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13 Ways To Be a Better Leader

Updated: Apr 7, 2019

Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

In 2014 I was the keynote speaker for the California Association of College Book Sellers conference. College bookstores were starting to feel the pinch of a shift in business. Many online organizations were cutting into their bottom line. Their future place on a university campus was uncertain.

I was asked to speak into this chaotic moment and then developed this talk for that moment, but these ideas can be adapted into any organization, team or family.

These are notes, not the entire talk.


  1. It's going to be ok: Well maybe not, but this is the attitude you need. You will make it better. Success starts with you, the team follows your attitude. Always.

  2. Get mad, then get over it. Quickly: We spend more at work than home, so they're extended family for better or worse. Work to make peace. It's ok if you think, "I love you, but right now, I don’t like you very much."

  3. You are not your title: You’re more interesting than your title. If title goes, then who are you? Learn to listen to ideas from lowest member of team

  4. Yes, you can do it: Pick yourself. Asking forgiveness is better than asking permission. Even if you failed, at least you tried.

  5. Some arguments you should not win. Some mistakes can be erased. Others you learn to live with

  6. Facts are not written in stone: Not everyone agrees with a good decision. Investigate, check, plan, hope it works. Then execute

  7. Make your own decisions: Know your boundaries. Can't garden your neighbors yard. They can't garden yours. Make and own, your decisions

  8. Details matter: In your store, does the staff have a clean bathroom? Working microwave? Pens? Chairs? Remember, when you care about the small details, the big picture cares for itself

  9. Share credit, but take blame: When it works, share credit: “We did it”. When it goes to crap, take the blame: “I made a mistake”

  10. Be kind: Your words matter. Your actions matter. Kindness is healing

  11. Have a purpose: What are you doing? Why? Where are you taking your store? Do they know?

  12. Fear is never a good place to lead from: Chokes creativity. Seek those who love you, whom you trust and allow only them to speak into your life. Trust them and not someone else. Always.

  13. Positive energy scales up: Attitude is a virus, Always. You release good energy with a positive attitude. It's your best we need from you as a leader.

This is how you dance with chaos


Last month I signed contracts for my second book, It Was A Beautiful Day When My Father Died. So paperbacks are coming out soon.

Stay tuned.

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