Archives for yin leadership

Yin Leader: Abraham Lincoln

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” – A. Lincoln In the West, we tend to emphasize leaders who are competitive, aggressive, outgoing and charismatic (a.k.a. extroverted). Extroversion is yang. Yin leaders are different. This series highlights those differences, pointing to effective leaders from today and throughout history that exemplify the other side of leadership. In truth, we need both kinds of leaders to be healthy and balanced in our organizations. Abraham Lincoln famously grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky. He was a quiet introverted boy who kept mostly
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The Importance of Developing Empathy as a Leader

Key Ways to Develop This Vital Trait Empathy is perhaps the most valuable skill for human beings to possess. There is increasing evidence that empathic living with others is the much-needed antidote to the self-absorbed individualism we’ve been suffering from as a culture and in the workplace for the last century. Author Roman Krznaric describes this as the movement from understanding humans as being primary driven by self-preservation, “homo self-centricus,” to being primarily socially connected to others, “homo empathicus.” We sat down with faculty member Andy Johnson to talk about the importance of empathy for leaders. What is empathy? I
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The Cost of Leadership Invalidation

Leadership is hard work. As Peter Drucker said, it’s not about personality traits or charisma, but about putting in the effort to actually do the work of leadership for the sake of others. Getting the work of leadership done is always taxing. But adding an additional burden in the form of unnecessary noise about our inadequacy makes the task that much harder. This is particularly the case with yin leaders. What is the impact of the noise in our heads as introverts or ambiverts that suggests that we are unqualified or incapable of leading well? Most of us have heard
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Yin Leadership Challenge: Submissiveness and Passivity

Focusing on our strengths, building on them as opposed to our weaknesses is critical.  I have found by experience, however, that there is a difference between building on strengths and ignoring areas of weakness.  My honest opinion is that we benefit from both building and focusing on strengths and working to minimize obstacles and challenges. One of the most common challenges for more introverted leaders is a tendency toward submissiveness, or even passivity.  In the original theory that underlies the DISC assessment that I use to measure aspects of different behavioral styles, the D and the S were seen by
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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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