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Upsize Your Leadership

From the smallest of startups to the C-Suite of global corporations, Dr. Mike Armour has shown thousands of leaders how to step up their game. Now he brings this same wisdom and insight to his audience on Upsize Your Leadership. Every episode explores timeless principles of management, leadership, and personal success. Dr. Mike underscores these principles with engaging stories and interviews with exceptional guests. Whether you’re a C-Suite executive, a veteran manager, or even an aspiring leader, you will always find practical, actionable ideas on Upsize Your Leadership.

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UYL2107 -- The Most Misunderstood Leadership Virtue

Following the publication of Jim Collins' ground-breaking work Good to Great, interest in humility as a vital leadership trait gained broad interest. The topic of humility took center stage in leadership workshops and keynote speeches for months to come.Yet, for all of the attention which the book garnered for humility, enduring interest in the topic is yet to take shape. Rarely do we find articles or books showing how a company has operationalized humility or made it a celebrated leadership trait within the organization.It would appear that leadership discussions of humility are more of an exercise in virtue signaling than in genuine commitment to humility as a virtue. In this episode I examine the cultural factors which shape this neglect.Some of those factors are as ancient as classical Greek philosophy and literature. Other factors are rooted in the distorted view of humility which is widespread in modern society. I hold, indeed, that humility is the most misunderstood of all leadership traits.A transcript of this episode is available in a PDF format at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


17 Jun 2021

Rank #1

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UYL2106 -- Managers Have Never Faced This Challenge Before

The Unprecedented Challenge Before ManagementAt many times in human history, managers have had to contend with losing their workforce for a few days or weeks due to disasters, epidemics, or war. But never have managers been asked to reassemble a workforce which has been working remotely and in isolation from one another for over a year.Yet, that's the very situation before us as the pandemic begins to recede. In their rush to get the train back on the tracks, however, managers can be blindsided by a reality which they have not allowed for in their planning.To be specific, workers are coming back together bearing unhealed wounds both emotionally and psychologically. They have been through a year of economic, political, social, and financial turmoil. It has been a year of intense emotions, few of them positive, uplifting, or energizing.During that time, millions of workers have learned that they can work remotely. And great numbers of them now actually prefer to do so. They will not only return with unhealed wounds from the shutdown, but a resentment of no longer being able to work from home.What will all of this mean for the atmosphere which prevails as these workers come back together after a year apart? This episode examines possibilities which every manager should take into account.A transcript of this episode is available as a PDF file at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast/episodes/2106-unprecedented-challenge.htm. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


21 Apr 2021

Rank #2

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UYL2105 -- The Tradeoffs of Virtual Training

Virtual Leadership Training: The Pros and ConsFor several years, virtual training has been an option, but not one that many companies chose. Most preferred the more conventional classroom style of training.The COVID pandemic changed all of that. What training was done in 2020 and the first quarter of this year was largely delivered virtually.Now, with the COVID restrictions approaching a conclusion, what does the future hold for leadership and management training? Or all training, for that matter? Will virtual training be the default for the future? Or will companies return to in-person, classroom training?Many strong arguments -- especially economic ones -- can be advanced for virtual training. But there are tradeoffs that every leader and manager should consider before opting for virtual instruction. In this episode I lay out those tradeoffs and build the case that conventional, live training in person will always be the better way to train, given that option.A PDF transcript of the episode is available at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast/episodes/2105-virtual-training. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


8 Apr 2021

Rank #3

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UYL2104 -- The 3 Essential Leadership Skillsets

All Leadership Turns on These 3 HingesLeadership is the art of rallying people around a shared purpose, then motivating them and mobilizing them to achieve it. To achieve this mandate, leaders must excel at three interrelated skillsets: People Skills Communication Skills Trust-Building Skills These are like three hinges on the doorway to leadership success. Unless they are maintained and well-oiled, that door will be difficult to open.The most basic of these skillsets is people skills, simply because leadership is always people-centric. Whereas management strives to optimize processes, leadership strives to optimize the performance of people.And to do so, leaders must be armed with effective communication skills. While leaders must lead by example, first and foremost they must lead through communication. Their example merely validates that they truly believe in the message which they espouse.Further, people perform at their highest level only in an atmosphere of trust. Leaders must therefore excel at creating strong trust bonds among their people. Love bonds people together. Trust bonds communities together, just as it has from the dawn of human society. Leaders who want their people to thrive are ever vigilant to keep trust in strong repair.A PDF transcript of this episode can be obtained by following the link to download scripts at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


1 Apr 2021

Rank #4

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UYL2103 -- How to Guide Problem-Solving Conversations

A Four-Part Template for Helping People Solve ProblemsAs leaders and managers, we are regularly approached by people wanting help with solving some problem or overcoming a challenge.Do you have a set strategy for how to manage such conversations? As an executive coach, I must guide these kinds of discussions in almost every coaching session.In this episode I offer a four-step process which I follow to make these conversations as fruitful as possible. The approach I use in coaching is equally applicable to management conversations or discussions with friends and family.To make the steps of the process easy to recall, my name for the process is the CIAA formula (or the CI-double-A formula, as I most commonly refer to it.), Each letter in the name refers to a specific step in the process.This process is easy to learn. Easy to remember. Easy to apply. Even though this podcast describes it only from a high-level perspective, I provide sufficient detail that you can implement it immediately. For a printable copy of this episode, download a PDF transcript of the program at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


17 Mar 2021

Rank #5

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UYL2102 -- Why Leaders Can't Earn Trust

Leaders Need Trust, But They Can't Earn ItTrust is the most fundamental of human social needs. Without trust, the relationships necessary for social and cultural order fall apart. And nowhere is that more true than in leadership. Leaders who are not trusted have no influence.Gaining the trust of their followers is thus a primary concern for leaders. But if they think that they can earn trust, they are missing a pivotal reality. The truth is, we cannot earn trust. Trust, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.Trust is not something we earn. It's something which others bestow on us. If they choose not to trust us, there is nothing which we can do to coerce them, obligate them, or compel them to place trust in us. Our job as leaders, then, is to act in such a trustworthy manner that we make it as easy for people to bestow trust upon us.And to appear trustworthy, we must first look at ourselves from the perspective of those who lead. From our followers' vantage, what makes us worthy of trust? And conversely, what makes us undeserving of trust? This episode examines the crucial necessity of leaders approaching trust-building from the viewpoint of those whom they lead.A PDF copy of today's episode is available by following the appropriate download link at https;//www.leaderperfect.com/podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


2 Mar 2021

Rank #6

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UYL2101 -- But That's Not Fair

The Challenge of Leading in a Polarized WorldFrom the time children begin to talk well, they are quick to raise an outcry if they feel that they are being treated unfairly. Time and again we hear them complain, "But that's not fair!" or "They aren't playing fair with me."And we carry passion for fairness into adulthood. Political and social reform movements throughout history have organized themselves around a protest against something judged to be unfair.As leaders, we are expected to make decisions and adopt policies which are fair. But what constitutes fairness? This episode explores two different criteria which are used to determine whether a decision or policy is fair. And it shows how division over these criteria has led to in our current state of political and social polarization.Unfortunately, this polarization spills over into organizational life, where people expect leaders to make fair decisions and to take fair positions. Today's podcast aims at helping leaders take fairness issues into proper consideration when making decisions or adopting new policies.A PDF transcript of this podcast is available at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast by clicking on the link to download scripts. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


4 Feb 2021

Rank #7

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UYL2022 -- Strategic Plans Are Not Enough

The Inherent Flaw in Strategic PlansVital as they are, strategic plans have one inherent flaw due to their very design. Strategic plans plans typically envision the future as a straight-line projection of the present. They don’t make allowances for wholesale disruptions brought on by forces outside of our control.Yet, 2020 presented us with one disruption after another. No one's strategic plan could have anticipated the COVID-19 pandemic or the consequences which flowed from it. By mid-summer of 2020, most companies were working completely outside of the strategic plan with which they began the year.So, is there a way to plan for the future in a way which allows for unforeseen disruptions which push our strategic plan aside? And the answer is, "Yes." We do it by supplementing strategic planning with scenario planning. Scenario planning fundamentally answers the question, “How should we respond if horrendous development X were to happen?”This episode offers an overview of scenario planning and identifies six potential disruptions which every business is well-advised to address with thoughtful scenario planning.. A link to download a transcript of this episode can be found at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


29 Dec 2020

Rank #8

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UYL2021 -- Five Reasons Management Careers Plateau

Critical Transitions on the Corporate LadderFor twenty years I've been observing an intriguing phenomenon: promising, high-potential managers whose careers seem to top out prematurely.There's no apparent scandal to blame as the culprit. No wholesale failure of a pivotal assignment. No costly mistake as a result of their misjudgments. They simply quit moving up. Or worse still, they are asked to move out.As a leadership and executive coach, I've often been engaged to work with managers who are in this very situation, or soon may be. Sometimes it's the manager who reaches out to me to explore possible causes for a plateaued career. More often it's a company that contacts me, asking for my help in rescuing the flagging career of a high-promise worker.After dozens of engagements like this, I came to see that many of these clients already had the personality and the requisite skills to continue their upward climb. But they had plateaued because of factors having little to do with their likability or skill set.In this episode I look at five of the more common factors which I've encountered that are quietly sabotaging careers. I think of them as "silent killers," because they rarely call attention to themselves. Yet they are choking off what could be a stellar career. As I examine these career-killing villains, ask whether you're taking adequate precautions against them.For a PDF copy of today's episode, follow the link to download transcripts at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


17 Dec 2020

Rank #9

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UYL2020 -- Motivation May Not Be the Problem: Four Culprits Behind Poor Performance

It's Not Always About MotivationLeadership is about recognizing the potential in people and situations, then bringing that potential to fruition.For that reason, serious leaders find it disconcerting when they have a worker or volunteer who shows great promise, but seems content with mediocre performance.When we encounter people like this, it's easy to say that they are not motivated. Which may be the case. But not necessarily. lack of motivation is only one of several possibilities.In this episode I look at four issues which result in people performing at a substandard level. I offer a simple template for identifying which of these issues is likely the root of the problem. Each issue calls for a unique leadership solution.Motivation may indeed be the problem. But an even deeper problem may lie elsewhere. This template helps you decipher the real issue.A PDF transcript of this program is available at https://www.leaderperfect.com/podcast/episodes. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices


20 Nov 2020

Rank #10