How to Be a Human-Centered Leader when You’re Stressed, Anxious, or Freaked-Out

Many people find it easier to be a human-centered leader when everything’s going well. But when you’re stressed and anxious, it’s easy to snap at your team, lose your temper, and undermine the culture you’ve worked so hard to build. If you have too many of these freak-out moments, your people will conclude that kindness is only for the easy times. Stress and anxiety are unavoidable, but you can lead through these times to build a stronger and more productive team.

It Happens

Karin and I are no strangers to the stress and anxiety that come with leadership. One time my organization…


The Great Resignation is new–the art of cultivating loyalty is consistent

When you hear stats like 4 million Americans resigned their roles in one month or that 40% are considering a change in job, you might feel nervous. The pandemic has certainly created upheaval and transformed work. If you feel anxious about the future, you’re not alone. Leaders across industries face challenges posed by the remote work revolution, varying degrees of workforce risk tolerance, and seismic disruptions if the Great Resignation hits their team. The good news is that the fundamentals of fostering employee connection and loyalty may look different, but the principles haven’t changed.

Tales from the Great Resignation

Recently we spoke with “John,” a…


How to Deal with Team Conflict

by David Dye | Jul 12, 2021

Handling team conflict well distinguishes outstanding leaders

You’ve got a clear focus on what matters most, your team seems to work well together, but then you get that call: “I need to talk to you about…” It’s conflict, a disagreement, or a clash of personalities. What you do next will reinforce your leadership and influence — or erode your credibility. Team conflict can feel like quicksand and a distraction from your work, but it’s an excellent opportunity to improve morale and productivity.

6 Ways to Deal with Team Conflict

  1. Reflect to Connect
  2. Gather Information with Three Quick Questions
  3. Diagnose the Situation: Is this a vent or a…

How to Lead a Performance Conversation without Losing Your Cool

Posted on February 4, 2021February 1, 2021 by David Dye | No Comments

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Leaders play a vital role in employee development and that includes sharing developmental feedback. But an effective performance conversation requires an even temper. Keep these five principles in mind to help you keep your cool.

We’d just finished a live online leadership discussion about tough conversations when a private chat message appeared from one participant.

“How can I have these performance conversations without getting angry? I get so frustrated at people who I think should know better or say they will change, but…


Posted on October 29, 2020October 26, 2020 by Karin Hurt David Dye | No Comments

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One of the most frequent concerns we hear from leaders and teams (where remote-work is the foreseeable norm) is the lack of a virtual watercooler. That metaphorical place where people exchange ideas, build connections, and spontaneous innovation thrives.

The informal exchange of ideas is critical for innovation and building relationships.

Fortunately, you can create spaces and interactions that simulate or improve upon the accidental connections that happen when you’re in the same building.

But it does require different ways of thinking…


Posted on September 21, 2020September 14, 2020 by Karin Hurt David Dye | No Comments

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You’re working hard and want to win. So do your co-workers. You think, “we’re all on the same team, so why does everything we do seem to sabotage collaboration?”

Ironically, it’s usually the well-meaning, high-achievers that find it easiest to inadvertently sabotage collaboration.

When you’re that focused on winning, it can be tough to remember that the competition isn’t in the guy in the left Zoom window, it’s mediocrity.

If you’re a manager of rock star managers who are all driving…


Posted on October 12, 2020October 11, 2020 by Karin Hurt David Dye | No Comments

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A creative team starts with room to think

The rocky mountain air was crisp with fall chill–a perfect time for a fire in the wood-burning stove. We placed the logs on top of the kindling, held the flame beneath the wood, and…nothing happened. Our fire-to-be had the same problem that plagues many leaders who want a more resilient and creative team.

The logs were too close together.

Fire needs oxygen to ignite and spread, but the tightly packed wood didn’t allow the air to move freely through them. …


Posted on October 8, 2020October 8, 2020 by Karin Hurt | No Comments

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We were nearing the end of our live-online leadership program with an amazing group of start-up CEOs at Bulb Africa in Nigeria, and it was time for Q&A. Or, as I like to call it, “Asking For a Friend.” When one brave CEO asked about how to change his leadership approach.

I’m listening carefully to everything you’ve said. I’m taking notes. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve read some good books too…

And it’s very clear to me that I’m not leading like I…


Posted on October 5, 2020October 4, 2020 by Karin Hurt David Dye | No Comments

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Promote leaders who show their commitment to relationships and results

One of the most important leadership decisions you’ll ever make is the choice to promote someone into a leadership role. Who you promote into leadership sends a powerful message of what matters most in your organization. Promote leaders aligned with your culture and you’ll build momentum. Get this wrong, and you undo all the good you’ve done.

It’s sobering to consider: all of your values, everything your company stands for, the major day-to-day experience of the organization — all of it…


Posted on October 1, 2020September 30, 2020 by David Dye | No Comments

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A clash in priorities is an opportunity for more strategic leadership

We were discussing how to keep your team focused on what matters most when Nicolle, a team leader in a global communications business, asked, “What can I do when there’s a clash in priorities between my team and another department we must work with?”

This is a common question we hear from leaders at every level. When you find a clash in priorities, it’s easy to back off, become a victim, and make excuses — and many managers do just that.

But effective…

David M. Dye

I work with human-centered leaders to help them get results without sacrificing their humanity. I’m an author, consultant, podcast host, and love to hike.

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