Leadership by Word of Mouth

It happens to all of us at some point. We find ourselves enslaved to the desk. Like a ball-and-chain we sit and outside a nuclear attack we remain there 10 hours later.

Leadership is about interaction and being engaged. Corporations want all of their employees engaged; however what is often overlooked (or ignored) is that employees want engaged leaders as well.

Leaders who stay chained to spreadsheets, emails, or sending task all day have to rely on others to tell them about the performance of others. While delegation is a leaders best friend, when it comes to measuring performance it should not be determined by hear-say especially if the leader has influence in the success or failure of a person.

Proverbs 18:27, “The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him.”

When someone else is providing information it can be skewed. It could be someone playing favorites for a friend or trying to shutdown a threat. Survival in the work place can be viscous and if leaders lead from the office they will make bad decisions if they base them on what others are saying.

I have spoken to leaders at all levels who regretted firing an employee or worse, ruining their career because they went off what they were being told. When the so-called problem employee was let go the leader discovered they were the one making the difference and the person with misinformation? Well, they were the one who brought little value to the mission.

No matter how busy, a leader has no viable excuse for not engaging those they lead. If you walk out on the floor and employees are shocked to see you or worse, don’t know who you are, there might be a problem.

It’s not leadership without relationship. Good leaders engage making decisions on facts, not hear-say & opinions from informants.

Don’t be a leader who regrets getting rid of someone who was making a difference. Engage by experiencing what your people experience. Know their challenges, efforts and accomplishments. Don’t lead by word of mouth, but by show of presence.

Ambition Gone Wild

Sitting on his porch alone with nothing but his faithful dog he reflects back on his life. He climbed the ladder of success achieving all of his career goals as well as sitting on a nice nest egg of money. Yet, he is alone and feeling empty. Where are all the so-called friends, work-colleagues and executives who had once cheered him on? The family that surrounded him, now gone. Divorced and the kids grown living their own lives.

He sits and wonders, “Was it all worth it?”

Ambition. It is a great thing; in-fact needed in order to be successful in life. However, left unchecked it can be a wrecking ball to what is meaningful in life.

There are times I have coaching clients who come to me once all of the damage has been done. They are not coming for career advice, but rather life advice. They want to know how to put their lives back together. Their ambition had gone wild; they let it run them and it drove them right into a dead-end.

Researching the consequences of unguided ambition I came across an article from the Huffington Post written in 2014. I found it interesting in that all 10 of the ways ambition can trump a career I have seen happen in the lives of colleagues and clients.

Of all the 10 ways Evan Thompson identifies in the article the one thing that stands out is what people used to get to the top is what is missing when they find themselves at the bottom.


When young go-getters start out they believe they are invincible. Relationships are merely something they use to get to the next goal. As a result they are unable to build trusting relationships, impatience with others drives them to see everyone as a competitor, quick reckless decisions are made just to get the jump on someone else, and their personal lives fall apart leaving them with a life lacking fulfillment and full of regret.

The secret conversation with the boss to belittle someone who intimidates them, or a little gossip at the water-cooler, they don’t think anyone will find out, but they always do and relationships are damaged. The extra hours, volunteering for the business trip during the holidays, or taking on the extra project to get the advantage, they believe will never effect their family or marriage, but it does and it deteriorates.

The desire to be on top has a price, but it is generally much more than what is on the tag.

What is the answer? Should we not have ambition? Are goals bad? Is hard work and stepping up to the plate keys to an empty life? No! Not at all!

Have Healthy Ambition

  • Attitude of Service
    • If “you” are at the heart of ambition then a train wreck is just around the corner.
    • “Others” focused will help maintain a healthy dose of ambition. Serving others with our gifts, talents and drive brings about a whole different end result than if everything we do is to serve ourselves.


  • Don’t Compromise
    • One of the first signs there might be an element of self-serving ambition in our lives is when we compromise what is right. Bend a rule or look the other way. Fudge a number here or leave a matter out of the report. Criticize someone behind their back, start rumors or take someone’s mistake and use it as a weapon against them.
    • Always do what is right, no matter what anyone else is doing. Even if it isn’t going to reflect well on you, do what is right anyway. Honesty is what takes people to the top and keeps them there.


“Don’t let your talent take you to a place your integrity can’t keep you.”


  • Ask “Why?”
    • Self-reflection is critical to success. If we are always looking at others, judging what they are or are not doing, then we are on a slippery slope. We need to examine ourselves.
    • When we are fighting for the next promotion or contemplating taking on a new project ask, “Why do I want this?” “How will this position/project effect my family?” “Will taking this role take me away from the things that are important to me?”

Ambition and drive are God given. He designed us with a desire for reaching for more out of life. To get to the end knowing our life was fulfilling and meaningful we must know and maintain our core convictions.

Keep God first, ensure family is our priority and serve others. Using our ambition to do these three things will help keep us from having Ambition Gone Wild.


Reference: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/evan-thompson/career-ambition_b_6224898.html


Not Everyone Loves a Winner

Have you ever felt like you are putting your heart and soul into something to only get criticism and knocked down in return?

Despite what many motivational posters might say, not everyone likes a winner. In fact, many despise people who win, unless it is them!

When I was young I got a job in a warehouse filling orders for a large hardware chain. There was a 90 day probation period to review your performance so I was on. This was my first really good paying job and I didn’t want to mess it up. I worked hard and fast.

Within a couple of weeks I had employees confront me. I was told I needed to slow down and quit working so hard. What I was doing was blowing a hole in their strategy to do little as possible for as much money as possible.

I have found this to be true in my professional life and in the careers of those I coach. When you step up to use your talents and energy to the fullest, those who prefer status quo will do whatever possible to shut you down. They will look for any mistake you make, they will do like those did to me when I was young and try to intimidate you and they will gossip. If all else fails they’ll even fabricate untruths. Anything to knock you off your winning streak is their goal.

So what do you do? Start losing? Slow down?
 Keep Being a Winner but Make Sure You Are in the Right Game


  • Consider the Critic
    • First look at who is bringing the grief.
      • Whiners are never Winners. Those who like to complain are looking for something to complain about. You are a gift to them because now they have more to complain about, so keep doing what you are doing
      • Eager Beavers. If you are being confronted by someone who is fighting to climb the ladder and they are intimidated by your performance, just smile and keep doing what you are doing.
      • Lazy Lucy. Those who want to do the least for the most wake up when someone comes in who has a little gusto. A good wake-up call never hurt anyone…keep doing what you are doing.


  • Gauge the Gift
    • Self-reflection. Does your gift match your occupation? Is your talent better suited for another field of work? Are you creative working in an industry that does not appreciate creative thinking? If you are someone who colors outside the lines in an industry that freaks when a smudge gets on the paper, it might be time to find a new coloring book.
    • Poll the Passion. Does your passion match your position? Zeal comes from the heart and if your heart does not line up with your company’s mission, you might find yourself winning without any fans to applaud. If you find yourself day-dreaming about being somewhere else, using your gifts for other purposes or feel you are forcing a different vision into your job than what leaders/others like, it is time to reconsider your source of revenue.

Never quit because of the nay-sayers. Focus on those who cheer you on! However do use those moments to reflect on your passion and gifts. Nothing can be more frustrating than not being able to have the freedom to use the gifts and passion that wake you up in the morning. Likewise, nothing is more rewarding!



Busting Blocks in 2018

Have you ever trained in some form of martial arts? If so you know that to become successful it takes a lot of discipline.

I have always been amused to see someone first start out in martial arts training. Nearly every new student comes in with excitement and eagerness to learn how to break a board with a roundhouse kick and break cement blocks to dust with their hand.

As you might imagine it isn’t long before the student becomes discouraged. The training, especially in the beginning is anything but exciting. It is mundane, repetitive and could be considered boring. 1-2-3 motions repeated over and over with few of them being correctly done. The Sensei constantly corrects each movement until perfection is achieved which seems to be impossible in the student’s eyes.

We can be much the same in our daily lives. There is a desire to become the best at what we do, we want to achieve a goal, or go a new path; however the discipline it takes become the roadblocks. We therefore abandon the dream and ultimately miss the opportunities to have block-busting experiences in life.

There are three areas in life that must maintain a balance throughout our journey. Mind, Body & Spirit. So what might the basics for each of these be? While the basics may look a little different for each person, the elements are fairly close to the same.

➢ Teachable/Open
➢ Read/Learn
➢ Teach/Share

➢ Nutrition
➢ Exercise
➢ Obedience

➢ Relationship/God
➢ Relationship/Likeminded
➢ Relationship/Shared

If you read these and a few bullets strike some curiosity, good! I was successful. That is exactly what I had hoped for because I want us to take a look at a few things a little differently than the million other help books on the shelves (or internet) on how to be successful.

Success is not achieved nor is it sustained through spectacular feats. It is the repetitive, mundane and disciplined basics that few want to endure that will take us to astonishing new heights.

Join me in the weeks ahead as I break the basics down as we go into the New Year. I believe we will all grow, and if applied will regain lost ground as our lives gain traction toward the things dreamed of.

Leading Life Coaching Services
Robert & his wife Lauri are a certified Life Skills Coaches. Robert has been coaching and mentoring individuals for more than 25 years helping them to experience their fullest potential in life. To contact Robert and find out about virtual coaching email info@coachrobertsimmons.com

ADVICE-What is Your Source?

I recently saw a Facebook post where a man poured his heart out as his wife hit him with the news she wanted a divorce. He was obviously distraught as he communicated his feelings of being lost.

What shocked me was the response from those reading his emotional cries for help.

Men and women alike responses were filled with negative and hatefulness. Some called his wife names though they did not know either of them. He was told to give up and go find a better life. Get a lawyer was many of their recommendation and leave the &%@!. Responders even eluded to his wife being a whore accusing her of messing around with another man, yet again, none knew the man personally nor his situation.

As I read through the comments I was taken back. Here was a person who loved his wife and, at the moment was feeling lost and hopeless, yet they poured fuel on a burning fire. He needed hope yet they piled on heaps of hopeless and reckless advice.

These people were not only giving horrible counsel that was obviously based on their own pitiful experiences, but the guidance they gave could have led him to take his own life! He was in a dark place and not thinking rationally. He was begging for a spark of hope yet few could muster up one ounce of encouragement. It was disgusting to say the least.

“For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 24:6


When looking for counsel we should not seek just “any” opinion, but rather we should search for “wise” counsel. What is Wise Counsel? Whether you are in need of advice or find yourself talking to someone in need, Wise Advice always gives hope and is based on Biblical truths. Wisdom is not given based on emotional experiences, but on factual and beneficial insight.


“Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.” Daniel 12:3


Have you ever heard the phrase, “Birds of a feather flock together?” That is true! People who fail do not want anyone else to succeed. They will do anything to make sure someone else does not get through something they were unable to make it to the other side of. Good counselors give life-giving advice. Wise counsel gives hope despite the situation. Those who have failed and want others to fail are not people to listen to.

When seeking advice be careful who you listen to. Are they a people who want you to come through the storm blessed? Do they have your best interest in mind? Do you feel encouraged after speaking with them?

We all need hope so be careful where you get directions in life from. It is possible to get more lost if we have the wrong people mapping out our paths.


Robert is the owner of Leading Life Coaching & Leadership Services. He is a certified professional Life Skills coach with more than 25 years of experience in helping men and women navigate life’s decisions.

For more information contact Robert: info@coachrobertsimmons.com


2018-What is going to be different?

Which way are you going?

Truth is, nothing will change unless we ourselves change.

It is easy to blame. Blame takes the responsibility and spotlight off of our own blemishes. When we blame our true message is we don’t want to change.

Blame comes in many different forms and/or actions. We quit our job because the boss is a jerk. The wife is always complaining so I work longer hours. My metabolism has slowed down so that is why I’m overweight. I don’t make enough money and that is why I am always broke.

The list could go on and on as to how we make excuses through blame. Shifting the focus from what we should do about our situation onto something or someone else makes us feel as though our situation is not our fault. Even though we try to remove the responsibility, no amount of blaming is powerful enough to take away the fact that we do have the ability to change our situation.

My Covenant with God in 2018 is to be more disciplined Spiritually, Mentally and Physically. To increase my discipline means I must decrease in selfishness.

Discipline: a way of behaving that shows a willingness to obey rules of orders. (Merriam-Webster)

Question: What keeps you from being disciplined? When you want to do right, why don’t you? As you look into the past changes that didn’t occur, what was the roadblock? Where did you get off track?

I would bet most times you, like me, will find it is some sort of self interest that takes the place of doing what you know should be done. We don’t want to obey rules. Most all of us want to do what we want to do and do not want anyone telling us otherwise.

Quiet Time in the morning is thwarted by “I need more sleep.” Losing a few pounds is lost in, “I’m a grown man, I can eat what and as much as I want.” The desire to lead my wife and family to attend church will drift away as activities, chores and friends take its place. A commitment to read more books is lost in the ease of mindless social media scrolling.

What in your life is going to be different in 2018? What are you going to change? Don’t do like many and make a list, but rather find one thing that you want to work on and make it your commitment. On a scale from 1-10, if you are a 4 at whatever it is, don’t try to be a 10. Work on being a 5. Just shift it one digit. It is not about being the best of the best, it is to be the best you can be.

You are the only person you can change. What do you want to be different when 2018 rolls to a close? You can do it with discipline, determination and selflessness.

Leading Life Leadership & Coaching Services
Robert is a certified Life Skills Coach who has been coaching and mentoring for more than 25 years. To contact Robert and find out about virtual coaching email info@coachrobertsimmons.com

Words Determine Destination

“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth…” Proverbs 12:14a

Ever known someone who vomits every thought and emotion they ever had? Think about this person for a minute. Do you see them as trustworthy? Are they a person you would trust with your deepest secret? Is this individual someone you would go to for intimate advice? More than likely not.

What we talk about and how we talk form who we are as a person. Words develop our attitude and approach to life. Words are an insight to who a person is and how they perceive life. These words we choose to speak each day actually form our perspective of life.

Have you ever noticed those who say life sucks? Isn’t it true that generally their life really does suck? What about someone you know who is always angry. Do they not have a reason to always be angry? That lady who hates the boss or her job? I bet there is always a justifiable reason for her opinion.

While I have not perfected the mastery of words, over the past few years I have honed in on being selective about what I talk about. At work, I try to be positive with situations and people. I do have those whom I discuss matters with in a raw unfiltered aspect. This is okay so long you are trying to encourage one another or determine a solution to a problem. It is important to talk about your feelings and frustration; bottling them up is as unhealthy as throwing up on everyone. But overall with the general public, I do my best to wear a smile and bring some element of positivity to people’s day.

Does this hold true at home as well as work? You bet! Perhaps even more so.

Sadly, too often we are nicer to strangers than we are those we love. At the workplace we feel as though we “have” to treat people with kindness or else we will lose our job. No one wants to find themselves in HR because they blew up and told their co-worker what they really thought about them. Yet, when home many feel as though it is time to unleash all of the day’s frustrations. To do such is more of an atrocity than the latter.

Bring It Together

Word Diet: When we want to lose weight it is important to do two things. One is to exercise and the other is monitor calorie intake. Most of the time we do these two things results will come. So what if we went on a word diet where we exercise positive talk and begin to count/limit the number of critical words we speak?

What Does It Look Like

Walk into work Monday and look for opportunities to speak positive. Compliment a smile. Thank someone for a small jester. Tell a co-worker why you enjoy working with them. At home, leave work at work. Ask your spouse about their day first and truly listen to them. Compliment and thank the other for what he or she does to contribute to the relationship. Lift up the children with words of encouragement. Turn off the electrical devices, including the television and be 100% present.

Potential road

Change your words and it will change your life. The Bible teaches that our satisfaction comes from the words we speak. The words we speak are a reflection of what we see. Start looking and speaking appreciation, thankfulness and encouragement and the unsatisfied life will slowly become a life of rich blessings.

Talking Smack

In sports one of the tactics of winning that many people rarely think about is “talking smack.” Talking smack is a player’s effort to say something that gets into the opponents head. It may be something that causes doubt in their ability to win, it can be words that creates anger or smack can be a means to distract from a full focus on the game.

The goal of smack talking is to have a negative effect on another person in order to win.

Smack talking isn’t just for the sports world, it can occur in the business place as well. Ever had someone say something about you that took the wind out of your sail? Perhaps you have received an email from a boss stating his or her doubt in your ability. After doing your best at a task the one thing that didn’t go well is pointed out. Looks of disgust when you speak are also a means in which to get in your head. Rolling of the eyes, scrunched lips or fidgeting during your part of a presentation are all a person’s attempt to get in your head and mess up your game.

So what do you do when someone is Smack Talking? What if that someone is a boss or holds a higher up position? Use the acronym “S-T-O-P.”


Those who talk smack want the other person to react. Just like in sports, once the words are seeded in the head, the body reacts accordingly. What is in our head, falls to our heart and comes out in our actions. The best thing to do is not to respond.


We should always ask ourselves why a person thinks what they do whether it is true or not. Sometimes it is simply a matter of someone wanting to be a jerk, but still we should yield to consider what has been said. Ask yourself if there is something you need to improve in order to change perceptions. Is this individual the only one who perceives these things about you? Be honest with yourself about yourself.


So you have conducted a self-evaluation, now what? Were the accusations true? Let’s assume not and that you simply have a smack-talker trying to take you out. There are several paths you can go down pending your work environment, personalities and the position of the person; however there is one path that no matter what you need to go. That path is to grab ahold of truth. Get the negative thoughts that were placed in your head out with counter measures. Read emails where you have been told you’re doing a good job, dig out previous awards, and get around peers who know and appreciate your worth or make note cards with positive quotes that encourage you.


Once you have given consideration realizing that you have someone trying to get in your head, it is time to get your head back in the game. Keep doing what you do to make yourself a success. Always remember that a smack talker is trying to throw your game off. They want you to act out what they are saying so that they can prove themselves more powerful and thus the victor. Knowing that you are good at what you do and doing it is what smack talkers want to stop so don’t give them the game.

You are winner so get out there and win!


IMG_0946Have you ever tried to rush out of the grocery store when the lines were long? I have and rarely am I successful. My strategy is often to find the shortest line or fastest clerk, jumping from lane to lane. The sad truth I always discover is that if I had simply stayed in the original line I was in I would have been long gone. But instead, because I was impatient I ended up being there longer.


The frustration can build when we try to beat the masses in the supermarket, but it is even more frustrating when we try to beat everyone else in our careers by looking for the shortest route there.


Trying to find the short line to the top comes in many shapes, forms and fashions, but it is always obvious. Job hopping, being critical or putting down others in an effort to elevate self, undermining, title chasing, sucking up, back-stabbing along with other efforts to get through the checkout faster are signs of one looking for a shortcut up.


Through my career I have seen those who are jockeying their way to the top yet rarely have I witnessed a successful maneuver. Most times those who try to manipulate or circumvent the process end up stuck. Much like the Tortoise and the Hare, they end up losing the race. Those who have managed to gain some ground end up losing what was gained at some point, because they missed growth opportunities cutting corners along the way.




The men and women I have respected and looked up to most professionally made it because of hard work and doing their best where they were at the time. Opportunity comes to those who are content in making a difference where life has them in the moment. There is a difference in being aware and open to opportunities than it is chasing them. Some people jump at perceived opportunities like a dog trying to catch gnats running around snipping and barking at everything flying around.


Work hard, grow and invest in others. That is the formula for success. If you do this it doesn’t matter who passes you for the promotion or who lands the high paying job. The reason is simple, when we focus on these three elements we are getting outside our self. On the flip side, when we are jockeying, manipulating, politicking and other wise looking for the quickest way to the top, we are inward focused. Anytime our focus becomes selfish disappointment and frustration is always there tagging along.


The quickest way to the top is right in front of you and I each day. Working hard to be the best we can be, growing as individuals to be better men & women and finally investing our lives into the lives of others.


What few understand until much later in life is that success, life at the top, isn’t position. It’s not a title nor is a salary range. Success is knowing at the end of the day you made a difference in someone else’s life. When we understand that truth we will not want to take shortcuts. No longer will we keep running to and fro chasing the shortest line because it is then that our desire will be to savor every relationship making an impact each step of the way changing lives. Success.


In a marriage class many years ago we were taught as men that when the wife comes with a problem they don’t necessarily want you to solve it. All the she is often looking for is a listening ear and an understanding heart.

That truth is applicable in marriage and it also has merit in the workplace.

One of the first and hardest things I learned through my year of coaching certification at UTD was to ask questions and not tell people what they needed to do. I have grown to believe that asking questions is an art. Not only is it an art it also takes patience.

When someone has encountered a problem or looking for a better way asking questions rather than giving answers is the best avenue to take. Even if you feel the answer is obvious, always ask questions. Here are a few reasons why.


When we solve the problems of others we are building dependency. The likelihood of them coming back for more answers instead of trying to solve problems themselves increases. When questions are posed it allows the person to think and become more confident in their own ability to find resolve with daily challenges.

Our goal should be to grow a force of problem solvers. We want people who use their brains, not puppets that are danced around on strings. Engage employees in thought-provoking conversations with questions and you’ll have a team that embraces change and welcome challenges.


A workforce empowered to make decisions is a workforce that drives a company to success. When leaders ask employees their ideas, insights and depend on them for answers to problems a sense of ownership is created. When employees have ownership they are no longer employees but shift to becoming partners.


Which is more likely to stick: Being told what to do or realizing yourself what should be done and doing it? When a person creates his or her own solutions the odds greatly improve that the improvement will stick around. When someone jumps in to resolve a problem for someone there is a good chance the problem isn’t completely understood; without question no one understands the problem better than the one who has to live with it on s daily basis. Ask thought-provoking questions but allow the person with the problem to discover the way forward and the problem won’t be a problem.


 Trust Thrust Teams To The Terrific!

 When we ask questions a trust is being communicated. When trust is established a connection is made; there is a sense of family. Better stated, there is a feeling of belonging. When we belong, are accepted and respected then there is an inward joy. A feeling of purpose is felt that results in positiveness. Trust, joy, and purpose drives performance. Performance is what takes a winning team across the finish line.

Asking questions does indeed take longer and more patience, but the return on investment is worth it. Start adding questions to your daily work. Make a goal to ask at least five questions a day. When you are told about a problem, pause tot hint how you might ask a question instead of resolving the problem.

The more you ask, the more you learn. Embrace question and not only will your team grow, but you will as well.