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Many of us haven’t been in a ‘developmental’ mindset these last few weeks. I assume none of us are optimizing right now, or ‘killing it,’ at work or in life. In the past six weeks or so, we’ve hunkered down in a physical sense, while also enduring a psychological siege, warding off anxieties about our health, loved ones, businesses, and financial well-being.

As we’ve adjusted to life in our bunkers, you may have little interest in pondering how to be more effective. For example right now I don’t want to read articles about the ‘5 tips on how to be a better parent, home-schooling educator, professional, etc.’ Don’t talk to me about reaching my potential. My mindset is ‘I am at capacity dealing with Covid19, with looking after my young kids, with trying to work from my daughter’s bedroom surrounded by stuffies and ‘Frozen’ Lego, with just keeping everyone *alive*— so I’m ok with being suboptimal right now (and don’t want to feel guilty about it thanks).’ …

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Reframing is similar to refracting light through a prism.


It’s critical for leaders to manage their thoughts, emotions and behaviors in the face of a multitude of stressors. In enterprises large and small, strategic shifts, mergers, acquisitions, ownership changes, restructuring, private/venture equity influences, and cost-cutting initiatives surface as frequent challenges. Through this barrage of change, leaders must regulate their reactions and coping responses — in part because they signal to others how to respond to that adversity, and also because they need to maintain their own energy and motivation to persist in the face of challenges.

In this article, I will describe a resilience-building skill that can help leaders manage their emotions, cope with adversity, and better adapt their mindset in the face of stressful change. …

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Authenticity is a compelling concept popular in culture and western ideology. Marketing and movies implore us to tap into a sense of who we really are, and what we really want, in order to be happy and fulfilled.

These positive assumptions about the impact of authenticity spillover into thinking about leadership as well. In fact around 2005 academics developed a theory of authentic leadership, which assumes that being authentic/true to ourselves drives effective leadership performance. In the words of some of those researchers: “when organizational leaders know and act upon their true values, beliefs, and strengths, while helping others to do the same, higher levels of employees’ well-being will accrue, which in turn have been shown to positively impact follower performance” (Walumbwa et al., …

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The Five Factor Model of Personality

So this recent article in the NY Times created quite a stir on a professional listserv that I’m a member of (The Society for Consulting Psychology, a division of the American Psychological Association).

The gist of the article is that the author felt unjustly categorized by a personality test she took (the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI) and wondered if it’s use contributes to a lack of diversity in the workplace.

The story piqued my interest because it mistakenly labelled the MBTI as a personality test, even though is has no psychometric validity. In other words, it doesn’t reliably and accurately measure personality. …

I found this article on female leadership and assertiveness to be very interesting:

I’ve been doing some research on leadership and assertiveness lately, so this piqued my interest.

One thing I’ve learned — which is captured in this article — is that women are a prisoner of other people’s expectations (or ‘expectancies’ in psych speak). That means when they act according to type (warm, nurturing, selfless), they are rewarded. When they act contrary to how others would expect a woman to act (assertive, dominant), they are criticized or punished.

One question I have had about this issue is whether women can buffer the negative impact of displaying high assertiveness, by ALSO showing high warmth at the same time. Does high warmth offer women a protective factor against showing dominant or assertive behaviour? Does it allow them to be bossy, without incurring a social cost? According to the author of this article, based on her research and the real women leaders she interviewed, IT DOES! Mixing assertiveness with high warmth seems to be a strategy worth trying. …

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I found this story from the NY Times about charisma really interesting.

I researched charismatic and inspirational leadership during my PhD. Based on a model called Transformational leadership, here are the behaviours that define charismatic/inspirational leadership…

Leaders should:

  1. Instill pride in followers for being associated with him/her.
  2. Go beyond self-interest for the good of the group.
  3. Act in ways that builds followers’ respect.
  4. Display a sense of power and confidence.
  5. Talk about their most important values and beliefs.
  6. Specify the importance of having a strong sense of purpose.
  7. Consider the moral and ethical consequences of decisions.
  8. Emphasize the importance of having a collective sense of mission. …

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I published this article on back in 2012 (wow, starting to feel old!), but I get clients and contacts from time to time telling me that they read it and found it helpful. I’m re-posting here in case it’s of interest.

As I look back on writing this article, the main enduring takeaway for me was the idea that interpreting percentiles in 360 questionnaires can be problematic/misleading. Since 2012, and partly because of that reason, I’ve used interview-based 360s exclusively. …

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Leadership is a process…not a product.

It’s a series of steps you go through to examine yourself and your environment, to set and make progress towards goals, and to collect feedback constantly.

Leadership is not a one size fits all solution. It’s not following the belief that there is one true path to becoming an effective leader. There are many paths to successfully leading others.

Leadership is a PROCESS that needs to be repeated again and again. It’s difficult, and it takes discipline. It doesn’t come naturally. You won’t feel ‘good’ doing it. You won’t feel ‘authentic.’ …

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In my last post I told you how I had been fortunate to be asked to help plan a conference on executive coaching, this coming October. In the process of planning the conference with my other highly experienced and talented committee members, I’ve come across a number of interesting trends in coaching. In my last post I highlighted several of these, and in this post will continue to elaborate on a few more:

1. Trusted advisor: Most of us are working on establishing ourselves as great coaches. Plain and simple. However some highly experienced coaches are evolving beyond the traditional coaching role to something called a Trusted Advisor. This role is different than a typical coaching role in that it involves working with only the most senior executives, it is longer term in nature (i.e., many years), it combines consulting with coaching, and it is used to reinforce insights from a previous coaching engagement. So being a trusted advisor is a specialized role that only the most experienced coaches pursue, and with only the most senior clients. …


Tim Jackson, Ph.D.

President of Jackson Leadership Inc. | Building leadership capacity for companies facing change from strategic shifts to rapid growth.

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