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 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.

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?


3 Leadership Team Development Articles for the Week of Jan 16, 2015

Every week I read a number of leadership team development articles from several online resources. Here are my top three choices for this week. I have added my comment about each article and would like to hear what you think too.

1. How Do You Motivate Your Team After an Unexpected Setback? – by The Young Entrepreneurial Council – Motivation matters after your company stumbles, and 15 young entrepreneurs offer their advice on keeping morale up. One option: Counter bad news with more positive surprises, such as a group outing. “Not only will this lift their spirits, it will give you all a low-stress environment to regroup and respond to whatever the problem is,” says Brian Honigman.

My Comment: 15 entrepreneurs provided a different method to overcome team setbacks. I encourage you to share the article with your team and facilitate a discussion by asking the following questions:

  • Which methods have we applied that helped us overcome setbacks?
  • How should we use these methods to overcome future setbacks?

The response to these questions helps your team learn that setbacks are going to occur. More importantly, they now know there is a mechanism for learning from the setbacks to improve performance and profitability.

2. 7 Tips for Developing a Leadership Mindset – by Jane Perdue – Professor and author Michael D. Watkins offers seven topics for leaders to take into account as they assess their leadership practices. These methods require maintaining equilibrium between analytical thinking and conceptual mindsets—a fundamental necessity for leading as well as managing effectively. If your career growth and influence are stalled out, reflect on your answers to these seven questions.

My Comment: The #1 problem, new leaders face, is learning how to transition from performing the day-to-day tasks and stepping into the role of getting results through others. The article provides you with a roadmap for embracing new ways of thinking that includes influencing followers to achieve collective results.

3. 5 Ways to Make Meetings Work for You and Your Team – by David M. Dye – Good leaders make sure that every meeting is the most productive possible use of time for everyone who attends, writes David M. Dye. Start by having clarity on what is being decided and who will decide. “If people could be doing something else to advance the mission better, why on earth would you take them away from that and into a meeting?” Dye asks.

My Comment: At least once a month I am asked how do you ensure meetings are productive? I respond by asking the following: Approximately how many people attend the meeting and what is the average hourly rate for those in at the meeting? How long do the meetings normally last? You are probably thinking, why do you ask these questions? The answer, in most cases the people attending the meetings is unaware of how much money they are wasting in unproductive meetings. I also recommend posting in plain view the cost of the meeting, so everyone is more apt to focus on the key activities for a successfully meeting. With the right mindset, you can apply the five ways to make meetings work because those in attendance now understand the real cost of unproductive meetings.


John Bentley speaks, trains, and writes about leadership team development. He is a contributing author of the book ‘Speaking of Success’ along with Ken Blanchard, Jack Canfield and Stephen Covey. You may download John’s chapter ‘The 5 Enablers of Success’ at To learn more or ask John a question email Follow on Twitter: @power2transform 

Leadership Team Development Thought – October 21

Leaders often ask me why people do not achieve the results they want. My response, they are unaware of the beliefs causing them to remain stuck. So here’s something to think about…

Something to Think About













The stories we tell ourselves come from the beliefs we developed over time. Here’s some stories people tell that limit their ability to achieve the results they want:

  • I am not smart enough
  • I do not deserve success
  • My family is overweight
  • Why try, I will fail anyway
  • I must do everything myself

What stories are you telling yourself? How are the stories preventing you from achieving success?

Call me (256.612.0015) for a FREE 30 minute strategy session to discuss how you can change your stories, to renew your thinking and transform your life!

3 Leadership Team Development Articles – Resilience

This week I focused on reading articles about leadership resilience. Here are the three choices for this week along with my comments.  Please let me know your thoughts too.

1. Resilience Through Mindful Leadershipby Bill George – What’s causing this dramatic shift in our consciousness about what it takes today to be an effective leader? It starts with the changes taking place in the world. We live in an era of globalization and rapid technological change that is creating volatility, uncertainty, chaos and ambiguity.

My Comment: While the article focuses on world changes, it offered me a way to become more mindful. Mindful leaders are self-aware and remain calm in the face of adversity. By doing so, they are able to concentrate their effort better and rally employees to take immediate action. Therefore, their teams outperform the competition.

2. The Paradoxical Traits of Resilient Peopleby Faisal Hoque – At the heart of resilience is a belief in oneself–yet also a belief in something larger than oneself. Resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.

My Comment: The key to my resilience is to master the stories I tell myself when problems or setbacks occur. When I tell myself the issue cannot be solved or spend time blaming others valuable resources are wasted. Also, I become a victim of the circumstance and my leadership is ineffective. Therefore, it is important to face reality, change my story and determine what action I can take to solve the problem.

3. How Resilient Leaders Manage Anxiety – by Keith McFarland – What determines a company’s bounce—its resilience in times of adversity? Last month I pointed out that a leader’s attitude going into adversity is crucial. Effective leaders “embrace the bounce”—they understand that difficult times present an opportunity for a company to focus its vision and learn about itself and its customers.

My Comment: The natural tendency of an anxious leader or team is to operate from a security and control mindset. When this occurs they seek control and become frozen by fear and doubt. The outcome is unclear thinking that leads to poor decision-making. As a leader your role is to establish a sense of normal. Talk to the employees, understand how they feel and create a learning and discovery mindset. The goal is to reduce the stress caused by the problem or setback so employees will seek solutions

Developing Leadership and Team Resilience

The intensity for leaders and teams to produce results faster along with constant changes can seem insurmountable. Fortunately, leaders and teams can successfully cope with the pressures and setbacks by developing resilience.

Developing Leadership and Team Resilience

I lead a regional human resources development team responsible for training 500 HR personnel. Recently, our training budget was eliminated due to financial constraints. Therefore, students could not travel to attend required training. As you might imagine, we panicked. Our overarching thought was, “how will this impact our jobs?”

Our situation may be different than yours. However, the emotions experienced during adversity are similar. Luckily, we recognized the importance of moving past our current mindset. Just as we did, you can apply the following four practices to develop resilience and overcome adversity.

See the opportunity in adversity. In our case, I asked the question, “What if we could provide training at no cost that simulated job requirements?” The initial response was it couldn’t be done. Instead of debating, I encouraged dialogue that reframed the problem into an opportunity for us to add value. With a new mindset, the problem became smaller while at the same time reducing everyone’s anxiety.

Adopt a get it done now attitude. Armed with a learning and discovery mindset, we brainstormed ideas, selected a solution and developed an implementation plan. With a plan in place, we made great strides in small steps to achieve the desired outcome. Furthermore, procrastination and emotions were minimized because we took action instead of simply wishing the problem did not exist.

Create collaborative relationships. Achieving the desired outcome meant enlisting the support of 15 HR Directors. First, it was important they understood how the new method would benefit them and their employees. Second, for the plan to succeed we needed the input from HR subject matter experts to develop simulated training scenarios. By involving the people impacted, we gained the necessary assistance for success.

Anticipate and manage setbacks. Since our idea was a new concept, we expected problems to occur. To manage the issues we established follow-up methods to address problems immediately, allowing the team to communicate the improvements. Furthermore, everyone continued to support and benefit from the training. As a result, managing setbacks minimizes finger pointing and blame.

Daily pressure and adversity are the norms in today’s work environment. How leaders and teams respond to problems is a choice. Choose to apply the four practices to become more resilient. The payoff is worth the effort.

Question: What other practices do you recommend for building resilience?

Leadership Team Development Quote – Resilience

Leadership Team Development Quote – Resilience

Like most leaders I am sure you have experienced difficulties and setbacks. In fact, it is very possible you are facing one now. If this is true, how are you leading yourself and others to a successful result. Maybe you are struggling right now. If this is the case stop right now and…

  • Identify a difficult situation you led successfully.
  • Brainstorm how you succeeded.
  • Apply this knowledge to develop a plan to succeed again.

During this activity remain focused on Nelson Mandela’s quote to understand how his development improved leadership and team resilience.

Leadership Team Development Quote - Resilience

7 Ways Leaders Can Practice Humility

Leaders that practice humility get the best from their followers!

Humble Leader