A close friend of mine relayed an experience to me this week that serves as a great example of Living the MBTI. She works as an independent contractor providing therapy services to assisted living facilities. I’ll let her tell the story: Continue reading
When I launched this site about a month ago I titled it simply “Joe’s Blog.” As traffic starts to flow to the site I’ve quickly determined that the title needs to tell visitors something more specific about what they’ll find here. And in this age of sharing and “going viral” that first line of a shared resource often includes the site title. “Joe’s Blog” wasn’t cutting it. Continue reading
As I detailed in this post, leadership is not simply a set of skills. There is an inherent belief system that strong leaders have about their function and purpose. So how do individual contributors in organizations across the globe that are not in formal leadership roles begin to develop that belief system and practice their leadership “skills?” Here are 5 things you can begin doing today that lay the groundwork for effective leadership: Continue reading
This article caught my eye this week. The author examines many of the job roles that will experience growth in the coming years and argues that the in-demand skill common among them is empathy.
I agree with his premise- that “people skills” are as in demand as ever, across a multitude of professions. However I think he paints with too broad a brush when it comes to what empathy actually is. Empathy is the capacity to recognize the emotions experienced by another person. Truly there is only one way to demonstrate empathy- you have to give voice to it. To effectively demonstrate empathy to another person- that you recognize they are experiencing xyz emotion(s)- it has to be acknowledged through comment: “If that happened to me Mr. Jones, I’d be frustrated too.” or “It’s okay to feel overwhelmed or scared.” That’s not to say that body language, non-verbals, or physical gestures of compassion don’t, in their own way, convey some level of empathy. But they all assume that the receiver, your customer, will both recognize and experience those behaviors that way. And that’s not always the case. Continue reading
I’ve done a variety of seminars, workshops, keynotes, and programs on leadership through the years. In almost every case I’m asked initially to teach “leadership skills.” This terminology has always felt hollow to me, as leadership is so obviously much more than a set of specific skills to develop. From my perspective leadership starts with a philosophy…an understanding…a belief system.
Having worked with physicians, college students, service workers, operations personnel, IT professionals, and many other disciplines over the years I’ve spent countless hours facilitating exploratory conversations on what it means to become a more effective/successful/confident/capable/insert-adjective-here leader. The resulting dialogue almost always focuses on a set of intangible characteristics that are challenging to measure. Approachable. Decisive. Motivator. Knowledgable. Advocate. It turns out that these aren’t skills at all…they’re ways employees experience their leaders. Inherent in these qualities is a commitment to connecting with others, developing relationships, being genuinely invested in and concerned with the success of others. And more often than not that commitment, that belief system, is notably present in the soul of any successful leader. Continue reading
(This post references personality type as discussed via the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. For an overview of the MBTI go here.)
Earlier this week my wife and I were discussing the desire each of us has to drop a couple of pounds. (I suppose that happens to most people when they’re smack in the middle of bathing suit season.) We began talking about ways to incorporate more exercise into our lives to help us meet our goals.
As an INTJ I wanted to make a plan and apply structure to my process. And since I had been thinking about this for a while (via reflection in my head of course) I was able to quickly state my plans. “I need to mix cardio and strength training.” I said. “I’ll do cardio on Tuesdays and Thursdays and strength training on Wednesdays and a weekend day.”
Recently, during a brief workshop on employee engagement, I was asked this question by a participant I know to be an experienced, competent manager:
“Yes, but how do you get your employees excited about their work?”
My response was to answer her question with a question. “What excites your employees about their work?” Her response?
“I don’t know.”
Her answer didn’t surprise me. She, like many leaders, has to spend significant time attending to the operational, technical, and functional responsibilities of her day-to-day work. The opportunities to sit down and have exploratory conversations with members of her team are few and far between. Organizations often place a higher priority on productivity and many managers have responsibility for a lengthy list of operational tasks that require time, attention, and effort. Such exploratory conversations, however, may be the most important work we do as leaders.