Demystify overused labels associated with leadership

Young man looking at his reflection in a broken mirror
Young man looking at his reflection in a broken mirror
Photo by Fares Hamouche on Unsplash

I’ve started a new mission: to demystify labels that professionals throw around that become normalized corporate jargon. Authentic leadership is one of those worth examining.

I’ve written about leadership myths and what leadership really means. I’ve even written about how useless all those leadership theories in helping me become a better professional. What I didn’t study in graduate school was authentic leadership.

Authenticity has more to do with being a strong professional than practicing leadership in a particular way.

Of the two words, authentic is more meaningful. Being authentic means that you reflect what you think and feel in what you say and how you act. In the counseling profession, it means having harmony between your thoughts and behaviors. …


To fuel your entrepreneurial services, you could use a marketing hook

Image of a hand reaching out
Image of a hand reaching out
Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

In the current phase of my entrepreneurial journey, I’m asking podcast hosts if I can be a guest on their shows. Most hosts don’t reply, but a few scheduled interviews. When lucky, I’ll receive a rejection email with an explanation.

I want to share three reasons why one podcast host declined to have me as a guest. You might say that he gave me the hook idea.

Podcast host: “You need a marketing hook”

Here’s what happened during the Zoom call with the podcaster:

After getting to know each other, I made my pitch for being a guest, which the podcaster declined for three…


What you should know before starting your own business

Image of someone reading an article about Richard Branson while holding a mug that reads, “80_20”
Image of someone reading an article about Richard Branson while holding a mug that reads, “80_20”
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

As an entrepreneur, I’ve achieved some accomplishments but mostly have had setbacks. I’m astounded by the path to what many call success. I’ve discovered more distractions, false trails, bumps in the road, and epic failures than I anticipated!

However, I have hope thanks to gaining ten insights into what being an entrepreneur means.

My intent is to let you know how several entrepreneurs, including myself, struggle and may not be as accomplished as we would like.

1. Expect to fail often

Expect to have frequent failures that can result in unanticipated debt. …


Learn > Do > Assess

Image of mechanic training an apprentice
Image of mechanic training an apprentice
The author purchased the Image license from Shutterstock.

This is for anyone who manages people. Whether a VP, manager of managers, or a frontline supervisor, I want you to achieve the extraordinary.

I was just okay at practicing leadership

For sixteen years, I worked in corporate America. I started as an individual contributor developing training for auditors. As my career progressed, I managed project teams and soon founded and led a new training department. At company number four, I managed managers as well as a small documentation team. Throughout those years, I did okay, but I wouldn’t consider myself great at leading.

It wasn’t until I started studying leadership before I improved my leadership practices substantially. …


Assumptions made about chronic fatigue

Woman with an exasperated expression who is trying to explain something to another person
Woman with an exasperated expression who is trying to explain something to another person
The author purchased the Image license from Shutterstock

Near the end of February 2020, I thought I had the flu but later found out it was COVID-19. Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any Respiratory problems but did experience strong fatigue. When I felt better, I was surprised that the fatigue persisted and lasted until the beginning of August.

I thought I had fully recovered but was wrong. In mid-September, I started exercising again using an elliptical machine. After the first week, the fatigue returned.

If I worked out for 40 minutes, I’d suffer a heavy amount of fatigue the next day. After recovering, I’d work out again but suffer more fatigue. Since October, the fatigue hasn’t stopped. Some days were better than others, and I’ve even had a few days without symptoms. …


Hint: Application Rules!

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash

I’ve been out of graduate school and working in the business world for about 22 years. When I worked in corporate America as an employee, I’ve managed departments and teams, learned a great deal about working with others, and matured (arguable so). Reflecting on my graduate days, I thought about the courses that helped shape who I am today as well as those that didn’t.

That is when I recalled taking a course on leadership and management. The only memorable thing I can recall is that the textbook might have been green.

I’ve seen a few textbooks that professors use to teach leadership. In them, the authors use several pages to explain things like the Great Man Theory, Trait Theory, Contingency Theory, Transactional Theory, Transformational Theory, and so on. None of these helped me lead, and I’m not the right person to ask what each means. Few practitioners probably could honestly provide examples of when these theories influenced how they led teams. …


6 tips that can shorten your writing time

Image of a hourglass sand timer sitting on sand (maybe a beach)
Image of a hourglass sand timer sitting on sand (maybe a beach)
With careful planning, you can accomplish the extraordinary within your desired timeline! — Author purchased the Image license from Shutterstock

From writing the first word to making the last revision, I completed my second business book about leadership. In spite of struggling with COVID-19, other health issues, and fluctuating client work, I finished the writing process in one month.

While replicating what I accomplished within a month might be unfeasible, these six tips may help you accelerate your writing process.

The numbers

Without the front and back matter, I estimate that a typical business book has about 35,000 words or about 200 pages. In comparison, my book, What the Heck Is Leadership and Why Should I Care?, is between 40–45% in length:

Excluding front/back matter: more than 16,000 words in 80 pages
With front/back matter: more than 21,000 words in 121…


Image of Daryl Davis on the TEDxNaperville stage
Image of Daryl Davis on the TEDxNaperville stage
Daryl Davis on the TEDxNaperville stage

The following is an excerpt from my book, What the Heck Is Leadership and Why Should I Care? I made some minor changes so that this post makes sense being out of the context of the book. Thanks to Daryl Davis for permitting me to share his words both in the book and in this post.

Why I, as a black man, attend KKK rallies is the title of Daryl Davis’ powerful TEDxNaperville video. A few years ago, I watched this video, and still today, I’m moved by Daryl’s eloquent words, curiosity, and courage.

Possibly because of my inexperience, I struggle to find the words to articulate my feelings about the unjust divisiveness and harm towards Americans just because of their appearance. Daryl, however, has organized his thoughts and expressed himself in a humbling way. The French say, le mot juste, which means using the right words at the right time. …


Image for post
Image for post

“Whatever you do, think big!” Those were the words that Jim Hill used to influence me to write my first leadership book. Although I don’t think that’s what he had in mind.

While I’ve written blogs, presented at conferences, and even wrote a dissertation, I’ve never written a book — much less a business book.

Before getting started, I talked to several people to discover what they want from a leadership book. Mostly, they want a lot of structure without dense paragraphs. If I could break a paragraph into a bulleted list, then great! If I could summarize three pages in a table, then that’s even better. Oh, and they want lots of examples to explain how to apply the concepts. …


The need for morality and compassion in a COVID-19 world

Image of a old-fashion spy taking pictures of files at a desk — a metaphor for electronic employee surveillance software
Image of a old-fashion spy taking pictures of files at a desk — a metaphor for electronic employee surveillance software

On Twitter and LinkedIn, work from home is the buzz in this COVID-19 environment, especially with white-collar teams. To keep businesses operating, companies have transformed their onsite employees to virtual ones. For example, one financial institute client explained that his tech department rapidly expanded its systems to handle the new demands of a completely virtual workforce.

For some, virtual work may become their new normal. Companies, like Twitter and Square, allow employees to work from home indefinitely while Google and Facebook employees can work from home until the end of 2020.

The rise in virtual surveillance, spyware, tattleware, and tracking

With more people working from home, more companies are using surveillance software to verify that employees are working rather than watching TV or reading Facebook. …

About

Gary A. DePaul, PhD (he/him/his)

Gary is a speaker, author, researcher, and leadership futurist. https://www.garyadepaul.com

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