Entries by Leslie Williams

“Self-promotion smells”

A very dignified woman once said to me, “Self-promotion smells.”  This is how many people, especially women, feel about self-promotion at work. Many believe that their competence should speak for itself, and that broadcasting how terrific they are seems a bit…well…oily. But they feel caught.  They know that they need to gain visibility in order […]

Do you ‘claim your space’ as a leader?

Here’s a test.  Recall the last time you were in a crowded elevator, plane, bus or sidewalk. When other people pushed up against you, how did you respond physically? Did you crunch yourself up to make room for others, or did you stand your ground and cause others to adjust to you? The body is […]

Betty Ford: A Profile in Grit and Grace

Betty Ford did not have the title, training or experience that authorized her to lead.   Her leadership authority rested in the power of who she was.  She had a unique combination of ferocity and vulnerability that shifted the hearts, minds and habits of millions.  As such, Betty Ford’s influence style was an examplar of grit […]

“Everybody is a genius. But, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it’ll spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.” – Albert Einstein

Many of the ‘smartest’ executives I know have the greatest difficulty seeing the genius in the people around them.  I see this especially with grit-based leaders, who often suffer from what I call “smart people’s disease.”  It’s an affliction of the very intelligent, who feel they are surrounded by people who just don’t measure up to their […]

The Anatomy of Resentment

I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback from my previous blog, “Resentment is a Girl’s Best Friend.”  I’ve discovered that this is an issue that plagues a lot of women, whether or not we’re in positions of leadership. The reason resentment is so erosive is that it operates largely beneath the surface.   We don’t […]

The Limitations of Willpower

It’s New Year’s Day.  The day when we set goals and start to martial our willpower to achieving them. If you are naturally driven and focused, you’re probably one of those rare folks who actually accomplishes her New Year’s Resolutions.  Willpower can be a real force for good, especially as a leader.  Driving and self-discipline allow […]

Thank You For Breathing

Okay, I’ve taken your gritty sisters to task (“Would it kill you to say thank you?”).  Now it’s your turn, grace-sters. It’s Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  I love remembering all the things I’m grateful for.  It makes me happy and I find it very motivating to take stock of what’s positive in my life. I […]

What can turning leaves teach us about change?

It’s Fall in Washington, DC.  As I revel in the leaves’ changing color, my thoughts turn to the process of change. A few years ago, I learned something amazing about how the leaves actually turn.  The green itself does not change into a different color. Rather, the chlorophyl that creates the green simply falls away, […]