If you treat employees as interchangeable cogs in a machine, you are guaranteed to cause burnout.

Previously published in Forbes

Many leaders still hold on to the increasingly outdated habit and idea that, above all else, work is the most important thing — that they and their team members should sacrifice their time, energy, and well-being to deliver on the organization’s goals.

If you are a leader, it’s important that you recognize and re-calibrate this habitual way of thinking and being. Because more than just the work, you need to be paying attention to your own fulfillment as well as the fulfillment of your team. …

What often holds us back from taking action is fear — fear that it will be the “wrong” decision, fear of repercussions if you screw it up.

Previously published on Forbes

Most of us are intrigued by the idea of innovation, which is the art of thinking, listening, and learning through experimentation. But most of us have no formal training in it. Odds are, you also didn’t learn how to embrace mistakes as “opportunities to learn.”

“Innovation is all about learning from doing,” says Tim Brown, Chair of famed design consultancy IDEO. “That’s how we evolve to the best solution.”

Of course, that means you have to actually do something in order to get to there. What often holds us back from taking action is fear — fear that it will…

Ask yourself, “Who on my team may be thinking totally differently about this issue than I am?”

Previously published on Forbes

Minds, like parachutes, work best when they are open. And this is even more true today in the era of learning and unlearning about racism, sexism, diversity, and inclusion, not to mention our ever-expanding global marketplace. Leaders are being pressed to challenge most things they have been so sure about.

Open-mindedness is a combination of intellectual humility and openness to experience, that is, being willing to seek out different viewpoints. It’s also the ability to let those viewpoints change your beliefs.

In 2016, professors Elizabeth J. …

Master the art of making other people feel brilliant, respected, and important.

Previously published in Forbes

Queen Victoria had two great prime ministers, William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli. Both men dined with Jennie Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother. When a journalist asked Jerome about her impression of the two men, she offered, “With Gladstone, I came away thinking he was the wittiest, most intelligent, most charming person I had ever met. With Disraeli, on the other hand, I was sure I was the wittiest, most intelligent, most charming person ever.”

It wasn’t that Disraeli wasn’t as brilliant as Gladstone. He was. However, Disraeli had mastered the art of making other people feel brilliant, respected, and important.


You may be experiencing deep fatigue, exhaustion, a loss of connection with meaning and soul.

Previously published on Thrive Global

I am dedicated to creating workplaces where all people thrive. And most certainly, there are things that a leader can do to enable this — engage strong communication, encourage belonging, be skilled when navigating conflict, develop the ability to build and maintain a cohesive team, demonstrate true caring about people and their lives. These are the things that can be learned.

Then there is a deeper dimension of leadership to consider: nurturing your own soul. Bringing heart and meaning into your work. What I call the sacred.

Without this, you may end up feeling dried up, brittle and exhausted. To…

Three strategies when you feel like you are failing at work.

Photo: Getty Previously published on Forbes

First and foremost, here’s what you need to know: When you feel like you are failing at work, it doesn’t mean YOU are a failure. And this is important to remember. In their book Humility is the New Smart, Edward Hess and Katherine Ludwig point out that as humans, “we tend to ‘defend, deny and deflect’ when confronted with failure.

Our evolutionary fight-flee-or freeze response is triggered by fear of failure and embarrassment that interferes with our ability to engage in creativity, critical and innovative thinking, and emotional engagement with others.”

In other words, if you tell yourself that you…

Here are three questions to help you identify yours.

Previously published on Forbes

You may not have X-ray vision or control over the elements, but you do have a superpower. Maybe more than one. Your superpower is the thing you provide that’s incredibly valuable and also just who you are — you don’t have to remind yourself to be this thing.

You might be the one who listens and listens and then neatly summarizes the big idea of the conversation. Or perhaps you’re the one who picks up on what no one is saying but everyone is thinking and feeling. Or maybe you take really complex information and make it digestible for everyone.

The truth is we can all become more compassionate. The question is how?

Previously published on Thrive Global

We don’t necessarily come into the world with compassion. It’s often learned as we watch the important adults in our lives confront difficulties and engage with others. We learn by their example, or the lack thereof.

What is compassion? It is the sympathetic awareness of others’ suffering with a desire to alleviate that suffering.

Many of us have been called into higher levels of compassion for Black people this past year, as we witnessed the abuse they face in the hands of police and from systemic racism. The pandemic has also raised our awareness of suffering, with the loss of…

What might help your team members feel appreciated? It’s different for everyone.

Previously published on Forbes

Who said it takes years to change habits? In this past year, people have learned plenty of new habits — wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing (a term none of us had even heard of before March of 2020). For those of us who are white collar workers, we abruptly and instantly shifted to work-from-home offices: spare bedrooms and dining room tables with a laptop and maybe a printer.

It’s breathtaking, really.

I’m encouraged by this rapid rate of adaptation. We can do this! We are flexible, agile. Our brains are malleable and changeable. This is good news.

In those…

When Work and Family Life Continue To Collide

Previously published on Forbes

The blur between work and family has never been, well … more blurry. Family members are all up in your business. They walk in the room while you are in the midst of an important conversation with your boss, your coach, or the media, as we witnessed in the BBC interview with Professor Robert Kelly. The embarrassing footage went viral. What we didn’t know was that it was a portender of what we would all face sooner than we really wanted to.

Many of us have been tortured trying to appear professional with our toddlers doing what they do best…

Dede Henley

Founder of Henley Leadership Group. Developing leaders who create happy, productive workplaces. Thought Leader | Executive Coach | Forbes Contributor | Speaker

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