asymmetrical hearing and awareness. If you are leader, it is critical to deliberately and thoughtfully pay attention to what is happening both below and above you.

So, do you? Are you keeping your finger on the pulse of what your employees and your bosses are thinking and doing? What are some of the challenges that you face in trying to stay aware of what it going on both below and above? Do tell. And please also share your successes. Comment directly on the blog at

In The Globe and Mail: Eight steps to finding a mentor

You've heard it before: to further your career, finding a mentor to guide you is important. But how exactly does one go about finding a mentor? It's certainly not going to happen if you wait around hoping that a mentor will miraculously find you. In Merge's latest column in The Globe and Mail, she lays out eight important steps that will help you get the mentorship that you desire.

Turning Managers into Leaders

That our blog turns 10 this month!?

Yup, ten years old!! When Merge started the Turning Managers Into Leaders blog in August 2009, she did it only because people told her that it would be a great platform on which to share and learn about leadership. So, somewhat tentatively, she did. We had no idea that it would turn into something bigger than anyone of us had ever imagined. Today, almost 1,600 posts (in fifteen categories) later, this blog is a valuable resource for leaders in Canada, the United States, and around the world. Whether you're seeking tips on how to deal with a specific leadership or workplace communication issue you're facing, or if you just want to dialogue with other like-minded leaders in our learning community, chances are your issue has been covered at some point or another in the blog. Use the categories (on the right-hand side) or the search function (at the very bottom of the page) to find what you need. And if you can't find the answer to your leadership question or issue, please let us know because Merge will probably address it in a future blog post!

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