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I recently published a book called, Journeys of Purpose, Inspired by Wisdom, Fueled by Imagination, which is now available on amazon.com. The book is about the journeys of individuals who have found purpose in their work and my work on it began with my own curiosity about how people find satisfaction in work and their process for developing their own understanding of purpose. The book is based on amazing research conversations that I had with extraordinary (and yet ordinary) people who live rich lives imbued with purpose. Their shared revelations were diverse from one another and yet contained common threads of wisdom that were quite different from what I would have anticipated.
What insights have you gained about your own journey thus far? Do you consider yourself to be on a Journey of Purpose? If so, what have you learned about yourself through your journey? How does your wisdom inform your imagination about your future?
Happy rainy Friday! Hope that you have cozy plans for the weekend and that you and your loved ones stay safe!
Today’s topic for discussion (please share your thoughts!) relates to leadership vulnerability. Blogger and HR Exec Carol Anderson writes about this in the context of authenticity, trustworthiness, and more. You can read the entirety of her blog post here and what follows is an excerpt to pique your interest:
How is a Leader Deemed Trustworthy?
“How is a leader deemed trustworthy? By being authentic. By being real. By being truthful. Always. How is a leader’s ability trusted? By demonstrating that the leader can face the biggest challenges with competence, confidence and integrity.
Why don’t more leaders see this? Why don’t more leaders do this? One hypothesis is that leaders don’t feel that they have permission to be vulnerable or to be wrong.
In 1991, Chris Argyris, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Business School, published an article titled, “Teaching Smart People to Learn.” In it he explored why some of the smartest people he studied were unable to learn, unwilling to make mistakes, and defensive upon receiving feedback. He said,
“There seems to be a universal human tendency to design one’s actions consistently according to four basic values: 1. To remain in unilateral control; 2. To maximize “winning” and minimize “losing”; 3. To suppress negative feelings; and 4. To be as “rational” as possible – by which people mean defining clear objectives and evaluating their behavior in terms of whether or not they have achieved them.”
He called this the “doom loop” – successful professionals fear failure, and do anything and everything in their power to avoid it, thus losing the valuable opportunity to learn and grow.
Edgar Schein, the father of the concept of organizational culture and MIT Professor Emeritus, recently published a new book called “Humble Inquiry.” His premise – status and culture make speaking up to those in positions of power very difficult, so the individual in the position of power must ask. The asking must be done in such a way that it engenders trust, and the only way to do that is to be sincerely interested in what the other person has to say. In order to do that, the person in power has to allow him/herself to appear vulnerable to the lower ranking individual.”
What do you think? Have you worked with leaders who have been able to model vulnerability, exhibit a willingness to learn, admit mistakes, and grow? How do you demonstrate these qualities in the leadership roles that you assume?
Images courtesy rainterra.net and amazon.com
Our first book recommendation of 2014 comes to us from Dr. Lillian Barden, who came to work one day last week very enthusiastic about it. The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg, is a New York Times bestseller. Here’s the amazon.com description:
“In The Power of Habit, award-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg takes us to the thrilling edge of scientific discoveries that explain why habits exist and how they can be changed. Distilling vast amounts of information into engrossing narratives that take us from the boardrooms of Procter & Gamble to sidelines of the NFL to the front lines of the civil rights movement, Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. At its core, The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising regularly, losing weight, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. As Duhigg shows, by harnessing this new science, we can transform our businesses, our communities, and our lives.”
Amazon also reports that it was named “one of the best books of the year” by the Wall Street Journal. Thanks, Dr. Barden, for the recommendation!
Want to see other books recommended by faculty or students? Click on the “book recommendation” link under “categories” in the column on the right of this post. Have a book you’d like to share? Let us know… we love good book recommendations!
Image courtesy amazon.com
I love book recommendations! This one came from Amarjit Dillon in class last night, after a discussion about leadership and how it is defined beyond role or position. This is such an important and empowering concept. Thanks, Amarjit!
The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life
This description is from the amazon.com book link:
For more than fifteen years, Robin Sharma has been quietly sharing with Fortune 500 companies and many of the super-rich a success formula that has made him one of the most sought-after leadership advisers in the world. Now, for the first time, Sharma makes his proprietary process available to you, so that you can get to your absolute best while helping your organization break through to a dramatically new level of winning in these wildly uncertain times.
In The Leader Who Had No Title, you will learn:
• How to work with and influence people like a superstar, regardless of your position
• A method to recognize and then seize opportunities in times of deep change
• The real secrets of intense innovation
• An instant strategy to build a great team and become a “merchant of wow” with your customers
• Hard-hitting tactics to become mentally strong and physically tough enough to lead your field
• Real-world ways to defeat stress, build an unbeatable mind-set, unleash energy, and balance your personal life
Regardless of what you do within your organization and the current circumstances of your life, the single most important fact is that you have the power to show leadership. Wherever you are in your career or life, you should always play to your peak abilities. This book shows you how to claim that staggering power, as well as transform your life—and the world around you—in the process. [Bold emphasis added.]
The following description is from amazon.com:
“Terrie Williams knows that Black people are hurting. She knows because she’s one of them. Terrie had made it: she had launched her own public relations company with such clients as Eddie Murphy and Johnnie Cochran. Yet she was in constant pain, waking up in terror, overeating in search of relief. For thirty years she kept on her game face of success, exhausting herself daily to satisfy her clients’ needs while neglecting her own. Terrie finally collapsed, staying in bed for days. She had no clue what was wrong or if there was a way out. She had hit rock bottom and she needed and got help. She learned her problem had a name — depression — and that many suffered from it, limping through their days, hiding their hurt. As she healed, her mission became clear: break the silence of this crippling taboo and help those who suffer.
Black Pain identifies emotional pain — which uniquely and profoundly affects the Black experience — as the root of lashing out through desperate acts of crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, workaholism, and addiction to shopping, gambling, and sex. Few realize these destructive acts are symptoms of our inner sorrow. Black people are dying. Everywhere we turn, in the faces we see and the headlines we read, we feel in our gut that something is wrong, but we don’t know what it is. It’s time to recognize it and work through our trauma. In Black Pain, Terrie has inspired the famous and the ordinary to speak out and mental health professionals to offer solutions. The book is a mirror turned on you. Do you see yourself and your loved ones here? Do the descriptions of how the pain looks, feels, and sounds seem far too familiar? Now you can do something about it.
Stop suffering. The help the community needs is here: a clear explanation of our troubles and a guide to finding relief through faith, therapy, diet, and exercise, as well as through building a supportive network (and eliminating toxic people). Black Pain encourages us to face the truth about the issue that plunges our spirits into darkness, so that we can step into the healing light. You are not on the ledge alone.”
Students in a current Human Services Senior Seminar course shared this book recommendation, echoing praise they said initially came from Dr. Patrick Arbore. The following description and accompanying image are from Amazon.com, though for many of us, knowing that Dr. Arbore recommended it will be enough to pique our interest:
Live a life of peace, love, and happiness through spiritual awakening
In Wake Up Now, author Stephan Bodian–nationally recognized expert on meditation and spirituality and former editor-in-chief of Yoga Journal–reveals that spiritual awakening is not some faraway dream, or overly complicated to achieve, but an ever-present reality that is always available here and now.
Based on his own experience and over 30 years of teaching the direct approach to spiritual awakening, Bodian has broken down the awakening process into five overlapping, loosely sequential stages: seeking, awakening, deepening and clarifying, embodying, and living the awakened life. Wake Up Now guides you through every stage of the journey, from the process of seeking through the often prolonged and challenging process of integrating the awakening into everyday life.
I love book recommendations, don’t you? This one comes from Jenee` Crayne, Evening Liberal Arts Major, a student in Marsha Pendergass’ Professional Writing class. Thanks to both of you!
Fermat’s Enigma, by Simon Singh
Take an intriguing trip through 2,512 years of mathematics. Whether you like math or not, this book is a fascinating journey through the evolution of our mathematical culture. Fermat’s Enigma is full of insights and drama: the Pythagorean Brotherhood, duels to the death, women masquerading as male mathematicians, and a theorem which evaded the most brilliant minds for 350 years. Simon Singh is a fantastic writer. He weaves the stories of many people and time periods effortlessly with wit, accuracy, and humor. I invite you to set down your prejudices surrounding math and take an adventure through time. At around 300 pages, Fermat’s Enigma is a fun and quick read, even if you say you hate math.