Leadership in times of trouble, or tornados.

July 7th, 2010
Written by Cindi

Before we begin. Side note.

I’ve been having a hard time getting my thoughts out in coherent sentences these days. My brain seems to be working faster than I can type (I knew I should have taken the class in high school!) which has left me with a plethora of half written posts with ideas I really want to talk with you about. And then, in conversations, it dawned on me that I do pretty well with just, well—talking—so why not share that way? Hence my first ever video blog post.

This is a test. It’s low quality, bad backdrop, and way too long. Depending on your feedback, I will either refine and make better next time, or put my camera away and go back to focusing on organizing my words on screen. Or perhaps both, we’ll see.

But watch this one. And then be sure to head over to @SueSpaight ‘s blog post on the same topic, because while I talk about where leadership often fails, she outlines how to make sure it doesn’t.



  1. Pingback: Great leadership is a rare gift. | Spaight Talk

  2. Cindi,

    I quite like the video, as it feels very personal/intimate and thoughtful. A bit long, yes, but engaging enough that I didn’t find that to really be an issue.

    I also think your point about how transparency and inclusion need to be amplified is a crux of the issue, and excuse the cliche phrase but I think that is a serious paradigm shift for many old school leaders. Really, though, for those of us who are very socially engaged and passionate about the social ethos, will we settle for anything less than transparency and inclusion within our own companies? NO. No we will not.


    • Thanks for the feedback on the video… I know it’s a bit too long… I will tighten it up next time. (But no promises… I like to talk. heh.)

      I agree with you, that a lot of the time it is our “old school” leaders that suffer from this way of thinking. But unfortunately I think it is a flawed perspective that seems to be inherent in the very idea of leadership. It often is part of the definition people work under and evaluate against, no matter what type or level of experience you have. What is encouraging–like you stated–is the fact that there is a generation of people who will at least recognize these shortcomings, and have the ability and voice to call others out on them.

      We definitely need more road trips… planets align in travel discussions. Thanks for the inspiration. :)

  3. Cindi,
    I think your point about transparency and inclusion is spot-on. Yet even more so – as you stated – in times of trouble people still need leaders to make decisions and LEAD.

    To your question about what makes the best leaders, I have been lucky enough to work with several throughout my career… I’ve found three common traits: 1). Passion for their work and the business. It’s usually addictive! 2.) An interest and a commitment to the team. They are mentors and coaches by nature (not by a job description). They are relateable and honest. 3) Lastly – leaders have intuition. They have a magical way of understanding when the “little things are everything”… and the next moment focus on the next big idea.

    The best thing is that as a result of these traits – true leaders are able to create instant trust with employees, clients, prospects and partners.

    So 0 thank you for the great post! Oh – and I really like your new video style! Although when you write, I can still hear you speaking. :)

  4. Cindi,

    So glad I came back to watch this on a quiet Saturday morning. I have two takeaways.

    1. This is Cindi’s Medium.
    2. Be transparent all the time.

    When I’m not being 100% transparent I will be asking myself why not. The why better be a good one for me to be putting energy into not being transparent.

    Leaders who have inspired me – Not many. I had a few good mentors but I was never inspired to do things beyond what I thought was possible. Through social media I have found peers who inspire me to find reach for new higher goals. So, if by leaders we mean thought leaders I vote for Chris Brogan and Seth Godin to get the list started. Creative leadership – all BS aside – I have found in Translator lab hours.

    One more point. Good leadership never puts up with whining. Shut that noise down the moment it starts up. My wife and I have started catching each other when we do it at home and the change in the mood around the house, by nipping it in the bud, is amazing. It just occurred to me that a transparent workplace is much less likely to have whiners. If all the cards are on the table and you don’t like the hand you’ve been dealt then I guess you get the hell out instead of complaining. Those left, want to be there knowing the rules of the game. I think that could be an inspired workplace.

    I love a blog post that when I am finished I have more questions than answers. You and Sue really have me thinking on this whole leadership thing.

  5. Thanks Jim… I am honored (and yes I mean that) that hanging out with the Translators and crew at lab hours has been good for you. It has truly been our pleasure having you be part it. :)

    Leadership is hard. Plain and simple. Transparency in leadership is an interesting discussion as well, because I think it gets confused with full-disclosure. I don’t think they are one in the same, and I don’t think full-disclosure is a requirement, or a possibility in leadership positions. Part of the responsibility of those positions is knowing what information is required, helpful and/or harmful, and making decisions of disclosure based on what is best for those looking to you to lead. Where transparency comes into play is how forthright you are in these decisions, and letting others know that you’ve made them. In my personal example with the little men, there were some things I didn’t let them see/watch as we were in the basement awaiting the storm, but I told them about them, and why I didn’t want them to see. Same thing can happen in business, just not sure why it doesn’t.

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