John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger

Lemberg Guest Blogger. John has more than 30 years of experience as a leader and manager in fields ranging from sales and marketing to customer service, financial services and human resources. Since 1993, he has provided facilitation, training, coaching and leadership-development support to hundreds of leaders, from front-line supervisors to C-suite executives. John is a facilitator and certified coach for Living As A Leader in Brookfield, WI.
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Recent Posts

5 Rules for Being a Person Others Want to Follow

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Sep 10, 2018

In his book, The Art of Possibility, renowned orchestral conductor Benjamin Zander shares a simple idea he calls “Leading from Any Chair.” He writes:

“A leader does not need a podium; she can be sitting quietly on the edge of any chair, listening passionately and with commitment, fully prepared to take up the baton.”

I believe the same is true for all of us who work in organizations. Anyone in the house can lead. We don’t need special authority or a title. We don’t need a certain technical expertise. Heck, we don’t even need permission. We merely need the desire to engage others in moving the ball.

The real leadership question is: Will other people WANT to follow you?

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4 Ways Leadership Involves Change

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jul 13, 2018

The distinction between management and leadership has been debated for decades. Great minds – such as Warren Bennis, Stephen Covey, Grace Hopper, and John Kotter – have argued that management and leadership are different. I've argued the difference, too.

  • Bennis: “Managers do things right, while leaders do the right things.”
  • Covey: “Leadership deals with direction. Management deals with speed.”
  • Hopper: “You manage things. You lead people.”
John Kotter of Harvard Business School put it this way:

Management is about coping with complexity. Leadership is about coping with change. -- J.Kotter, Harvard Business School

I like Kotter’s thinking. A defining distinction about leadership is its focus on change. After all, in the work-world, change is all around us.

As I’ve reflected on this idea over the years, I’ve come to realize the most effective leaders focus on creating change in four key ways.

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"Birthday Week" -- A Leadership Lesson

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Jun 14, 2018

It’s “Birthday Week” at our house. Birthday Week is an annual tradition that begins six days before my wife’s birthday, ending and culminating on the anniversary of her birth. It’s a tradition invented by her dad, my father-in-law.

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Better Leaders Reduce the High Cost of Turnover

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Apr 20, 2018

You may have heard it before: People join companies, they leave leaders. Through decades of working with leaders at all levels in organizations around the county, we’ve found this claim to be true. Employees most often leave because of their immediate manager.

Research also supports this fact. Gallup has conducted more than 30 years of research into employee engagement and productivity. They have concluded that upwards of 70% of the reasons for voluntary turnover relate to elements that can be influenced by managers.

A survey conducted in the U.K. by Approved Index showed that 42% of employees admitted having left a job because of a bad boss. 

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Every Leader Needs Feedback (Including YOU): Four Reasons and Six Tips

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Feb 23, 2018

Frank, a marketing director for an international distributor, was having dinner with Victor, his vice-president boss, on a trip together to Germany. Frank and Victor were visiting from the U.S. for a meeting the next day with Victor’s international marketing team. Frank used this private opportunity to give Victor some feedback.

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Leadership Is Simple But Not Easy

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Dec 19, 2017

In my last post, I shared a simple analogy that equates leadership to rowing a row boat. The two oars of a row boat represent the two fundamental dynamics at play in leadership. These two dynamics are people and results.

The idea is simply this: As leaders, we need to be focused on the needs of the people we lead and on the organization’s need for results – at the same time. To lead effectively, we must operate these two elements simultaneously and with equal force, just like oars of a row boat. Otherwise, we go in circles.

While this idea of leadership as a balancing act between people and results sounds simple, let me be clear: Simple is not the same as easy.

There are three reasons this idea can be challenging to put into practice.

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The Two Oars of Leadership

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Nov 17, 2017

Imagine yourself sitting in a row boat. In each hand, you have an oar that’s anchored to either side of the boat. You pull on the two oars – simultaneously and with equal force – to navigate the water. That’s how you move the boat to your destination.

The same is true when you’re a leader. This analogy of two oars in a row boat is a simple yet accurate metaphor that reflects the two basic dynamics at play whenever you lead. To lead effectively, you must operate these two elements simultaneously and with equal force. Otherwise, you go in circles.

So, what are these two oars of leadership? 

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Are You a Leader Like Mark? Four Practices for Good Leadership.

Posted by John Rutkiewicz - Guest Blogger on Sep 29, 2017

Three decades ago – as a first-time manager at the age of 23 – I had a boss named Mark.

Mark was a good guy to work for and a great model for me in my early days as a leader. Mark held high standards for our operations team. He believed firmly in the importance of clear process and procedure. He believed in solid training to quickly get new folks on board and to help us all continuously improve.

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