I’m writing this the morning after the 8th straight night of protests in my city, Portland, and across the United States (and in cities around the world), following the murder of 46-year-old George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.

The killing of unarmed black men (and women) by the police is nothing new. That we now see it filmed on social media is new.

It’s a horrific reality, and yet is just one of the realities people of color endure — the legacy of a deeply entrenched systemic racism.

This video of Chris Rock from several years ago has resurfaced…

As the year comes to a close, I take a bit of time to reflect on the year that was, and the year to come. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year, because it’s the time when we get to think long and hard about things (long dark nights help) — about things we’re grateful for, about our choices and direction, and of course, things we want to change in the coming year.

While some changes are hard, they are also obvious: we definitely want to quit smoking, or eat healthier food, or start exercising more. …

Last week I was invited to facilitate a day of learning for a learning organization that had been together for close to 40 years.

I was set to walk into a room of people I had never met, who have known each other for decades, had already been together for a whole day and were deep into their discussion.

So I was bracing myself for the feeling of being an outsider.

It’s nothing new. I have often walked into boardrooms to meet with leadership teams only to find them deep in conversation, with very few people looking up, and even…

We know there is a deep connection between culture and organizational outcomes. When culture is done right, it unleashes tremendous energy, harnessing a diverse set of talents towards shared organizational goals. But a culture that is hostile and dysfunctional cripples the organization’s capacity and drives away talent.

While each and every employee plays a role in creating an organization’s culture, it’s the leadership that has the power to make or break the workplace culture. Why? Because “leaders bring the weather.” …

Six months into her new job, my client was frustrated, depressed, and debating whether to leave. It was a stark contrast to how she felt just six months earlier. At first, Alicia had jumped at the opportunity to be part of the marketing team at a dynamic and promising startup. After 10 years with a traditional consumer goods company in the midwest, this felt like the perfect career move.

She had flown out to the west coast and spent time in the company office, experiencing the open, creative, and flat culture — a breath of fresh air, she thought, in…

Toni Morrison passed away this month. And the last few weeks have seen an outpouring of appreciation for her towering contribution to American literature and the wider impact she made as a novelist.

I came across this quote of hers, from an interview she gave. Speaking about her craft, she said that to be a good writer you had to be a good reader — of your own work, specifically. And reading yourself meant also reading yourself critically:

“After all, this is my work. I have to take full responsibility for doing it right as well as doing it wrong…

Falling into the Trap of Expertise

Last week I made a huge mistake. And in this case, huge is likely an understatement.

Preparing to travel to Mumbai, I followed the wrong set of instructions on my visa form and found myself being turned away at the Indian border.

So, I flew an extra 10,000 miles, missed a very important event, caused untold inconvenience to others, and spent too many hours in a pressurized cabin, which cannot have been a good thing.

I am not a rookie. I have been traveling internationally for 40 years, have lived abroad for 13 of…

Last week I was coaching Mike, a Senior Vice President, and someone known throughout his company as a diversity champion. He’s managed and mentored many women and minorities, and played a central role in advancing their careers.

In the middle of our conversation, he confided to me that since the #MeToo movement, he now finds it more difficult to be a mentor to female colleagues. He also admitted that he’s been more hesitant to give direct feedback to the women on his team.

Mike is a diversity champion. Imagine how the average male manager feels?

Unfortunately, Mike’s not alone. His…

The popular press has seized on the question, “does power corrupt,” or more accurately, “why does power corrupt?”

There are new articles popping up daily about how and why power corrupts, from the sensational, Power Causes Brain Damage, toBecoming Powerful Makes You Less Empathetic. These articles might be new, but the research (this and this and this) they cite is not.

The way power changes a person in a high ranking role is something I wrote about in my book, Power: A User’s Guide.

Yes, power does have psychological influences — on behavior, attitude, and emotions. From a position of…

The ugly side of power was on full display in 2018. In fact, it was a banner year for the misuse and abuse of power.

We witnessed a parade of powerful men resign or being fired over sexual abuse and misconduct. We saw the popularity of the “strong man autocrat” continue to rise, along with the consolidation of power in one party or one person. We witnessed the murder and imprisonment of journalists and an assault against the media and free speech.

We watched while our beloved social media platforms were used against us to spread disinformation, influence elections, and…

Julie Diamond

Leadership consultant, coach, and trainer, passionate about leadership, learning and change. Author of Power: A User’s Guide.

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