Podcast feat. Ingrid Bredenberg: Leadership as a Practice, Not a Position

Ingrid Bredenberg: Leadership as a Practice, Not a Position
By Bruce Hurwitz Presents
powerdby BlogTalkRadio

Change is everywhere. Is your team ready for what’s next? In a dynamically changing economic environment, teams must be responsive, resilient and results-focused. Your job is to lead your team from where it is now to where it needs to be, by creating a clear path of action. We’ll explore the Work of Leaders, a research-based approach to leadership that encourages leaders to understand their own leadership styles while developing competence in the best practices of crafting a Vision, building Alignment, and championing Execution.

In this podcast, Ingrid shares leadership tips to advance team performance; discusses the strategic framework of Vision, Alignment, and Execution; and explores leadership action plans. Enjoy!


Adapt with EPIC

A recent article from Corporate Learning called Adapt or Die: 6 Trends and Innovations Poised to Reinvent L&D, illustrates how your EPIC account, the profiles it delivers and the blended learning programs address at least 4 of these trends directly:

1.Personalized/Adaptive Learning – Everything DiSC and Five Behavior profiles use a sophisticated Adaptive Testing technique (report available upon request) that assures the most accurate report based on people’s unique combination of personality and behavioral preferences.

2.Collaborative/Social Learning – The Everything DiSC and Five Behaviors of Cohesive Teams Facilitator Kits help you deliver engaging and highly interactive programs that can be used in classrooms or online platforms. The programs encourage interaction among participants and lots of shared learning opportunities.

3. Micro-Learning – The modularized programs can be delivered in “bite-sized” learning events or training follow-up sessions that reinforce classroom learning. Comparison Reports and Culture Reports deepen understanding and provide opportunities for peer interactions.

4. Adaptability Quotient (AQ) is a person’s ability to adapt to change. The resources that you have access to through Bredenberg Associates and your EPIC account will not only help you adapt your training to real-world situations but also help participants gain competence for working and leading in a dynamically changing world.

Save 30% on EPIC credits and Productive Conflict Facilitation Kits during our 30th Anniversary month celebration. Order now!

Want to take your training projects to the next level? Schedule a free Discovery Session here to explore your possibilities.


Desires, Dreams, Visions

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King JR - Free Pictures at Historical Stock Photos.com

January is the month that we celebrate a great man and a powerful leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The media, schools and workplaces share stories about his work and struggles. There are celebrations with speakers, music and activities designed to bring people together in unity and activism. Communities sponsor service projects inspired by his principles and activism.  

One of his most referenced speech is “I have a Dream”, first made in Detroit after he and an interracial group of dignitaries led 125,000 people in what was then the largest civil rights march in the country. He made a similar speech later at the even larger March on Washington.

What made this, and other speeches so compelling? What can we learn from Dr. King? Leaders, take note…

Vision – He paints a clear picture of a desired future where his “four little children…will be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.” He goes on to describe a world where oppression is transformed into an “oasis of freedom and justice.” Leaders must consistently present a positive vision of the future that people can see, want to be part of, and be willing to work toward.

Storytelling and metaphor – People love stories. Good stories can be told and retold. They become the foundation upon which to build plans and take action. Metaphors give meaning and substance to abstract concepts like freedom, unity, service.  
Repetition and cadence – Important statements about purpose, priorities, and goals are worthy of repetition…particularly if they are positive and uplifting. We may not speak like Dr. King, but we can learn from the way he uses pace, pauses and tone to carry the listener along with the message.

Passion – It begins with a desire. Dr. King desired freedom from oppression and equal opportunity for all. You can hear the emotion in his voice and words. It ignites and resonates with emotions that humans can feel. If a leader isn’t passionate about the purpose or project…and communicates it with feeling, others won’t be inspired to engage and act.

Action – Dr. King walked his talk. He took risks. He stood for his values. He was inclusive. He was willing to change his mind when better information was presented. This is not the easy path. If leaders expect their teams to perform, they must show and model the way forward.

Continuous Learning – Dr King honed his speaking craft through his years of ministry, diplomacy, and activism. One learns to speak eloquently by practicing, practicing, practicing. Learning to speak clearly and compellingly is a leadership best practice that can (and should) be developed through coaching, video feedback, Toastmasters or public speaking courses. You will gain confidence, competence and comfort in communicating to groups of all sizes. This will help you be a better leader…and your followers deserve it.


Leadership Quick Tip: Visioning

Become a better leader and team member by harnessing the energy of your desires, defining your dreams and sharing your vision.

  • Desires – Sometimes it’s easiest to start with what’s working that you’d like to change. Where is there pain or tension? What do you want instead?
  • Dreams – How would you be feeling if things were different? What would others be doing or saying? What would you be doing? Don’t worry about “how” this will happen. Focus on what you or your situation will look and feel when the shift has happened.
  • Visions – Write it down. Describe this new situation. Focus on the positive results. Draw a picture or take images from a magazine that represent this vision. Create a Vision Board or a Dream Book — a collage of pictures and words that represent this desired state. Talk “as if” it has already happened.

In our Leadership Innovation Academy programs, we guide leaders and teams through a visioning process that ignites their creativity, aligns their visions and lays a foundation for planning and action.

This highly interactive 3 – 4 hour process helps teams:
     1. Create a shared vision of the future     2. Clarify priorities and goals
     3. Engage and align team members
     4. Communicate compelling messages about their purpose

Want more information about the Leadership Innovation Academy’s Visioning Process? Contact us at (727) 308-0812


Press Release: Bredenberg Associates Achieves Highest Sales Honor

Press Release  
February 7, 2018 

Contact Information:
Ingrid Bredenberg, M.A.
Bredenberg Associates

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASELocal Business Achieves Highest Sales Honor
Minneapolis, MN—

Wiley, the developer of proven workplace assessment-driven solutions Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team®, announced local business Bredenberg Associates as a 2017 Ruby award-winning Partner. This recognition commends Bredenberg Associates’ commitment to building better workplaces.

“We are excited to partner with professionals like Bredenberg Associates who want to make a difference in the world of work,” says Susie Kukkonen, Vice President of Partner Channels at Wiley. “Bredenberg Associates’ dedication to helping clients succeed, combined with their expertise in delivering Everything DiSC and The Five Behaviors is highly valuable to any organization. We are honored to have them as an Authorized Partner.”

About Bredenberg Associates
For over 30 years, Bredenberg Associates’ strategic consultants and trainers have been working with leaders and teams in healthcare, government, higher education and business helping them take their organizations to the next level. From visioning to action planning, Bredenberg Associates experts equip leaders with essential skills and cutting edge tools for organizational transformation. “Partnering with Wiley Publishing allows us to bring the best research-based assessments to our clients,” says Ingrid Bredenberg, founder and senior consultant. Bredenberg Associates has offices in Albany, NY, St. Petersburg, Florida and Durham, NC.

About Everything DiSC®
Everything DiSC is the leading suite of DiSC®-based workplace training and assessment solutions. These advanced applications combine online assessment, classroom facilitation, and post-training follow-up to create powerful, personalized workplace development experiences. With a global network of independent Partners, Everything DiSC solutions are used in thousands of organizations, including major government agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

About The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team®
The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team is the result of the partnership between Wiley and best– selling author Patrick Lencioni. This unique team program has a simple goal—to improve team effectiveness and productivity through the understanding and application of The Five BehaviorsTMTrust, Conflict, Commitment, Accountability, and Results. Powered by the personality inventory of Everything DiSC and All TypesTMThe Five Behaviors highlights the impact of personality on team development, helping talented individuals discover how to work together as a cohesive team.


Being Presidential

This month we celebrate United States’ Presidents so it’s a great opportunity to look at what presidents are and what they do. Of course, there are many kinds of presidents… Presidents of countries, companies, boards of directors, clubs. All function as the leader of their organization–providing vision, direction and deploying resources for the fulfillment of its purpose.

The current US President’s style and behavior are causing many people to question what is expected of the presidential role. When should a leader’s personal “style” adapt to the expectations and function of the role? What does the position of president prescribe…and where is there room for personal expression? More than listening to what leaders say, followers watch how they act…and trust, follow and engage accordingly.

The lineage of US presidents provides an interesting perspective of leadership in the context of the country’s history and how individuals stepped into roles that they were selected* to fill…from the reluctant (and richest) founding president, George Washington, to our current celebrity POTUS, Donald Trump. While we aren’t scholars of history or presidents, we do work with presidents of companies and leaders of organizations, so understanding the roles and responsibilities of leadership and governance is a major part of our work.

Despite the lofty title, Presidents aren’t expected to know how to do everything. However, in their role as leader, they need to be able to set the direction and communicate a vision of success in ways that engage people to work together to achieve it. They preside over a group of people whose mission is to steer the organization in fulfilling its purpose. Presidents are where the “buck stops” and need to surround themselves with people who bring knowledge, experience, and expertise for their counsel. They need to foster trust and cultivate a culture of accountability. They should welcome productive conflict within their teams when it serves to expand perspectives and bring about better solutions.
Effective presidents assure that their teams are equipped with a working knowledge of governance and systems thinking, use data and policies to inform decision-making, and instill curiosity and collaboration in leading their organizations.

Can you lead better…and how?

For resources related to this topic, check out What is Leadership? and What is The Work of Leaders?
*I chose this word since the current Electoral College process, gerrymandered districts, confirmed Russian intervention and an entrenched two-party system that undermines, or certainly dilutes, a process where citizens’ votes actually elect a candidate by popularity.


What is Leadership?

Evidenced by the hundreds of leadership books, podcasts and TED Talks, leadership is a complex and evolving process that has many elements and expressions. Fundamentally leaders lead groups of people from point A to point B…and onward to fulfill the purpose of their organization. To do this, leaders must craft and communicate a vision, build alignment, and champion execution. Simple, but rarely easy. All leaders bring their own ideas, experience and approaches to their leadership. They each have different styles and strengths. They may have proven track records and scores of achievements.

But the question remains,
“Can you lead better…and how?”

Great leaders are lifelong learners. They learn from mentors, research, and from their own experience. Great leaders have discipline, grit and emotional agility.
In our work with leaders, we look at leadership as a practice, not just a position. We equip them with leading-edge tools and techniques for leveraging their strengths and expanding their leadership skills. We are always on the lookout for information and resources that can be quickly absorbed and applied. That’s why The Work of Leaders is a core element of our leadership coaching and development curriculum and activities.

Want to learn more about The Work of LeadersCheck it out here (video explanation included!)

Related article: Being Presidential


What is The Work of Leaders?

Comprehensively researched, thought-provoking, and eminently practical VAE: The Work of Leaders stimulates fresh conversations and new perspectives regardless of the leader’s knowledge or experience. It’s an opportunity for leaders at all levels of learning to reflect on how they approach each step of their work along a “leadership continua” and helps leaders take action with personalized tips and strategies that give clear direction and are easy to apply. Introductory chapters introduce the steps of the VAE process, defines, demystifies, and contextualizes each one.

Book:The Work of Leaders: How Vision, Alignment and Execution will Change the Way You Lead by Julie Straw, Barry Davis, Mark Scullard, Susie Kukkonen

“The Work of Leaders is a bright gem of a book. In a crystal clear and to-the-point style, the authors make leadership instantly accessible with a memorable model, rock solid fundamentals, original research, compelling stories, and highly practical tips for putting the principles to immediate use. There are invaluable lessons on every page, and you’ll enjoy discovering each one. We highly recommend The Work of Leaders to anyone who aspires to make extraordinary things happen in organizations.”—Jim Kouzes & Barry Posner, authors of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge®

Case Study:Creating a Legacy of Leaders to Shape the Future of Business Growth
Profile:The Work of Leaders

The Work of Leaders Model:

More details from Everything DiSC:

Everything DiSC Work of Leaders® is classroom training that uses online pre-work, engaging facilitation with contemporary video, and online follow-up to create a personalized learning experience. Based on best practices, Work of Leaders connects unique leadership styles to real-world demands, generating powerful conversations that provide a clear path for action.Everything DiSC Work of Leaders approaches leadership as a one-to-many relationship, as opposed to the one-to-one relationship explored in Everything DiSC® Management. It focuses on tangible steps directed at leading a group or organization toward desired outcomes.Using the framework of Vision, Alignment, and Execution, Work of Leaders encourages leaders to understand their own leadership styles and how they impact their effectiveness. Rich, compelling narrative adds depth to the data and strong visuals support the learning process by illustrating key messages.


  • Result of four-year research and development effort
  • Analyzed and distilled the work of prominent leadership researchers
  • Input from more than 300 subject-matter experts at over 150 organizations
  • Identified leadership best practices

If you are interested in learning even more about the profiles generated, reports, follow-up tools, facilitation and more, go to the Everything DiSC solutions page and select the yellow bar labeled Work of Leaders. It looks like this:

Intrigued? Give us a call (727-308-0812) or schedule a complimentary discovery session. We would love to chat with you about this possible solution for your team!Related articles:Being PresidentialWhat is Leadership?

Book:The Work of Leaders: How Vision, Alignment and Execution will Change the Way You Lead by Julie Straw, Barry Davis, Mark Scullard, Susie Kukkonen


Are You an Irresistible Leader?

In his recent article 3 Keys to Becoming Irresistible, John Gorman describes three characteristics that, “when taken together, create a spellbinding supernova of a person — one who can command a room and control their destiny, one who can be both altruistic and intelligent.”Even though the examples he gives describe special people that he “adores,” they are the very qualities that we encourage leaders to cultivate to succeed in their careers and professional relationships. These characteristics may be natural to some people, but more often need to be learned and nurtured. The good news is that, once recognized as essential leadership skills, an aware person can learn and refine these qualities, leading to better relationships of all kinds.
So, what are these three keys to being irresistible?
Humility.  The willingness to recognize that there is always more to learn. That there may be more perspectives than just yours. And that those perspectives may be even more “right” than yours. Humility is the absence of entitlement. A true leader doesn’t lead by position, but rather by purpose. Humility is the natural response as we value others, recognize our interconnectedness, and bear witness to the wondrous and fragile beauty of life.
Curiosity. “Curiosity drives an insatiable quest for knowledge, culture, novelty, experience, beauty, art and connection.” Leaders use their curiosity to drive innovation, encourage engagement and cultivate leadership in others. Rather than always having the “right answers,” effective leaders have compelling questions. Curiosity and inquiry can lead to better long-term solutions than off the cuff answers or unexamined biases. As with humility, an open mind and willingness to see things with “new eyes” are required.
Empathy. People need to know that their leaders can relate and truly care about them. Empathy does not mean that you necessarily agree or hold the same perspective as others. But the willingness to step into another’s experience and understand how they feel is the foundation for connection and rapport. It is an important precursor for honesty, which can foster trust, which in turn is essential for functional and productive relationships.
As Gorman points out, combined, these three traits amplify each other. Missing one or more component, and the magic is diminished. 1. Which of these 3 is most natural to you? 2. What quality do you want/need to cultivate more in yourself?  3. What will that take?