Stink Bugs and Flowers

There are two types of leaders, stink bugs and flowers.

learning makes you beautiful when it's put into practice


When stink bugs show up, everything stinks.

  1. Fear goes up.
  2. Teams feel dumb.
  3. Nothing’s good enough.
  4. The past is more important than the future.
  5. “Little” people are punished.
  6. “Important” people are given exemptions.
  7. Standards are set after the fact, not before.

Everyone celebrates when stink bugs leave.

Fragrant leaders:

  1. Focus on opportunity.
  2. Define success. People know what winning looks like, when fragrant leaders show up.
  3. Fuel energy.
  4. Make people believe they matter.
  5. Evaluate ideas on merit, not who spoke them.
  6. Center status on performance and contribution, not position.
  7. Serve people, rather than people serving them.

7 ways to be the leader others love to see coming:

  1. Be a learner not a knower. Learning makes you beautiful, when it’s put into practice.
    • Let others outdo and outshine you.
    • Listen to suggestions.
    • Figure out what people love doing.
    • Explore and create alignment.
    • Recognize the talent, skill, and knowledge of teammates.
    • Spend time with people who are smarter than you.
    • Go with someone else’s gut.
    • Ask “dumb” questions. Don’t feel you have to know more than others.
    • Say, “I don’t know,” when you don’t.
  2. Look for what’s working. Stink bugs focus mostly on mistakes. Fragrant leaders analyze success.
  3. Serve others so they serve others, not you. Exponential success goes beyond you.
  4. Lift more than put down.
  5. Calm your spirit. A frazzled spirit never instills confidence.
  6. Reject isolation.
    • Walk around.
    • Check in.
    • Ask questions.
    • Spread cheer. Smile.
  7. Talk more about where you’re going than where you’ve been.

Project: Make a list of every thing you did last week to lift people. What can you do this week to lift your team? Be specific.

Evaluate: If you wonder if you’re a stink bug, the fact that you wonder, suggests you are. It’s time to up your game.

What leadership behaviors make leaders attractive?