October 2018


If you are thinking you missed last month's newsletter (September)? You did not. I took a break!

I hope you enjoy these short articles. Thank you all for the great feedback. It is appreciated.


Leading Through Disaster—When Leaders Turn Toxic

Disaster strikes! It can be as quick as a snake biting the unsuspecting hiker or as slow an obvious as a hurricane building in the middle of the Atlantic heading for the coast. One thing about disaster regardless of speed it shines a light on leaders.

In the face of disaster, leaders tend to react in one of three ways. Two of those are toxic. The third, although more preferred, can spell personal disaster for the leader. You as a leader take note of these reactions and be prepared to lead when needed most.

Toxic reactions

The two toxic reactions of some leaders are to react like either a victim or a villain. Victim leaders act as if some foul was done to them. We have all heard rants of "I can't believe they did that to me!" "After all, I did for them how could this happen?" or words to that effect.

I suspect most of us have been in meetings where someone did not meet an expectation, did not deliver on time and it was caused by someone else's actions. "We could not complete our task because they....(you fill in the blank).

The leader as victim blames others for failures.

Then we have the leader who reacts to adversity like a villain. I'm sure you are familiar with this approach "...if you can't get this done on time, I'm going to find somebody who can!" Or this one "...I don't care how you get it done, just get it done and don't be late!"

The leader as villain leads by threats and creating a zero-tolerance atmosphere.

Heroic reactions

The third reaction is the leader who responds to disasters like a hero.

In the midst of a disaster when blame is being handed out like popcorn at the state fair, in steps the hero leader. "Everyone calm down, no need for passing out blame, I am in charge, and I take all the blame! Now let's get back to work."

What a boss, what a leader, the boss we all want to work for—yes?

Although the heroic leader is preferred this leader walks a fine line. By taking the blame, the risk is not holding accountable someone who should. This can create a situation where not meeting one's responsibilities to the team and or organization, is not such a bad thing. The next disaster is being teed-up. How many of these can any leader stand? The Heroic leader is now setting themselves up for burning out or losing their position or job.

What is the answer? If being a heroic leader is not the ideal way of leading, what is?

The answer lies in questions. Our heroic leader is better served not by taking the blame, after all, every leader is responsible for what happens and fails to happen in their span of control. That is leadership 101.

When the disaster strikes, it is time for a calm, cool-headed leader, who looks for the learning opportunity. It is time for a lot of questions—what happened? What did we learn? How do we move forward and not have this sort of thing happen again?

Disaster strikes! It can be quick, totally unexpected or moving slow enough to see coming and you just can't avoid it. Leading through a disaster is not for leaders who are victims, villains and oddly enough, not for heroes. It is for the calm, cool-headed leader who will guide the organization through without pointing fingers, making threats or taking the blame. This is the leader who sees the opportunities and makes the disaster, in the long run, work for the betterment of all.

© 2018 by John Boggs All Rights Reserved.

Curiosity Kills the Cat—And Makes the Leader

Two of my CEO clients this week experienced a similar situation—members of their executive leadership team were experiencing issues where the blame for actions happening or not happening was taking place.

A mark of superb leadership is to find the learning opportunity everywhere you can and use it. One of the best ways to put an end to the blame game and use it as a learning opportunity for your senior leaders is to BE CURIOUS!

Ask questions and a lot of them. One of the most significant questions ever—what did you learn from this? And how do we use this new knowledge to our advantage?

In my experience, you will stop the blaming and or arguments and turn the energy into something productive.

Be curious; curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is the mark of successful leaders.


I am often asked for leadership advice based on my Marine Corps experience for use in business. This section is providing short leadership tips you can use to become an Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

Leadership by walking around is an old concept. Rarely is it done well. When leaders move about the organization, the leader is on a mission. The mission—keep the organization informed.

Great leaders do not assume, information is getting to the last machine operator on the production floor. Great leaders have a conversation with that operator. If the operator did not know the pertinent information, he or she does now, you told them.

And of course, there is a bonus—the operator has just been elevated in the eyes of his or her peers, and you have been elevated in their eyes. You took the time to have a conversation with a team member.

Take a walk—keep your folks informed.

Current Happenings


I will be providing Executive Leadership Coaching for the Arizona State University Lodestar Leadership Academy.

The ASU Lodestar Leadership Academy provides leadership education for nonprofit leaders.

For more information on the ASU Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation go to https://lodestar.asu.edu/content/2018-conference-workshops.

March 2019

COL. Byron Freeman U.S. Army (Ret.) President of BAF Security and I will be returning to Delta College in Michigan to teach the popular course "21st Century Community Policing and Cultural Competency."

Enrollment is open now on the website.

April 2019

COL. Byron Freeman U.S. Army (Ret.) President of BAF Security and I will be teaching the popular course "21st Century Community Policing and Cultural Competency" in the greater Washington DC area.

Enrollment will start soon. Stay tuned.

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