Searched for

Instinctual Leadership (2)

Each of us is wired with instinctual drives that shape what we value and what aspects of life we focus on. These drives have been wired into us through millions of years of evolutionary pressures and they enhance our ability to survive and reproduce. Understanding how these instinctual drives influence our work lives has a transformative effect. These drives can be thought of as fitting into three distinct domains—Preserving, Navigating, and Transmitting—and while we each exhibit behaviors related to all three domains, we tend to have a non-conscious bias toward… Read More

Instinctual Teams

In a previous article I wrote about “Instinctual Leadership” and the effect of our instinctual bias on the way we perform as leaders. As I wrote there, each of us has a tendency to habitually focus on one of three domains of life’s challenges more than on the other two. Many of our strengths and vulnerabilities as leaders stem from this habitual focus. The effect goes beyond individual performance, however, and understanding how these instinctual biases shape team dynamics can be very useful. Before we go further, let’s quickly recap what… Read More

Instinctual Leadership: Signaling Warmth and Competence

Humans are contradictory creatures. We have the capacity to step back, think rationally, and reason through complex problems, but we often don’t use that capacity—relying instead on snap judgments to guide us. Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” popularized the idea that we have two “systems” for thinking: System 1 is “fast” thinking, which relies on emotion, naïve intuition, and non-conscious mental models or “rules of thumb” (called “heuristics”) that are part of our evolutionary heritage. System 1 is very useful in helping us quickly solve simple problems and… Read More

Are You a Leader for the Future?

Every generation tends to think it is living in a uniquely revolutionary time. This generation may actually be correct—the world seems to be changing exponentially and to degrees that have not been seen since the Industrial Revolution. Joshua Cooper Ramo, author of “The Seventh Sense,” makes a compelling case for this view. Ramo, co-CEO of Kissinger Associates (yes, as in Henry Kissinger…), describes how the leader of the future will need a “seventh sense,” an ability to see patterns and connections that are driven by technology and globalization in ways… Read More

“What Business Books Should I Read?” My Personal Top Five, and a couple of others….

It should be a simple question, but I’m usually a bit perplexed when people ask me for recommendations for business or leadership books to read. There seems to be an endless supply of such books, with new ones being published each week. Many are good and worthwhile; and many are not. So I’m cautious–people are busy, people’s taste in books is highly subjective, and I’m leery of wasting people’s time with poor recommendations. But I get the question a lot and I’ve been embarrassed that I didn’t have a ready… Read More

The Core Qualities and Accelerators: Finding the “Heart” of the Enneagram

This post is an excerpt from “The Notes and the Melody: An Introduction to the Awareness to Action Approach to the Enneagram,” by Mario Sikora. The book can be obtained here.  The world is not respectable; it is mortal, tormented, confused, deluded forever; but it is shot through with beauty, with love, with glints of courage and laughter; and in these, the spirit blooms…  George Santayana There is a lack of romance, perhaps, in all this talk of genes and biology and neural rewiring in the previous chapters of this book…. Read More

What Kind of Game is This?

We often find ourselves in the midst of a conflict without realizing how we got there and without really thinking about how we can find our way out. Or, since there are three instinctual ways of reacting to conflict (fight, flight, comply), we may find ourselves avoiding a conflict or simply submitting to others and suffering the consequences that come along with those choices. Either way, we end up dissatisfied and frustrated, wasting a lot of time and energy when we don’t have to. The ability to manage conflict is… Read More

Working With the Instinctual Biases–Skill and Self-Management

When it comes to working with your instinctual biases, there are two things to focus on: Learning to manage our reactions to them rather than being managed by them, and Becoming more skillful at the activities related to the three instinctual domains. One might be tempted to think that doing one of these will automatically take care of the other, but that is not necessarily the case. Both self-management and skill building need to be worked on if we really want to become effective and well-rounded people. By way of understanding,… Read More

Leadership Presence and the Art of Letting Things Come and Letting Things Go

I’m often asked to work with leaders to help them improve “leadership presence,” which is usually a catch-all phrase for intangible qualities of leadership that range from polishing their physical appearance to developing confidence to learning to be more interpersonally and politically astute.  In this article I would like to discuss the first quality someone must have to develop and sustain any of these other qualities, the simple art of being present—attentive to what is happening here and now.  I’m not a practicing Buddhist, but there are some ideas from… Read More

The Leader as Conductor

Leaders set the tone for the organization. They establish the direction, set goals, support people along the way. They set an example of what behaviors are to be demonstrated by others—the work ethic, the interpersonal norms, etc. But they also set the emotional tone for the organization, and this is where many leaders miss an opportunity to be truly inspirational and influence the success of the team. ********** Think for a moment to the last time you were around someone who was very sad or negative. How did you feel,… Read More