On Leadership

Boorish behavior justified as “being authentic” is never justified, nor authentic.  Unfiltered and unmitigated words justified as “being authentic” are never justified, nor authentic.  Reckless actions and deeds justified as “being authentic” are never justified, nor authentic.  The flagrant disregard for basic rules of decorum and standards of decency justified as “being authentic” is never justified, nor authentic.

Words matter.  Behaviors matter.  Actions matter.  Trying to justify inappropriate words, inexcusable behavior, and damnable actions as being “authentic” is a perversion

I’m a sports guy.  I have played sports my whole life, and I love watching athletes compete.  I respect people who put it on the line, who get into the cauldron of competition knowing that they might lose, that they might fail miserably.  Yet, they have the courage to compete anyway.  They show up.

The same can be said about anyone who puts themselves out there, people who risk being vulnerable.  Politicians, activists, CEOs, and entrepreneurs are typical examples. But let’s

Our inability to have tough conversations has undermined our collective ability to lead.  Perhaps technology is to blame, or hubris, or ignorance, or the devaluing of the liberal arts.  Regardless, the point remains: we have lost the ability to engage in difficult dialogue.

The consequences of this lost ability are significant, and obvious.  Our politics have devolved into name calling.  People are leaving organized religion in droves, arguably because the tough questions keep getting swept under the rug.  And our

Dr. Angela Duckworth, a MacArthur Fellow and professor at the University of Pennsylvania explored this question in her book “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”  If the “naturals” possess innate talent, whereas the “strivers” work hard and put in the effort, who do you hire?  The “naturals” or the “strivers”?  I am sure that we would all enjoy the luxury of hiring someone who is both innately talented and hardworking, but that is not the question. If forced to choose

We need to establish a fundamental understanding of leadership.  I am not referring to grand pronouncements, prescriptions, or ideals of leadership, much of what currently monopolizes the leadership industry.  You know what I am talking about.  The stuff that make us feel good, that inspires us.  In a time of increasing polarization and divisive commentary, when people want to be inspired and want to feel good, it becomes too easy to offer leadership prescriptions.  Or to simply retell stories of