Monthly Archives May 2015

Balanced Leadership: Our Greatest Need

t was 1776, June.  The Continental Congress was scheduled to meet in July to discuss the creation of a document that would explain their rationale for the war to break from British control of the colonies that had begun a year earlier.  This new nation, freshly aware of the downside of a singular leader in King George, convened to discuss the foundation of their new experiment.  Leadership was on their mind. The unofficial leader of the group was John Adams, a lawyer from Massachusetts.  He, along with four others, was placed on the committee to draft the new document.  Everyone initially
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Yin Leadership Strength: Wisdom

Abraham Lincoln, one of the greatest leaders of all time and a famous introvert, famously said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”  How does remaining silent connect to wisdom?  Lincoln’s quote points out the ironic truth that when people don’t say anything we can’t tell whether they are wise or foolish.  Being quiet itself is not the goal.  Wisdom rightly discerns when to say something and when to wait and think things through to a wiser conclusion before opening one’s mouth.  If there is one thing that is true of
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Yin Leadership Strength & Challenge: Loyalty

Loyalty is the capacity to stick to and stand by a person, a cause or an organization.  People who are loyal remain committed to people or things in good times and bad.  The opposite of loyalty would be some version of fickleness or fair-weatheredness.  It’s easy to stick with someone or something when things are going well.  But when things get difficult . . .  True loyalty is often very costly.  It frequently involves the willingness to stand by someone at great personal expense.  On the whole, there appears to be a shortage of loyalty today.  Americans, as a whole,
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Introvert-Extrovert Continuum

Binary Things (or) Many characteristics of human beings are either-orkinds of distinctions.  We are either male or female.  We are alive or dead.  Many of us talk of introversionor extroversion as if it were a binary thing.  We speak as if people are either one or the other.  Many people are surprised to learn that we even have a term for those in-between, ambiverts.  With this new found knowledge, we then want to divide people into three categories instead of just two. Things on a Continuum Other things are on a continuum (kənˈtinyo͞oəm): n: a continuous sequence in which adjacent elements are not perceptibly different from each other, although
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Introversion: Independent or Interdependent?

Clash Two cultural psychologists, Hazel Markus and Alana Conner recently (2013) published Clash: 8 Cultural Conflicts That Make Us Who We Are.  It’s a brilliant look at the things that tend to divide us from one another.  Among the things they discuss are: masculinity/femininity, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, regional distinctions, religious differences, workplace sectors, global north / south economics. Overriding these cultural differences, they see a core clash between independence and interdependence.  When the authors connected independence to western culture (yang-dominant) and interdependence to eastern culture (yin-dominant), I immediately connected the dots to the conversation about introversion and extroversion.  Here’s how the
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Yin Leadership Challenge: Self Acceptance

Carl Rogers built an entire counseling theory on the core human need for self-acceptance. Believing that the rejection that we have experienced from significant others is at the root of our psychological struggle, Rogers set out to give his clients a gift: unconditional positive regard. What we now know is that this aspect of Rogers’ theory is the greatest factor in the therapeutic relationship. Being accepted by others as we are opens the door for us to begin to accept ourselves. I would argue that no greater struggle exists for an introvert than the possession of self-acceptance. Because our nature
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Myers Briggs?

Recently, one of the leading instruments used in the therapeutic and business communities to determine aspects of temperament (including intraversion-extraversion) has come under fire. For a recent article discussing the credibility of the MBTI (Myers Briggs Temperament Inventory), click here. In our consulting and coaching work with clients, we use the DISC (from TTI Success Insights) to measure similar traits in people. I have long found that the DISC model, with its use of four dimensions of human behavior and related traits provides a much more nuanced as well as a “stickier” model to help people understand themselves and others
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It’s All In Your Head

With the advent of the fMRI, PETscans and other means of exploring previously less understood inner workings of the human brain, our understandings of introversion and extroversion have been greatly advanced. Our language, however, often still reveals our ignorance on these matters. “Stop being so introverted. You’re in your head too much; it’s depressing. Let loose, have some fun.” We might just as well ask a leopard to change his spots. Far from being a choice or preference, introversion at one end of the continuum is actually visible in brain scans. At either extreme of the spectrum marked on one
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