The Look & Sound of Leadership
You can’t be an effective leader if you are not able to have hard conversations that are successful. “Successful” means addressing tough topics in a way that will create change. 
One crucial skill to make hard conversations successful is attending to how things are being said. Without an awareness of the ‘how,’ things won’t be as safe as they could be. And if things aren’t safe, they won’t go deep. And if they don’t go deep, they probably won’t stick.
Five other episodes that relate to these skills are:
If you want to dig even deeper into this topic, two books to read are:
“Difficult Conversations” from The Harvard Negotiation Project. The authors are Stone, Patton and Heen. 
And from the folks at VitalSmarts is “Crucial Conversations.” The authors are Patterson, Grenny, McMillan and Switzler.
Both books are great. Lots of scripts. Lots of insights. Lots of tools.
Direct download: creating-safety-for-hard-talks.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Conflict on teams is a good thing. Really! Well, it's good if it’s healthy.

This month, two techniques to help team members engage in healthy conflict: arguing about what's best for the business and turning hostile non-verbals into dialogue.

Related episodes to help with these skills are:
Disagree Agreeably
Facilitating Open Dialogue
Getting Agreement
Holding People Accountable
Leadership and Listening
Resolving Conflict

Direct download: How-Teams-Fight.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:00pm PDT

Meetings are often viewed as a necessary evil to be endured. But they can be engaging events that build people’s skills and accelerate the work. This month, a recipe for mixing up meeting magic.

There is a four-meeting model discussed in this episode. If you want a graphic illustration of the model, just look at the online version in the archive: or email me at

Two books are also discussed in this month's episode: Patrick Lencioni's "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team" and "Death By Meeting," both essential reads for team leaders.

Direct download: taming-meetings.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Fear is natural but insidious. It can carve caverns in the foundations of our confidence, weakening our capacity. This month, a client learns about three kinds of fear and a transformational question that tames fear.

A seminal book to help master fear is "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers.

At the end of this month's episode, Tom tells a story about the amazing reach of podcasts.
Direct download: Conquering-Fear.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Empathy is a crucial component of The Look & Sound of Leadership. Some people have it naturally, others don’t. In either case, it can be developed and learned. This month's episode has lots of ideas about what empathy is, what it isn't, and how you can develop it.
There are lots of resources discussed this month.
A book called "The EQ Edge" by Stein and Book.
A great 3-minute animation by Brene Brown about sympathy versus empathy. It's on the home page of her website: Look for the cartoon of a bear and a fox.
Other epsiodes you might listen to are:
Building Emotional Intelligence
Dealing With Emotional Responses
Self-Awareness & Self-Management
You also might go to, select "Coaching Tips," then search two subjects in the archive :
Managing Yourself
Personal Growth & Self-Development
Finally, if you or someone you know is in the middle of a job search, Tom did an interview this month with a wonderful career coach names Alyson Garrido. The interview has lots of helpful tips and tools. You can find it at: LA The show is called "Get Yourself The Job." The show is in their archive for May, 2016. 
Be good to the people you're leading. And be good to yourself! Until next month, thanks for listening!
Direct download: building-empathy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

A bonus episode!

Tom shares email exchanges he had with two podcast listeners. One exchange is about handling people who interrupt presentations. The other is about defining tasks and responsibilities when they're not defined for you.

During the podcast, Tom mentions two other episodes that support the ideas here: one episode is “Facilitating Open Dialogue.” The other is “Creating Devoted Followers.”

If you’d like more bonus episodes like this one, let Tom know at

Direct download: Bonus-Episode--May-2016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00am PDT

How you brand yourself sticks with people a long time.Thismonth, a senior executive dreads having to brand himself duringaninterview – until he learns about the PersonalHistoriestechnique.

In addition to giving you this simple yet powerful tool tohelpbuild your personal brand, this episode also references abookcalled "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team."

Details about this book is at the end of the podcast. ThereIdiscuss that there are actually TWO books about theFiveDysfunctions. They're quite different. Here’s how.

"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable" has ajuicystory about a team struggling to succeed. In the back of thebook,the author teaches The Five Dysfunctions and explains atarelatively high level how to overcome them. The tools in thisbook– including an assessment your team can fill out – areuseful.

If you’d like to know how to build a high-performing team,thesecond book is even more useful. It’s called, "Overcoming TheFiveDysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, ManagersandFacilitators." This book has detailed, step-by-step instructionstoguide to and your team to high achievement.

Direct download: personal-histories-as-your-brand.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

This month, The Look & Sound of Leadership gives you a tool for developing your team. A process that takes only minutes to learn, if practiced regularly, this exercise has far-reaching ripples. Welcome to "The Plus/Delta Tool."

Other episodes to help you develop as a leader of teams are:

Your Team's Best Interests - Part One

Your Team's Best Interests - Part Two

Coaching Your People

Engagement and Performance

Performance Reviews

Resolving Conflict

Direct download: Power-Tools-For-Teams-PlusDelta.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:30pm PDT

From the Harvard Business Review to the New York Times, mindfulness is widely touted as a powerful tool to increase personal effectiveness and well-being. This month’s Executive Coaching Tip explores the “how to” of being mindful with an executive who was already on the path but didn’t know it.

This episode shows that mindfulness is neither complex nor mysterious; it just takes practice. More importantly, this episode puts forward the idea that all professional and personal development requires you to be mindful to some degree.

If this episode inspires you, there are even more Tips to help support your growth. Go to the Executive Coaching Tips archive and select the category “Personal Growth & Self-Development.”

Direct download: The-Mindful-Executive.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Coaching is expensive. Coaching is hard to measure. Coaching is too touchy-feely. There are a million arguments against coaching. This month, a tough CEO puts Tom on the defensive about coaching.
If you'd like to explore this topic further, here are nine related Tips:
Or you can search the free archive of all ten years'  worth of Tips. Use the "Search by Subject" tool to look at the category called "Personal Growth & Self-Development." There are more than 40 Tips in that cateogry to help support your professional development.
At the end of this Tip, Tom invites you to become a client. If you're interested in being coached, send him an email at
Direct download: Coaching-Under-Attack.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30pm PDT