Five Francis-Catalyzed Leadership Reflections

Visiting a dear friend in Omaha recently, she shared something one of her Catholic priests mentioned to her, "He said that he was walking out of a restaurant one night, wearing his collar, and an apparently homeless woman stopped him and said, hey, I like your Pope." Once I got past the sense that this might have the makings of a great joke, and consternated about whether the priest had done something immediately to assist the woman (he didn't, at least according to the second-hand story), I realized that I was in radical agreement with the homeless woman:  I like Pope Francis' leadership thus far too. I'm not Catholic but I do recognize that popes are incredibly important global CEOs. Because how they lead matters to so many, it also matters to me. According to the Vatican, there are 1.2 Billion Catholics in the world today. In the U.S., 72.8 people self-identify as Catholics. His Holiness Pope Francis consistently speaks and acts as a leader. He’s called on Catholics (and us all) to battle the “globalization of indifference” and to be more compassionate, to champion the poor, and work to achieve social justice. Five Francis-Catalyzed Leadership Reflections 1. As CEOs, … [Read more...]

Lead With Kindness: You’ll Get Better Results

What happens when we put kindness at the center of our leadership? There's plenty of hard evidence that kind leaders get better results. Emma Seppala, Ph.D, a Research Scientist at Stanford University and the Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford University, details several studies in Being a Kind Boss Pays Off: A kind leader may actually be good for "followers" hearts. In fact, a study out of the Karolinska Institute conducted on over 3,000 employees found that a leader’s qualities were associated with incidence of heart disease in their employees. Employees feel greater trust with someone who is kind. Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy and her research partners have also shown that leaders who project warmth—even before establishing their competence—are more effective than those who lead with their toughness and skill. Why? One reason is trust. Employees are inspired by kindness. Jonathan Haidt at New York University Stern School of Business shows in his research that when leaders are self-sacrificing, their employees experience being moved and inspired. As a consequence, the employees feel more loyal and … [Read more...]

Gratitude Myth-Busting

It takes a lot of courage to be a strong and grateful woman. Myths swirl about both. Strong women are still perceived as difficult or angry, b*tches or worse. Being a kind and grateful women makes you a doormat, a Pollyanna, or just silly. After 15 years of research here's what Dr. Richard Emmons, the world's foremost authority on gratitude, says that shatters gratitude myths... 5 Gratitude Myths Busted Myth 1 - Gratitude leads to complacency. Busted: Being grateful doesn't make you lazy, it gives you a sense of purpose and desire to do more. Myth 2 - Gratitude makes us too self-effacing. Busted: From my observation, when women state they're grateful it is often perceived by others as weakness. Gratitude is actually associated with a greater sense of personal control over one’s success according to studies on this powerful trait. Myth 3 - Gratitude isn't possible -- or appropriate -- in the midst of suffering. Busted: Science suggests we can cultivate or maintain an attitude of gratitude through hard times, and that we’ll be better for it. Even when suffering intensely, keeping a gratitude journal is likely to lift your spirits and connectedness to others which … [Read more...]

Want to Change? Shake Up Your Perceptions

Conceptual artist Leandro Erlich's work is brilliant and tricky. Like an optical illusion, Erlich's work creates perceptions that fool our eyes and our minds. Above in Batiment, Erlich forces us to fill in the details of something we don’t quite understand with things that we believe we already know. That's the funny thing about perceptions. We blink and assume, we fill in gaps to quickly make sense of life. Why is it so darn hard to change? Because our perceptions are our reality. Your Perceptions are Your  Reality In the 18th century, philosopher Immanual Kant proposed that reality is not an ordered universe waiting to be perceived by the human mind. Instead, Kant theorized that the human mind takes the chaos out there and orders, frames, and structures it into the reality that we perceive. In short, “perception is reality.” As leadership guru Stephen R. Covey points out,“To change ourselves effectively, we first have to change our perceptions.” Let that sink in. To change ourselves, we have to change our perceptions first. This is BIG! This requires preparation. 5 Gentle Shake-Up-Your-Reality Tips To get those change-juices flowing, here are my favorite quotes … [Read more...]

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