Tag Archive - vulnerability


Leadership and the Slinky Dog Principle

It’s the simple things that are often times the most profound in life. True leadership principles are like this, simple, but not necessarily easy. Often times they are found in simple analogies. Other times they are found in simple statements compact with wisdom that transcends time, cultures, and industries. Believe it or not, much like those compact wise statements there’s much we can learn from child’s play toy. The slink dog toy is one such toy. In fact there are 3 things that you and I can learn from the slinky dog toy that will make or break our leadership.


When the head of the slinky dog gets too far in front, the wire that connects the two ends gets stretched to the point where it can create great strain and stress it to the point of breaking. When leaders get too far in front and lead from a distance, unnecessary strain & stress is created in the organization. Lead from a distance, refuse to be vulnerable, resist authenticity and you’ll lose your team.


When the slinky dog is stretched to far, too often, it can lose its elasticity & flexibility. If a leaders reaction to stress is to become rigid, refuse to offer trust, and to drift toward policy and rules instead of principles you’ll erode your leadership.


If the slinky dog doesn’t keep the right pace injury can occur. If the head drags the rear along it’s easy for people to get their knees skinned. If the head gets too far out in front and then abruptly slows down to allow the rear to catch up you’re looking at a terrible collision. The pace of the leader is essential to success.

Photo Credit: bikesandwich via Compfight cc

Posted in Leadership


Global Leadership Summit 2013: Dr. Brene Brown

Dr. Brene Brown, Research Professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work did an incredible job speaking about the vulnerability of a leader. Dr. Brown is a groundbreaking researcher into the topics of shame, worthiness, and courage. Check out her book Daring Greatly.

  • I don’t study leaders, I study people
  • The 2 irreducible needs of people are #1 Love and #2 Belonging
  • In the absence of love and belonging there will always be pain and suffering
  • People have 3 basic needs in life:
    • People need to be seen & loved
    • To belong
    • To be brave
  • Connection gives meaning to our lives
  • We have to allow ourselves to be loved.
  • Love is not something that we give or get but something that we nurture and cultivate between 2 people when they learn to love themselves.
  • Shame blame, disrespect, betrayal and the withholding of affection damage the root from which love grows.
  • Growth through connection: love is something that happens through connection with other people, it doesn’t happen alone by ourselves
  • You don’t have all the answers
  • We have too many problems, and if everyone who acted like they had all the answers actually had all the answers then why aren’t they solving all the problems?
  • Leaders aren’t supposed to have all the answers.
  • What a leader does is model the courage to ask the tough questions.
  • We can’t give what we don’t have (courage, sense of belonging, permission to ask for grace, etc.)
  • We cannot give help when we cannot ask for it.
  • When you feel self judgment for asking for help you are by default always judging when you offer help because you’ve attached judgment to needing help
  • Judgment shows up by deriving self worth through being a helper
  • Professing v. Practice
  • Love is a practice and when you engage in unloving practices your not loving
  • The space between how we behave and our aspirational values (love), that gap is where we lose people
  • People can’t navigate the gap between what we say and what we practice
  • People aren’t looking for perfection they’re looking for people who practice love
  • What kills love kills organizations
  • Shame: can only rise to a certain level until people disengage to self protect (humiliating and putting people down / gossip / favoritism / self worth attached to performance)
  • Blame: the simple discharging of pain and discomfort / the people who score the highest in the ability to hold people accountable have the lowest blame scores
  • Disrespect: #1 reason people leave jobs = lack of feedback / people feel unseen and disrespected / you can’t be good at feedback if you’re not willing to be vulnerable / it means sitting on the same side of the table as someone and looking at the problem together
  • Belonging: #1 barrier = fitting in / you have to make space in your organization for people to show up and be seen for who they are not who they could be
  • Be Brave: we never feel more alive than when we are being brave (love, work, etc)
  • You can choose courage or you can choose comfort but you can not have both the two are mutually exclusive
  • If you sign up for courage you are signing up to get your butt kicked
  • If you’re going to be brave you need: Clarity of values & someone who loves because of your imperfections
  • If you are not in the arena not getting your butt kicked I am not interested in or open to your feedback
  • As the world has grown the number of cheap seats has grown

Posted in Leadership


Leadership Lessons I learned from my dad

Father’s Day always provides a great opportunity to reflect on the kind of Father you had growing up and of course the kind of Father you would like to be yourself. In thinking about my Dad this weekend there were so many lessons that he taught me that came to mind, and fortunately, many things I still have to learn from my Dad. And while every father and man has their deficiencies to be sure, my dad has been an accelerator in my life and leadership by consistently allowing me to stand on his shoulders. Dad, I love you, and I’m so grateful that you’re in my life! So here are a handful of leadership principles that I learned from my Dad.

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Posted in Family, Leadership