Puppies and Leadership? Seriously?

Who would have thought that raising newborn puppies would be a leadership exercise? Lucky and Ducky (Ducky shown here), were abandoned at birth and left in the cold for 48 hours before being discovered by the folks at the SEMO Humane Society. The volunteer base went into high gear and the litter of eight were distributed overnight until permanent foster homes could be found. By day 4 of their young lives, these 8 pups endured unspeakable conditions. No food, no warmth, no mother…just a wet box with an old towel in it.

When Lucky and Ducky came into my care at day 4 of their lives, I was warned that they may not live. Vulnerable and compromised, these little angels were tucked into my life and are my mission for the next 8 weeks. It is a humbling responsibility

Four hour feedings, working to keep their elimination systems functioning, keeping them warm, clean and comfortable has been my sole focus for the last week. I have never experienced anything more rewarding. I remember shedding a tear the first time the puppies took a bottle and whimpered as the formula hit their empty tummies and growled in response.

I was angry, sad, hopeful, fearful, challenged and determined. These are the feelings that drive any good leader when each emotion is embraced for their positive aspects. Out of the grieving for the compromised conditions of these puppies, came the joy to see them achieve their potential and thrive. Isn’t that the job of every leader to make sure that the team s/he serves thrives?

Shouldn’t we look at a team as a group of persons that we can build into a collective consciousness which can overcome not only obstacles placed before them, but achieve mutual goals? As leaders, we worry about our team members because we want them to succeed. We should cherish the accomplishments and suffer the setbacks together, so that when we meet our mutual goals, we do so in the spirit of camaraderie and respect.

Too often personal agendas can muddy the waters of accomplishment and good team members are lost to other positions or careers. As leaders of a team, it is our responsibility to put our personal agendas aside for the good of our team members, colleagues and mission. Maybe that’s unrealistic, as I’ve recently accepted that all Disney stories are fairy tales, but leadership doesn’t have to be. If you want to be treated well, then treat others well. If you want respect, then respect others. Not everyone will be nice to you or have your best interestes at heart, but as long as you keep centered and do what you can to help others, you will help yourself.

Lucky and Ducky have taught me that there is something much more important than mundane life. They have taught me that helping someone else is a thousand times more important than any petty worries I may have.

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New Year 2020…wtf

Well, here we are again. I know it’s been a while, but life gets in the way. Why should it? What does it achieve besides sleepless nights, weight gain, health issues…pick a problem. The last year has really been one of discovery and reality for me. It’s like I have woken from a dream, wondering where the hell I am.

I recently got serious about my weight. For years I resented being admired for my slim curves and resented it, bitterly. I wanted someone to love me, not my body. Now I have been overweight, oh hell, obese for 20 years, I resent that I can’t get anyone to look at me. What did I expect?

I’ll tell you what…I expected Disney to be right. I expected that someone would fall in love with me because I am an awesome person. We are hard wired to believe that Prince Charming, fame, wealth and security are available by  being in the right place at the right time. That’s simply bullshit. Any chance of happiness for a woman depends solely upon the ability to maintain long hair and as ass as narrow as your mind.

So I have started my adventure with a new sense of purpose. I needed to find a focus that meant something to me. Here’s what I have come up with.

  1. I am apologetically Democrat.
  2. Families need help learning to eat healthy on $50 a week
  3. Cooking/baking is my life’s passion and I am ready to do the work to make it my vocation.
  4. Disney was wrong. Women should be appreciated for who they are and not what they look like.
  5. Bullying in any and all forms is not acceptable, that means political bullying as well as all other forms.

So, if you have a mind, you are welcome to come along on this journey with me. I’m not sure where we will wind up, but I’m sure we’ll have fun getting there.

Back in the saddle…again

Hi all….I know, it’s been a while. It’s been kind of a whirlwind. A new city, a new job, surviving the candidacy process on my journey toward a Ph.D., getting to love on my grandkids…its been CRAZY! However, life is beginning to settle into a nice routine and it’s time to get some energy pushed out into the universe. Thanks for your patience during my absence. I have enjoyed all the “fan mail” and your words of encouragement. I appreciate you.

As I gear up again, there are lots of things to talk about, but as always, I’ll attempt to make you smile. Thanks for hanging in there with me. I’m baaack!!!!


A title does not automatically make you a leader

What makes a leader? You make decisions that impact the lives of your family, your employees and your community every day. Whether you own a business or are an employee, it is important to remember that leadership doesn’t always comes with a formal title; sometimes you simply lead from where you stand. A leader isn’t measured by how much they make or how many people they manage, a leader is defined by the impact they have on those closest to them. Look at the people around you who depend on you for guidance. Who do you look to for leadership and guidance? As a business owner or employee, you help make a community strong. Take ownership of that responsibility and recognize the value of your leadership presence every day. Being a great leader means making the most of the leadership equation both as a giver and a receiver.


Connie Hanner

Leadership WTF: 10 Signs of a Bad Boss

First, leadership is a myth. Like Cinderella, we desperately hope for a knight or princess to sweep us off our feet and take us away to live in a magical castle and live happily ever after  BWAHHAHAHHA!

Leadership is like love. We wish for a perfect match, but realize too late that the warts are still on the damn frog. If there is one thing I have learned about leadership in my journey toward a PhD in the discipline (can you really refer to a fairy tale as a discipline? $175,000 in crippling student debt can’t be wrong) is that leadership is a wispy, shadowy thing that is fleeting at best and maddening at its worst.

So where does that leave us? Reality, baby. There are bad bosses and (wait for it), bad employees. I’m picking on the bad bosses first because it’s my blog and I can. Have no fear boss lady/man, I’ll get to crummy employees next.

10 signs that your boss sucks:

  1. You cry at work.
  2. You cry at home, about work.
  3. You go to bed at night and wake up in the morning, wondering if you will have a job the next day.
  4. The sound of his/her voice calling your name sends a chill down your spine.
  5. You watch, “The Devil Wears Prada” and wish you had a boss that understanding.
  6. You walk wear 4 insoles to prevent crushing the eggs that you tread daily.
  7. You keep relevant clipping of Dilbert comic strips at your desk and your boss doesn’t think they are funny.
  8. Your boss ignores you or torments you; both are equally frustrating.
  9. You have to buy groceries with a credit card and your boss just went to Jamaica after receiving his/her company bonus.
  10. You dodge staff meetings based on the tempest generated by your boss’s temper, mood or general attitude.

So what do you do about it?  There is no easy answer (sorry), but I can give you some very practical tips on how to avoid choking the dizzy bastard until one of two things happens; a. you learn to manage it  or b. you find a different job. Either way works for me, but at the end of the day, it’s important to remember that it’s a friggin’ job and no amount of sugar will enhance the taste of a piece of crap. So strap in kiddies, this isn’t a fairy tale, not even sure if I can provide any advice that is useful, but it may make you smile instead of tripping your boss on the way to her/his 3 hour power lunch.




365 Days of Leadership: Cancer Survivors Day

June 7th is Cancer Survivor Day. It is ironic that my return to the blog comes on this day. I apologize for my absence, as I have been addressing serious health issues among my family members and the news that a former classmate is nearing the end of her journey to this horrific monster. The courage to face such a demon is unfathomable to the uninitiated.

The leadership lesson is in the resilience of the human spirit which allows one to stand and face the beast on trembling legs but with a strong gaze firmly set on winning. It is a fight against ones own body to save ones own life. When the battle is won, it is a victory that only others who have survived can understand. For those who do not have this unique understanding, we stand beside you and join the work needed to eradicate this horrible disease from the face of the earth.

God continue to bless all survivors.



Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: Golf Day

May 14 is Golf Day. Wow, where to begin. First, I love the game of golf. I play it (poorly), I have been to the Master’s Tournament in Augusta and I have played in Scotland. It is a great social opportunity which has maintained its prominence as a game of skill, sport, chance and frustration. The thing I love about golf is that it is humbling. I don’t care who you are, or what skill level you have, there is always the opportunity for the shot of a lifetime which raises you to instant stardom and the duffer shot which you wish your best friend hadn’t been around to see. The beauty of golf is that you can achieve both the heights of success and the depths of defeat on the same 18 hole round!

Leadership is like golf. There are good rounds and bad rounds. Even the best leaders have an off day. The only way one gets better at leadership is to be around better leaders. Unfortunately, bad leaders like to surround themselves with others who support their bad management style. Nothing will replace a bad manager, unless you are lucky enough to have a complete turnaround in upper management which identifies these managers and begins to replace them.

The good news is that management in general is changing. Bad management and bad managers are exiting the system as Baby Boomers age and Millennials begin to fill these positions. Now is the time to start thinking about what kind of manager you want to be and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who will help you develop into a better manager and a better team member. Those who are willing to work successfully with multi-generational workforces and embrace the change which comes with it will survive. Remember, the employee you mistreat today may be the manager who is in charge of your department in a few years. Perhaps the time to start planning for success begins today. You can shape how you want to be treated tomorrow by learning how to be a better manager today.



Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: Receptionists Day

May 13 is Receptionists Day. This day is designed to help recognize the value of the person who embodies the image of your organization. The old saying goes that you only get one chance to make a good impression. Nothing could be truer when it comes to an organization’s receptionist. This person is the first contact for your customers, employees, vendors, upper management and general public. The way in which a customer is greeted by the receptionist sets the tone for the entire relationship building experience.

In this sense, your receptionist holds the top leadership role in your organization. If the receptionist is unable or unwilling to carry the burden of representing your company in the best possible way, then it’s time for a new receptionist. Pay them well, make them ambassadors of the organization, invest in their training and their comportment. Make that first impression a good one, use your reception staff as a means to pave the way for others in the organization to be successful. They are the front doors to your profitability, treat them as an asset and they will become one.



Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.

365 Days of Leadership: International Nurses Day

May 12 is International Nurses Day, the day that we acknowledge the heroes of the medical profession. Nurses are the tireless workers who administrate the overall health strategy of patient care. Nurses make the sick well, because they manage the process of bringing a person from a state of illness to a state of health.

Leadership is like nursing in that it is a process. The overall strategy may come from a variety of places but ultimately the leader must facilitate moving the organization from its current state to the new paradigm. While leadership isn’t as compelling as managing the health and well being of other persons, it should be seen as a process. Appreciate your nurses and appreciate your leaders, both are needed to restore a sense of health and balance.



Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.


365 Days of Leadership: Twilight Zone Day

May 11 is Twilight Zone Day. The TV series created by Rod Serling was cutting edge in its time. Controversial and outside the box, the Twilight Zone brought theatre of the mind into our homes and brought with it a twisted sense of reality that radio could not produce.

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

How many times have you wondered if you were working in the Twilight Zone? Remember the times in the ladies bathroom, sharing the juicy office politics of the moments and wondering if Rod Serling was going to come out of one of the stalls? We have all been there. If you are naïve enough to think it doesn’t happen at your business, then get ready for your own Rod Sterling moment. Office cultures (while we LOVE to refer to them as teams) are a collaboration of people thrown together by an unrelated set of skills and unrelated by blood, who are forced to try to get along and get some work done. At its best, teamwork is a fine thing to talk about in the quarterly report, but it happens very seldom.

Teamwork takes time and you can achieve it, but not without managing your staff in the fashion which suits them best. If you have a staff who is comfortable with being directed in their daily work, then offering them an opportunity to work autonomously may seem disconcerting. Conversely, a group of individualist thinkers will balk at an autocratic hierarchical structure. Knowing what type of leader you are, and knowing what type of leadership your employees need is of the utmost important to your success.

Do some research on leadership styles and find out what type of leader you are, then find a group of like minded folks who are happy with that leadership style. If you are lucky enough to craft a team of your own… even better. Finding out what your employees need is part of being a leader and providing an environment which brings out the best of them is what defines an authentic leader. Yes, it’s work but so rewarding for you and your staff. “To Serve Man” might turn out to be a cookbook in Rod Serling’s world but as a leader, to serve is the basis of authenticity and success when managing staff.



Connie Hanner is a PhD student in non-profit organizational leadership and a veteran of both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Visit her website at http://www.conniehanner.com. Find her on Face Book, Linked In and follow her on Twitter.