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Leading successfully in today’s fast-paced, dynamic, and competitive work environment can be a daunting challenge. With expanding workloads, increased complexity, and growing demands from stakeholders, leaders need to develop not just “human capital,” or the ability to acquire needed technical skills, but “social capital,” or networked relationships among individuals that will enhance cooperation and resource exchange. Without this combination, leading can be a very isolating existence and the pressure of “...
The notion of perfection has been on my mind a lot lately. While working with a group that is feeling the pressure and uncertainty of the challenges it is confronting, I notice the discussions seem to swirl around a notion, unspoken but heard by all: “Whatever we do, it better be the right answer—we can’t afford to fail!” The climate in the room is marked by stretches of tension balanced by gusts of laughter that both recharge our energy and distract us from noticing what’s at the core. In some ways, it is easier...
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I’ve been facilitating group experiences for almost 25 years. One of the first things I learned was the importance of creating a sense of safety so that people can fully participate in the work they have gathered to do together. The best way to begin that process is to give participants a chance to check in and introduce themselves. Early on, I found that the standard introductory, “Tell us your name, what you do, and why you are here,” was never very satisfying. People usually responded by giving their “elevator...
Ronald Burke, the accomplished organizational change expert, once said, “There may be as many and as diverse definitions of leadership as there are for love.” Most social scientists agree that leadership and the role and makeup of a leader are among the most researched and written about subjects in business literature. There are several types of leadership styles that have been covered by the literature. In his article Leadership Moment by Moment!, Ron Cacioppe described four leadership frameworks: behavioral, situational,...
I remember covering the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in April 2003. Well, sort of. I was four months into my internship with The Miami Herald at the time covering the civic beat in the town of Miami Lakes, a suburb about 30 minutes northwest of Miami. I landed that intership after stringing for the newspaper for more than a year while I finished my undergraduate degree in journalism. Despite the time I had already put in writing community news at the Herald, I was still very green and very wet around the ears. After four months...

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