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, […]

Leadership musings: What it is and why it matters

Leadership musings: What it is and why it matters

At a time when the world is thinking a lot about leadership and often noting its absence, here are some thoughts on what makes a leader. First, to clarify: A leader isn’t just somebody with a snazzy title or a lofty position. In fact, it’s entirely possible for a CEO to be ineffectual, tyrannical, or just plain bad. It’s also entirely possible for a compassionate, insightful receptionist to inspire others to new […]

Common patterns of bad decision-making

Interesting stuff about common patterns of bad decision-making. 20 Common Ways We Make Bad Decisions

A three-part tool for dealing with conflict on your team

A three-part tool for dealing with conflict on your team

Last week I told a story about the power of embracing criticism. Building on that idea, let’s explore how to embrace different kinds of criticism and conflict on your team. You know the scenario: You’re having a team meeting, and someone is proposing a new idea. Before they get three sentences in, somebody else attacks or dismisses the idea. Suddenly, people are more focused on staking positions and forming allegiances, […]

Conflict in action: A story about embracing criticism

Conflict in action: A story about embracing criticism

We’ve been thinking about courageous ways to deal with conflict. What does this look like in practice? What can you do when you’re confronted with someone who opposes your vision, your ideas, or your plan? Let’s take a look at the pretty common scenario of facing opposition in a group setting. Karen Kimsey-House is one of my great teachers and co-founder of the Coaches Training Institute (CTI). Karen tells the […]

Breaking the Cycle of Defensiveness and Blame

Breaking the Cycle of Defensiveness and Blame

Last week I wrote about what happens when we face conflict and we stop seeing each other as people. We stop seeing that our opponents have strengths, flaws, needs, and aspirations — just as we do. Instead, we reduce each other to less than human. These strategies may make us feel better. But any relief we feel is just temporary. And we’re not working toward resolving the conflict. The authors […]