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"Becoming A Resonant Leader" And Thoughts On Leadership

Becoming a Resonant Leader
Becoming a Resonant Leader

I love the 4th of July! I think it’s my favorite holiday because it’s full of such hope: hope for good weather, hope for a great sale and hope for the country. Think about it, this is the time of year when the whole world wishes they too could be a Yank. We’ve got the bar b q, beers, baseball, bikinis, Hollywood blockbusters, cosmos and fireworks!

This is the time of year when we celebrate in great fanfare: us! Those great leaders of the past who shaped us and those waiting in the wings who offer us the promise of what we still can be.

Leadership is THE theme of all things now: the election, the economy, global warming, food shortages, etc. And good leaders are in short supply.

A new book "Becoming A Resonant Leader" seems to have come at just the right time. The book is published by Harvard Business School Press and was written by Annie McKee, Richard Boyatzis and Frances Johnston.

BusinessWeek has called McKee “The High Priestess of Executive Coaching” and she has earned her stripes (and her salary) as an executive coach for Fortune 500 leaders. McKee, the Founder and Managing Director of Teleos Leadership Institute helps them reclaim or find their inner leader.

I asked Ms. McKee to share some of her thoughts about leadership and to tell me why in her opinion there seems to be a dearth of good leadership. She says in part it’s because most people are selected to lead for the wrong reasons:

  • It’s what you don’t ask: What makes the difference between great and average leaders are qualities that get short shrift in the selection process: self-awareness, the ability to manage one’s emotions, accurately reading people, groups, cultures
  • It’s not just the IQ: To be a great leader you need emotional intelligence, which is too often ignored, undervalued, even disdained.
  • It’s what you don’t see: Rarely if ever do we systematically explore the skills related to self-awareness, mindfulness, emotional self-management, empathy and the like.

McKee also warns: No leader can take the kind of stress that today’s world throws at us forever. The myth of the all-powerful bionic man/woman is actually at the heart of why so many good leaders go bad. Working as hard as we must, taking no time for systematic renewal, we end up victims of power stress, suffering physically, emotionally and mentally. We put blinders on, head down, simply trying to survive. And of course, we lose our self-awareness and empathy along the way. At best, we become “managers”, simply getting stuff done as opposed to reaching energetically toward the future and inspiring people to come with us. At worst, we become depressed and depressing, unpredictable tyrants, or simply toxic human beings.

So how do you avoid being that toxic thing in the corner office? Click here to read an excerpt from "Becoming A Resonant Leader"