Protect the Value, Not the Class

3employer"Gloria" is young, fresh out of a prestigious MBA program, and full of enthusiasm. She is smart as a whip, with a mind that is quick to grasp the basics, and makes leaps of innovation. She has met or exceeded every expectation so far.

The first in her family to graduate college, she is the descendent of a slave from Georgia and a Cherokee native, whose mother died on the Trail of Tears. Her grandparents marched with Dr. King and her parents founded the Black Chamber of Commerce in your city.

You've heard Gloria might be gay. If it turns out she has any special needs, that would make her a member of almost every protected class you can think of. 

Today, she told you she wants you to mentor her.

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Leader of the Pack

dogs 1231010 640If you're my age, this article's title invokes a song from the 1960s about the leader of a motorcycle gang. Today, I'm writing about a different kind of pack. 

For those already in leadership positions, and those who aspire to leadership, I offer you lessons from the dog pack.

Sometimes, we humans think we're all that. However, in our interpersonal dynamics, we are not as far removed as we'd like to think, from the patterns found in a dog pack. In the deepest parts of our brains, we humans are still, fundamentally, pack animals. Knowing that, I invite current and aspiring organizational leaders to reflect upon these...

Lessons from the Dog Pack

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Empathy Template

brain activity“How you behave and the strength of your character [are] just as important, if not more so, [as] making your numbers." ~~Sandra Peterson, Group Worldwide Chair, Johnson & Johnson

Resilience and empathy are the most important skills for leaders in today’s 24/7 digital world, according to Peterson. So, can a highly-productive employee who lacks empathy ever learn to surf the interpersonal waves of a workplace? If a team member lacks the empathy and resilience that is usually hard-wired into our brains between birth and seven years of age, is it always too late?

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Empathy. That Word Does Not Mean...

skeletal 601213 640...what you think it does. 

I've been reading articles lately about empathy in the workplace, so I'm offering my kaleidoscope lens on this topic. Empathy is not really about being kind and generous to people, or trying to consider their feelings when communicating with or making decisions about them.

Empathy is rooted in narcissism. Well, one, particular "developmental narcissism," might be a more accurate way to describe egocentrism.

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The Edges of Leadership's Light

dark lightbulbWhen a team appears to be stumbling in darkness, there may, yes, be too little leadership illumination. Or there may be too much.... It is also possible for a team to be blinded by the light of its leader. 

As we approach the second full moon of March -- and the second "blue moon" of 2018 -- let us consider the moon's "light" as a metaphor for leadership boundaries.

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Passion is a Point of View

freedom mountaintopThe Daily Rundown on LinkedIn today (Saturday, June 30, 2018) had a bit about seeing our passions as works in progress. According to some research from Stanford and Yale-NUS College in Singapore, pursuit of a "passion as a singular thing that's waiting to be discovered" can limit our motivation to explore interests not previously considered.

The suggested remedy was to shift from a fixed focus on "my passion" as one thing, to the perspecitve that my passions are a work in progress.

Well, with all due respect to the institutions of Stanford and Yale, here's what I think about that.

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Wiring for Leadership

graduatesAre #leaders born or made? Jack and Suzy Welch say some #leadershiptraits are "pretty hard-wired."

Yes, indeed, they are, but not before birth, says this child develoment expert. Surprised?

Leadership #softskills are hard wired from birth to seven, mostly by parents and child care teachers who have no idea that they're doing it. And if that doesn't worry you--and a lot--about your future workforce, then you may need a reality check outside your own bubble, my friend. 

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IN-NO-Vater to Innovator

follow crowdOh! For the innovators! How I dreamed, in every management position I ever held, for those who would innovate.

I cannot abide "yes men" and "yes women." I loathe the kisser-uppers, the flatterers, the ones who tell me my ideas are brilliant. Yeah. I know that. We can assume that the value of my ideas has been established by the fact that I got this job. Let's talk about your ideas now.

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The "5-A-Week Compromise Diet"

healthy 1607692 640Do you agree that "...the hallmark of a civil debate is when you can acknowledge that which is good in the position of the person[s] you disagree with."?

~Frances Kissling, quoted in Becoming Wise. An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, by Krista Tippett.

As a developmental psychologist, I can tell you that this capacity--to acknowlege the value of a perspective that is not my own--is also one of the requirements of compromise.

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Dr. L. Carol Scott.

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