Archives For Exploring Leadership Soulutions Monthly Word

Laissez-Faire Leadership

September 4, 2018 — Leave a comment

The word laissez-faire is a French word that means “Let (people) do (as they choose). Laissez-faire leadership, also known as delegative leadership, is when the leader has a more “hands off” approach to supervising employees. Leaders who use this type of leadership style lets people use their own skills and talents to succeed, and the leader would only intervene when necessary.

Leaders who practice the laissez-faire leadership style can be characterized as:

• Employees are given little direction
• Employees are allowed to make decisions
• Employees are provided the tools and resources needed
• Employees are empowered to solve problems on their own
• The leader still takes responsibility for their employees decisions and actions

Like all leadership styles, this type of leadership can have both positive and negative aspects. A laissez-faire leadership style may be appropriate for some situations/cultures, but not for all. Knowing the different leadership styles and the right situations to use them is important for leaders who want to succeed.

Here are some examples of when laissez-faire leadership style works well:

• When employees are highly skilled, motivated, and capable of working on their own.
• When employees are more knowledgeable and skillful in a specific area than the leader.
• When employees are passionate and intrinsically motivated to do the work.

Examples when a laissez-faire leadership style may not work:

• When employees lack the knowledge or experience they need to complete tasks and make decisions, which can lead to poor job performance, low leader effectiveness, and decreased motivation.
• When employees struggle to set deadlines, manage projects and solve problems on their own, without guidance an employee may miss deadlines and their performance may decline.
Some possible negative sides of the laissez-faire leadership style:
• Employees may lack the knowledge of what their responsibilities are because the leader didn’t properly outline their job duties and expectations.
• Laissez-faire leaders are often seen as uninvolved and withdrawn, and can appear to be unconcerned with what is happening. Employees may also care less about how well they do their job or the outcome of a project.
• Some laissez-faire leaders may even use this style to avoid responsibility for their employee’s failures. These leaders may blame their employees when deadlines are not met and goals are not achieved satisfactorily.
• Laissez-faire leadership may even be so passive that they avoid their role as a leader and make no attempt at getting to know their employees, they fail to recognize employee’s efforts and accomplishments, and may not even try to motivate employees.

Most employees require direction and guidance when they first start a job. But as the employee becomes more consistent and efficient at their job, the leader can adopt a more hands-off, or laissez-faire style of leadership. There will be some employees that will never be able to work well under a laissez-faire type of leader due to continuous performance and behavior issues.

Laissez-faire leaders may work better with people who tend to be highly motivated, skilled, creative, and dedicated to their work. An effective laissez-faire leader will provide their employees what the information and resources they need for an assignment and minimal guidance. Although laissez-faire leaders need to still ensure that their employees set milestones and performance metrics that the leader agrees with to track the project or employee’s progress.

This is why an employee performance appraisal process is so important, especially the quarterly follow-ups. The Mastering Leadership Skills seminar, Performance Appraisals – It’s an Ongoing Process outlines the performance appraisal process and why quarterly follow-ups are so critical to not only the success of the employee, but to the organization.

Laissez-faire style leadership may be effective when a product or idea is being brainstormed or created, the leader only provides the vision. This allows employees who are specialists in specific areas to join other employees to brainstorm and develop ideas on how to achieve the vision. Once the design, or goals have been identified the leader still needs to approve their decisions. This isn’t for the leader to show that they still control the process, but for the leader to buy into the plan and agree to provide the resources for the employees to accomplish the goal or project.  Leaders need to feel confident that their employees have the necessary skills, knowledge, and abilities to follow through to complete a project without being micromanaged. The leader will still need to periodically review the team/employees progress on an agreed upon time frame.

If you tend to be more of a laissez-faire leader, you may find it helpful to think about the sort of situations where you might excel in a leadership role. In settings where the group needs more oversight or direction, you may find that you need to consciously focus on adopting a more authoritarian or democratic approach. By examining your own style, you can hone your skills and become a better leader.

Well-known political and business leaders throughout history who have been characterized as a laissez-faire leader includes; Steve Jobs, President Herbert Hoover, Andrew Mellon, Martin Van Buren, Queen Victoria, and Warren Buffet. How did these successful laissez-faire leaders do it, they hired people smarter then themselves in those areas that they needed those talents, and then let the experts do their job. But, they also followed the progress of what they were responsible for, whether that be a company, industry or country. When leaders who are not experts in certain fields get to involved, making the experts feel micromanaged, may reduce their performance because they think they need the leaders approval for every decision.

Is laissez-faire style leadership good, or bad? That all depends on the leader’s ability to know when it is most effective. In order to do this leaders need to learn more about their natural style of leadership, leaders also need to when to use a different style of leadership.

The Mastering Leadership Skills Seminar series teaches employees what their responsibilities are, how to successfully coach, counsel and confront employees, documenting their performance to achieve results and what the different styles of leadership are and when to use the appropriate style in the right situation.

What Is Laissez-Faire Leadership? –
5 Famous Laissez Faire Leaders,
Effects of Laissez-Faire Leadership on Staff Motivation and Work Ethics’

Laissez-Faire Leadership Styles,
Laissez-Faire Coaching Style,

Wikipedia describes transactional leadership as, “a style of leadership that focuses on supervision, organization, and performance; transactional leadership is a style of leadership in which leaders promote compliance by followers through both rewards and punishments.”

The transactional style of leadership was first described by Max Weber in 1947 and then in Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations by Bernard Bass. This style is most often used by the managers and is also commonly known as managerial leadership. It focuses on the basic management process of controlling, organizing, and short-term planning.

This leadership theory takes a behavioral approach to leadership by basing it on a system of rewards and punishments. Transactional leadership is often used in business; when employees are successful, they are rewarded; when they fail, they are reprimanded or punished. The leader views their relationship with employees as an exchange, you follow my expectations and you’ll receive a reward, which could be a higher pay increase then your peers.

Sport teams rely heavily on transactional leadership. Players are expected to conform to the team’s rules and expectations and are rewarded or punished based on their performance. Losing may lead to rejection and verbal humiliation and players become highly motivated to do well, even if it means suffering pain and injury.

Transactional leaders are generally good at maximizing the efficiency and productivity of an organization by setting expectations and standards. They don’t encourage growth and change within an organization but focus on maintaining and enforcing the current rules and expectations.

Transactional leadership tends to be most effective in situations where problems are simple and clearly defined. During crisis situations, when employees need to focus on accomplishing certain tasks, they assign them with clearly defined duties to ensure that specific tasks get done.

Transactional leadership involves motivating and directing followers primarily through appealing to their own self-interest, which is to receive a paycheck and benefits. The power of transactional leaders comes from their formal authority and responsibility in the organization, otherwise known as positional power. The transactional leader rewards the employee who meets the leader’s expectations, but if the employee does not meet the expectations of the leader, a disciplinary process will be used. The exchange between the leader and follower involves four different dimensions that takes place to achieve the leader’s expectations and performance goals;

Contingent Rewards: Transactional leader’s link goals to rewards, clarify expectations, provide necessary resources, set mutually agreed upon goals, and provide various kinds of rewards for successful performance. They set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely) goals for their subordinates.

Active Management by Exception: These transactional leaders closely monitor the work of their employees, which may be considered as micromanaging. They take corrective action to ensure that their expectations are met.

Passive Management by Exception: These transactional leaders only interfere with the employee’s performance when the leader’s expectations are not being meet and/or the employee’s performance declines below average. They may use some form of counseling and/or punishment.

Laissez-faire: This leader provides an environment where employees get many opportunities to make decisions. The leader may even avoid their own responsibilities and not make any decisions, the employees may lack direction and at times a junior employee will be more of a leader then the one with the position.

Here are some characteristics of a transactional leader;

1. Extrinsic motivation – Employees are rewarded for behaving in the expected manner, and punished for any deviation.

2. Practicality – They solve problems pragmatically.

3. Resistant to change – They resist change and prefer everything to remain same, they have a “if it’s not broke why fix it” attitude.

4. Discourage independent thinking – Employee independent thought and risky actions are discouraged.

5. Rewards performance – Closely monitor the performance of all employees based on specific goals and expectations.

6. Constrained thinking – They are happy to work within the existing systems and tend to think inside the box for solving problems.

7. Passive – They react to things that happen, and do not take proactive steps to prevent problems.

8. Directive – They believe that it is up to them to make all the decisions, they tend to micro-manage.

9. Emphasis on corporate structure – They place importance on hierarchy, the corporate structure and culture, they are positional.

10. Emphasis on self-interest – The employee receives a reward when they achieve their goals, they may not emphasis the importance of teamwork or achieve group goals.

Transformational leadership is another style of leadership that it is compared to transactional leadership the most. The difference between transactional and transformational leaders is that transactional leaders exchange tangible rewards for the work and loyalty of their employees, whereas transformational leaders are forward looking and engage their followers by sharing their ideas and vision for a better future.

Here’s a breakdown on the differences;

Transactional Leadership

  • Leadership is responsive
  • Works within the organizational culture.
  • Employees achieve objectives through rewards and punishments set by the leader.
  • Motivates followers by appealing to their own self-interest.
  • Management-by-exception: maintain the status quo; stress correct actions to improve performance.
  • Intellectual stimulation or motivation is zero.

Transformational Leadership

  • Leadership is proactive
  • Works to change the organizational culture by implementing new ideas.
  • Employees achieve objectives through higher ideals and moral values.
  • Motivates followers by encouraging them to put group interests first.
  • Individualized consideration: Each behavior is directed to each individual to express consideration and support.
  • Intellectual stimulation: Promote creative and innovative ideas to solve problems.

Transactional leadership can be useful in some situations, but it may prevent both the leader and their employees from achieving their full potential.

Transactional leaders don’t make an effort to enhance their employee’s creativity to generate new ideas. Transitional leaders tend to not reward or they ignore ideas that do not fit with existing plans and goals. The  relationship between the leader and their employees is just an exchange of services, you meet my expectations and I pay you, instead of being based on emotional bonds, where the employee respects and trusts their leader and will do anything to ensure that they are successful as well, like a transformational leader is.

Leadership Theories

January 20, 2018 — Leave a comment

Leadership has been around since the beginning of the human species. In the bible it’s Adam and Eve, but we ask ourselves, who was the real leader in the Garden of Eden? Adam for following the guidelines, or Eve for taking the risk at a possible better future, even after severe warnings from the top leader. Whenever two or more people get together, eventually someone emerges as the leader, but why? I believe that leadership does start from within, we all have a motive for wanting to lead others. But we need to lead ourselves first, in order to lead others better.

The basic leadership process, as defined in The Leadership Experience by Richard L. Draft, is “an influence relationship among leaders and followers who intend real changes and outcomes that reflect their shared purposes.” If we dig into that statement deeper, we can understand why on average, only about 30 percent of workers are engaged at work. The leader doesn’t take the energy required to develop relationships in order to find a shared purpose with their employees, so they use more authoritarian styles of leadership. Did you ever have someone tell you that you had to do something because “they signed your paycheck,” and for some that may be enough.

The understanding of different types of leadership has expanded drastically in just the past century. Before the preindustrial and pre-bureaucratic era was the Great Man Theory. Only men were viewed as great leaders, they held the positions of power so they were viewed as the leaders. Of course there are always those outliers, we can all think of great woman leaders in history, but most where born into those leadership roles.

During the 1920’s, Leadership Trait Theory research started to look at what traits leaders consistently have that separates them from non-leaders and contributed the most to their success?  Leadership traits could be identified, but the researchers wanted to be able to predict leaders, or train individuals in those specific traits. The research couldn’t consistently identify specific traits between successful leaders, so ultimately the research failed. Traits alone do not make a great leader.

In the 1950’s researchers started to look at what leaders did, not who they are. Leadership Behavior Theory looked at the behavior of effective leaders to ineffective leaders, and how they behaved toward followers. The research showed that behaviors could be learned and practiced, even if it was unnatural for them, but with any type of behavior changes, we can always resort back to the more unproductive behavior or habit.

A personal insight for me, since I’ve been training leaders for over twenty years I see how some leaders adopt the appropriate leadership behaviors, but eventually resort back to more unproductive behaviors. Often I’ve wondered what I did wrong, why didn’t the training stick? I was even called into a Directors office once and asked what I’ve been teaching in the leadership classes because someone who went through a number of classes in the past, was struggling again as a leader. My answer was that when a leader adopts positive leadership behaviors they may resort back to their more natural leadership style, unless the positive behavior is consistently reinforced.

Leadership Contingency Theory looked at how leadership behaviors successfully impacted different situations, which is why it’s also called situational theory developed by Hersey and Blanchard (The Situational Leader). This theory emphasizes that leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum, different situations in different organizations with different people may take different leadership behaviors to reach a successful outcome.

Researchers didn’t start looking at Leadership Influence Theory until the early 1970’s, and continued to be the main focus until the early 1990’s. This was a period of economic globalization, when economic powerhouses started changing from large corporations to individual internet start-ups. The study of charismatic leadership showed that someone didn’t need a leadership position to influence others. Charismatic leaders influence people to change by effectively communicating an inspiring vision. Individuals started to look for more reason to work then a paycheck, what was their passion? The charismatic leader can cast the vision to get followers buy-in. The ability to lead others wasn’t dependent on someone’s position, but how you influence people. The team leadership concept emerged during this period and the individual with the most knowledge or influence in a specific area would take the lead.

“Leadership Is Influence, Nothing More, Nothing Less.”
~John C. Maxwell

Leadership Relational Theories started emerging in the late 1970’s, and focused on how leaders and followers interact and influence each other? Leadership is viewed as a relational process that engages all participants and enables them to help achieve the vision. Interpersonal relationships are seen as being the most important facet of leadership effectiveness. Two common leadership styles that emerged from relational theory is Servant Leadership and Transformational Leadership, both focus on building positive relationships to better influence others.

With the recent focus on relational leadership, the research turns toward the traits and behaviors of those individuals who build better relationships, and it’s generally woman, who some scholars claim to be better leaders. The Harvard Business Review article, Are Women Better Leaders than Men?” by Zenger and Folkman reported in a study they conducted on 7,280 leaders which showed that female leaders not only where more effective as leaders, but scored higher on 15 of the 16 leadership competencies.

What will emerge as the next leadership theory? If I was to guess, it would be self-leadership theory.  Currently if you Google “self-aware leadership” you’ll get close to 2,000 results, not many when you think about it, especially compared to “Servant Leadership” at almost 500,000 results. You influence others the way you’ve been influenced by others in the past, it’s a behavior that we develop, and sometimes it’s a negative behavior, and we need to ask ourselves why, what are we trying to protect?

I believe it comes down to satisfying our own ego, some leaders find pleasure when they succeed themselves, no problem with that as long as it’s not at the expense of others. Some find fulfillment in helping others succeed, they’ve already achieved the level of success they want and now their passion comes from helping others achieve their success. That would be called significance, when you’ve helped so many people achieve their own success that they value the relationship, and in turn will help you achieve your goals.  It reminds me of Zig Ziglar quote on how to achieve success, “Help enough people get what they want, and they’ll help you get what you want.”


Willpower Assessment

Some people believe that willpower is a muscle, one that is weaker for some people and stronger for others, or it’s like an emotion. But either way, I think we can make it stronger. Just like most exercise programs you need to find your base, where are you at now. Here are a couple of links to determine your willpower level;

Willpower and Self-Control: Do You Need to Improve Your Self-Discipline? (Assessment)

The first willpower assessment my willpower level came in as high. Although I procrastinate on doing things that I consider are in my weak areas, I do have willpower to do things that I see have value in my health and learning journey. But first you need to have a reason, or purpose for doing something, otherwise you may waste your willpower muscle on something that isn’t important.

Willpower Test

The second willpower test  my overall result was 73. It says that I would be a perfect person others could come to help achieve their resolutions. I guess that’s what a professional coach’s job is, to help others achieve their goals, to help people build, or control, their willpower.

Although I’m sure you don’t need to take an assessment to get an idea on how strong your willpower is, just look at your checking account and your waistline. For me it’s the checkbook, sometimes I can be an impulse buyer, fortunately my impulse buying is usually to learn something. Now I just need the willpower to finish the books, lessons, and activities from the courses I’ve started.

Definition of Willpower (

1. The ability to control yourself : strong determination that allows you to do something difficult.
First Known Use of willpower – 1858

The definition of willpower is the ability to control yourself. When you first think about, ‘the ability to control yourself,’ you think, or at least I do, “no problem, why couldn’t I control myself?”
Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy, is it. For some people it may be, and although I scored high on one of the willpower assessments, I struggle with controlling my actions in certain aspects of life. It mainly deals with doing the activities that I really don’t like to do, or chose not to do.
When you think about it, willpower is a muscle, just like decision making. If you have to make a lot of decisions throughout the day by the time evening comes you can’t even decide what to have for supper. This is also when our willpower muscle is getting tired and we may struggle to stick to our diet and we convince ourselves that since we had a salad for lunch and a mile walk today, we make an easy decision and eat a frozen pizza for supper instead of taking the time to cook something healthy.
James Allen wrote about training the will in his book, The Mastery of Destiny (1909), “without strength of mind, nothing worthy of accomplishment can be done, and the cultivation of that steadfastness and stability of character which is commonly called “willpower” is one of the foremost duties of person. All you have to do is conquer the weak indulgences that make you a slave.” 
Do you have the willpower, or strength of mind, to stay off social media for an hour and write, or exercise, or read a book? We tend to do what comes easy, and why not, it’s easy. If that’s the way you attack life, then great. But if you want to achieve your goals and live a purposeful life you need to conquer your weaknesses and build your willpower muscle.
Although recent research by Professor Inzlicht from the University of Toronto claims that willpower isn’t a finite source but acts more like an emotion. If willpower is an emotion then we should be able to control it, which is easier if it’s something that we actually like to do. If we “will ourselves to do something,” is it the same as changing our attitude about something?
Whether you believe willpower is a muscle or is more like an emotion, James Allen wrote that the whole science of will cultivation is embodied in the following seven rules:
1. Break off bad habits – The first step is to break away from bad habits. This is no easy task. It demands putting forth great efforts, or a succession of efforts, and it is by such efforts that the will can alone be invigorated and fortified. If one refuses to take the first step, they cannot increase their willpower, for by submitting to a bad habit, because of the immediate pleasure which it affords; one forfeits the right to rule over themselves. The person who avoids self-discipline, and looks about for some “secret” for gaining willpower at the expenditure of little or no effort on their part, is deceiving themselves, and is weakening the willpower they already have.
2. Form good habits – The increased strength of will gained by success in overcoming bad habits enables you to initiate good habits, while the conquering of a bad habit requires merely strength of purpose, the forming of a new one necessitates the intelligent direction of purpose. To do this, a person must be mentally active and energetic, and must keep a constant watch upon themselves. As a person succeeds in perfecting themselves in the second rule, it will not be very difficult for them to observe the third, that of giving scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment.
3. Give scrupulous attention to the duty of the present moment – Thoroughness is a step in the development of the will which cannot be passed over. Sloppy work is an indication of weakness. Perfection should be aimed at, even in the smallest task. By not dividing the mind, but giving the whole attention to each separate task as it presents itself, singleness of purpose and intense concentration of mind are gradually gained.
4. Do vigorously, and at once, whatever has to be done – Idleness and a strong will cannot go together, and procrastination is a total barrier to the acquisition of purposeful action. Nothing should be “put off” until another time, not even for a few minutes. That which ought to be done now should be done now. This seems to be a little thing, but it is very important, it leads to strength, success, and peace.
5. Live by rule – The person who is to develop a strong will must also live by certain fixed rules. They must not blindly gratify their passions and impulses, but must control them. They should live according to principle, and not according to passion. What food do you want to eat, how much exercise do you want to do weekly? Set your expectations, write your own set of “Living Rules,” and then hold yourself accountable to the rules.
6. Control the tongue – The sixth rule to controlling the tongue must be practiced until one has perfect command of their speech, so that they utter nothing in peevishness, anger, irritability, or with evil intent. The person of strong will does not allow their tongue to run thoughtlessly and without check.
7. Control the mind – All these six rules, if faithfully practiced, will lead up to the seventh, which is the most important of them all, controlling the mind. Self-control is the most essential thing in life, yet least understood. The person who patiently practices the previous six rules listed, will learn, by their own experience and efforts, how to control and train their mind.
These seven willpower building practices, taken directly from The Mastery of Destiny, written in 1909, when studied and practiced, will help you achieve your goals, purpose and as the title says, your destiny. Some believe that James Allen started the self-improvement movement and with principles like this we can understand why. I would highly recommend grabbing the book, Mind is Master, The Complete James Allen Treasury, it contains 20 different books and is one of my first references for insightful reading.
With the New Year upon us, maybe we should just set a goal to build our willpower. It’s the corner stone to achievement.


December 5, 2016 — Leave a comment

Definition of No (

  1. Used as a function word to express the negative of an alternative choice or possibility
  2. In no respect or degree —used in comparisons
  3. Not so —used to express negation, dissent, denial, or refusal
  4. Used with a following adjective to imply a meaning expressed by the opposite positive statement
We generally are pretty good at saying no to our kids, especially if it looks like they’re going to hurt themselves. But why is it so hard to say no to your friend, your boss or even your spouse?

No can be a harsh word, and we generally use it in response to someone asking us to do something or when we express disagreement. But not being able to say no impacts our productivity, our personal time, our finances, and our relationships? If I tell a friend no, I can’t help them this weekend, what I’m saying is yes to spending time with relatives or saying yes to learning something new or maybe just relaxing.

Saying no is important to keep relationships healthy, to keep our job, and to keep within budget, I can’t think of how many times I should’ve said no to someone wanting me to buy something. I’m just a sucker, or think that if I say no, then I’m not a nice person.

Saying no doesn’t make you a mean person, it makes you a responsible person. If you say yes to everything, you say yes to other people’s agendas and no to your own. Where does that get you, not far, but it sure helps others out, and that’s not a bad thing. I’m not saying to say no to everything, just too wisely decide what you want to spend your time, money and other resources on.

My problem is that some people don’t even need to ask and I say yes to help them out. Or worse yet if they complain about something I think I need to fix it, even if I don’t see what’s wrong. This causes confusion and dependence. People learn to expect that you’ll give them what they want, because they know you don’t say no. It’s time to break the yes habit and implement the word NO into your vocabulary more often.

So how do you say no more? First you need to know what your purpose is, what your mission is, or what your organization’s mission is. Once you know your purpose and/or mission you can evaluate the request as to whether it matches up with your goals.

Most people know what their goals are in the job they do, and it’s important to limit your yeses at work so you can accomplish those goals, even if it’s a request from the boss.

As we get into the New Year, and if you have, or are going to set goals, make a list of all of your current obligations. Which ones align with your goals? Which ones, when you read them you say, “Hell Yes,” if you can’t say hell yes then say no. Of course you may make some people upset because you canceled appointments, resigned from committees, or just said NO. The positive side is that you’ll be able to say yes to the important things in life, you’re able to reconnect with people, volunteer for organizations your passionate about, and take control of your life better.

With the end of 2016 coming quick, what do you need to say no to in 2017 in order to say yes to what will make your life better in 2017?


November 7, 2016 — Leave a comment

Full Definition of journey (

1: an act or instance of traveling from one place to another: trip
2: chiefly dialect: a day’s travel
3: something suggesting travel or passage from one place to another <the journey from youth to maturity> <a journey through time>

Journey is a word that is simple to understand, except when we ask ourselves, “what’s my journey?”

A journey, most of the time, consists of a purpose, but when I ask people what their purpose is, some get a confused look on their face and some haven’t even considered it. If you don’t know your purpose then you’re not really on a journey. I think you’re on a ride that someone else is controlling.
Are you a passenger in your life or are you the driver of your life?

Great movies and books consist of an individual’s journey to get the prize. Whether that’s acquiring wisdom, a physical item like a ring of power, winning the heart of the person you love, or conquering the enemy – which sometimes is ourselves.

George Lucas built an empire on the story of Luke Skywalker’s journey. Lucas used the writings of the American mythological researcher Joseph Campbell, who wrote of myths and stories from around the world in his book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces.

Campbell saw a relationship, in different cultures, that individuals had when they traveled through their life journeys and it starts with the Hero being in their own world or present reality. An example would be Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz being at the farm in Kansas. It’s a situation that you’re comfortable in, even if you’re struggling in that situation. This might start with a traumatic event, a sense of danger or maybe an increase in awareness. This is when we make a choice to either live with our current world or to move on.

If we chose to move on then, as Campbell states, we have a call to adventure. But we know that adventure is filled with danger, we’ll have to face our fears, which are not always physical dangers. Napoleon Hill outlines Six Basic Fears in his book Think and Grow Rich as the Fear of Poverty, Fear of Criticism, Fear of Ill Health, Fear of Loss of Love, Fear of Old Age, and Fear of Death. These fears are internal and they prevent us from achieving our ultimate desires, or completing the journey.

We all struggle with the decision to embark on the adventure, we know it’ll take us out of our comfort zone and we’ll have to face our fears. This decision is what keeps people in purgatory for the rest of their lives. They’re afraid of facing their fears so they stay in jobs or relationships that they hate, but are comfortable with because they know what it is, it’s their current world. For some that current world gets worse or you raise to a higher level of awareness and decide to accept the call to the adventure and begin the journey into the unknown.

As you begin your quest into your new world, which might be going back to college, you know you’ll face many obstacles. You’ll meet new people, some pleasant and some not, you’ll have to conform to new rules, customs and cultures. An example may be starting a new job and you need to learn how the new world operates and which employees are friends or villains. The hero, you, use your superhuman powers, or your strengths, to adapt to this new environment.

Campbell continues to outline the hero’s journey with the individual getting help, or ‘wisdom,’ from a supernatural character, or better known today as a mentor. Luke Skywalker’s mentor in Star Wars was Obi-Wan Kenobi. A mentor is someone who sees your strengths and then helps you refine and improve those strengths so that it will help you get to the next level of success, or conquer your fears, to complete your journey. This mentor gives you something that assists you on your journey, it may be wisdom or even a symbol, or talisman. If you’re going to college, that mentor maybe a teacher and the talisman could be your diploma.

What is that object or strength that gives you the feeling that you have a superpower?

Who can you mentor to help them on their journey?

Of course every hero needs a sidekick, someone who helps them achieve their goal. The lesson here is that in order to achieve big goals, you need help. Dorothy would’ve never killed the Wicked Witch of the West without the help of The Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion.

Who is your sidekick, is there someone that believes in you enough to help you live your purpose and help you on that journey?

Eventually the Hero’s journey brings them to face their biggest fear and by using all of the skills they acquired on their journey they defeat their fears and achieve success. In Star Wars the Death Star was destroyed and in The Wizard of Oz Dorothy killed the Wicked Witch. They achieved success and received a reward for their struggles along the journey. Even if it’s to get back to your original situation, which may not have changed, but you have changed, which helps to change your old world into something better, not by others becoming better, but from you gaining more experience and wisdom you learned on your journey.

How many cultures send their youth on a journey so that they can return stronger and wiser, helping them to transition into adulthood?

What wisdom and strengths did you gain from one of your past journeys?

What is your journey and where are you at on that journey? Are you stuck at the beginning, not wanting to leave your comfort zone, even if you’re in a bad situation?
If you fail to go on your journey to increase your wisdom and awareness, you may never live your purpose. One of the biggest sins a person can make is to neglect your gifts and squander a purposeful life of helping others?

Qnothi Seautum – Ego

September 4, 2016 — Leave a comment

How big is your ego, do you tend to say I a lot, and find yourself boring others while talking about yourself? Well of course not, everything you do and are is exciting, right?

There are a couple of short quizzes you can do online to do an ego check on yourself. The first one I did was The Ego Meter, it’s only about 10 questions and it aligns you up with some examples like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Hemingway and Kenya West. Mine came up as a mixture between Mother Teresa and Gandhi, called Mondhi. It explains that wherever there are people in trouble or obstacles that need overcoming, you’re there. White hats were invented for personalities like this. There is, however, a line between a superhero and goody two-shoes, so put down the weight of the world every once in a while.

The other quiz, How Big Is Your Ego/confidence, was pretty basic and the questions more geared toward school age kids, but I did score as being normal, that I have the right level of self-esteem.  I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

I think the biggest test to know if your ego isn’t matching social norms is to think, do I care more about myself than others. Do I talk down to people, or do I lift them up? If you think you’re better than  others, then maybe it’s time to check your ego in at the door, and lose the ticket to get it back.


The Ego-Meter

How Big Is Your Ego/confidence?


September 4, 2016 — Leave a comment

Ego, otherwise known as I, is a word that usually describes someone who thinks highly of themselves and let’s everyone around them know how great they are. I know, a face just flashed in your mind who displays an excessive ego. But maybe that face is our own, since the super ego controls our own ego.

But why are some people more self-aware of their actions than others? It may be that they have a larger super-ego. No, it’s not that they think more highly of themselves. Having a super ego means that you’re more self-aware of how your behavior affect, not only others, but your own outcomes due to your behaviors. With an increase in self-awareness of what your actions can result in, good or bad, we learn to become more self-controlled.

Sigmund Freud popularized the three different psyches, id, ego, and super-ego.  The Id is your basic means to survive, and find pleasure. You inherit your id at birth and it responds directly to what brings it the most pleasure, and it doesn’t change through time. The Id is your unconscious and controls those habits that we either don’t know we have, or struggle to change. Why is it so hard? because your unconscious controls the majority of our actions, whether we know it or not and that is where the id resides, only in our unconscious.

The ego wants to please the id, and the ego’s behavior can be both unconscious and conscious. The ego helps us make rational decisions and delay gratification through developing self-control. For example, people who steal may be considered to have low ego due to needing that material possession before they could buy it. They let their own desires, or id, control their actions, which are against social norms. The ego helps us develop options to gain the ultimate goal, to satisfy the id, even if it eventually breaks societal rules.

The super ego is modified by your external environment and it develops when your around 3 to 5 years of age. This is why they say a child’s personality is developed by the time they’re about five. The super ego is what values and morale’s where instilled in you, or in some people’s situation, beat into them, which can really cause havoc with the id. The super ego controls the id’s impulses through either rewarding or punishing the ego through guilt. The super ego resides in both the conscious and unconscious, but also the preconscious, which is an event in the process of becoming conscious. That’s why the super ego overlaps the ego and id, it’s like a mediator between the two. I like the ice berg diagram which depicts the id, ego and super ego along with unconscious, preconscious and conscious, which only is about 25% of our reality.

This is why we struggle to understand why the office bully or how some people say the stupidest things, they lack the awareness or don’t have the ability to let their super ego control their actions. So if someone has a super ego they’re able to control their actions and emotions, where as I always thought of someone with a super ego where the ones who did whatever they could to satisfy their own needs, at the expense of others.

The Gallup organization released the original StrengthsFinder assessment in 2001 with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths. It became a New York Times bestseller and sold nearly 2 million copies. Strengths are a combination of talents, knowledge, and skills. People use these traits and abilities in their daily lives to complete their work, to relate with others, and to achieve their goals. But most people don’t know what their strengths are or how to use them to their advantage.

People who do focus on their strengths every day are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. They are more productive individually and in teams, and are more than three times as likely to say they have an excellent quality of life.

Talents represent a capacity to do something, what makes you exceptional. Knowing, understanding, and valuing your talents is directly linked to achieving in classes, careers, and throughout your life.

A strength is the ability to provide consistent, near-perfect performance in a given activity. Strengths start out as talents, they’re produced when talents are refined with knowledge and skill.

The assessment consists of 34 different themes, but they have little to say about what field you should be in, and only offer some directional guidance on what role you should play within your chosen field.

The 34 themes are; (the underlined ones are mine)

  • Achiever – driven; constant need for achievement.
  • Activator – Impatient for action; “When can we start?” Must act as soon as decisions are made.
  • Adaptability – Live in the moment; expect and respond well to new demands; flexible.
  • Analytical – “Prove it”; Insist on sound ideas; objective; Like data and patterns.
  • Arranger – Like to be a “conductor”; enjoy managing variables and realigning them to find the perfect configuration; can change mind at last minute if new idea comes up.
  • Belief – Enduring core values; Often family-oriented, spiritual, value high ethics; Success more important than money and prestige.
  • Command – Take charge; easy to impose views on others; Fine with confrontation; Like things to be clear and up-front; May be labeled as intimidating or opinionated.
  • Communication – Like to explain, describe, host, speak in public and write; Take dry ideas and give them life; use examples, stories, metaphors; People like to listen to you.
  • Competition – Always comparing your performance to others; Like to win; May avoid contests where winning is unlikely.
  • Connectedness – Believe things happen for a reason; Believe everything is connected in some larger sense; Considerate, caring and sensitive; Faith in something greater.
  • Context – look at past to understand present; Like to understand backgrounds on people and ideas.
  • Deliberative – Careful; vigilant; private; Identify risks and mitigate them; Not effusive with praise.
  • Developer – See potential in others; Like to see people develop and grow.
  • Discipline – Want things to be predictable, ordered, planned; You impose structure in your life by setting up routines and working on timelines; Detail oriented.
  • Empathy – Sense emotions of others; feel what they feel; anticipate others needs; Good at expressing feelings.
  • Fairness – Balance is important; treat people the same, regardless of their situation; Don’t believe others should have an advantage because of their connections or background.
  • Focus – Need a clear destination; goal driven; stay on task; impatient with delays or tangents.
  • Futuristic – “Wouldn’t it be great if…?”; Dreamer; Energized by what the future may hold; People may look to you for hope.
  • Harmony – Look for areas of agreement; dislike conflict and friction; Peacemaker; Believe productivity is enhanced by looking for common ground rather than forcing views on others.
  • Ideation – Fascinated by ideas; like finding connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.
  • Inclusiveness – Like to include people and make them feel a part of the group; Not prejudiced; No one should be ignored.
  • Individualization – Don’t like generalizations about people since everyone is different; Recognize people’s unique qualities and strengths; Good at building teams.
  • Input – Inquisitive; like to collect things; Find many things interesting.
  • Intellection – Like to think; like mental exercise; Introspective; may spend time alone thinking of questions and coming up with possible answers.
  • Learner – Love to learn as well as the process of learning; Energized by journey from ignorance to competence; Might take classes such as yoga or piano.
  • Maximizer – Like to take something good and make it great. Don’t like taking something bad and making it good; fascinated by strengths – your own and others; Focus on strengths.
  • Positivity – Generous with praise, quick to smile; always looking for the positive; Might be viewed as lighthearted; Full of energy and optimism.
  • Relator – Like to spend time with people you know; Selective with relationships since you would rather deepen your existing relationships than create superficial new ones.
  • Responsibility – Feel emotionally bound to complete commitments, or will try to make it up to someone if you don’t complete it; Excuses and rationalizations are unacceptable; Looked at as completely dependable.
  • Restorative – Love to solve problems; Enjoy the challenge of analyzing symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding a solution.
  • Self-Assurance – You have faith in your strengths; Confidence in your abilities and judgment; Always seem to know the right decisions; not easily swayed by other’s opinions.
  • Significance – Want to be viewed as significant in the eyes of others; like recognition; Want to be heard and stand out; Independent; Like to do things your way.
  • Strategic – Able to sort through clutter to find best route; See patterns; Ask “What if”; able to foresee potential obstacles in advance and select the right path.
  • Woo – Stands for “Winning Others Over”; Enjoy challenge of meeting people and getting them to like you; Drawn to strangers; Make connections, then move on to meet new people.

Each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and the key to human development is building on who you already are.

To excel as a leader you will need to recognize, and then learn to capitalize on, each person’s unique strengths. This will keep your employees productive, energized, and satisfied. This allows you set different expectations for each person so that they can focus on their strengths. When a manager understands their employee’s strengths they can tailor their jobs and work assignments to capitalize on those strengths. When work teams are formed you can put people together that complement each other, ones with different strengths in order to establish a more productive team.

Top achievers build their lives upon their talents no matter what field they are in. They apply their strengths in roles that best suit them and invents ways to apply their strengths to their tasks.

So how do we work on our strengths? First you need to know what they are. Some times what you find easy and take for granted are actually your strengths. I would recommend that you grab a copy of the book Strengthfinders 2.0, it’s less than $20, but don’t buy used, the assessment code will be also be used. Or you can take the free online assessment (it may not be exactly as the Strengthfinders assessment).

If you’ve either done this assessment yourself or with your company, talk to your leader about your strengths and how you want to work more in those areas. If your job doesn’t consist of any of your strengths, you may consider moving to one that does. If you’re in a job that doesn’t allow you to work in your strengths you’ll probably dread going to work, achieve less on a daily basis, have fewer positive and creative moments and could even treat customers poorly.

Once you know, review your top 3 strengths and top 3 weaknesses daily, and think how you can work on your strengths, and manage your weaknesses. Weekly review the Ideas for Action for each of your strengths and how you can implement any of them throughout the week. Monthly reflect on how you’ve improved your strengths and if you’re still being impacted by any of your weaknesses. There’s also tools available online to help you implement the Strengthfinders concept into your life. The last tip, share your strengths with others so they know what areas you’re great at and instead of asking you to help them do something you’re not good at, ask you to do something that you excel in.

You cannot be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are.

Please share your strengths in the comments..



The Clifton StrengthsFinder® 2.0 Technical Report: Development and Validation


Using the Myers-Briggs® Instrument with the Gallup StrengthsFinder

Understanding Your Talents & Strengths

Take the Workuno Strengths Test Free (Similar to the Stregthfinders 2.0 assessment)

Strengthfinders books by Tom Rath

Example – Strengthfinders 2.0 Results for David Leingang

Strengths-Based Books from Gallup

Strengths Based Parenting (2016) –

First, Break All the Rules (2016) –

Strengths Based Selling (2011) –

Strengths Based Leadership (2009) –

StrengthsFinder 2.0 (2007) –

StrengthsQuest (2006) –

Teach With Your Strengths (2005) –

How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work and Life (2004) –

How Full Is Your Bucket? Expanded Anniversary Edition (2009) –

Living Your Strengths (2004) –

Discover Your Sales Strengths (2003) –

Now, Discover Your Strengths (2001) –