Leader, Who Helps You Doubt Well?

What an intriguing question! It's not mine. It comes from a short article in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Four Key Questions for CEO's." But it applies equally well for managers who lead at all levels of their organization. If you are taking your unit anywhere that is challenging you must come to terms with the twin postures of confidence and uncertainty. Both are part of your world. And the more you push the envelop, the more you bring about change, the more exposed you become to your … [Read more...]

Toxic Mix = Bully Boss

Certain chemicals are inert and harmless standing alone but, when combined, they combust into toxic fumes, or worse. This, apparently, is what frequently happens when a boss becomes a bully.   A series of studies reported last year in the academic journal, Psychological Science, found that bosses who abuse employees tend to be the result of two factors: Being in a position of power over others Feelings of incompetence and self-doubts of their ability It takes both of these to … [Read more...]

Make it Safe to Take the Risk

In a recent workshop I ran on Interaction Styles. I had the group working collectively at a case problem to solve. There was a lot of information and idea sharing and a lot of cross-talk, some of it in sub-groups around the table. At times it became rather chaotic and the effectiveness of the group's process dipped. Nevertheless, they persevered and managed to complete it accurately just as allotted time expired. During the facilitated debrief discussion an interesting issue emerged. One … [Read more...]

Archetypes, Blind Spots and Court Jesters

Movies, plays and stories from the middle ages often include a character called the "jester." He was the only one at the royal court who could speak the truth about the king and the court without having his body and head moved to mutually exclusive locations.   A few years back my colleague Dave Riveness wrote a nifty little book called The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester. In it he draws an intriguing parallel between the need kings of olden days had for a jester and the need … [Read more...]