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Dan Rockwell is author of the popular Leadership Freak Blog. Follow Dan on Twitter at @leadershipfreak or email him at dan@leadershipfreak.com.

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Dan Rockwell


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12 years 2 months

Articles by Dan Rockwell


Overcommitment is sprinting into oblivion with your hair on fire.

Self-management is less about getting stuff done and more about your relationship with time.

Effect of overcommitment:

You can’t enjoy leading with a gaggle of tasks honking for attention. Relief is the fullest expression of joy for overcommitted leaders.

Overbooked leaders are riddled with mediocrity.

June 9, 2021



The things I regret in life are mostly associated with anger.

Do want:

No one complains, “I’m furious. This steak is cooked perfectly.”

Anger is useful when it looks beyond ‘don’t like’ to ‘do want’.

Anger is harmful when it festers into blame, inaction, and bitterness.

Anger reflection:

April 20, 2021


Doing the right thing doesn’t erase saying something stupid.

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds…” Frank Outlaw, late president of Bi-Lo

Words are hinges between thought and action.

Accountable for:

Stupid words return with misery on a leash.

March 18, 2021


Dear Dan,

I wonder how best to write a resignation letter. I’m in my late twenties and I’ve found a new position.

I’ve been woefully underpaid and unappreciated. I’m wondering about explaining the reasons for my departure. I’d like to give them some feedback on the way I’ve been treated.

Thankful to leave,

Out the Door

February 8, 2021



A problem to you is a solution to someone else.

Friction and conflict are advantages when they inspire learning, growth, or innovation.

You might believe bureaucracy is a problem. But in top-down organizations bureaucracy is a solution. Rules and procedures prevent deviation and congeal power.

5 real problems for leaders:

#1. Blaming.

January 4, 2021


You’re not as interesting as you think.

If you’re long-winded, the people around you wish you were short-winded.

Talk less. Succeed more.

5 Reasons people talk too much:

December 1, 2020



Forty-seven percent of workers are thinking about quitting right now.

Why expend time and resources serving people if they’re going to move on in four years?

1. Turnover stings

The only time turnover doesn’t sting is when you’re glad to see them go.

The people on your team today won’t likely be on your team in the future.

November 3, 2020


15 Sources of stress for leaders:

June 18, 2020

Empathy is a platform for relationship, not encouragement to wallow in slime pits.

Solid relationships strengthen people.

Strong people perform better than weak.

January 16, 2020



#1. If you want to change people, change what they believe about themselves.

If people believe in you, encourage them to believe in themselves.

January 27, 2018

4 principles of energy:

#1. People have energy. Lousy organizations drain it.

#2. Energy flows toward meaningful action. When people lose energy they’re doing things that aren’t fulfilling.

#3. Energy increases with clarity and forward movement. Sustained confusion drains.

#4. Leaders impact energy. Successful leaders protect, nurture, and ignite energy inside others. Foolish leaders suck the life out of people.

January 5, 2018


Listening like a leader enables you to make the world about others.
"An outward mindset precedes leadership."

Get Started:

Take out a pen and paper. Write your responses to the questions that follow.

Writing is thinking.

September 15, 2017



I asked a team of internal coaches, “What advice would you give aspiring coaches?” These are people who navigate traditional job responsibilities and coach employees as well.

I’ve been working with some of the team for a little over a year. Others have been part of the process for about six months. Many have been internal coaches for several years.

I asked them to reflect on their whole coaching experience and offer advice to internal coaches.

December 30, 2016

Dad died June 25, 2012. This morning, I miss him.

Dad was a dairy farmer from Maine. He didn’t need applause for taking care of his wife and children. He humbly got the job done, day after day.

April 9, 2015

“Act like you own the place,” is a silly slogan when people are treated like expendable cogs in machines.

Hypocritical leaders expect people to act like owners while being treated like employees. Everyone knows its sleazy manipulation.

Employees don’t take ownership when they are treated like employees.

Central concern:

Owners run the place.

July 29, 2014

Quiet, slow-movers frustrate talkative, quick movers.

Those who think, speak, and commit quickly, often believe they’re superior to leaders who need time.

One of the worst things leaders do is over-value people who are like them.

Big mouths aren’t better than small and quick isn’t better than slow.

In praise of quiet and slow:

June 18, 2014

Poorly run meetings start in the wrong place and end up rushed before they’re done.

Right place: Leave inconsequential items for the end. Deal with big items at the beginning. I’m tempted to check off a few quick agenda items before digging into the meat of meetings. It’s seductive but ineffective and inefficient.

Don’t prioritize insignificant agenda items by placing them first.

July 17, 2012

10 dangers of inexperienced leaders:

April 18, 2012

Here’s how:

1. Stop fixing.

If your passion for excellence and success drives you to constantly fix people, stop it. Problem centered fixers invite self-protective restraint in others.

2. Compassion wins.

The pursuit of personal gain and glory doesn’t inspire; it threatens. Inspiration occurs when others believe you genuinely put them before yourself.

3. Share frailties.

March 19, 2012