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, […]

Leadership and lust (for books)

Leadership and lust (for books)

One of my favorite winter traditions involves two or three days in a hotel room on the blustery Washington coast. Off-season rates, a fireplace. A stack of books along with a well-stocked e-reader. A slow-paced rhythm: Read. Nap. Ponder. Snack. Read. Take notes. Nap. Rinse and repeat. As an avid reader and a voracious skimmer, I’m always sharing book recommendations, and there are a handful that I pass out like […]

Struggling with paradox: Holiday musings

Struggling with paradox: Holiday musings

In this season of gratitude and celebration, I’m finding myself grateful and confused. Horrified and hopeful. I am heartbroken and numb from the recurring violence that is happening domestically and globally. At the same time, I’m inspired by the activists, artists, and regular folks—locally and around the world—who are committed to equity, healing, and a vision of a more just and humane future. I am inspired by programs like Youth Speaks […]

Leadership musings: Paths to deeper self-awareness

Leadership musings: Paths to deeper self-awareness

OK. You’re interested in developing deeper self-awareness. You’ve read the studies; you have an inkling that there’s room for you to strengthen this crucial leadership capacity. What are the options? The irony of self-awareness is that it relies on deep self-inquiry, AND it can’t really happen—not completely, anyway—in a vacuum. Self-awareness is greatly amplified by working within a group, whether it’s an existing team, a cross-section of colleagues from across […]

Leadership and self-awareness: What makes you tick

Leadership and self-awareness: What makes you tick

A study conducted at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations looked at the leadership styles, backgrounds, and track records of senior executives from a range of companies. The researchers found that a high self-awareness score was the single best predictor of overall success. Another study by the Korn/Ferry Institute looked at the cost of low self-awareness, noting that poorly performing companies’ employees had 20% more blind spots (gaps […]

Developing Leadership: overcoming isolation, amplifying strengths

Developing Leadership: overcoming isolation, amplifying strengths

I’m working with my dear colleague Lauren Burton to launch Gauge Leadership Lab in Seattle and London this fall, and we’ve been spending a lot of time talking about the WHY. Why we’re doing this work, why it matters, and what happens when people embark on a collaborative learning process. Creating a space for leaders to reflect, connect, and learn Here’s what I know: Leadership can be fulfilling AND frustrating, […]