Working with a Bad Listener

Working with a Bad Listener

Before you give up on the bad listener on your team (which, of course, might be your boss… or, um… you?!), have you considered what you could do to improve communications? This article by Rebecca Knight offers some great tips and reminders, along with two brief case studies that illustrate some practical strategies. Like so many things, we don’t get to control the outcome of a conversation. But we do […]

I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool: Part 2

I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool: Part 2

Practices to strengthen your capacity to navigate conflict In my last post, I wrote about the challenges of navigating conflict, especially where people have long-standing reasons for distrust and disagreement. I outlined three ideas for strengthening your capacity to navigate complex challenges by: (1) reframing collaboration, (2) deepening your self-awareness, and (3) refining how you listen and communicate [ii]. Continuing the conversation, this is focused on practices that can help […]

I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool [i]

I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool [i]

Thoughts on strengthening your capacity to navigate conflict (while also seeing each other as human) In Collaborating with the Enemy, author and facilitator Adam Kahane shares a meaningful anecdote about the challenges of navigating conflict, especially where people have long-standing reasons for distrust and disagreement. In the early 1990’s, as South Africa started negotiating a transition from apartheid toward democracy, one of Kahane’s South African colleagues shared an idea that […]

5 myths that perpetuate burnout in nonprofit organizations

5 myths that perpetuate burnout in nonprofit organizations

Some interesting nuggets about burnout in this article by Anne-Sophie Morrissette. These myths reflect a couple of patterns that sometimes show up among my coaching clients and client organizations. I’m particularly struck by Myth #5 about the influence of nonprofit leaders on organizational culture: “Nonprofit leaders can underestimate and underplay the influence they have on junior staff. Whether it’s never taking a sick day or dashing off emails at 10pm, […]

The highest performing teams have ‘psychological safety’

The highest performing teams have ‘psychological safety’

Google’s two-year study on team performance revealed that “The highest performing teams have one thing in common: psychological safety, the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake.” Psychological safety isn’t about coddling, it’s about creating the conditions for people to engage effectively in analytical reasoning, creative problem-solving, and open-minded collaboration. Many workplaces default to blaming and defensiveness rather than thoughtful analysis and solution-oriented curiosity. How’s the […]

Questioning and defining leadership

Questioning and defining leadership

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what leadership means, and why it matters. In the context of current events, an idea that I picked up from the Jesuits strikes a chord: loosely, ‘we are all leaders, leading all the time, either poorly or well’. If that’s true, what does that mean for how we show up: in the public sphere and in our private lives? What’s the impact we’re having within […]

Leadership, lizards, and a joyful invitation

Leadership, lizards, and a joyful invitation

This is a different kind of post. I love my work. I love the in-the-room, eye-to-eye, light-bulbs-going-on, courage-wings-flapping part of facilitating programs for leaders, entrepreneurs, and instigators. I get to bring together, challenge, and support AMAZING people who are committed to some big ideas in the world. Together, we create an experience that fosters authentic connections, deep learning, heightened clarity, and inspired action. I am so lucky that I get to do this work. I […]

Leadership and fear, part 2: Squeaky voices and lessons learned

Leadership and fear, part 2: Squeaky voices and lessons learned

Last time, I wrote about flapping my little courage wings: taking a vocal workshop in spite of my longstanding fear of singing in public. My rational mind knows that there’s no actual danger here. I won’t break a limb, and it’s not likely that the other kids (fully-formed, polite, Northwestern adults) will openly mock me.  At the very worst, I’ll feel embarrassed by my rusty, awkward voice, and I might […]

Leadership and fear, part 1: Scaring myself on purpose

Leadership and fear, part 1: Scaring myself on purpose

A couple of weeks ago, I flapped my little courage wings and signed up for a vocal workshop. When I mentioned this to my consulting partner, he raised an eyebrow, shook his head, and laughed. He is perplexed and slightly stunned that I would CHOOSE to spend a free Sunday afternoon with strangers, doing something that terrifies me. And at the same time, he knows that this is the kind […]

Looking back, looking ahead: Reflecting on the New Year

Looking back, looking ahead: Reflecting on the New Year

Whatever your profession or family situation, this time of year can slip into a mindless flurry of activity: from budget revisions to year-end sales quotas, vacation planning to holiday entertaining, student performances to final exams, or just dodging the frantic pressure to be jolly. In the midst of all this, I invite you to give yourself the gift of a quiet hour or two to reflect on the past year, […]