Confessions of an Accidental Leader

One Vital Skill to Leadership Competency – Mastering the Art of Small and Talk Making Others Comfortable with You

Do This and You’ll Never Be Blindsided by Your Best Employee Leaving- or Before There’s a Major Conflict in Your Midst!

Leadership influence is asking questions and attentively listeningI’ll never forget the evening my husband and I were standing around the pool at a work party, when the CEO of the non-profit where my husband worked walked by. We greeted him, exclaiming how nice the evening was. As he walked past us he responded, “I’m sorry, I don’t do small talk.” I was stunned! We had held him in such high esteem. Both being in our early 20’s we had considered him our mentor, so I’ll never forget how that comment made us feel, as he went over and stood talking to a millionaire in our midst. This is one of the incidence that put the fire in me to coach, train, and develop leaders and their staff with the people skills  that will cause them to valued and care about one another, while fulfilling their calling and mission through their business.

“There’s hardly a higher compliment you can pay an individual that to help that person be useful and find satisfaction and significance.” by John C. Maxwell

So how do you do this, learn to genuinely care about people? You begin by asking questions, while attentively listening. As a leader, this is an imperative skill to master! Believe me, when people feel their leader is interested in them and their growth, they’ll be more engaged, more dedicated and produce more. So overall it’s just good business to attentively listen, and care about the needs of your employees!  

“Napoleon Bonaparte knew every officer of his army by name. -He asked about their home and discussed maneuvers and battles he knew that this officer had been involved in.  It’s no wonder their devotion to him!

Begin first by asking questions to learn the key elements of people’s lives. Where they grew up, how they fit into the family constellation, what kind of hobbies they have etc. You can then effectively follow-up with sincere interest and concern for them. This can be done one-on-one, during a round table discussion, at a team-building exercise, standing around at an event or when beginning a business meeting. I used to play a game seeing how long it would take, and how many questions I would h”Napoleon Bonaparte knew every officer of his army by name. -He asked about their home and discussed maneuvers and battles he knew that this officer had been involved in.  It’s no wonder their devotion to him!ave to ask before I would find some kind of commonality or connection with the person. Asking questions is a magical tool.

“What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.” Zig Ziglar

listen attentively,care about employeesQuestions are the answer when engaging in small talk. In fact, you don’t have to say a thing, just listen and ask another question, while giving them the physical cues that you are listening attentively. Such as stopping everything you were doing to pay attention; turn toward them and look straight into their eyes; even checking for their eye color. And by all means, don’t take calls, or allow interruptions from text messaging etc. As much as possible, for a few minutes, look at their eyes, and nod periodically throughout the conversation saying:

                     * hmmm . . .                      * Interesting. . .                                 * I understand. . .                      * Really?                      * Is that right?

I’ve been told you can learn a new skill if you’ll be willing to get out of your comfort zone and practice for 15 minutes each day. Try starting conversations with the clerk at a counter, while standing in line, when you’re in a group waiting. Work on making others feel comfortable with you. No, I’m not suggesting you become a Chatty Cathy, or attempt being the “High I” behavioral style if you aren’t one naturally, just practice being hospitable on a daily basis!

A GREAT LEADER says, How can I make those around me more successful?

The most successful executives have mastered the art of small talk! It is essential to their effectiveness and influence!

Avoid Leadership Miscommunication

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  • How do misunderstandings begin?
  • What can you do, as a leader, to be sure your communication isn’t taken wrong?
  • Find how to better mitigate conflict when it arises in your midst.

How the Right Steps in Communication Can Grow Your Confidence and Elevate Your Leadership Influence at Work and at Home

Elevate Your Leadership Influence Communicating Effectively in Challenging Situations!

Listening with attentionI had a client that told me about a difficult situation she was in.  See if you can relate to any of it:

“She told her manager I spoke angrily with her and then went storming out of the room.   I had to laugh because the real story is that I wanted to share with her that I respected her position as the leader, and wanted to support her and her team.  However, because the people in my car pool were already in the car waiting for me, I felt rushed, and I’m sure I didn’t express myself as I really wanted to, before I briskly walked off.  Later I discovered that because of the “assumptions” and “judgments” she had made about me, she was only able to hear those things that would confirm her judgments. (. . . something we’ve all done at one time or another.)  She obviously didn’t hear what I meant, what my intention was, because the story she wrote to me about this incident didn’t even come close to the facts. First of all, I wasn’t mad, and second, I didn’t go storming out of the room.”  Do you see how easily things get twisted?

And this, my friends, is exactly how miscommunications begin, are propagated, become inflamed, and then consume and destroy people and groups. Have you ever experienced this?  How did it make you feel?  What did you do to rectify the situation?

“I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard was not what I meant.”   author unknown


Before you dive into a challenging conversation: 

1.  Make sure you take your own blinders and filters off.  Get rid of any judgments, criticism, or opinions you’ve made that have not been 100% substantiated.

2.  Next, go into the conversation with an open mind and clear heart toward the person and situation.  The correct assumption to make is that you don’t have all the information necessary to come to a conclusion. 

3.  Be inquisitive, ask questions, go on a fact finding adventure.  Think of it like putting a puzzle together. 

4,  If you’re not sure you understand what they’re saying, ask them to say it again, but differently.  This way you’ll be sure you’re hearing correctly, by coming at it from all angles.  

5.  Always paraphrase back what was said, to be sure you’ve heard it correctly, and that they’ve said what they intended to say.  You can catch a lot by just doing this!  

Overall, if you’ll follow this process, as much as you possibly can, you’ll be off to a GREAT START!  I’d love to hear your stories, good and bad!  In fact I challenge you to go for it and actually put this process to work.  Then if you’ll write me about it, I’ll put your name in for a Starbucks card for February! 

                                                                                                                                                                                                               More to come on this subject!


Are you in need of help with communications skills personally, or with your business?  Contact Sue today to schedule time to discuss your needs.   Just go NOW  to and share what your challenge is.  Now, if you don’t care for the newsletter, just don’t confirm in your email.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Copywriting SuccessTeleseminar With Debra Jason

“Pushing Your Prospects’ Buttons: A 5-Step Copywriting Success System!” with Debra Jason


Debra James of the Write DirectionOn this call you will discover how Debra empowers you to write your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal customers . . .see more below

DATE: Thur. November 21st 

TIME: 12:00-1:00 (MST) 2:00pm (EST)


On this call you will discover how Debra empowers you to write your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal customers– even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past. This way you reach a broader audience, attract more clients, and generate more income so that you can live the lifestyle you’ve dreamed about, which is why you went into business for yourself to begin with – isn’t it?

SUE: Being a leader, or business owner, means knowing how to use the right words and methods to communicate your message to gain exposure. Copywriting is one skill you either must know, or have an expert copywriter such as Debra, to do the writing for you! Where use copy you wonder? Everywhere, your website, blog, when advertising, on Facebook, and especially in your newsletter. Join the call and listen to Debra as she provides complete, powerful, clear methods as to HOW to do it, along with easy to use verbal templates. All on this call!

Join “The Holiday Schmooze a’Palooza”

The Schmooze a'PaloozaThe most successful people know themselves, how they act and react, and understand the actions and reactions of others !  And you can learn them too!

Sign-up to the right to join this complimentary telecall for the next 6 weeks and receive the 40 pg. manual.

WHEN:  Wednesdays at

TIME:  1:00pm MST 3:00pm EST

Join the “Holiday Schmooze a‘Palooza” and enjoy a few interesting stories Sue’s collected over the decades of working with, and training in Personality Styles. You’ll learn the secret to finding success with and through people. Please write me with any and all questions that will help you understand people, any and all people!  (not including mental-health issues)

  • This Holiday would you like the secret to being around your relatives without letting them drive you crazy?

  • Did you know the first step to success is knowing yourself and others, how you would act and react.

  • Are you tired of being everything to everyone, and instead want to be YOU, discovering the REAL, AUTHENTIC YOU, then this palooza is for you.

  • Uncover YOUR strengths and skill-sets that will GIVE YOU THE CONFIDENCE to go for your dreams in 2013.

  • Learn to magnetically, naturally draw the right people to you in your business as clients.

  • Find the perfect collaborative partners with whom you enjoy working.

  • Receive the KEY to building the most AMAZING TEAM around you, one where you can accomplish more in this next year than you ever thought possible.

  • Or if you have a team, learn which ones are out of place, and how to reposition them for their success and yours, exponentially!  (Nothing can hold you back more than having the right people, but in the wrong seats.)

This is the same information Sue has personally used to develop teams in two different billion dollar companies to coach the executives and staff through conflict resolution, team building, and to find the right new hires for new positions.

You will learn an easy to detect system to determine which of the Four Basic Personality Styles a person displays. This information is like having a crystal ball that reveals their strengths and weaknesses or limitations.  It’s astonishing how accurate and fun this Personality Style System is, not to mention practical, and vitally useful to one’s business and life!

You will be gifted with a one year subscription to “Tips For Accidental Leaders” worth $97.

20 Things to Do to Keep From Being an Accidental Leader, Part I

Strategically Create the Life and Work Worthy of your Talents, Giftings, Education and Experience

  1. Take A Behavioral Style Profile to learn your strengths and weaknesses.  Contact me for more information.

  2. Take a Strengths Finder to compliment the Personality Profile

  3. Interview your parents, assuming you have a good relationship with them, and ask them what they saw in you as a child, i.e., the strengths they perceived in you that would translate into a career, or other direction for your life

  4. Ask 5 friends what they see you’re good at and one thing they see you might work on for greater success

  5. Deal with any and all childhood issues that could be showing up as blind-spots, limitations or weaknesses.  This is KEY to your progress.  Ask me for more information if this intrigues you, as I have a workshop that could get you started, and would gladly tell you about my experience with it

  6. Learn to use the 24 hr. Rule, to get over a crisis, disappointment, or a “win”, and keep yourself moving forward. (I’ve written on this in past posts, and will write on it again this week.)

  7. Begin aGratefulness Journal” and write every day of at least 5 things you are most grateful/thankful for.

  8. Take a class on “Time Management”, creating systems for every area of your life and work

  9. Create your own personal “Mission Statement” and choose 5 to 8 values by which to base, and use as a plumb-line,  all the major decisions you make life

  10. Once a year go on a week or month long “Negativity Fast” where you allow family and friends to fine you if you say anything negative about yourself, others, or circumstances.  You’ll be amazed at how cleansing this is!  Take it up a notch and add not listening to any negativity as well!

  11. Determine from now on to make decisions based on living out your values and Mission Statement.

  12. Find a mentor.  Look for 2 people you admire in different aspects of their life, and then ask them if they would consider mentoring you.

  13. Create some form of self imposed accountability for yourself.

  14. Learn to be a better communicator, especially in the area of listening.  Most leaders get into trouble more by not listening than by talking.

Stay tune for the rest of the list of 20things, and how to get some help accomplishing these in the next post!

Are You an “Accidental Leader” Could You Possibly be Out of Position? Pt I

Did someone wave a wand and say: “POOF”, thou art a manager –NOW  LEAD!

Are you, or someone you know, in the wrong role/position in your company?  Did someone wave a wand and say: “POOF”, thou art a manager –NOW  LEAD!  But you have NO CLUE WHAT THAT MEANS or what you’re to do differently?  There could be all kinds of reasons you’re out of position:

  • Your personality doesn’t align with the requirements of the role – i.e.  say the position needs someone who is commanding, one who is able to change easily and move quickly.  However, you’re a process person and like large amounts of details to then check, double check, and even triple check before you make a move. If so, then you’ll be frustrated in this role, along with making everyone around you frustrated.

  • Talents – say you’re very gifted with high amounts of creativity, but you don’t have an outlet to use it . . .

  • Your education didn’t support this role, and you’ve been struggling to try to make it work, but no matter how hard you try, you feel like you’re always behind.

  • The experiences you’ve had didn’t prepare you for this role, and your interests don’t align either

This doesn’t mean you’re bad or wrong, it just means that this role/position is not a natural fit for you.  You can still stretch yourself and take on the role.  However, be aware that it will take considerably more effort, energy, and possible skill sets you don’t now have to fulfill.  Not to mention you may not enjoy it.  Another way you’ll know you’re not in the best role for you when required to be THE leader, is if:

  • Setting the big-picture vision isn’t natural for you, and instead is difficult!

  • Directing people – such as:  Providing them with the instructions as to what to do, which may be impossible for you to do – due to your personality style.  For some personality styles, and I know it’s hard for some of us to fathom, this would mean confrontation to them.

  • Correcting and leading people is difficult and/or frustrating for you, so you’ll avoid it like the plague!

If these sentences resonate with you, then you’ve got another clue that you are an “Accidental Leader”.  If so, then one solution for you is to acquire a Business Coach to assist you to discern why you may be discontent, ineffective, and possibly even miserable in the position you’re currently in.  If you do, then you’ll receive the assistance to be successful!

On a positive note, I’ve had the most amazing opportunity to pursue what I’ve loved, and what fits me, for the past 35 years.  Because of my supportive husband, I was given the gift of creating and designing a career that I thrive in, am passionate about, and which gives me the ability to continually grow with and into.  My life mission emerged from one class here and an experience there.  As a result, along with my personality, certifications, and education over the years, it has slowly emerged, until one day I realized I was The epitome of an “Accidental Leader”.  I didn’t begin with the end in mind, as Covey recommends.  I didn’t set out to be a “Business Coach”, that didn’t exist when I went to college.  And I didn’t set out to pursue being a leader or trainer, however I was strategic about each small thing I pursued, until it cumulatively transpired into this awesome role called a Business Coach, Executive Coach and Corporate Trainer.  Like a puzzle that emerges from the similar colors, shapes, and connectivity of its’ pieces, I now help others to be strategically excellent, by making sure their life and work aren’t built upon accidents, but on the best of what they bring to this world, aligning themselves with the people they’re suppose to connect with and serve.


THE ONE SKILL EVERY LEADER NEEDS MORE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               bassetwithears

You as a leader/ manager are so busy these days that complete clear communication sometimes never happens.  Do you know if you’re really hearing what people are really saying?  Is there a way to be sure that you are?  Yes, there is, and it’s amazingly simple I can’t even believe it.  I was recently given a book on conflict resolution that make it such a huge deal.  What I’ve discovered is that 80% of the conflicts tend to be: one person didn’t say what the meant or didn’t use the right words to convey it, so the other person heard the words, but not the intent.  Or, the other person misunderstood completely what the other person was truly communicating and immediately jumped to assumptions and judgment based on what they heard, not what the person meant.  When I can get people together to work through and learn this process, it’s amazing how much clears up.  Don’t believe me, get on this complimentary call yourself and you be the judge!

During this tele-class you’ll examine, how to increase your leadership influence. You will gain practical tips on how to disagree with people without them ever knowing it, keeping them on your team. You’ll learn how to provide appropriate feedback, while discovering the one thing you should never do when you have to correct an employee.

DATE: August 25th
TIME: 12:00pm until 1:00pm MST
WHERE: Teleclass – on the phone (you will receive the # before the seminar)
GIVEN BY: Sue Porter – “The Accidental Leader”
COST: complimentary introductory rate – you must sign-up to receive the conference call number and materials

One Main Way You Can Avoid Failure and Financial Ruin as a Leader

ACQUIRE THE FIRE WEDNESDAYS! Each Wednesday I’ll review a book or blog (I was out of commission this past Wed.)

istock_000000614386bookIf you are a new or emerging leader, and could receive the wisdom and training of the preeminent executive coach in the nation, and the cost was under $30, would you not take him up on it? You’d be a fool to decline wouldn’t you? Not only that, he would also provide, for your further development, a full library of resources to implement his time tested methods for team-building, communication, leadership, and coaching! So, how do you take advantage of this? By reading his book, “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There“. A number one best seller from Amazon before it had even been released to the public. In it you will find what keeps us as leaders in delusion, as well as why we resist change.  He expounds upon the guilty habits we indulge ourselves in, adding an emotional trigger, backing up his premise with real life examples – making us feel we can relate, and therefore find hope in the ability to live and learn, ultimately changing.  He also clarifies our strengths, and shows us how to overcome our weaknesses and failures. This book is certainly NOT meant  for light reading.  The key to this book is a willingness on your part to ask yourself and those around you the tough questions about yourself, your leadership style, and the practices you use.  It’s an opportunity to take a good long look in the mirror.  Besides, it’s high time we discover and acknowledge what everyone else already knows about us.  Goldsmith is able to, in practical terms, lead us to the closet of our lives, in our leadership role, and help us admit what’s within, while simultaneously building our belief that we can become the leader we know we can be.  In my estimation, this book receives 5 stars out of 5.  (5 being the best.)

By the way, the number one skill, according to “The Accidental Leader”, one I am still working on, is to GET REAL with yourself, take stalk, get honest, while looking for true, not fluffy, feedback from those around you that know you best.  No growth can occur until you are first honest and transparent with yourself.  This is a big part in paying the price for great leadership. Believe me, you’ll find these things out about your leadership one way or the other,through a kind messenger, like a book or coach, or through a harsh one, like your main staff quitting simultaneously. I’ve done both! Learned the easy and the difficult way.  It’s really our choice which way it comes. But, it will come, I guarantee it.

Get your copy today.  Just scroll over to the Amazon book site I have provided for you here on this blog, and order it today.

Avoid The Worst Mistake Every Leader Is Tempted To Make – Not Dealing With Insecurity


One of the greatest hindrances to leadership, as well as detriments to an organization, is an insecure person in a leadership role. Insecurity can come from a deep seated lack of confidence. It can come from being placed in positions of authority and influence before the appropriate training and experience are acquired. These are people that have not earned or gained, through trust and integrity, the influence of the people they are leading. They don’t have the wisdom to direct or correct, much less be able to change a course of direction as needed. You can tell a leader who is insecure by the way they are always trying to prove they are worthy of the position they hold, or the directive they have given. They may remind people of who they are, as if the position gives them certain inalienable rights. Secure leaders never have to do this, they just “are” and others willingly follow and are engaged. When insecure, they may lead by rules, reminding subordinates of their position. The unspoken culture also has rules and the employees people know the boundaries, and that it would be insurrection if they crossed them. Their desire is to gain unquestioning dedication. In fact, they view questions as insubordination and they run an organization by “Because I said so”. Their M.O. is to get rid of anyone that may question them, creating what is called “group think” where people know that the only acceptable reaction is to go along with what is proposed. Another clue to insecurity is when they abdicate responsibility when things go wrong, blaming others or the system instead of looking at the quality of their leadership. Insecurity is expressed in the way they communicate. For some it is revealed by how they need those around them to have a sense of importance. When I hear a leader of volunteers thank people for coming to a meeting, exclaiming how much they appreciate their support, I know their identity is wrapped up in the accolades of the people. This is an organization I know will some day be in trouble. For others, insecurity comes out in manipulation, either under the table, or outwardly through intimidation. People that know they’re not allowed to bring up anything that would be construed as being “negative” are dealing with an insecure leader. And when one of these leaders feels their influence with the people slipping through their fingers, they may overcompensate with pride, or by forcing people to “get-in-line” with their decisions.

I’m sure, at this point, you’ve had numerous people come to mind. You may be asking yourself “how is Sue so able to describe this”? Well, I should know, because as a young woman at the age of 23, and in a leadership role, at one time or another, most of this was a description of me. And for that matter, some of it may still be. We are all in process. Thankfully we can all, if we’re teachable and willing, grow, change, develop and gain the necessary attitudes, skills, and posture to be secure leaders that think more of those they are leading, and serve the mission of the organization, rather than expecting others and the organization to serve our sense of significance. In the next post, we’ll go over ways to become what many call a level 5 leader, one who is secure, with the right motives for their role.

You know you’re insecure if:

  • You’re a know it all
  • You have all the answers
  • You can’t listen to anything negative
  • You can’t receive help
  • You don’t know what to do but proceed anyway expecting everyone to follow blindly
  • You’re jealous of others that do better on a project than you, or receive the accolades and you don’t
  • You don’t get input before you make decisions
  • You can’t handle others under you being successful
  • You can’t delegate
  • You have to control everything
  • You see yourself and your position as being the most important in the company
  • You see yourself as indispensable
  • You can’t receive correction and take everything as a conspiracy against you
  • You’re consumed with conspiracy theories
  • You see yourself and your leadership position as the same thing. In other words you derive your value from what you do.

Leaders may be filling their need for improper significance through:

  • Holding a prestigious position (Are you there for the people or the cause, or how it makes you feel?)
  • Having people look to them for answers (Creating co-dependency in the ranks)
  • Controlling all the operations, having to know everything going on
  • Taking all the credit for themselves
  • Being the one everyone has to come to for permission (Do you need people to need you?)
  • Needing to have  large crowds of people come to listen to them (It’s never big enough to satisfy your needs)

For more information on how to develop as a new leader, or develop into a great leader, check out the ongoing workshops and seminars under the page, “Events”.

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Confessions of an Accidental Leader
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