Red Ink Leadership

The Un-Leadership That Masquerades as Leadership

Red ink leadership comes from a red ink mentality that spends too much time correcting things, and correcting people. Red ink leaders spend too much time focused on what’s wrong rather than what’s right. Whatever we focus on expands. Therefore, the more time we devote to a negative, red ink way of thinking, the more time we give that mentality to bury its roots and grow into something ugly. It will be the kind of ugly that no one will want to follow. You can lift people up or you can put them down. Which do you think produces greater results? Focus on what’s right and celebrate your achievements, big and small, as well as those of your people and your organization as a whole. Focus on the good and the good will grow.

Care about your people. In the past you may have heard someone say that people don’t really, truly care how much you know, until they know how much you really, truly care. That is a powerful pearl of wisdom that will reap you, your people and your organization great rewards. Great leaders are nurturers similar to that of a great parent.

My Dad and Mom always took time every night to come around to every bedroom and spend time with each of their six children. They wanted to know how our day was because they cared. They loved hearing about our dreams, our ambitions, what we learned in school, anything we wanted to talk about. They were always ready, patient and eager to listen. That few minutes each night was the favorite part of my whole day. Time is the most precious and valuable gift you can give to people you care about. Your family, your friends, your employees. Even your peers.

How Much Do You Really Know About Your Employees?

When was the last time you called someone into your office just to spend a few minutes with them and genuinely listen to anything they wanted to talk about? How much do you really know about your employees? There interests, their hobbies and their dreams? Most executive offices have a bad stigma because the majority of the time, if you get called into the bosses’ office they usually aren’t inviting you to hang out and order in some pizza. A great leader will squash that stigma and replace it with an attitude of gratitude for their people and show them that they are the companies most important asset.

One extra tip that the many of the greatest leaders have used. They put two very comfortable padded chairs in front of their desk and when they have a conversation with an employee they get out from behind their desk and they sit in the chair next to their employee. Angle the chairs so that it’s easy to look at each other.

I think of leadership as velvet and steel. It’s typically not just one or the other, it’s mixture of both. The mix varies depending on the person you are talking too and nature of the situation. Some leaders will remain at their desk if they want to add more steel and less velvet to the meeting. However, most of the time great leaders will leave the desk and sit next to the employee.

Chief Mauer was the chief of police for security police squadron flight 191. We had to wear corfam shoes with our dress blues that were so shiny, you could see your reflection in them. Chief Mauer used those shiny shoes as a metaphor for leadership. He told me that a great leader is one that could step on your shoes without messing up your shine. His office had two nice, very comfortable, padded custom high back chairs in front of his desk. The kind you would find in the suite of a luxurious five-star hotel. The two chairs were placed side by side and then slightly angled towards each other.

When people get summoned to the boss’s office it most often conjures up the sort of emotions we use to get in high school when we were sent to the principal’s office. But Chief Mauer never made anyone feel this way and if you felt this way when you walked in his office, he would disarm you of those emotions in short order. He never had a conversation with you from behind the desk. He would invite you to sit, and once you picked which chair you wanted to sit in, he would get up, come around from behind his desk and sit in the other chair next to you. He was an extraordinary communicator too. With much finesse he laid his words across the surface of my heart and after leaving his office, it took about thirty minutes for his words to sink in and bring me to the realization that I had just the eloquent ass chewing of my career.

In 2014 My friend and Leadership expert John Maxwell was identified as the number one leader in business by the American Management Association. He was also recognized as the ultimate influential, personal and professional leadership expert on planet earth by Business Insider and Inc. Magazine. He was also voted the most amazing leadership professional in the world for six consecutive years on

In a consulting role he has worked with leaders of nations, as well as regional and community leaders around the world. He has taught them character centered leadership principles to empower them to peruse the greatest version of themselves. Also to encourage them to be an active part of John’s crusade and use what they learn to connect and share leadership principles with others to create a world filled with strong responsible leaders.

John Maxwell has published more than 70 books on leadership and one of my favorites is called; Everyone Communicates, Few Connect. The subtitle is; what the most effective people do differently. I wanted to mention the subtitle as well because in this book John talks about a fantastic communication method that the most effective leaders do differently to connect with people.

Here is a quote that book:
When I’m in the office, I don’t sit behind a desk when talking to someone. We sit in comfortable chairs facing one another with nothing between us. Or if we need to work, we sit side by side at a table. Anytime you remove obstacles and reduce distance, connection becomes easier. And Physical touch eliminates distance altogether. A handshake, a pat on the back, or a hug can do a lot to promote connection. ~ John C. Maxwell

Take the Bosses Seat

Now, if you want to up the shock factor to the maximum, then you can always give that idea a little bit of a twist. Imagine that you are in my shoes for minute. I was called into a boss’s office once and he had just taken over the position. He was promoted and they imported him from one of the company’s other locations.

When I walked into his office he greeted me at the door and shook my hand. He welcomed me and asked me to go around behind his desk and have a seat in his chair. He then sat in the chair were the employee would typically sit and after a bit of relaxing chit chat he told me he valued my opinion and asked me if I had any ideas that would help make our location the best in our region. And maybe even the best in the company. That was a pretty cool experience. How would that make you feel if that happened to you? Even better, how do you think it would make one of your colleague’s feel if you gave them this experience?

That was the only time that ever happened to me during my adult working life, and it made a lasting impression that I will never forget. That was a supreme act of leadership that gave me a fantastic first impression of my new boss. The feeling of inspiration and empowerment that I took with me as I left his office that day was a priceless gift that any leader can give their employees if they choose too.

Stellar acts of leadership like this, boost company morale and when morale is up, productivity is up. Mark Twain said that he could run for 30 days on the strength of one compliment. My boss took this to a whole new level that day when I walked into his office. When you get enough people feeling empowered like that, it begins to spread throughout the organization like a blood transfusion.

A transfusion that has the potential to cure all sorts of things. There is an aphorism that I will use to close this segment and it sums up perfectly the results of empowerment. This is also a great reminder to hang in your office. When you lift up the hearts and minds of your people, you simultaneously lift up the success of your organization.




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Daniel Gleed is a Success Coach to the International community. He is the founder of Success YOUniversity and the Author of Success Leaves Clues. He is a leading authority on Leadership strategies, reaching pinnacles of performance, and tactics for super success in business and in life. If you're ready to take success to a whole new level. Further enrich your life, make more money, and experience more fun on the outside as well as more joy on the inside. Go to

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