Category Archives: Leadership

The Top 6 Traits of Likable People

We all want to be liked.  It feels great to see likes on a blog post (hint), and even better to hear someone say, “I really like you!”


But what really makes people more likable than others? Is it attractiveness, wealth, tone of voice, style of dress, mannerisms, or standard of hygiene?

Research tells us that our qualities such as level of success, fame, and good looks might initially interest others,

but by far, we like people who have good personalities.

The top character traits of likable people are trustworthinesswarmth, kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, and empathy.


Think about it. Do the people you like the most have “good” personalities?  Do they make you smile, make you feel important and good about yourself? Do their eyes sparkle when they smile at you?  I bet when they ask, “How are you?”, you are certain they really want to know.

We like to be heard, to be noticed, to be recognized.  A warm hug, eye to eye contact, a kind word, the feeling that we are not being taken for granted, made fun of, judged, or criticized – but accepted and respected is what makes us feel liked.

Have you doubted your likability, or wondered why certain folks are a people magnet?

Pause and consider these six traits.  How many do you have? How many do “they” have? It’s not a worthy goal to seek popularity for an ego boost.  But it is a honorable one to be trustworthy, warm, kind, and empathetic: you will become more likable and in so doing,  will make yourself happier in the process.


Leaders: Want to Be the Best? These 9 Traits Are Essential

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
Are you a leader? Answer me honestly:

shareasimage-6 If you answered yes, I would expect that you are continually bettering yourself to go beyond good. Great? Outstanding? Excellent? Elegant? Strive for any, pursue all. Just don’t think you have learned everything there is to be a leader. Hubris is not a virtue. As Vince Lombardi said so well,

Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.

We need leaders who have vision, who inspire us to be better, do better, and can unlock the potential we have to do phenomenal work. These nine traits of leadership are essential if you desire to accomplish great things, to make the world a better place.

  • Vision
  • Wisdom
  • Resolve
  • Empathy
  • Integrity
  • Respectfulness
  • Mindful
  • Inspiring
  • Listener

P1100764Whether you lead a family, a business, a group, or you have aspirations to be a leader. You don’t need a title to be a leader. If people follow you, are inspired by you, look to you for direction, you are a leader. Now do what you can to be the best. Glean from the past and present undeniably great leaders among us, your team needs you.  Don’t let us down.

#The supreme quality of leadership is integrity. Dwight Eisenhower

#Education is the mother of leadership. Wendell Willkie

#Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems. Brian Tracy

#You have achieved excellence as a leader when people will follow you everywhere if only out of curiosity. Colin Powell

#A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do. Leroy Eims

#Stop tolerating in your leaders what you would not tolerate in your friends.  Michael Ventura

#The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between, the leader is a servant. Max DePree

#Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. Jack Welch

#A company is people … employees want to know… am I being listened to or am I a cog in the wheel? People really need to feel wanted. Richard Branson

#I am…Jesus

Who inspires you? Who is your role model for leadership? What do you think is an essential trait for effective leaders?

tagul leadership

5 Sure Signs of an Egomaniac: It’s All About Selfie

Big EgoWhy do some people have such huge egos? You see it all the time in celebrities, the fifteen-minute famers, the co-worker who takes credit for everything (even your ideas), and the friend who is just too into herself. Does she really think I want to see yet one more selfie?

Here’s the thing, a big ego is seriously stupid and even dangerous.


5 Sure Signs of an Ego-maniac:

  • You bask in recognition and live for the cheers of your audience. You crave the limelight.
  • You think you know everything and and never admit mistakes, never apologize.
  • You take credit for other people’s ideas and work.
  • Your business card or signature list every degree, credential, or certification you have achieved and then some.
  • Conversations are one sided: all you talk about is you. You have no interest in learning about others.


You, You, You, You. You are the center of the universe.

How long can an ego run rampant before it destroys relationships, careers, businesses, or kills someone? Here’s the fix: quit feeding the maniac’s ego.  Just like a toddler’s temper tantrum, if you ignore it, it will eventually stop.

Whether superstar, nobel prize winner, or the guy sitting next to you on the plane, we are all the same inside, and trust me, I have seen plenty of people’s insides. We are guts, blood, waste, bone, and skin. We have a brain, a soul, and a personality.  We all have unique talents, feelings, dreams, and fears.

My guess is the egomaniacs aren’t reading this.  But, if you are on the precipice of egomania land, do an about face and start moving as fast as you can.  Life is way too short to be lived for selfie.

P1100285Pop the overinflated ego balloon and come back down to earth. Life is richer and the air is cleaner.

A healthy ego is good, but keep it in check. Too much and it gets to be like dust in the eyes – you can’t see anything until you clear it away.

O Captain! My Captain! A Memorial Day Tribute


I cannot think of a better tribute to our fallen heroes on this Memorial Day than Walt Whitman’s O Captain! My Captain! paired with some photos I took at our Memorial Day Parade, May 27th, 2013 – Fairport, NY

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart! O the bleeding drops of red, Where on the deck my Captain lies, Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

air corps

air corps older





O captain!  dear father! This arm beneath your head; It is some dream that on the deck, You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still; My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done; From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

boys holding posters

poster wwII
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells! But I, with mournful tread, 
Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.
end of parade

Bad Teacher or Great Teacher Which One Are You?

appleWho was your favorite teacher?

You might need to think a minute before answering.

Now, who was your worst teacher ever?  Of course you have no trouble remembering that one. Name, grade, school, year, day, her beehive hairdo, his polyester suit, her gravely voice, his receding hairline. Was it math? English? Shop? Gym?

bad teacherSometimes we don’t recognize the great teachers until we’ve experienced the bad ones. I once had a teacher so awful he would leave the answer key to our tests on his desk.

answer key

He’d saunter out of the room and we all took turns going up to get the answers. Even the brains cheated. Otherwise, we would have all failed. I’m not proud I cheated, but goodness – the teacher permitted it because he knew he stunk at teaching.


A great teacher can make a difficult subject wonderful and easy to understand while a bad teacher can destroy creativity and make a student hate a subject –  sometimes one that was once a favorite. You bad teachers: shame on you. Go away or fix yourself. You are doing serious, perhaps irreversible damage.


You great teachers: thank you. Our children need you.  Don’t give up. You may be the one person who pulls the greatness out of a struggling student.

The Great Teacher:

She makes learning fun. Gives constructive feedback and shows how to improve. He recognizes the difference between knowledge and understanding. Great teachers are accessible and enthusiastic. They care. They see a student as a unique and talented person. Never compares but rather looks for individual growth. Does not teach to a test. Does not rely on tests for sole assessment. Is not rigid. Acknowledges there may be more than one correct answer. Would never condescend. Asks a student how are things at home? Is a coach, a guide, a mentor, a role model, has character. A great teacher can always find something good in a student’s work.  Praises often, yet will not stand for shabby, crappy, disrespectful work.  Explains plagiarism and confronts those who dare do it. Deserves respect as she gives respect. Does not punish all for one person’s misbehavior. Deals with problems promptly. Is not a bully and does not allow bullying. The great teacher…

…the good teacher explains.  The superior teacher demonstrates.  The great teacher inspires…….


A Wizard’s Formula for Success

Genius is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration. Thomas Edison

Thomas EdisonWhat can we learn about success from Thomas Edison? In his lifetime, how was he able to achieve 1093 invention patents, work 100 hour weeks, and despite a sensory impairment, stimulate teams of people to generate innovative ideas? The Wizard of Menlo Park did possess character flaws that distanced family members and hurt others, yet no one can deny Edison was a genius who changed the world for the better.

He was completely deaf in one ear, and had 80% loss in the other. His head was oversized. He was kicked out of school because of his ADD-like behavior and constant torrent of questions.  His mother home-schooled him and his father paid him to read the classics. He fell in love with Shakespeare and poetry. His independent learning style, his unquenchable thirst to know more, to understand why, and his persistence to never give up, proved the right formula to earn him the title of America’s Greatest Inventor. He was a rags to riches legend. He suffered illness, rejection, abuse, poverty, and great losses. Yet, he rose above and gave everything he had with a passion only few could understand, and even less would ever want.  What can we learn from this wizard?  What character qualities and lifestyle habits led him to success? He had many, but I believe these were key…

Adaptability: “Even though I am nearly deaf, I seem to be gifted with a kind of inner hearing which enables me to detect sounds and noises that the listeners do not perceive.”

Ambition: “Pretty much everything will come to him who hustles while he waits. “

Vision: “Be brave as your fathers before you. Have faith and go forward!”

Discipline: “I never did anything worth doing entirely by accident….Almost none of my inventions were derived in that manner. They were achieved by having trained myself to be analytical and to endure and tolerate hard work.”

Satisfaction: “Personally, I enjoy working about 18 hours a day.”

Focus: “The first requisite for success is to develop the ability to focus and apply your mental and physical energies to the problem at hand – without growing weary.”

Insight: “Its not the hard work that kills, its the worrying that kills.”

Altruism: “I want to save and advance human life, not destroy it.”

Curiosity: “We have merely scratched the surface of the store of knowledge which will come to us.”

Perseverance: “Many of life’s failures are experienced by people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Perspective: “Why, I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Intellect: “Our schools are not teaching students to think. It is astonishing how many young people have difficulty in putting their brains definitely and systematically to work.” 


“The boast of heraldry, the pomp of power, And all that beauty, all that wealth e’er gave, Awaits alike the inevitable hour: The paths of glory lead but to the grave.” from Thomas Gray’s Elegy To A Country-Edison’s favorite poem

Save the Gold Nuggets

Rob Lavinsky,

A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way. —John Maxwell


An excerpt From The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell.

Maxwell gives leadership advice to a stand out 19-year-old in the audience at one of his seminars.

I’ve been watching you here, and I’m very impressed with how hungry you are to learn and glean and grow.  I want to tell you a secret that will change your life. I believe that in about twenty years, you can be a great leader.  I want to encourage you to make yourself a lifelong learner of leadership.  Read books, listen to tapes regularly, and keep attending seminars.  And whenever you come across a golden nugget of truth or a significant quote, file it away for the future.  It’s not going to be easy, but in five years, you’ll see progress as your influence becomes greater.  In ten years you’ll develop a competence that makes your leadership highly effective.  And in twenty years, if you’ve continued to learn and grow, others will likely start asking you to teach them about leadership.  And some will be amazed.  They’ll look at each other and say, “How did he suddenly become so wise?”  You can be a great leader, but it won’t happen in a day.  Start paying the price now.