Dance of the Blind Reflex – Ends and Middles

In my last post I shared the dysfunctional relationship pattern between leaders and direct reports as part of what author Barry Oshry describes as “Dance of the Blind Reflex” in his book Seeing Systems: Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life. Continuing this theme, another primary dance we may find our clients in is between someone…

The Dynamic Leader: Do You Still Know Yourself?

The first step in becoming a great leader is to understand who you are. Unfortunately, most leaders don’t realize that this first step, knowing yourself, should never end. Why? Because as you grow and develop as a human being and as a leader, aspects of you will inevitably change—as is the nature of growth and…

Four Ways to Reduce Dysfunction During Change

I’m working with an organization that, like many, is going through change. During coaching sessions I’ve become aware of some dysfunctional patterns of behavior that can prevent both leaders and individual contributors from moving through change as smoothly as they otherwise could. It’s a phenomenon that is quite common in many organizations—one that business author…

Feeling Young and Dumb? Ask Madeleine

Dear Madeleine, I am in my early 30s, new to management but with 11 years’ experience in high profile financial roles—private equity, investment banking—coupled with an MBA from a top school. I work for a midsized nonprofit as executive director of their affordable housing division comprising two functions. I run one function and a director…

The Connection between Pain and Coaching

It sounds odd, right? Why would pain have any connection to coaching? There are a number of definitions for the word pain. For our purpose, let us consider the Old French verb pener, which means “to strive for or endeavor.” At its most basic purpose, pain is an indicator—a messenger, if you will—from the body…

Listening to the Small Voice

I recently met with an extraordinary group of women to form a professional “Master Mind” group. I was thrilled—and not a little intimidated—to be asked to join this group of exceptionally talented and accomplished master coaches. We spent several days, each taking turns on the hot seat to examine a big goal and troubleshoot the…

Are You Getting An Accurate Picture of Your Leadership Style?

Upon learning the concepts of Situational Leadership® II, leaders often are eager to partner with employees to provide whatever it takes—clear goals, direction, support, feedback, and recognition—to develop skills and confidence. To lead effectively, leaders select from two behavioral categories: directive behaviors and supportive behaviors. This may sound easy, but did you know there are…

3 Common Mistakes GOOD Leaders Make

Ask any learning professional “What common mistakes do bad leaders make?” and it won’t take long until you’re hearing about poor listening, constant criticism, micromanaging, and an autocratic management style. There are infinite ways to be a terrible boss. Now ask that same learning professional a second question: “What common mistakes do good leaders make?”…