Flop Flop Fizz Fizz – Leadership Indigestion

“Keep your words short and sweet, for you never know which ones you will have to eat.” – Unknown

Have you ever been watching TV late at night and seen commercials for a new drug that can help you with any problem you have, that you did not know you had, but realized you probably did after watching the commercial? Many times I feel like I do and sometimes it seems that the commercial is “talking” directly to me.


The other night a “drug commercial” came on, and its opening line was, “Do you suffer from indigestion?” As I was trying to keep my food down from supper, limit my acid reflux that turns into heartburn that causes my stomach to cramp which gives me a headache, which leads to my hands shaking, I realized that, WOW, I have indigestion, and did not know it. Not really, but you get the point. What I did understand, however, is that we all have “things” that can give us indigestion and they are not always food.

To take a more serious approach to the topic, let’s ask this question, “What can cause you to have leadership indigestion?” Are there things that you see leaders do that cause your stomach to turn? I am sure the list can become rather lengthy for each of us, but let’s look at a few that I think are the most gut-wrenching and heartburning.


Bottom line, they do not want confrontation. This is not to say that you do not like confrontation, but you know how to deal with it. People who avoid confrontation make excuses for their thought process, such as “I’m a peacemaker,” or “I don’t want to ruffle any feathers.” They never want to be seen as the “bad guy.” However, when their moment comes, they want to be seen front and center. Any other time, they will put on the chameleon suit and do their best to blend in and be part of the crowd. They want everyone to think that they are like everyone else. No, you are not, you are in a leadership role, act like it.


It is just bad leadership. It is the opposite of servant-leadership. It keeps the Leader-Follower model of leadership intact, and no one is ever empowered. Paying attention to detail is ok. Making sure work is done is ok. What is not ok is always breathing down someone’s neck when you hired them to do their job, and you know they do their job. The problem with micromanagers is they question a majority of what you do. This creates a working atmosphere of unwarranted scrutiny. It does more calling out instead of calling up.


Have you ever been around people that you have to carry around with kid-gloves and on a silver platter? You feel as though you have to walk on eggshells because you do not know what kind of mood someone is in. They have to ask others to see if the “leader” is in a good mood and approachable. Moody leaders are inconsistent with their leadership, and when they are inconsistent, they become unpredictable. Everything about a moody leader is terrible, and there is no way to mask it. Inconsistent, unpredictable leadership creates a mood that no one wants to be a part of.


Get the pill bottle and refill it. This might be the worse one of all. We have all been part of an announcement in a meeting or an email where a blanket is thrown over everyone about an issue that only concerns one person. Here is the scene of what is being thought… You hear an announcement about a problem or issue that is not good, and everyone agrees that it should be addressed, but no one believes they are the ones who need to hear the message but they know who needs to hear it. What good does that do? Please quit leading this way to handle problems. Tell whoever it is that needs to hear it. Everyone else will appreciate it. It goes back to bad leadership and wanting not to be seen as the bad guy.

To make sure you are not the leader who is causing leadership indigestion, make sure you are taking the right medicine. Yes, the prescription is to be a servant-leader. Start taking a daily dose. All four of the “symptoms” of leadership indigestion can be healed where you lead. Servant-leadership handles confrontation in the right way without dodging it, not micromanaging or moody, and most of all they directly handle issues without throwing a blanket over everyone.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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Things We All Need More Of…

I saw this picture on Twitter the other day and began to think of how each item is necessary to battle the need for quality leadership in today’s society. Being in a leadership position, we are pulled and sometimes pushed in many different directions. Some voluntarily, some not so much.


While each of these pics are sweet and cute, the leadership behind them can be influential in our daily fight. We need more of each of these…


We need one or two things that allow us to escape the mundane activities of everyday life. While our jobs are somewhat labeled as day to day activities, it can and does get monotonous. Having an adventure allows us to breathe a little easier and push our minds to a different level. It gives you a sense of mental freedom.

Good Sleep

Yep… We all need it, and we all want more of it.  Now, how to get it? I am not sure I have an answer. However, you and I know when we get a good night’s sleep. We are pushed to the max on a daily basis. We go to bed with “stuff” on our minds.  We toss and turn, here and there, as much as being pushed and pulled like we are when we are awake. Typically, something has to give in your life to ease your mind. It is up to you to decide that.

Warm Hugs

The older I get, the more I want to be around like-minded, kindred-spirited people (I have said this before).  Now, we are probably not going to give or receive “warm hugs” everytime we want, but I believe we can broaden the tagline to just being around people who make you feel better about yourself.  I am sure each of us can attest to “having” to be around others that we do not want to be around. Odds are they are not going to give you that warm hug, but more likely an icy stare or a cold shoulder. Be intentional about the people you are around. It says a lot about you.

Interesting Conversations

I like this one.  Interesting conversations help the brain and maybe the heart. What are interesting conversations? You have to decide. However, I can tell you what they are not. Interesting conversations are not about yourself, others, gossip, complaints, fluff, etc. These conversations are easy to see and hear. They are the conversations that are hand-mouthed in hush tones, behind closed doors or loud enough, so others have to listen to them. Interesting conversations mean something and have value. They solve problems. They are for the good of yourself and others together.


Laughter is great.  We have memorable moments that make us chuckle. We read something funny. We watch slap-stick comedy.  The things that make us laugh are different for everyone.  Someone said, “Laughter is good for the soul.”  Any way you look at it, laughter is good. Have you ever laughed at something terrible? Probably not. Just remember though, it is not very leadership like to laugh at the expense of others. You sure would not want them to laugh at you.

Happy Dances

Do not read this and say you have never done a little dance step.  I have. You have too. Usually, it is when something good comes to mind as a happy thought, an upbeat song, an accomplishment. I would even broaden this tagline to include the “fist-pump.” A happy dance celebrates good things, and sometimes that is just what each of us needs. Go ahead, dance.

Leadership, in general, is a daily grind and the struggle is real.  Leaders get down. Sometimes I find all it takes are the little, small things that encourage. We need to have some of the above thoughts in our lives.  If we do not, then we cannot help others because we cannot help ourselves.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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Price Check: Does Your Leadership Value Equal It’s Worth?

The perspective of the value of leadership is based on actions and not words of the leader. How much value do you place on something? Better yet, let’s ask this question, “How much are you willing to spend on something?” Everything has a price, even leadership, yours and others.


Let’s use a piece of art for example.  How much is it worth? What is it’s value? Who determines the value? You? Others? Now, let’s ask the same question when it comes to the value of leadership.

To understand the value of leadership; a few thoughts come to mind. While they sound natural, putting them into practice is a different concept. Value is a funny concept… something only has value if it means something to you. That is the way it is with most things we hold dear in our lives.

Leadership that has value…

We can all agree that leadership should be and is important. However, do we carry and lead like it is? Many leaders just show up and hope, whatever happens, happens, and it makes them look good. The importance of leadership is based on themselves, not the issue at hand or who is involved. Leadership importance for self carries no value for others; it is worthless.

Many people want to lead, but… Leadership is limited. I genuinely believe just because you are in a leadership position does not mean you are a leader. Real leadership is limited to those who have that servant-based mentality for others. Others can only measure that value. While you may determine your own price and too many “leaders” do, value is usually priced on how many people want what you have.

Just like anything else that has value, consistency is the main ingredient. It stands the test of time. It feels the same. It tastes the same. If anything, its value actually increases over time. Can we agree that some things get better with time? How many leaders do you know who are inconsistent with their leadership? Something is always different, and it usually depends upon what kind of mood they are in. People want consistency, and they will pay for it. Why? The value it brings. We all know what “something” is supposed to be. Let your leadership be what it is supposed to be, consistent for the good of others.

The world is seeking leadership. You can go back to the beginning of time and see it throughout all of history. There is a great need for leadership with value. However, it needs to provide value for others, not our egos. A leader is who they are before others, and nothing more.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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The Heartbeat Of Leadership

An agreed-upon statement (I hope)… Regardless of the setting or situation, just like your heartbeat, everything rises and falls with leadership or any relationship for that matter.

“I wish they understood.” “I wish they knew what all was going on.” “Why do they never listen to us?” “I wish…,” “Why…?”

Every one of us, at some time or another, make statements or ask questions like these, leaders and followers both.

What is more important than the above comments?  How they are being answered. How do you as a leader, respond? Often, events happen that can be stressful (and stress is not good for the heart), but it does not always have to be the case. Many times, we create the stress ourselves. We start “over-thinking,” and “reacting” and that becomes the problem.


To make sure your leadership “rises and falls” like your heartbeat and stress is limited, you need to be the following…

Do you model the expectations you have for others? Do others even know what your expectations are? As brilliant as people think they are, they are not mind-readers. Too many times, people are left guessing at what leadership wants, and it needs to be clear for all.  At the same time, never believe that expectations are a one-way street.  Others have expectations of you as well.  Allow the road to go both ways.

It would go without saying; leaders must be honest with themselves and others. Pretending to be a super-leader with all the answers and a “my way” attitude is a quick way to alienate and limit the growth of others. Be honest and humble enough to recognize that others might just have a good idea that is not yours. It is ok to let others know that you are not always the fabulous piece of work that you currently think you are.  It is very hard, to be honest with others if we cannot be truly honest with ourselves.

Being compassionate does not mean not correcting when you have to. However, it does mean having some level of understanding of what goes on in the lives of others. How many leaders do you know that walk around looking for that “gotcha” moment? Usually, when this happens, it is an opportunity for a leader to look better or to put someone down. Too many times a leader will only have “surface” knowledge and not “depth” knowledge of a situation. Being compassionate is not a weakness.  It is a strength that shows you are giving grace and mercy just like you would want to receive.

Are there more or different leadership characteristics? Yes. But if you do not have these three in your leadership repertoire, your leadership heartbeat does not and will not function very well. Your leadership heart will rise and fall in an unhealthy rhythm, causing that stress that is not good for you or anyone else.

The heart drives all three of these characteristics.  When we lead with our heart instead of our minds, we lead with a level of motivation that can be felt by others.


©2018 J Clay Norton

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