Cam Newton Provides Valuable Leadership Lesson

Let me be clear about my intentions. I will not bash Cam Newton for his behavior on the field or during his interview after the Super Bowl. If I am honest with myself, I too have behaved poorly when my performance was not up to par.

Cam Newton

My purpose is to share with you a leadership lesson I was reminded of while reflecting on the situation.

Don’t allow emotions to hijack your ability to lead yourself appropriately.

During the game, the pressure from the Bronco’s defense impacted Cam’s performance. Several times he threw the football out of bounds to prevent a sack or overthrew his receivers. Cam shared that he hated losing and sacrificed so much for the game not to go as planned. He admitted his emotions took over which led to his behavior (Associate Press, 2016).

When you become emotionally hijacked, the blood leaves your brain, and either renders you helpless or causes you to lash out if not managed. When I first became a leader, this was true of me. I remember making mistakes and verbally criticizing myself. Those I was responsible for leading would scatter. They did not want to be around me because I was acting like a helpless child. On other occasions when under pressure I would become demanding and would not listen to the ideas of others. Again, the people I was responsible for leading would leave the work area. Why, because I was acting like a critical parent and treating them like children. In both cases, my ability to influence others to achieve results was severely reduced.

To prevent emotional hijacks, you must understand how your thinking about a given situation creates emotions that influence your behavior. Cam’s behavior was influenced because he hates to lose; my behavior was affected because I needed to be perfect or get immediate results. Therefore, you can manage your emotions by changing the way we think about a given situation.

In my case, I changed my thinking by accepting my imperfections and realizing people will fully invest their talents when they are allowed to share their ideas about how to achieve the best results.

I do believe Cam will learn to better manage his emotions and achieve his goal of leading the Caroling Panthers to a Super Bowl victory.

Question: How has your thinking created emotions that influence poor behavior?

Leadership Development Quote 002

The best leaders are attentive to their own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. By doing so they:

– Remain calm when situations get heated,
– Maintain a safe environment so others willingly speak up,
– Find the common ground within the differences between people and
– Build effective working relationships that maximize business outcomes.

Aristotle Leadership Development Quote

Leadership Development Quote 001

Leadership requires human interaction and human interaction is all about behaviors. Leaders who behave their way to success…
– Build powerful teams,
– Leverage their strengths and
– Achieve results while adapting to changing conditions.
Leadership Behaviors

Why Self Control is the Foundation for Success

Recently I had the honor and privilege to participate in a digitally recorded audio interview with the Dean of NFL Referees Jim Tunney and successful business owner Stephen F. Skinner. Our wonderful host, Phil R. Taylor facilitated a discussion on the importance of self-control to achieving success.

After our session, I spent some time reflecting on the ups and downs I’ve encountered in my life. Very quickly I realized why self-control is the foundation for creating and sustaining what we truly seek most from life: love, growth, health, security, inner peace, friendship, etc.

Self Control Professional Colorful

During my earlier years because of my lack of self-control I experienced the opposite. In fact, life seemed only to offer: frustration, loneliness, unhappiness, fatigue, and dissatisfaction. Fortunately, for me, a man I respected and admired (Russell) taught me a life lesson. He shook a coke can and asked me to open it. Of course, I refused. He asked me why, and I replied, “Because what’s inside the can will spew all over you and me. Next, he said something I will never forget “John, that’s what you do when you’re working with other people, and things don’t go your way. You have several talents, but talent will get you nowhere. Until you learn to lead yourself, you will feel empty and never achieve success.” The lesson was clear, what I don’t manage manages me. Thankfully, Russell continued to mentor me and shared a Bible verse, with me that sparked the beginning of me becoming a life-long learner.


Whoever loves discipline loves to learn; whoever hates to be corrected remains ignorant. ~Proverbs 12:1


Next, I set out to learn why I behaved in ways that caused me to spew all over others. Here’s what I discovered. My beliefs about success: be strong, be smart and be responsible worked well until other people were involved. As you might imagine when other people disagreed with me or seemed to have better ideas I became fearful and felt threatened. My behavior was cruel, inconsiderate, rude, cold or selfish. During these times, I acted like a scared child or know it all parent.

Coming face to face with the truth set in motion the desire to manage my emotions instead of my emotions managing me. Continuing my learning journey, I discovered several examples of biblical characters that experienced a war within just as I did. That war within is between the flesh and the Spirit as described in Galatians 5:16-17:


But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.


Isn’t it interesting that we want to do the right thing, yet our beliefs or desires prevent us from doing so. Galatians 5:18-19 describes the works of the flesh as strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, etc. When walking in the flesh, I was focused on satisfying my needs and considered others a threat to believing I was responsible, smart, and strong. This threat led me to behave in ways that caused harm relationships and trust to erode.

However when led by the Spirit, I am able through His power to practice self-control and produce joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness…the behaviors to show love. Unfortunately, the wars within remain alive and well, but now I have a divine power to fight the battle for me.

Peter is a biblical example that when led by the flesh was known to say things or behave in ways he would later regret. Soon after Jesus was arrested Peter was questioned about his association with Christ. Fearing for his life, Peter denied knowing Jesus not once but three times even though earlier he stated his never-ending commitment to Christ.

After his transformation, Peter walked in the Spirit and stood firm in the face of adversity. In Acts 3, we read that Peter and John healed a lame beggar. The beggar entered the temple jumping with joy praising God. His new behavior led to the arrest of Peter and John. They were brought before the high court that crucified Jesus. The court asked them by what name did they heal the beggar. Previously under pressure, Peter denied knowing Jesus. You might even expect him to blame someone else for this act but not this time. Instead, the transformed Peter proclaimed it was Jesus who the courts killed, and God raised from the dead that gave the beggar perfect health in the presence of everyone.

By focusing on the power that was available to him through the Spirit, Peter did not cave into his desires or the pressure to protect himself. The power to walk in the Spirit is available to everyone that believes in Christ. Weaknesses in our flesh are revealed and transformed into strengths and thus become the catalyst for self-control.

For me, Psalm 119-9:11 sums up how to walk in the Spirit.


How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, which I might not sin against you.


The answer is to read God’s Word and allow His divine power to renew your mind and His Spirit to transform your behavior to glorify Him. Here’s a personal example of how God is helping me overcome my self-control struggle of eating unhealthy.

First, I asked God to reveal the verses from His Word that will serve as the daily affirmations for renewing my mind. Through prayer and reading God’s Word I learned:

  • Food is not for comforting my emotions. “Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.” 1 Corinthians 8:8.
  • Food is fuel for the body, so plan my meals. “Don’t stuff yourself, bridle your appetite.” Proverbs 23:3
  • My body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. “…do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • God wants me to have a healthy body. “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2
  • God leads me on my journey to becoming healthy. “And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11

With the a sound foundation based on God’s Biblical Principles and led by the Spirit, I am now following a 3-step process for eating healthy.

  1. Prepare – I asked my wife Laura to help me by cooking foods that have not been processed. Now, we plan our meals weekly and purchase foods recommended by the Daniel Plan.
  2. Perform – With her loving support I am now eating lean meats along with plenty of healthy grains, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, I am working to eliminate refined sugars such as soft drinks and sweet tea from my daily routine. Instead, I am now drinking water. Lastly, we are reducing the number of times we eat at restaurants each week.
  3. Perfect – I do not expect to be perfect on my journey of healthy eating. Instead, I am tracking my flawed progress and repeating the process of prepare, perform and perfect to honor God with a healthy body.

Our interview will be part of the 17 Biblical Principles of Success audio program available on CD and digital download formats set for release in Mar 2016. The program includes 51 Magnificent Business Leaders, Speakers, Authors, Teachers and Pastors sharing their life experiences and insights about the power of Biblical Principles that have guided them towards success throughout their lives and careers.

Leadership Team Development Articles – November 14

Leadership Team Development Articles

During my research on leadership and team development this week I came across three articles you may find beneficial in your continued growth. Please let me know what your thoughts and how you plan to apply what you learned. Thank you for considering my request.

1. Here’s the leadership strategy Nike’s CEO uses to make employees smarter – by Shana Lebowitz – Fortune quoted Andy Campion, Nike’s chief financial officer: “What’s fascinating about [Parker’s] use of questions is that it leaves other leaders empowered to find the answers themselves and act on them.”

My Comment: Mark Parker, Nike’s CEO gets leadership. He understands employees do not respond to command and control bosses. Instead he asks questions that allow employees to determine the answers because they no what to do. The outcome is more productive and smarter employees.

2. How Much Has Our Perception of Great Leadership Shifted Over the Past Decade and What has Change – by Kathy Caprino – How has our society’s perception and conceptualization of outstanding, positive leadership changed over the past decade? Do we as a society think about leadership differently now, and is leadership defined by a different set of traits and standards now than it was in the past?

My Comment: Bill Howard a senior fellow at Harvard Business School shares why and how leadership has changed. A good read to understand why command and control leadership is a thing of the past.

3. 5 Leadership Blind Spots (and How to Overcome Them) – by Elizabeth Palermo – Even the most effective leaders have flaws. Unfortunately, many leaders don’t know what those flaws are or how to fix them.

My Comment: Some leaders get stuck in their own thinking and rarely take to ask for feedback. This article will challenge you to look inside and determine if a blind spot or two may exist. I recommend if you identify a blind spot that you ask your followers for feedback and help eliminating the problem.


John Bentley is a leadership team development coach, speaker and trainer. He is known for simplifying the art of human interaction in the workplace. To contact John call 256.612.0015 or email To learn more about John’s program or services visit www.power2transform.comFollow John on Twitter: @power2transform.

Life Consists of a Series of Problem Solving Activities

Just this week I came to the realization that life is nothing more than a series of problem solving activities. This led me to list the problems life has presented me. As you might imagine some I caused by poor choices and others fell into my lap by the choices of others. Next, I identified the lessons learned from overcoming the problems. Last but certainly not least, I reflected on how the problems equipped me to achieve success.

As the quote below shares, embrace, overcome and learn from each problem life presents.

QUESTION: How did the problems life presented you help you live a successful life?

Leadership Team Development Quote #2

Leadership Team Development Quote – General Patton

I saw a cartoon earlier this week of a leader sharing the following with his employees: “I want you to critically think and continuously innovate as long as you do things my way.”

Thankfully, leaders like General George S. Patton know that micromanagement will not sustain success.General Patton Quote

Who Has Helped You

I came across the quote below and it prompted me to reflect on my life and make a list of all the people that helped me get to where I am today. I was amazed as the list grew to over 300 names. My scale of help was minor (e.g., a kind word) to major (e.g., there for me during a difficult time). To think that so many people willing helped me is humbling yet exhilarating. I am sure the list is not complete. Therefore, the list will continue to grow as I remember others that helped me in the past and will add to it when helped in the future. Just shows me that no one is self-made and success requires the support others. Who has helped you and just as important who have your helped? After you finish your list create a GET EVEN plan.

Mae Maloo Quote

How to Overcome Why Leaders Won’t Delegate

In an early post, I shared that delegation is a fundamental process that makes everything flow, creating a streamlined environment that produces the best outcomes for the leader, employees, the organization and customers. If this principle is true, then why don’t more leaders practice delegation? Here are the top three reasons that continue to surface during my coaching sessions with leaders.

Delegate worker employee work being passed down people subordina


Why Leaders Won’t Delegate

1. Some leaders choose not to delegate because they just don’t know where to begin. Uncertainty of how to transition the workload causes the leader to try and accomplish more work than possible. Next, they justify the additional workload by assuming their followers workload won’t allow for additional tasks.

2. Others choose not to delegate because they are unsure of their employee’s capability. Leaders that think their followers are inadequate or incompetent do not believe others can perform the work adequately. Therefore, high expectations cause leaders to believe only they can produce the results demanded by customers.

3. Leaders also fail to delegate because they don’t have time to train employees to do the task. Constantly busy managers are a prime example of those who fit into this stereotype. They are pulled in many directions and lack the time needed to devote to proper training. Everyone suffers from this attitude, the employees, customers, and the leader. If that leader is absent, everything falls apart because no one knows how to complete the tasks needed for the organization to be part of a streamlined process.

The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels. ~Eli Broad

The good news is leaders can learn to delegate effectively? The key is to recognize the need for delegation and commit to investing the time and effort to help others develop.

7 Steps to Effective Delegation

1. Create a plan: First determine which tasks you should not be doing. Then identify how you will implement the process so that everybody has a thorough understanding of his or her new duties?

2. Think Shared Responsibility: People want to help and know that they make a difference. By sharing responsibility for success, people realize they are not alone and strive to not let the leader down. It also gives them new direction and purpose, which can create better results and increased customer service.

3. Choose the Right Person: Get to know your people. Pay attention to their abilities and willingness. When they are ready, choose someone and delegate a task that would aligns with the persons stengths. For example, you may wish to delegate tasks requiring accuracy to someone who is very detail oriented and thorough; whereas you may distribute tasks requiring support of others to an employee who is accepting and agreeable. When you match the task to the employee’s personality, the best outcome is achieved.

4. Give Authority: Ensure you delegate enough authority to enable the follower to make the decisions required to accomplish the intended results. For example, you may only want the employee to gather facts so you can make the decision all the way up to complete the task and report the outcome.

5. Checkpoints: Creating milestones gives measures to gauge success. When employees meet or surpass your set of expectations, it could be a good time to add more responsibilities or give that person a promotion. Checkpoints give the staff a chance to prove their abilities to you, as their leader.

6. Motivating Environment: There is something to be said for employees who fully invest their talents in the workplace. Reward those who go above and beyond your expectations. Recognition is a key to creating an atmosphere of teamwork. Beyond just a simple pat on the back, create tangible rewards, such as bonuses, time off, trophies or gift cards that your employees can work to earn, and that will foster an ambitious work atmosphere.

7. Accountability: Make people accountable for certain tasks. If they fail to do them, you can reassign them to the right people who are more capable of handling the tasks you choose to delegate. Accountability also spurs people to take action, rather than to leave the work for someone else. You can do this by following up with the employee to discuss lesson learned. Ensure you identify what went well and not so well so adjustments can be made if necessary.

Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.            ~Ronald Reagan

For some leaders, the thought of delegating a task cause a dilemma. They don’t know where to begin, are unsure of who is competent or can’t identify who should do the task. When faced with this quandary apply the seven steps to effective delegation to get unstuck.

Questions: Which of the three reasons listed prevent you from delegating tasks you should not be performing? How will you apply the seven steps to delegate effectively and achieve better outcomes for your employees, the organization and customers?

Why Leaders Must Delegate

While barking orders from busy managers may come to mind as your perception of delegation, there is much more to be understood about why it is such an essential skill of successful leadership. From small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, delegation is a fundamental process that makes everything fluid, creating a streamlined environment that works.

Business man pointing to transparent board with text: Delegate

Early on in my leadership journey I did not understand or appreciate the importance of delegation. As a result, I found myself trying to do everything and became exhausted. Fortunately, a mentor noticed my frustration. Based on her comments listed in the quote that follows I changed my view of delegation.

When leaders delegate they have more time to focus on the key tasks required of their position. The key is for leaders to delegate the tasks they should not be doing to those that are capable of accomplishing the work. ~Melissa Bellinger

During my time as a leader, I have discovered five additional benefits derived from delegating tasks to others.

  1. Multiply yourself: Ever wish you had more than two hands? Or “two of you?” Delegate by training certain people to perform duties that meet your expectations.
  2. Create a motivated team: Giving others small tasks make people feel part of a team. The team environment becomes a tight-knit unit that can perform duties to maximize time, enhance customer service and streamline workflow processes.
  3. Develop followers: Becoming known as a people developer means that you are giving employees valuable knowledge, skills and information that will empower them to be able to become self-sufficient.
  4. Master stress & time management: Those who try to take on too much often feel burned out and spend less time with their families or relaxing. If all you do is work, work, work… it may be time to seek help.
  5. Create opportunities for yourself and others: Why hoard all of your talents and knowledge? By investing your time and relinquishing skills to subordinates, you can develop them and grow the organization, as well.

Ultimately, effective delegation positively impacts the customer, employees and your organization. First, frustrations along with being exhausted is minimized because you no longer believe everything is your responsibility. Second, as your team becomes more self-reliant they strive for optimum performance by fully investing their talents to achieve organizational goals. Third, the customers experience quality products and services leading to more profits.

The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good people to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

In my next post I will share with you the seven steps for effectively delegation.

Question: What benefits have you gained from effectively delegating tasks to others?