'SNL' writer knew to make demands from a power position

After three years as head writer for Saturday Night Live, Adam McKay was ready to quit in 2000. But before leaving SNL, McKay took his agent’s advice and ap­­proached Lorne Michaels with a series of de­­mands he’d need fulfilled to stay put. Employing the "least-interest" principle worked for him beautifully.
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When it's time to take that promising applicant out to an interview lunch, try this: Give him or her two distinct but similarly priced choices of where to go. The usual response is a humble "Oh, either one is fine!" There's nothing wrong with that answer, but you might want to give a bonus point if they make a truly confident pick of one place over the other. This hints they're not afraid to go after even the little things in life they want, and not defer on them in the hope they'll get lucky.


Ask "Z"

Ask "Z"

Let those loose cannons fire ... if they can hit their targets

Q. One of my employees has a non-compliance problem. She almost always ignores my directives and does things her own way. Yet sometimes, her way turns out OK. It’s still unsettling to me when someone consistently fails to follow directions. Thoughts?

Leadership Library: Weekly Feature

Leadership Library: Weekly Feature

Interview with Patrick Walsh, CEO of AirSign

In this interview with EL Editor Morey Stettner, Walsh discusses every aspect of his skywriting business. Watch it now

Kevin Eikenberry

Remarkable Leadership with Kevin

Questions are Like Diamonds

Questions are like diamonds — they are extremely valuable and can be used in many different ways. While we mostly think of diamonds in jewelry, most people think of questions as a way to gain understanding or solve problems. But like diamonds, which have many industrial and other non-jewelry uses, questions have many other uses too. I want to use the remainder of the space I have here to talk about some uses we haven’t discussed much yet this month.

Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs

Gender balance yields better results

It’s time for a new discussion on women in leadership, says Avivah Wittenberg-Cox, who heads a gender consulting firm.

Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

Negotiation Coach

Hidden benefits of distrust

Q. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of developing trust in negotiation and experienced some of them myself. But in my negotiations, I find myself struggling with the question of how trusting to be. Should I always aim to be as trusting as possible?

Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

Ask the Workplace Coach

Get over 'impostor syndrome' with a little method acting

Q: “I was recently promoted to manage a group of people who used to be my peers. Even though I was the team lead for a year, I’m finding it hard to supervise my former co-workers. As their manager, I feel that I am not being authoritative enough. How should I handle this?” Novice Boss

How to offer 'feeling feedback'

Oct. 24, 2014

In fielding highly charged emotional statements, your first goal is understanding and clarification. Your second is conveying that you care.

Speed and deftness matter in a crisis

Oct. 23, 2014

Sony once demonstrated the wrong way to handle a crisis.

A look at the Yankees' key closer

Oct. 22, 2014

As leaders in most any line of work will tell you, becoming a leader is mainly about what’s in your head, not in your physical prowess or material advantages. Mariano Rivera is a good example.

Steer clear of 4 costly pitfalls

Oct. 21, 2014

Would-be leaders can limit their effectiveness by clinging to self-defeating actions and attitudes. In your rush to succeed, it’s easy to overreach and alienate potential allies. Avoid these four common traps to strengthen your ability to lead over the long term.