Dictionary Definition;

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

“I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” – Lee Iacocca

The most effective way to behave in work and business (including large banks), as in life, is to act with integrity.  Note the definitions above which talk about wholeness, soundness and completeness – this is a definition of health?

That means being as honest as you can and being fair.  As Lee Iacocca says, tell your team the truth and tell them what you are doing about it.  Be a model for honesty, openness and fairness and show that you expect all in your team to follow

Be as realistic as you can about the risks    When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news.  But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair.  They will know if you play the favorites game or, for example, take the opportunity to pay off old scores if you have to  lay people off or reduce hours.  You will lose good will and that extra contribution you need from those who stay.

In the good times share bonuses fairly and for good reasons – nothing is more de-motivating than seeing a colleague who doesn’t really deserve it, getting a bonus. If the bonuses you pay will not stand up to public scrutiny – don’t pay them.

There are major advantages in acting with integrity in all parts of the business in  terms of competitive advantage.

  • The public, and that means your customers, are increasingly concerned about ethical standards
  • Customers and good staff are more like to be attracted and retained
  • Shareholders are more likely to invest in those they trust, now more than ever
  • Staff and your own morale will be higher
  • Your reputation will be something you can be proud of
  • (At its crudest) You stay out of jail and believe me in old age, the money will not make up for the shame.

Here are some ideas for acting with integrity! If you can’t get your head round it, hire someone to advise you on good governance – there are plenty of us around and it isn’t hard to put it in place.

Some principles for making decisions with integrity!

  1. Make sure those in management know how to step back from every critical decision before they make it and look at it objectively.
  2. Understand the risks in your own culture.  Monitor those likely to get swept along by excitement or urgency to the point where they lose judgment .   Personal power, ‘winning’, strategic plotting, high drama, etc. feel good – they are exciting – but they rarely lead to real long-term business advantage
  3. Strive for fairness and the long-term, and not short-term polarized ‘winner takes all’ outcomes that threaten the organization’s long-term survival.
  4. Learn from history and earlier situations. Reviewing how previous situations were handled, reduces the risks of making daft mistakes:  Also history is a superb store of already invented wheels, which can often save you the time and agonies of trying unsuccessfully to invent a new one.
  5. Understand the long-term consequences.  You need to build in time, and structures, to think through what these might be. Try to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences which work to your, and other people’s,  detriment. Ask;
    1.  What do I get out of this? If you directly address how you benefit it’s easier to spot biases and blind spots.
    2. If we do this, what will happen? Play out the effects of the  decision. Be alert to the impact on stakeholders you may not have considered.
  6. Make sure what you do is legal, but think about the spirit of the law as well as the words.  No one really respects or trusts someone who is known to “bend” the law and that includes your customers and share holders
  7. Consult widely –  not just your staff, but your customers, if you can,
  8. Above all, resist the delusion and arrogance that power and authority tends to foster. This is especially important to guard against if you live and work in a protected, insulated or isolated situation, as many large-scale leaders and decision-makers tend to do. Being a leader for a long time, or for any duration in a culture of arrogance, privilege and advantage, provides great nourishment for personal delusion. Many unethical decisions come from arrogance and delusion. Guard against becoming so dangerous.

Acting with integrity doesn’t just help you to sleep at nights but you also stand a chance of leaving a real legacy – someone who is remembered and respected in your community and beyond for a very long time!

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 5 Select Your Goals For Change

Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 5 Select Your Goals For Change

You can find the earlier posts in this series at the links below.  In the last two posts I asked you to start thinking about emotions.  I explained how identifying your troublesome emotion helps you gain control and make sure things turn out more positively for you in the future. On top of that, I asked you to think about what is most difficult for you.  I said that success depends on being very honest with yourself.

Now we know what the problems are, we are going to set some goals. Goals are the outcomes that you want from your change. Selecting them sounds very simple but there are things that you would be wise to avoid.

  1. Don’t choose a goal that you can’t achieve or that depends on someone else changing first.  For example, you can decide that you will try to be less jealous in a relationship.  But you can’t control your partner’s behavior so that he does less of whatever it is that triggers your jealousy.  Though, you might decide that in future, instead of getting upset, you will explain to him quietly what has just happened to make you feel unhappy
  2. Don’t select quick-fix, short-term goals that don’t really deal with the underlying problem.  You’ll simply feel more frustrated next time
  3. Do not set out your goals in negative terms,  for example, “I don’t want to keep eating foods that do me harm”.  Instead, focus on the positive – “I want to eat a healthy diet and feel fitter”.
  4. Don’t set yourself unrealistic goals which are either too challenging – “I will run three miles a day” for example – when you first start running.  You will probably fail, feel miserable and give up.  But nor should you set the bar too low – “I will run round the block”. That might be so easy it gives you no feeling of satisfaction, so again you give up.
  5. Don’t be too stoical.  Don’t be so brave that you don’t make a real change that might relieve your pain and make you happy
  6. Don’t be too vague – for example, “I want to lose weight” is far less effective than “I want to lose 20 pounds by Christmas, so starting now, I will lose 2 pounds each week.”
  7. Don’t set goals that conflict with your values. For example,  “I resolve not to upset my husband by telling him how unhappy his behavior makes  me, because I know it upsets him”. His behavior may not be acceptable to you in terms of your values and keeping quiet may damage your self-esteem, as well as feeling miserable and resentful.

Goals you set for yourself are not set in concrete.  It will make sense to review them as you make your change.  This is to make sure they are still relevant and that they stay challenging, but achievable.

The next post in this series on making a personal change will be about challenging and changing the core beliefs we all carry.  They can get in the way of making a personal change to improve our lives.

The earlier posts in this series are below.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Earlier Posts in this series

  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 1 Admit A Change is Needed
  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 2 Be Clear About The Change You Want
  • Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 3 Be Clear About What Is Troubling You
  • Be Successful-Making A Personal Change – Part 4 Identify what is most difficult for you

Thursday Quotes – Job Search – Keep Your Spirits Up

Thursday Quotes – Job Search – Keep Your Spirits Up

  1. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door Milton Berle
  2. Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. Confucius 
  3. Getting fired is nature’s way to telling you that you had the wrong job in the first place. Hal Lancaster
  4. Fall seven times, stand up eight. Japanese Proverb
  5. Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it Theodore Roosevelt
  6. The résumé focuses on you and the past. The cover letter focuses on the employer and the future. Tell the hiring professional what you can do to benefit the organization in the future. Joyce Lain Kennedy, Cover Letters for Dummies
  7. If you can’t communicate and prove your value, no one will see your value. Megan Pittsley
  8. If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. Maya Angelou
  9. Can’t find a job? Find an organization with a need you can fill. Then offer to fill it. Susan Ireland
  10. 10. Interviewing is like tasting wine: a first impression, the taste while drinking & the feeling left behind. @workcoachcafe on Twitter

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com


Related articles


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Managing conflict at work – Guidance from ACAS

Conflict at work – Guidance from ACAS

I found this useful post on the ACAS Website.

Advisory booklet – Managing conflict at work

Conflict at work takes many forms. It may be that two workers simply don’t get conflicton; or that an individual has a grievance against their manager. It may take the form of rivalry between teams; or it may be apparent by the lack of trust and cooperation between large groups of employees and management.

Download the pdf  The Booklet [1007kb]


Some signs may be visible such as a heated exchange between colleagues or a meeting between management and employee representatives that turns into a “stand-off”.

However, not all forms of conflict are so obvious. Some individuals might hide their feelings as a way of coping with a problem; while a team might react to pressure by cutting itself off from the rest of the organisation.


Motivation drops: fewer people volunteer to take on new tasks and there is little employee input at team meetings or briefings.

You can read the rest of this post at http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1218

  • Management – Preventing Violence and Harassment in the Workplace

Career Development – Continuing Education – The Key to Professional Growth

Career Development – Continuing Education – The Key to Professional Growth

Today we have a guest post from Katheryn Rivas who is an education writer interested in researching the opportunities an online university can provide. You can contact her at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

We’ve heard over and over again how challenging the economy is today. With student loan debt the highest it has ever been, a steady unemployment rate, and a hugely competitive job market, very few people would deny the fact that the professional world can be unforgiving. Keeping your head above water in a climate like this is essential and one of the best ways to do so is by working to make yourself more valuable to your workplace. Continual professional development and professional growth are the best ways to remain relevant within a professional setting – you can become a student of your trade. Continuing your education with a focus on your job and industry is a worthwhile and effective step to take for your professional well-being. Consider these options for continuing education towards your professional growth.

Online Courses and Learning

There are few better ways to create more opportunities for yourself within the office than by seizing opportunities in the classroom. With advances in online technologies, there are more and more options online for individuals looking for a quality education. The online classroom provides the best possible option for individuals looking for expanded knowledge without sacrificing their nine to five schedule. Professionals can earn useful degrees, qualifications, or simply take a class or two completely online and on their own time. Many companies and employers will offer some sort of educational reimbursement for classes that relate to their area of work. If an official online college program or classes isn’t right for you, you can also consider open courseware classes. Major big name universities like MIT, Yale, Stanford, and many more offer free online versions of their classes. Look at your options and take advantage of what these institutions have to offer.

Professional Associations and Memberships

Investigate the various clubs and associations involved with your area of work or industry. Many of these clubs and association memberships can be wonderful tools for networking, expanding knowledge, and staying in touch with recent news in your field. Many employers will support employees with association memberships and they can become large pluses on an individual’s resume. No matter what area of business or industry you are active in, there are likely many different associations and professional groups dedicated to the subject.  Carefully evaluate your many options and decide which memberships seem the most useful for you and your purposes.

Educational Travel and Conferences

Conferences and professional travel, can bring huge plusses to your day-to-day work life. Of course, you can get more than just a free vacation, conferences travel can also be extremely educational and beneficial to your professional development. Research the various conferences offered related to your line of work. Because conferences can be pricy and time consuming it is important that you really research your options. Try to find the conference and lectures that you think you can really gain from. Any effort to learn more about your trade will be viewed as a positive thing in the eyes of your employer and on your resume.

Katheryn Rivas in an education writer interested in researching the opportunities an online university can provide for students. She encourages your comments at katherynrivas87@gmail.com.

Being a good leader; communication and active listening

Every piece of advice you read about how to be a good leader talks about the need for good communication – an able leader is an able communicator! Yes, quite right. But communication is a two-way process. For any leader the ability to listen is right up there with the ability to deliver the message. And listening is more the just hearing a sound and knowing what the words usually mean.

In coaching we spend a lot of time thinking about active listening – for us it is a core skill. Active listening is hearing with engagement. In active listening you work to not just to hear the words, but to understand exactly what the other person is trying to say.

For coaches active listening is important not only because we need to understand but also because when we listen fully, the client feels appreciated and respected – it helps them to have trust.

Surely as a leader you want, just as much as coach, to be trusted and in due course to inspire your organization.

Active listening is a skill and it requires practice but here are some tips to help you on your way.

  1. Position Be somewhere where you can see and be seen by your hearer for important messages. Talking one to one or in small groups, sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through body language.
  2. Maintain comfortable eye contact. Again one to one and in small group you need to judge the night degree of eye contact. Give good warm “face”,  and don’t stare them down or threaten with your glare. Remember, acceptable eye contact changes with culture. In some cultures it is very rude indeed to look straight into someone’s eyes.
  3. Minimize external distractions. Reduce external noise. Turn off the TV in the corner of the room. Ask people to stop what else they are doing and switch off your mobile phone. If someone comes to talk to you in your office, it is better to ask them to wait outside than to go on writing whilst they are in the room.  Writing on looks arrogant and it sends a clear message about what you think of their status relative to yours.
  4. Respond appropriately When someone is talking to you show that you understand. You can murmur (“uh-huh” and “um-hmm”) and nod. Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as “Really” and “Interesting,” as well as more direct prompts: “What did you do then?” and “What did she say?”. All these things show that you are interested and encourage the other person to keep talking.
  5. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. If you concentrate properly on what someone is saying to you, your response will usually come naturally. If there is a silence – it usually means something. Silences often follow important statements, they give us breathing and thinking time. Don’t spend thinking time on what to say, spend it on reflection about what has been said, then you will find the conversation usually flows.
  6. Be aware of what is happening inside you. You may find your own thoughts intruding as you try to listen. This can happen particularly if what is being said touches your own emotions. But let your thoughts go for not and keep refocusing back on the speaker, Time afterwards to reflect on what this meant for you.
  7. Suspend judgement Wait until the speaker has finished before forming your opinion, even if they are complaining. In fact, it is even more important,if you think you are likely to disagree with what they are saying . Take the time to take in all that they have said before you give an opinion.
  8. Don’t jump to tell them what you did last time. People don’t want to be thought of as just another number, case or employee. Treat each person you speak to as an individual meriting individual consideration. There will be a time to use past examples but judge their use with care – packaged solutions do not blend well with feelings.
  9. Be engaged Ask questions for clarification, once again, wait until the speaker has finished. Don’t interrupt their train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didn’t misunderstand. You could start with: So you’re saying…” This shows that you are really listening.
  10. Practice your active listening skills, particularly handling silence. Learn to use it to better understand what is being said to you. As your listening skills develop, so will your speaking skills and your ability to hold a conversation. You will be surprised how active listening draws people to you. People warm to those who take the trouble to really listen to them.


Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Registered with Life Coach Directory

Other  articles by Wendy

How networking can help your career and your business

How networking can help your career and your business

Most us have now heard the message that networking is important. You will probably have been told that you need to do it when you are looking for a job or if you starting a new business.  But networking can do much more for you than that.

Yes, networking is very important indeed if you are looking for work.

Yes, getting in touch with people you have met in the past, explaining what you have to offer and asking for their help, can bring new opportunities. Your contacts can offer advice about their experiences of job search, the sector they work in and they can introduce you to others so that your network expands. But remember networking is a two way conversation and if you want to receive, you must be prepared to give. You can be an attentive audience and listen with interest and attention to what they have to say. You can share your own knowledge of your own sector and your contacts in return. Make it an on-going conversation and you can turn them into ambassadors who will talk about you and connect you with new possibilities.

Networking is very helpful as well when you are in work – it can provide an important boost to your career prospects.

You need to be visible in your organization for the widest range of promotion prospects to come your way. It is great that your immediate boss knows how good you are at your job and how far you want to go, but what about their boss? And what about influential people in other parts of the organization, will they think of you when they have a senior role to fill? If you know how to network well, you can use your networking skills to help raise your profile. If you are very lucky, getting to know senior people will help to find the right mentor for you.

Networking within the organization, will help to keep you informed about opportunities but also potential threats. You want to be one of the first people to know about up and coming changes and what they might mean for you.

Networking outside the organisation, for example, at event run by professional organizations, can help to keep you up to date with developments including market changes or new legislation. You will learn about new trends and what that might mean for your own personal development plans. If you are a senior manager, networking outside the organization could help you to find the right recruit for that vacancy you know is on the horizon.

If you run a business. networking will help you maintain relationships with existing customers and help you find new ones. You can build you own word of mouth publicity and, when you have established a relationship with new contacts,you can ask for referrals. You will learn as well about market trends, potential legal changes and perhaps new opportunities for partnership, Again you can create ambassadors who talk to others about you and connect you with the right prospects.

Lots of business networking organizations exist – some free and some very expensive to join. They exist because generation after generation of business people have found that networking is a valuable way to support and expand their businesses.

To network well you need to understand the networking process and have the confidence to take an active. I would be delighted if you would join my free teleseminar on 26th June at the link that follows to gain the networking skills you need for success. http://confidentnetworkingwithwisewolf.eventbrite.co.uk/

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26th June 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Job Search – The Importance of Knowing What You Don’t Want

Job Search – The Importance of Knowing What You Don’t Want!

Over a very long career, I have advised and a coached lots of gifted, intelligent and ambitious people who were unhappy in their present job. I’ve learned lots of strategies for coping and for turning a negative short term experience into a long-term gain. I am writing today because there a has been a recurring theme. Most of those people had doubts before they took the job.

The exceptions were usually people whose circumstances changed. For example, they had a new boss they didn’t get on with or they had been through a badly handled outsourcing exercise where they ended up feeling like a victim. Sometimes, it was their own personal circumstances that had been changed. For example, a job with a lot of travelling was difficult to accommodate along side a very young family (for fathers as well as mothers).

For most, they knew when they took the job that it was wasn’t quite right.

Now, we have to be very realistic here. A good job is hard to find now. And jobs are very rarely the perfect fit. Common-sense says you apply the 80/20 principle in reverse. If 80 percent fits and the the 20 percent misfit is not in highly significant areas, most of the time that is good enough. But what about those highly significant areas?

Most people have a list of things they want in a job. This is in their head, if not committed to paper/laptop. (By the way, it is always best committed to paper/laptop, so that when you look through jobs specs you don’t miss something).

What many people forget to produce is a list of things that they don’t want. I’m not talking here about having just left a job where you had a bad experience, so now you swear never again to work with men or women with red hair.

Spending time on your real “no, noes” is time well invested. Make your list carefully and be very honest with your self. For example, if regular travelling really isn’t practical then put it on the list.

Some people do not want a job that is largely transactional (lots of processes to be applied), others do not want a role that requires a long period of quiet work on their own. Some people want to practice their technical and professional skills at a high level and will never feel truly fulfilled managing a team. You will find your list of don’t wants is not necessarily an exact mirror of what you do want. And there will be degrees of dislike.

To take the example above, “no regular travelling” may not mean no travelling at all. As you go through your list make sure you define what you don’t want carefully and then decide whether each item is of high, medium or low importance.

Now, of course, life and job search is all about compromise. Sometimes you may think that it is worth taking a job that hits so many buttons on your wanted list it balances out the buttons on your not wanted list. Please have a care, particularly with those items you marked as high. There really is a risk for you with those items. Only you can decide whether it is worth that risk. But please do it understanding the potential consequences.

Do not go into a job knowing you don’t want something and banking on your influence growing so quickly that you will be able to avoid it. For example, if a company has a long hours culture and you go in thinking it isn’t what you really want but over time you’ll find a way round it, you really are setting your self up for trouble and a potential loss of reputation. That particular item, like travel, is recurring theme.

Be careful, as well, with what companies say they want at interviews, if it is different to what they have said explicitly in their recruitment literature.

To take travel again, suppose the chair of the interviewing panel really likes you and wants you to join the company. All of sudden, you are being told the travelling isn’t so regular really and they are sure they can work round it. Now the hairs on your neck should start to rise. If it wasn’t so important, why did they bother to put it in their literature. If you are really interested, you need to ask lots of questions and, if you still have doubts, ask them to confirm in writing.

So I hope you will produce your “don’t want” list with the same enthusiasm or you apply to your “wants” list. If you need help. or you are already is a role you don’t like, please get in touch. As I’ve said above, I’ve worked with lots of other people just like you.

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the 

confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

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Management – Preventing Violence and Harassment in the Workplace


Management – Preventing Violence and Harassment in the Workplace

Any form of harassment and violence at work, whether it is committed by co-workers, managers or third-parties like customers or suppliers, is unacceptable.

As well as being wrong ethically, it affects the physical and psychological health of those involved. Yet according to the British Crime Survey (BCS) in 2006/07, there were an estimated 684,000 workplace incidents, (288,000 assaults and 397,000 threats of violence).

Tolerance, diversity, dignity and respect are benchmarks for business and organizational success, so it is in a manager’s interest to identify and address the threat of harassment and violence in the workplace.

But there are legal duties too.

Employers and managers are required to protect the health and safety of all their workers,. Failure to deal with, and take reasonable steps to prevent, harassment and violence not only undermines business performance, it could be unlawful.

Employers and unions have a common, shared interest in preventing harassment and violence. And in 2007, the European Union social partners reached an agreement on the issue.

As a result in the UK, the Trades Union Congress (TUC),the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Partnership of Public Employers (PPE) for employers in the private and public sectors issued guidance to implement the agreement in the UK. This had the support of the Government, including the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).

The aim of the agreement and the guidance is to;

• Raise awareness and increase the understanding of employers, workers and their representatives of workplace harassment

• Provide employers, workers and their representatives with a framework of response to identify, prevent and manage problems of harassment and all forms of violence at work.

You can find the guidance at this link http://www.hse.gov.uk/violence/preventing-workplace-harassment.pdf

Want to be a Confident Networker? Join my free teleseminar on 26thJune 2012

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Other  articles by Wendy


What is Transformational Leadership?

What is Transformational Leadership?

Transformational leaders are able to communicate a clear vision and share a passion for engaging in the journey – they are able to make the group they lead feel recharged and energized for the challenge ahead.

Transformational leaders win the trust of those they lead. They usually show energy, enthusiasm and passion and they want everyone in the group to succeed. 

Some military and political leaders are transformational leaders but without honesty and integrity, transformational leadership skills can be misused.

A transformational leader’s behaviour needs to be absolutely consistent and resonant with the vision, the challenge and a commitment to the well being of the group.

Transformational leadership is best accompanied by a servant leadership approach where the leader has a clear set of values and models these for those who are led. The leader needs to give the team confidence that they really can meet the goal.

The transformational leader challenges assumptions and stimulates and encourages creativity in those who follow. Those led need to understand how they can connect with the leader, the organisation and each other.

Obstacles are overcome together. The group and the leader share responsibility for the task – the leader accepts that he/she “carries the can” and team members are not “blamed” when things go.

Each person in the team is appreciated and encouraged in turn to appreciate others. The leader acts as a coach and encourages personal development in team members.

The theory of transformational leadership was introduced by James MacGregor Burns and later developed by Bernard M Bass. Bass proposed that transformational leaders succeed by gaining the trust, respect and admiration of their followers.

Bass saw four different elements working together to make up transformational leadership. These were

  • Intellectual stimulation – encouraging followers’ creativity and ingenuity
  • Support to each follower
  • The sharing of a clear and convincing vision and passion
  • The sharing of values

If you would like to read more you can find books by Burns and Bass at these links;

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason

Other  articles by Wendy