Ah, Learning on Cape Cod…with the Afternoons Off!


For years I have been receiving brochures about the summer program offered by the (Cape Cod Institute). Their Monday-Friday programs run from mid June to the end of August…on Cape Cod, of course. The courses are predominantly for clinically trained folks like therapists, counsellors, and other mental health professionals. But each year they offer a smattering of courses for HR & OD professionals.

And here’s the best part–talk about a cool learning model–you go for only a half day! 9:00 AM to 12:15 of intensive, engaging professional development! Then you have the rest of the day and evening free to play!

I saw an interesting course on Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis, a noted author and professor of Organizational Behavior and Cognitive Science at Case Western. So, I registered and Linda and I had our first Cape Cod vacation (she got to play the whole day).

The course centered on “resonant” leaders, those who drive for results and do so by demonstrating emotional intelligence plus:

  • inspiring people to tap into their energy and passion in aid of the common objective
  • creating an overall atmosphere of positivity and hope
  • compassion (genuinely caring about others, their well-being, and their success)
  • staying in emotional connection with others (i.e. at a deeper human level)
  • being authentic and mindful–in tune with themselves, others, and the environment

The opposite of resonance is “dissonance.” Now, most bosses create anywhere from a little dissonance to a lot in the environments they lead. But Boyatzis’ research has recently focused on the best managers, those who demonstrate a resonant leadership style.

What he discovered is that, given the daily stress and heavy responsibility of leading and influencing in a world of uncertainty and complexity, even the best, most resonant, leaders slip gradually into a dissonant approach. People around them pick up the negativity and blaming until, if not checked, the leader’s dissonance begins to permeate the entire organization.

Studies reveal the antidote to this downward spiral: a combination of mindfulness (awareness), hope (envisioning a believable, attainable future), and compassion (understanding others needs and acting on them). Keep in mind that this is not soft, feel-good stuff. It is all backed by hard data and brain research. Increasingly we are uncovering solid scientific reasons to lead in a modern, enlightened way.


Changing On The Job by Jennifer Garvey Berger What I’m Reading

Resonant Leadership by Richard Boyatzis & Annie McKeeNo surprise, if you just read my update. Though published back in 2005, it is providing me with a thorough overview of what they and their colleagues have discovered about effective leaders. I plan also to tackle a number of Boyatzis’ subsequent papers reflecting studies conducted since the book was published. There are significant connections in their material to what happens in the brains of both resonant leaders and the people who experience their resonance. Ditto for dissonance.