Take a Stand Like Elon Musk in Your Workplace

Act Now

In the current political climate, corporate leaders are standing up to take a stand for what they believe in–and we can all learn from them.

Elon MuskRichard BransonRoger GoodellGeena DavisElizabeth WarrenBonnie Crater.

The list goes on and on.

No matter the politics, many people in the business (and sports) world are dismayed by the (mis)behavior of President Donald Trump.

His lack of sensitivity, empathy, professionalism, emotional intelligence, politeness–you name it– leaves many to believe his actions are anything but presidential.

For that reason, corporate leaders are stepping up to take a stand for issues they believe in like free trade, climate change, immigration, healthcare, and free speech, to name a few.

Elon Musk, the Tesla, and SpaceX CEO, quit the president’s advisory boards after Trump left the Paris climate accord, and tech mogul Mark Cuban spoke out about Trump’s criticism of NFL players taking a knee, for example.

These prominent leaders can serve as an inspiration to you, no matter your position in the corporate latter, in a time when many feel powerless and hopeless. We can learn from them how to be outspoken and make a difference in our world today.

Here are five ways we can do this:

Take a stand.

If you personally believe in something, then share it with your team–even if they might not agree with you. They will find it inspiring, and it may be a catalyst for your team to act for a cause they’re passionate about, too.

Also, people like to know that a leader has a point of view and will take a stand. Being with a flip-flopper is unsettling. Working under someone with conviction can give a sense of security and clarity.

Talk with your team.

Collectively, your team may be passionate about a cause and want to act. Brainstorm ways your organization can help whether it be writing letters, donating money, or volunteering. Then formulate a plan and get moving.

The shared experience may even strengthen the bond of your team.

Use your clout.

With your organization’s approval, extend your leadership role into the community. Use your notoriety and speak at community organizations, schools, and institutions to bring attention to important issues.

Join forces.

Dave Matthews, Justin Timberlake, Pharrell, and Ariana Grande joined together to host a Concert for Charlottesville following the deadly white supremacist riot in the Virginia town last August.

You can do something similar–get together with other business leaders to amplify your impact, Which lends itself to more hands, heads, and hearts–and more attention to what’s important to you.

Get involved with other events.

You don’t need to create your own event–other groups are already acting and would welcome your support. So, get involved and tell your team what you’re doing. They may want to tag along, too.

Some national groups like the ACLUAnti-defamation LeagueHuman Rights Watch, and Greenpeace, may have chapters in your area. You can find a list here.

And to support your efforts in making a difference, you can find your local representatives here.

Instead of feeling dismayed and hopeless, take action and stand up – peacefully and compassionately – for what you believe in. If we all do that a little more lately, we’ll help create a better world for all of us.

A version of this post was first published on Inc.
Image: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

How To Avoid Being A Jerk In The Workplace

have a nice day

Recently, I’ve had several clients come to me with the same problem–their co-workers think they’re jerks.

These revelations have come to light in 360s, performance reviews, and regular feedback sessions.

And the thing is, these people aren’t jerks. But, they’re doing everyday things perceived as jerky– stuff you may be of guilty of doing, too.

So, to better your reputation and play better with others, stop doing these four things–right now!

1. Don’t steal other people’s ideas.

Don’t take other people’s ideas and call them your own. People who are more autonomous by nature are especially in danger of doing this. They may express ideas without realizing they were expressed initially by someone else.

If this could be you, put yourself on notice and be aware if someone else expressed the same thought already. And, give credit where it’s due.

If you don’t, others will notice and assume you aren’t collaborative. Or worse, they may think you’re out to get them by stealing their ideas.

So, instead, listen and add on to others’ thoughts and ask for input on yours.

2. Don’t spew criticism.

Being direct is probably not a bad thing, but it can be off-putting or offensive when it’s about something negative, including constructive criticism.

Instead, learn the art of the compliment sandwich. That is, say something positive. Insert the criticism. Then, end with another positive.

And, make sure the compliments are related to what you’re concerned about. I’ve had people tell me I look nice, then follow up with apprehensions about my ideas. That doesn’t cushion the blow. Instead, show appreciation for people’s time and participation.

3. Don’t be a time suck.

This is for those people that monopolize meetings, launch marathon chat sessions, and delegate time-intensive tasks.


Be aware of how much air space you’re taking up and how much of another’s time you’re consuming. This is especially true for those of you who have a habit of pontificating or complaining. Collaboration is key.

4. Don’t blow others off.

People who don’t respond to emails, stay on mute on conference calls, and never say hello in the halls, are perceived as jerks.

Instead, be responsive and communicative. Always say hi virtually or face-to-face to everyone–from janitors to managers.

Over email, don’t forget the greetings–that’s a “hi (name)” and “best regards,” or something of that ilk. Otherwise, you come off as rude.

These actions are really very simple. You can start them right now and turn your reputation around! If you don’t, well, no one wants to work with–or for–a jerk!

A version of this post was first published on Inc.