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Tag Archives: honesty

Crisis leadership – who’s doing it well, and how

In times of crisis, leadership is tested. And how you behave in difficult circumstances is what will ultimately define you as a leader. The COVID-19 pandemic is a living case study of how to lead (or not) in the face of calamity. Examples of good (and bad) crisis leadership abound.

In my newest column for The Globe and Mail, published just this morning, I not only offer several examples of the good and the bad, but I also outline four specific actions and behaviours that constitute exceptional leadership in times of crisis.

What does it take to lead in times of crisis?

If you are a subscriber to The Globe and Mail, you can also access the column behind their paywall through this direct link:

So I’d love to hear your opinions and experiences.  Do you have great (or lousy) examples of crisis leadership to share?  Please also tell us what action or behaviour is happening (or not) that makes your situation notable. Add your comment below. 

I write a regular monthly column for The Globe and Mail Report on Business, under the banner of Leadership Matters.  Here are links to some of the more recent ones:


If you discourage honest and open communication, you may get a Potemkin village!

As leaders, it is critical that we foster an environment that encourages and supports honest and open communication between team members.  And creating the right workplace atmosphere that encourages these types of behaviours starts with us.  I’ve blogged previously about how sometimes leaders send mixed messages, the cavernous disconnect between what you say and what you do, which quite frankly confuses our people.  But continued mixed messages can also result in Potemkin villages.

PotemkinVillageA Potemkin village is a term commonly used in economics and politics to describe a literal or figurative construction that is created solely to deceive others into thinking that a situation is better than it really is.  The term comes from the tale of fake portable villages that were built only to impress Empress Catherine II and her entourage during her journey to Crimea in 1787.  The story is that after the Russian annexation of Crimea from the Ottoman Empire in 1783, Grigory Potemkin was appointed governor of the region with a goal to rebuild the devastated area and bring in Russian settlers, something he was not able to achieve.  But in 1787, as a new war was about to break out between Russia and the Ottoman Empire, Catherine II made a trip to the area with several of Russia’s allies.  Since it was crucial to impress the allies, Potemkin set up “mobile villages fronts” on the banks of the Dnieper River. As soon as the barge carrying the Empress and ambassadors arrived, Potemkin’s men, dressed as peasants, populated the village. Once the barge left, the village was disassembled, then rebuilt downstream overnight. Continue reading

What does it take to become more persuasive?

Okay, I’m super pumped! Today marks my first column for, the online version of Profit Magazine, a Canadian business magazine aimed at entrepreneurs, focusing on how to find opportunity and seize it, management practices, case studies and access to peer groups. Today’s column is titled How to become a persuasive triple-threat and explores what it takes to get more people to buy your ideas.

ProfitGuide Continue reading

Use the company grapevine to your advantage

My latest column in The Globe & Mail‘s Leadership Lab series is out today!

Make the company grapevine work for you

Today’s focus is on the company grapevine (also known as the rumour mill and bush telegraph) which causes so much grief to so many managers and supervisors. My premise – don’t fight the grapevine, use it to your advantage! The company rumour mill is unavoidable, so smart leaders make it work for them!


I am very honoured that my columns for The Globe‘s Report on Business continue to garner so much interest. My hope is that I bring up a subject that resonates with many. And my objective is to get conversations started – that’s how we all become even better leaders than we already are! So as always, I eagerly await your reactions and perspectives. It’s a short read and I hope that you find it relevant and thought-provoking. Add your viewpoint to The Globe‘s website, or if you wish, drop me an email or send me a tweet (@mergespeaks).

And please help me get the word out and get the message to as many as possible … pass the link along to your staff and colleagues. I’d love their thoughts as well! Opposing viewpoints always welcome!

I’m looking forward to hearing from you. Here is a direct link to the article in case you need to cut and paste it elsewhere:

What does it take to “connect” with your employees?

Last week I was working in Honolulu HI (yea I know, tough :)) and as I took a walk one evening, I came across this homeless man taking a quick nap on the sidewalk.


I realize the picture isn’t completely in focus, but if you can’t read it, his sign says “Why Lie, Need Beer.  Mahalo.  God bless.”  After I laughed out loud, I stopped for a few minutes to observe other people’s reactions.  In the five minutes that I stood there, unseen in the shadows, I saw 17 people stop and read his sign, and (this was the one that surprised me) 14 give him their spare change.  Continue reading

Three things that will make you persuasive

Whether or not you have “sales” in your job title, you are a salesperson.  Even if you’re not selling a product or service, you’re selling your ideas, your points of view, and yourself.  The ability to get others to see things from your point of view is a key determinant of professional success.  Persuasive communicators are seen as confident, credible and trustworthy.  They’re likeable.  They get things done!  And the research shows that persuasive people are characterized by three specific traits.  In the latest issue of CGA Magazine, I explain this “triple threat” of persuasiveness.  Read the entire article titled Skillfully Convincing Others.

So … are you persuasive?  Which of these three characteristics do you find to be the most significant?  Please share your experiences.