Partnering with many highly technical leaders throughout the years, I have come to understand the direct communication style. They get to the point quickly, using as few words as possible, with a purposeful tone. They exude an air of authority. This past week was no different. I presented a leadership program to a group of senior leaders who were experts in their technical abilities and very firm in the way they shared their insights. They commanded a stage-type presence with a “been there, done that” attitude. So walking into a room filled with these confident seasoned leaders seemed a bit daunting. Well sort of.
Labels were part of my upbringing. I say that because in my family each child was given a label to describe their abilities or personality. One of us was the baker and dramatic. One of us was pushy and a guitar player. One of us was an ice skater and not an academic. And crazy as it may seem, we lived up to those descriptions. They became us and we became them. It’s a very interesting phenomenon, that if we are told that we should behave or act in a certain way or that we are talented or not so capable, we tend to gravitate towards those depictions. We even create a narrative about who we… Continue reading | 11 Comments
Independence Day is upon us in the United States and many will celebrate with fireworks, social gatherings and plenty of barbecued food. It is a joyous time as we honor those who helped create a country of freedom and choice. Along with having the many opportunities, comes a great deal of responsibility and expectation. We need to be open to different points of view and be willing to hear all sides of an issue before declaring our stand. But what is most fascinating about this process is that once you actually behave this way, it becomes a way of life naturally.
During a recent short out- of- town adventure, my leadership antennae went into high gear. Going into any new local, I am usually very excited and pumped to learn and recharge my batteries. It is a great opportunity to take time to just think and dream and plan. This particular trip involved heavy rains, flooding and thunderstorms. They were relentless and I was at a “beachy” resort. To add to the frustration, nobody at the resort seemed particularly caring or concerned with the needs of their visitors. Except for one amazing maintenance man. A true leader.
When we initially arrived the conversation with an employee at the front desk sounded like this:
I have seen all shapes and types of leaders in my workshops. There is never a program I present that I don’t learn something new from a participant. But of all the qualities that contribute to strong and impactful leadership, the one that stands out and makes the greatest impression for me is kindheartedness.
What is kindheartedness?
A few definitions are:
- Having or showing a sympathetic nature
- Friendly or generous by nature
- Arising from a kind heart
- Sharing the feelings of others
All these descriptions point to a leader who brings caring and concern for others while helping them to grow their leadership knowledge and skills. I… Continue reading | 6 Comments