Overcoming Roadblocks to Your Development

CHANGE IS HARD. We at Teleos are in the business of helping leaders shift the way they lead, in ways that better enable them to accomplish important goals. One insight that’s been reinforced over the years is that it’s hard to sustainably change behavior on important dimensions. Our experience is validated by a deep body of research by leadership thinkers, such as Chris Argyris’ study of how hard it is for high-performing professionals to learn.

Develop Your Insight

Nothing is more terrible than activity without insight. – Thomas Carlyle   Americans are busy at work.  There is no doubting this claim, and here is just a sample of the overwhelming evidence. Americans work 137 more hours/year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours/year than British workers, and 499 more hours/year than French workers. 85% of men and 66% of women work more than 40 hours per week. 88% of Americans carry devices to communicate with work during vacation.   Americans are busy, yet I often wonder just how much of that activity is guided by insight into the situations these people face.  I wonder because I seem to see […]

You might be a narcissistic leader if…

What comes to mind when you think of great leaders? Visionary? Charismatic? Big personalities? Create transformative change? If that’s your picture of a great leader, then it involves narcissism.   Surprised? Have you always thought of narcissism as a purely negative trait? The best theorist of narcissism and leadership is probably Michael Maccoby. For a fuller description of narcissistic leadership, see his HBR article. In it, he argues that many larger-than-life business leaders have been narcissists – Jack Welch, Larry Ellison, Steve Jobs. Narcissism can have downsides, but it has its upsides as well. And we all have some narcissistic qualities. What’s key is being what Maccoby calls a “productive” […]

Building Others’ Commitment to Your Success

Beneath the surface of any leader’s daily actions lies a set of assumptions about what will make the leader successful. Some of the assumptions I’ve repeatedly seen include:   I need to have others in the organization give me/my group credit for our contribution and value. I need to show my competence and strategic thinking. I need to focus on the task being done “right”.  I need to overcome opposition to my goals and strategies.   The pitfalls of these typical assumptions about success When leaders hold these assumptions as true, they remain focused on their own goals and achievement. They may accomplish the goals they’ve set for themselves, but […]

Lean Into Your Mistakes

Every human being (including every leader) is a work in progress, on a developmental journey, moving away from the person they have been, and moving towards the person they are becoming. Whether you’re engaged in a formal coaching process or not, you are likely to have development goals as part of your annual objectives, intended to advance you on this journey. Even if you don’t have formal development goals, you’re probably aware of ways in which you can be more effective as a leader.   For example, you may want to… do a better job of including others and building consensus on decisions be more thoughtful and rigorous about plans […]

Your 2014 Leadership Development Goals – Get Them Off The Page And Into Reality

It’s that time of year – you’re setting your goals for 2014, including your own development goals. Yet, perhaps your files are cluttered with the evidence of past development resolutions that didn’t fully materialize. How can you approach your development goals differently this year, so that you actually reach your vision for yourself? Here are some guidelines.   Get real about what’s an attainable goal. It’s useful to understand what can and can’t be changed in your leadership style. What you can develop is usually related to your perspective – learning to see and value things differently, which then opens up new options for behavior. For example, you can become […]

Does your job/company/boss suck?

Lately, I’ve been talking with a lot of people who are in unhappy job situations. Their company is going through a reorganization. Heads are being cut. Different groups are jockeying for power. My people are uncertain what their next job will be. Or, if there is a next job in sight, it doesn’t look good. Lower level. Less interesting. Don’t like the boss. Low-performing supervisees. Or no supervisees at all.   They’re tempted to jump ship and get away from the negative environment, but it’s not exactly as if there are tons of better opportunities beckoning. A bad job is better than no job. And would another organization be any […]

The Importance of Purpose

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.” ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning   For me, Frankl is on the short list of history’s most important and inspired thinkers.  In his masterwork on meaning, he writes extensively about the unique capacity people have to choose how they will respond to circumstances, and the critical role that meaning plays in life satisfaction.  However, I believe that he talks most eloquently about the importance of purpose.   People today often describe a life that feels like one continuous fire drill, reacting to emergent issues and […]

Expose Your Thinking

I borrow this title phrase from a coaching client – I’ll call him Nick – who has identified “exposing his thinking” as a development goal. Nick wanted to have more impact in his organization, and at first he tried to do that by doing more of what he was good at – thinking. He formulated ideas inside his own head and was uncomfortable sharing those ideas until they were fully formed. He asked people questions for the purpose of fleshing out his internal problem analyses, thinking he was being inclusive by doing so, but the reason for his questions was known only to him.  He might be concerned about the […]

Getting Past Our Stuck Points – Joan’s Interview With Dan Oestreich

I recently had the pleasure to be interviewed by Dan Oestreich for his newsletter Unfolding Leadership. Dan is a deep thinker about leadership and change, and he loves to get into deep conversations about the challenges in helping leaders grow and change. Here’s the interview in its entirety. If you’re a leader who’s interested in getting past your stuck points and growing to a more effective place, this interview may provoke some insights.   Joan, can you tell us a little of your own history and learning about individual development?   When I first started working in this area at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) I was 25, a […]