A.C.T. Like a Hero: The Journey to Se

It’s relatively common: you’ve got all your ducks in a row, established some healthy routines, and you’re comfortably progressing on your career path. Then “bam!” you hit a wall. You’re stuck. You wake up knowing something’s missing and you don’t know what it is. It may be a mid-life thing, but it can happen early on, and it also strikes toward the end of one’s career. In that moment of stuckness, we are faced with three choices: go back, stand still and stagnate, or jump ahead to an uncertain future. Welcome to the hero’s journey, a story which has been told and retold in many different ways in every culture throughout the world. Joseph Campbell wrote about this phenomenon in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, in which he examines mythic figures such as Jonah, Odysseus, and King Arthur. The hero’s journey begins with a call or a problem that we can’t ignore, but which requires we discard outmoded ways of being. To learn what we need to answer the call, we risk facing unknown challenges. To refuse the hero’s call is to stagnate and die. To move forward we must change–but we don’t know exactly how. The hero engages in the serious work of self-assessment, reflection, and painful exploration of his insufficiencies and failings. To undertake the hero’s journey is to question everything, but particularly one’s self. How can we accept ourselves in spite of our doubts and insecurities? How do we gain confidence to lead others knowing our weaknesses? The hero faces self-discovery with brutal honesty to become more authentic and real. The paradox of the hero’s...

The Quest for Leadership Purpose

?Great leadership has the potential to excite people to extraordinary levels of achievement. But it is not only about performance; it is also about meaning.? ~ Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones, Why Should Anyone Be Led by You? (Harvard Business Review Press, 2006) Great leaders have a profound impact in their communities, families and key societal realms (i.e., sports, politics). Nowhere is good leadership more important than at work, where we devote considerable time and energy. If you want to drive a high-performance organization, you must find ways to make employee performance meaningful. Sadly, many executive teams focus on numbers instead of words when trying to motivate people to achieve more. Carrots and sticks may work in some situations, but leaders must engage hearts and minds to truly excite people to give their all. There is a deepening disenchantment with traditional-style management. We are increasingly suspicious of the skilled and charismatic boss who echoes corporate mission statements and jargon. The search for authenticity in those who lead us has never been more pressing. While concepts such as quiet leadership and servant leaders are popular in business bestsellers, corporations are slow to change selection criteria. Leadership continues to be about results. Organizations are not immune to the lure of the heroic CEO. While great results aren?t achieved by inspirational leadership alone, they may not be possible without it. Employees choose to come to work and give their best?or not. Leaders who excel at capturing hearts, minds and souls provide purpose, meaning and motivation. Know Your Leadership Purpose How can we expect our leaders to provide a sense of meaning and...