+1(978)310-4246 credencewriters@gmail.com
  

Coaching With Compassion

Coaching with compassion involves discussing the person’s dreams, aspirations, hopes, values, and other things that stimulate the Positive Emotional Attractor.

Conduct two coaching with compassion sessions. After the two coaching experiences, write a case analysis of the experience with each person. It is expected that each case analysis would be about 3-4 pages. DO NOT INCLUDE THE PERSON’S NAME, but indicate their position relative to you (i.e., subordinate, friend, boss, etc.). The case analysis should include: (1) a brief description of the person’s performance prior to the session; (2) a brief description of what occurred in the session, or sessions; (3) the person’s mood at the beginning, during, and after the session/s, as well as your mood before, during and after the session/s; (4) analysis of what happened; (5) what, if anything, you expect will be the outcome of the coaching.

The analysis section (#4 above) should include concepts covered in the readings and class discussion of Intentional Change Theory and complexity theory. For example, you should include components of Intentional Change Theory (ICT), the Ideal Self, components of the Ideal Self model, the Positive and Negative Emotional Attractor (PEA and NEA), tipping points and moments of discontinuity.

Feedback will be based on: (1) the quality of the story and the degree to which it was coaching with compassion versus coaching for compliance; and (2-5) the use of concepts from ICT and complexity theory used in the analysis.

This should be practicing coaching with compassion. This is NOT practicing coaching for compliance. Therefore,

do not

engage in a session with someone who you are trying to fix, save, or rehabilitate. Similarly, it is recommended that you

do not

engage in a session with someone with whom you are currently feeling angry or frustrated. Although some of the questions or methods may be relevant, please remember this is not an appreciative inquiry project.

Key Concepts in the Course

Intentional Change Theory and Complexity Theory include many ideas but the ones of most importance for understanding sustained, desired change and your coaching with compassion essays and course projects are:

1) Change often occurs through discontinuity or

emergence

(also known as discoveries or epiphanies at the individual level). There are five discoveries that seem to be present in sustained, desired change. They are described by the

Intentional Change Theory

model . The emergence of each stage or state (i.e., Pea or NEA) is a discontinuity. It occurs when a

tipping point

is reached, like a phase shift of water turning to ice at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This property is often referred to as sensitivity to initial conditions or the butterfly effect.

2) There are two attractors of primary relevance to sustained desired change. They are the

Positive Emotional Attractor

(PEA) and

Negative Emotional Attractor

(NEA). These are Lorenz or strange attractors. One of the major drivers of the PEA is the

Ideal Self or Shared Vision

.

3) Intentional Change Theory is a

multi-level complex system

. It is isomorphic, meaning that the same processes that produce Sustained Desired Change at the individual level do so at the dyad, team, organization, community, country, and global levels.

4) The

interaction

among levels (i.e., movement of information, emotion, and relationships) occurs through two possible factors. First,

resonant leadership

facilitates flow among levels. Resonant leadership occurs when hope, compassion and mindfulness are parts of the relationship between the leader and the people around him/her. Second, along with resonant leadership, at levels of organization or greater size,

social identity groups

are factors.

Coaching With Compassion Sample Coaching Questions

If your life were perfect and your dreams came true, what would your life and work be like in 10-15 years?

What are the values or virtues that are most important to you? What kind of person would you love to be?

Who helped you the most become who you are or get to where you are?

If those fail to stimulate the PEA, try something like these to warm them up and then go back to the above questions:

1. If you won $50,000,000 after tax in the lottery, how would your work or life change?

2. What would you wish your legacy to be (i.e., after you have died)?

3. What would you love to do or experience before you die?

Richard Boyatzis is Professor in the
Departments of Organizational Behavior
and Psychology at Case Western Reserve.
He is also Visiting Professor of Human
Resources at ESADE in Barcelona.
Annie McKee is Co-chair of the Teleos
Leadership Institute and teaches at the
University of Pennsylvania Graduate
School of Education.
Jacket design by Mike Fender
Also by Richard Boyatzis and
Annie McKee:
“The authors provide a practical guide to sustaining success as a leader in
the face of relentless stress through cultivation of mindfulness, hope, and
compassion—in the workplace and in daily life. They support their theories
with instructive real-life examples. This is a rare business book, truly a pleasure to read. I recommend Resonant Leadership to all who lead or aspire to
lead.”
—Barbara Krumsiek, President and CEO, Calvert Group
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“The quality and sustainability of any organization rests on the intellectual
and emotional connection between its leaders and its key stakeholders. The
work of Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee is inspiring to anyone wanting
to resonate deeply with those they lead.”
—Mats Lederhausen, Managing Director,
McDonald’s Ventures LLC
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“Resonant Leadership is an insightful exploration of how leaders can overcome the vicious cycle of stress, sacrifice, and dissonance prevalent in so
many organizations. Building on their work with Dan Goleman in Primal
Leadership, Boyatzis and McKee stress the importance of empathy and the
ability to build and employ hope and compassion when facing difficult challenges. This book provides valuable lessons for anyone in a leadership position in today’s complex and demanding world.”
—Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis
ISBN 978-1-59139-563-8
90000
New York Times Bestseller
UK Edition: The New Leaders
www.hbr.org/books
9 781591 395638
“a compelling business case for
optimism and hope .”
benevolence and compassion,
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RESONANT
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“Resonant Leadership goes straight to the heart of what it takes to be a leader
in today’s pressure-cooker world. It is data driven, full of unconventional
wisdom, and highly practical. Superbly written, Resonant Leadership represents an extraordinary contribution to the world of business.”
—Jim Loehr, Chairman and CEO, LGE Performance
Systems, and coauthor of the bestseller
The Power of Full Engagement
RESONANT
Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others
Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion
Boyatzis
•
M c Kee
RESONANT LEADERSHIP
of exercises and a field-tested Intentional
Change Model to guide leaders on their
path to resonance and renewal.
Leaders can’t sustain effectiveness if
they can’t sustain themselves. Resonant
Leadership offers inspiration—and
tools—to help readers become and
remain successful leaders in their work
and in their lives.
leadership
LEADERSHIP
(Continued from front flap)
—From the foreword by D aniel G oleman
LEADERSHIP
R ichard B oyatzis • A nnie M c K ee
C o a utho r s of t h e New Y ork Times
Be stse l l er Primal Lead ers h ip
H A R V A R D
B U S I N E S S
R E V I E W
P R E S S
US$30.00
How Great Leaders Create—and Sustain—
Resonance in Turbulent Times
We’ve all seen it before: the ambitious
leader who enjoys great success and then,
inexplicably, crashes and burns. Perhaps
this leader has been you. Why does this
happen, in spite of the leader’s vision, talent, and emotional intelligence?
Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee,
coauthors, with Daniel Goleman, of the
international bestseller Primal Leadership
(UK edition: The New Leaders), argue
that today’s leaders face unprecedented
challenges that result in a vicious cycle of
stress and sacrifice, with little or no recovery time built in. Consequently, even the
most resonant leaders—whose ability to
deftly manage their own and others’ emotions once drove their companies to greatness—end up spiraling into dissonance.
In Resonant Leadership, Boyatzis and
McKee marshal decades of multidisciplinary research and hands-on consulting
work to provide a practical framework for
how leaders can create and sustain resonance in their relationships, their teams,
and their organizations. To counter the
inevitable “power stress” of the leadership
role, leaders must consciously manage
the “Cycle of Sacrifice and Renewal” by
stepping out of destructive patterns and
renewing themselves physically, mentally,
and emotionally.
Through vivid examples from the
front lines of organizations worldwide,
Resonant Leadership illustrates the ways
that three key elements—mindfulness,
hope, and compassion—are essential to
enabling renewal and sustaining resonance. Boyatzis and McKee show that
these seemingly “soft” concepts have
proven implications for the practice of
leadership, invoking physiological and
psychological changes that enable leaders
to overcome the negative effects of chronic stress. The book also provides dozens
(Continued on back flap)
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Resonant
Leadership
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Resonant
Leadership
Renewing Yourself and Connecting
with Others Through Mindfulness,
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Hope, and Compassion
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Richard Boyatzis • Annie McKee
h a rva r d b u s i n e s s s c h o o l p r e s s
Boston, Massachusetts
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Find more digital content or join the discussion on www.hbr.org.
The web addresses referenced and linked in this book were live and
correct at the time of the book’s publication but may be subject to change.
Copyright 2005 Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee
Material quoted from Summa Health Systems © 1998 Albert Einstein Healthcare Foundation, Service Excellence Program
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All rights reserved
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a
retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior permission
of the publisher. Requests for permission should be directed to permissions@
hbsp.harvard.edu, or mailed to Permissions, Harvard Business School Publishing, 60 Harvard Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02163.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Boyatzis, Richard E.
Resonant leadership / Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee.
p. cm.
ISBN 10: 1-59139-563-1 ISBN 13: 978-1-59139-563-8
1. Leadership. I. McKee, Annie, 1955- II. Title.
HM1261.B69 2005
303.3’4—dc22
2005007402
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We dedicate this book to our parents:
Sophia and Kyriakos Boyatzis,
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Catherine MacDonald Wigsten,
and
Murray Wigsten
Thank you for setting us on our paths, with love,
for guiding us to live mindfully,
with compassion,
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and always with enduring hope.
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Foreword—ix
Acknowledgments—xi
ONE
Great Leaders Move Us
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CONTENTS
1
TWO
The Leader’s Challenge
13
THREE
Dissonance Is the Default
35
FOUR
Waking Up to Resonance and Renewal
57
FIVE
Intentional Change
87
SIX
Mindfulness
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SEVEN
Hope
147
EIGHT
Compassion
175
NINE
“Be the Change You Wish to See in the World”
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201
APPENDIX
A
Power Stress, the Sacrifice Syndrome, and the Renewal Cycle
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205
APPENDIX
B
Additional Exercises
215
Notes—235
Index—275
About the Authors—285
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FOREWORD
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ince I wrote Primal Leadership together with my good
friends and colleagues Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee,
we have been on podiums around the world talking about how
resonant leadership can make leaders more effective. The one
question we almost invariably face is: Yes, but how? Now Richard
and Annie have answered that crucial question, with both vision
and precision.
I’ve always learned a great deal personally from Richard and
Annie. Each of them brings to life’s raw data an exquisite sensibility, mixing the acumen of the scientist, the savvy of the practitioner, and the compassionate soul of their spiritual grounding.
They reveal that same sensibility in Resonant Leadership, and
I feel as richly rewarded by this book as I have been through my
work with them. Annie and Richard bring to this book the lessons
learned on the front lines of businesses and organizations large
and small, around the world—from schoolyards in South Africa
to boardrooms in global centers of commerce. Drawing on their
wide experience, they offer a compelling business case for qualities
like benevolence and compassion, and for the utility of dreams,
hope, optimism, and a strong ethical compass.
Leadership that gets results demands a social alchemy of sorts.
As Richard and Annie show, the best leaders are not only highly
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x Foreword
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motivated themselves, but able to somehow radiate that positivity,
igniting and mobilizing positive attitudes in those around them.
But leadership that works well goes beyond the image of the lone
star somehow sprinkling magical pixie dust on others. True leaders
know that they, too, are being led—that leadership operates on a
two-way street. Any leader must listen and attune to others in order
to pick up the signals that will help all those involved stay in step
along the way. The best leaders know we’re all in it together.
Here arises a leadership paradox: For leaders, the first task in
management has nothing to do with leading others; step one poses
the challenge of knowing and managing oneself. That includes
connecting with the deep values that guide us, imbuing our actions with meaning. This self-engagement also demands we align
our emotions with our goals—both to motivate and to keep our
composure and focus. When we act in accord with these inner
barometers, we feel good about what we do. And when our energy
and excitement come spontaneously, they verify we are moving on
the right track.
But for what? Here compassion enters the picture—not in the
sense of charitable giving, but in terms of a benevolent attitude, a
predisposition to help others. Compassion lifts us out of the smallminded worries that center on ourselves and expands our world
by putting our focus on others. That simple shift allows leaders a
sorely needed renewal of spirit, and that renewal, as it turns out,
is crucial for leaders in sustaining not only themselves but also the
efficacy of their leadership.
In an era when the business community has been badly damaged by the fallout when leaders fail to embody transparency and
when the drastic consequences of leaders’ arrogant self-absorption
are greater than ever, the insights shared here are all the more
valuable. If we need anything from leaders today, it is more leadership of the resonant kind.
—Daniel Goleman
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
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h e r e a r e m a n y v o i c e s whispering throughout the
pages of this book—voices of wisdom, insight, experience,
and support. These voices come from people who have touched
us, taught us, moved us and inspired us—people whom we trust
and treasure, and without whom we could not, or would not,
have had the courage to write this book. We are deeply grateful
for the support, encouragement, and commitment we have been
so blessed to receive.
Our partnership with Daniel Goleman has been and continues
to be a gift and a treasure. He has supported us every step of the
way; we respect him, and care for him deeply. His positive energy
is palpable—and contagious. Dan’s resonant leadership continues
to inspire us, and we are grateful and happy to share good times
and good conversations with him.
The team at the Press has been fabulous. Each and every one
is fun to work with, perceptive, astute, and creative. Special and
abiding thanks to our editor, Jeff Kehoe for his thoughtful, incisive, and steady guidance; his good grace; and good humor. And
to Hollis Heimbouch for deep commitment to both the content
and the spirit of our work—she’s a leader in her own right, and
it shows. And, of course, thanks to Mark Bloomfield, David
Goehring, Todd Berman, and Erin Brown for their belief that
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this book will make a difference to lots of leaders, in the business
world and beyond.
Lucy McCauley, our hands-on editor and writing muse, is a
special person indeed. Her help in crafting our message was invaluable, as was her belief that our work can really make a difference to thoughtful seekers, like Lucy herself.
Very special thanks to Teleos team members Gretchen Schmelzer,
Neen Brannan, and Patrice Waldenberger. Each of them dedicated
days—no, weeks—to the pursuit of knowledge in support of our
work. Their serenity, intelligence, and good humor carried us
through some difficult work and kept us on schedule, too.
We are fortunate to work with people who have dedicated
their lives to the search for knowledge about great leadership.
These people have shared selflessly of their experiences, their research, and their beliefs. They have inspired us and they have
helped us. For this, we thank friends and colleagues in our institutions and study groups:
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The Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve
University, Department of Organizational Behavior:–Melvin
Smith, Diana Bilimoria, Poppy McLeod, David Kolb, David
Cooperrider, Ron Fry, Eric Neilsen, Hilary Bradbury, Sandy
Piderit, Susan Case, Danny Solow, Mihaly Maserovic, Neil
Greenspan, David Aron, Deb O’Neil, and Betty Vandenbosch;
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Teleos Leadership Institute:–Co-Chair Fran Johnston and
the team: Laura Peck, Eddy Mwelwa, Neen Brannan,
Delores Mason, Richard Massimilian, Michael McElhenie,
Bobbie Nash, Gretchen Schmelzer, David Smith, Felice Tilin,
Patrice Waldenberger, and Amy Yoggev.
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University of Pennsylvania:–Peter Kuriloff, Greg Shea, and Kenwyn Smith.
ESADE:–Ricard Serlavos, Tony Lingham, Bonnie Richley,
Ceferi Soler, Carlos Losada, Xavier Mendoza, Joan Manuel
Batista, and Jaume Hugas.
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Acknowledgments—xiii
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Inspirational colleagues:–Tom Malnight, IMD; Anders Ferguson, Uplift Equity Partners; Sander Tideman, Insight Partners;
Beulah Trey, Center for Applied Research; and Professors Babis
Mainemelis, London Business School; Kathy Kram, Boston
University; Jane Dutton, University of Michigan; James Bailey,
George Washington University; Olga Epitropaki, ALBA Athens;
Arnauldo Comuffo, University of Parma; Cary Cherniss, Rutgers University; Ken Rhee, University of Northern Kentucky;
Jane Wheeler, Bowling Green State University; John Kotter,
Harvard University; and Janet Patti, Hunter College.
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We would also like to thank former and current doctoral students and members of the Coaching Study Group: Terrence Brizz,
Brigette Rapisarda, Helen Williams, Elizabeth Stubbs, Edward DeJaeger, Lindsey Godwin, Beatriz Rivera, Luis Ottley, Melissa Herb,
Allece Carron, Ellen Van Oosten, Duncan Coombe, Darren Goode,
Linda Robson, Anita Howard, Kleio Akrivou-Napersky, Loren
Dyck, Margaret Hopkins, and Scott Taylor.
Many people have supported us behind the scenes, including
Patricia Petty, Erato Paraschaki, Franco Ratti, Urs Bernhard, Lyle
Spencer, Fabio Sala, Doug Lennick, Connie Wayne, Cindy Frick,
Mary Burton, Hope Greenfield, Sharon Brownfield, Mary Ann
Batos, Richard Alston, Sarah Drazectic, Charles Hennigan, Doris
Downing, and Ruth Jacobs. We would like to express our appreciation to the Africa Foundation and their colleagues at the Conservation Corporation of Africa, and in particular Jason King, Jacqui
McNaughton, Isaac Tembe, and Wendy Wood for the insight and
commitment that has resulted in creating hope in so many children
and their families in KwaZulu-Natal. Special thanks to Carlton
Sedgeley and the team at Royce Carlton for helping us to find venues to share our messages around the world. And our attorney,
Bob Freedman, for helping us anticipate possibilities and maintain
clarity of purpose.
Although we can not thank them by name, we would like to
express gratitude to the anonymous reviewers. Their care and attention enabled us to craft and sharpen our message.
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We wish to thank our children, and our families. They’ve been
with us every step of the way: Mark Scott, Rebecca, Sean, and Sarah
Renio, Andrew Murphy, Rick, Matt, Mark, Robert, Jeff and Sam
Wigsten, and Bobbie and Toby Nash.
And finally, heartfelt gratitude to our thought partners: There
are no words big enough to thank the people closest to us, with
whom we spoke endlessly and who shared their ideas, questions,
wisdom, and love: Sandy Boyatzis, Eddy Mwelwa, Fran Johnston,
and Melvin Smith. Our friends Fran and Melvin are precious. They
inspire us to think beyond the boundaries of today’s knowledge,
and keep us grounded in reality as well. And Sandy and Eddy
are our partners in everything so we thank them especially for inspiring hope when we were frustrated, compassion when we were
anxious, and mindfulness during the all too frequent periods of
mindlessness in our lives as we wrote and rewrote the book.
A final salute—to our partnership! We have been learning and
writing together since 1987. We are friends. We treasure the creativity we inspire in each other, and enjoy every moment of our
work and our relationship.
We welcome correspondence from our readers, and look forward to hearing from many of you through email: richard.boyatzis
@case.edu, anniemckee@teleosleaders.com.
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Resonant
Leadership
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Great Leaders Move Us
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or those bold enough to lead in this age of uncertainty, the challenges are immense. Our world is a new world,
and it requires a new kind of leadership. Think about it: virtually
everything we have taken for granted for hundreds, if not thousands, of years is in the midst of profound transformation. Our
planet’s climate is changing, and we are experiencing extreme, unpredictable weather and temperature changes that affect indigenous plants, farming, animals, and sea life. There is a rise in the
number and severity of natural disasters—hurricanes, floods, and
droughts. New diseases are on the rise, and HIV and AIDS continue to decimate populations of entire countries and all of subSaharan Africa.
And in our societies, across the globe, just look at what leaders are up against: a world that is more unstable, more dangerous
than it was even a few years ago. Social systems in place for ages
no longer meet the needs of families, communities, or nations.
Conflicts that used to be local and for the most part containable
are now global. They baffle our sense of reason and ignite panic
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and anger, as well as impulsive, ineffective responses. These conflicts do not lend themselves to traditional solutions. Around
the world, a new kind of war has led to generalized anxiety that
touches all of us, personally.
Along with the unprecedented changes affecting our physical
and social environments, seismic shifts have shaken the business
landscape as well. Our institutions struggle to keep up. Political,
economic, technological, and social change are driving profound
transformation of our organizational models, making predictability and stability elusive, if not impossible. The sheer complexity of
our organizations has increased geometrically, resulting in confusing, albeit creative, organizational structures. Finally, whether we
condemn new levels of globalization or laud ourselves for finally
moving our organizations to touch the most remote corners of the
earth, the fact is that even the simplest organizations are required to
reach out and touch others in faraway places, requiring executives
to routinely travel upward of two hundred thousand miles a year.
Of course, we have all heard the conventional wisdom: transformations of this magnitude bring with them tremendous opportunity. When the ground moves beneath us, the resulting fissures
open up more territory in which to maneuver—more space to
imagine possibilities and find ways to make our dreams happen.
The men and women we call resonant leaders are stepping up,
charting paths through unfamiliar territory, and inspiring people
in their organizations, institutions, and communities. They are
finding new opportunities within today’s challenges, creating hope
in the face of fear and despair. These leaders are moving people—
powerfully, passionately, and purposefully. And they do so while
managing the inevitable sacrifices inherent in their roles. They give
of themselves in the service of the cause, but they also care for
themselves, engaging in renewal to ensure they can sustain resonance over time.
Great leaders are resonant leaders. They are exciting and get
results. In our last book, Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power
of Emotional Intelligence, coauthored with Daniel Goleman, we
showed that great leaders build resonant relationships with those
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around them. We explained how emotional intelligence was a key
ingredient in producing those relationships and described how to
develop emotional intelligence in oneself and others.
We now apply our latest research and that from many fields to
show how leaders can create resonance in their relationships, their
teams, and their organizations. Research and study in fields as diverse as management, medicine, psychology, and philosophy show
us the way. In this book, we synthesize key findings from these different fields, as well as from our experiences with leading executives, and show how good leaders can become exceptional by
developing resonance in themselves and with others.
These resonant leaders are inspiring their organizations and
communities to reach for dreams that even a few years ago were
impossible. And these dreams are being realized. Today, we see
new products and services available to more people than ever before. Organizational structures are changing dramatically, providing more opportunities for efficiency, effectiveness, challenging
and rewarding work, and achievement of goals. New processes
and procedures are being developed to cope with rising complexity and the need for speed.
Great leaders are awake, aware, and attuned to themselves, to
others, and to the world around them. They commit to their beliefs, stand strong in their values, and live full, passionate lives.
Great leaders are emotionally intelligent and they are mindful :
they seek to live in full consciousness of self, others, nature, and
society. Great leaders face the uncertainty of today’s world with
hope : they inspire through clarity of vision, optimism, and a profound belief in their—and their people’s—ability to turn dreams
into reality. Great leaders face sacrifice, difficulties, and challenges,
as well as opportunities, with empathy and compassion for the
people they lead and those they serve.
Along with all of this positive transformation, however, we
have seen a coinciding, disturbing change among leaders with
whom we work: they are finding it very difficult to sustain their effectiveness—and resonance—over time. We can understand why
that happens to leaders who never practiced emotional intelligence
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in the first place; it is easy to see why those leaders might have
trouble sustaining resonance and effectiveness in today’s new uncharted waters. But, we wondered, how is it that even our best
leaders lose their resonance? Why does this happen among leaders
with vision, talent, and emotional intelligence—leaders who truly
know better, who understand what it takes to craft great organizations and who have healthy and transparent relationships all
around them? Before we look at those questions and some of the
conclusions we have reached, let us examine more fully just what
we mean by “resonance.”
Resonance or Dissonance:
The Leader’s Choice
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Resonant leaders are in tune with those around them. This results
in people working in sync with each other, in tune with each others’ thoughts (what to do) and emotions (why to do it).1 Leaders
who can create resonance are people who either intuitively understand or have worked hard to develop emotional intelligence—
namely, the competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social
awareness, and relationship management. They act with mental
clarity, not simply following a whim or an impulse.
In addition to knowing and managing themselves well, emotionally intelligent leaders manage others’ emotions and build
strong, trusting relationships. They know that emotions are contagious, and that their own emotions are powerful drivers of their
people’s moods and, ultimately, performance. They understand
that while fear and anger may mobilize people in the short term,
these emotions backfire quickly, leaving people distracted, anxious, and ineffective. Such leaders have empathy. They read people,
groups, and organizational cultures accurately and they build lasting relationships. They inspire through demonstrating passion,
commitment, and deep concern for people and the organizational
vision. They cause those around them to want to move, in concert,
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toward an exciting future. They give us courage and hope, and
help us to become the best that we can be.
Resonant leaders help blend financial, human, intellectual,
environmental, and social capital into a potent recipe for effective performance in organizations.2 In other words, in addition
to being great to work with, they get results. Of course, to be
great, a leader needs to understand the market, the technology,
the people, and a multitude of other factors affecting the organization. While this knowledge is necessary, it is not sufficient to
produce sustainable, effective leadership. This is where resonance
comes into play. Resonance enables the leader to use this expertise in pursuit of the company’s performance. It allows the leader
to engage the power of all of the people who work in and around
the organization.
The problem, as we have said, is that being resonant is not so
easy, and sustaining it is even harder—particularly in this new
world in which leaders must cope with unprecedented demands
and pressures.
Why is resonance so difficult? We think it has something to do
with the nature of the job and how we manage it. Even the best
leaders—those who can create resonance—must give of themselves constantly. For many people, especially the busy executives
we work with, little value is placed on renewal, or developing
practices—habits of mind, body, and behavior—that enable us to
create and sustain resonance in the face of unending challenges,
year in and year out. In fact, it is often just the opposite. Many
organizations overvalue certain kinds of destructive behavior and
tolerate discord and mediocre leadership for a very long time, especially if a person appears to produce results. Not much time—
or encouragement —is given for cultivating skills and practices
that will counter the effects of our stressful roles.
Add to that the increasing pressure on leaders to create predictable results: omnipresent and vigilant constituencies wait,
ready to pounce on negative events, or even the hint of a problem.
In the wake of the excessive and even criminal behavior of some
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business leaders in the late 1990s, scrutiny of financial and performance details is at an all-time high. Leaner organizations mean
there is more work to do, and it is harder for people to hide. Somehow, we are expected to be strong enough to handle it all without
paying much attention to managing the physiological and psychological ups and downs.
But when leaders sacrifice too much for too long—and reap
too little—they can become trapped in what we call the Sacrifice
Syndrome. Leadership is exciting, but it is also stressful. And it is
lonely. Leadership is the exercise of power and influence—and
power creates distance between people. Leaders are often cut off
from support and relationships with people. Our bodies are just
not equipped to deal with this kind of pressure day after day. Over
time, we become exhausted—we burn out or burn up. The constant small crises, heavy responsibilities, and perpetual need to influence people can be a heavy burden, so much so that we find
ourselves trapped in the Sacrifice Syndrome and slip into internal
disquiet, unrest, and distress.
In other words, dissonance becomes the default, even for
leaders who can create resonance. And, because our emotions are
contagious, dissonance spreads quickly to those around us and
eventually permeates our organizations.
Then, of course, there are the others—the many people in
leadership positions who have never been resonant. Some should
never have been in such positions in the first place. Others seek responsibility and power, but seem to lack a basic understanding of
what leadership really is. For them, the dissonance seems to be
just the way it is. So they live with it, not appreciating that life
could be different and they could be more effective.
But whether they were once resonant or never so, dissonant
leaders wreak havoc. They are at the mercy of volatile emotions
and reactivity. They drive people too hard, for the wrong reasons,
and in the wrong directions. They leave frustration, fear, and antagonism in their wake. And they are often completely unaware of
the damage they have done.
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The Cycle of Sacrifice and Renewal
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We found one clue for why dissonance happens—a phenomenon
that we call power stress: the unique brand of stress that is a basic
part of being a leader, especially today. For people who head organizations, choices are rarely crystal clear and communication and
decision making are incredibly complex; and such people often
must lead with ambiguous authority. Add to that the loneliness
that comes with being the person at the top, and you have the formula for power stress. In the last several years, we have observed
leaders experiencing power stress day after day, fighting fire after
fire—and then scraping themselves off the floor each evening.
They go from occasional episodes of power-related stress to almost
daily experiences of it. Ultimately this leads to a form of chronic
stress.
We have watched as these leaders became increasingly dispirited. Some began to act out in unhealthy ways, forgetting what
had once been their own most deeply held values. Others just
burned out altogether.
The problem is not simply power stress, however. Stress has
always been part of the leader’s reality and always will be. The
problem is too little recovery time. Many leaders fail to manage
the Cycle of Sacrifice and Renewal that must be regulated in order
to maintain resonance. Instead, leaders sacrifice themselves continuously to their jobs.
What can we do? To sustain effectiveness once it has been
achieved, we need to manage the syndrome of sacrifice, stress,
and dissonance—not be its victims. Returning to resonance again
and again is the key.
Fortunately, we have some good models out there. We have
seen leaders deliberately and consciously step out of destructive
patterns to renew themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. These leaders are able to manage constant crises and chronic
stress without giving in to exhaustion, fear, or anger. They do not
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respond blindly to threats with fearful, defensive acts. They turn
situations around, finding opportunities in challenges and creative
ways to overcome obstacles. They are able to motivate themselves
and others by focusing on possibilities. They are optimistic, yet realistic. They are awake and aware, and they are passionate about
their values and their goals. They create powerful, positive relationships that lead to an exciting organizational climate.
Most important, we have found that leaders who sustain their
resonance understand that renewing oneself is a holistic process
that involves the mind, body, heart, and spirit. They see clearly
that the self-sacrifice they inevitably must make in their jobs only
works if the “self” is somehow still attended to. Without regular
renewal the sacrifice becomes too great and dissonance results—
with often devastatingly destructive results.
Great leaders understand this, even if they do not say it. They
focus attention on developing their intellect, understanding and
managing emotions, taking care of their bodies, and attending
to the deep beliefs and dreams that feed their spirits. As we will
demonstrate in this book, renewal can be a conscious process that
actually invokes physiological and psychological changes that enable us to counter the effects of chronic stress and sacrifice. And it
all begins with mindfulness, hope, and compassion.
Do
No
Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion:
The Keys to Renewal
In our work with executives we have found that true renewal relies on three key elements that might at first sound too soft to support the hard work of being a resonant leader. But they are
absolutely essential; without them, leaders cannot sustain resonance in themselves or with others. The first element is mindfulness, or living in a state of full, conscious awareness of one’s
whole self, other people, and the context in which we live and
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work. In effect, mindfulness means being awake, aware, and attending—to ourselves and to the world around us. The second element, hope, enables us to believe that the future we envision is
attainable, and to move toward our visions and goals while inspiring others toward those goals as well. When we experience the
third critical element for renewal, compassion, we understand
people’s wants and needs and feel motivated to act on our feelings.
As we will show in this book, the dynamic relationship among
mindfulness, hope, and compassion sparks the kinds of positive
emotions that enable us to remain resilient in the face of challenges, even in the unprecedented climate that leaders face today.
Together these elements counter the destructive effects of power
stress and keep us continually in a state of renewal, and thus they
help to produce resonant relationships and great leadership while
helping leaders and people around them to renew themselves.
But cultivating the capacity for mindfulness, hope and compassion—and creating or sustaining resonance—does not happen
by accident. For most of us, developing ourselves this way requires a process of Intentional Change: deliberate, focused identification of our personal vision and our current reality, and
conscious creation of and engaging in a learning agenda. This
process, as we will show, is well researched and documented, and
can support leaders in developing the capabilities necessary to
cultivate and maintain mindfulness, hope, and compassion—and
resonant leadership.
To summarize, then, leaders today face unprecedented challenges
that can result in a vicious cycle of stress, pressure, sacrifice, and
dissonance. To counter the inevitable challenges of leadership roles,
we need to engage in a conscious process of renewal both on a
daily basis and over time. To do so, most of us need to intentionally transform our approach to managing ourselves, and we need
to learn new behaviors—practices that enable us to maintain internal resonance and attunement with those we lead. We need
to cultivate mindfulness and learn to engage the experiences of
hope and compassion. We need to focus deliberately on creating
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resonance within ourselves—mind, body, heart, and spirit —and
then channel our resonance to the people and groups around us.
In the following chapter, we will describe the leader’s primary
challenge—that of igniting people’s passion and mobilizing the
resources of the organization toward the emerging and protean
future. Then in chapter 3, we will explain how dissonance is the
default and how easy it is, even for effective leaders who can be resonant, to slip into dissonance with themselves and others around
them. This will include a discussion of the Sacrifice Syndrome and
a review of its toxic effects on the leader, as well as on others.
In chapter 4, we turn to the possibility of leaders moving into
resonance, or even rediscovering it after slipping inadvertently
into dissonance. We will look at the critical process of renewal,
examining the neuro-endocrine aspects of physiological renewal
and explain its subsequent effects on the leader’s mood, feelings,
perceptions, and behavior. As part of this chapter, we will explore
how hearing wake-up calls is a vital aspect of the self-awareness
that enables a leader to move into renewal and manage the sacrifice and renewal cycle—rather than be a victim of it.
In chapter 5, we review the process of Intentional Change and
how it leads to sustainable changes in one’s habits, perceptions,
and moods. Chapters 6, 7, and 8 explore exactly how you can engage in and move into resonance through the three essential paths
to resonance: mindfulness, hope, and compassion. We will explore
each of these three primary ways leaders can work through sacrifice to renewal and how they can work on these paths, both within
themselves as well as with others around them. The last chapter
will ask you to consider how this starts with you.
Do
Thoughts on How to Use This Book
We take the business of counseling leaders very seriously, and this
book is intended to provide you with solid advice. Throughout these
pages, you will find stories of real people facing real challenges,
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people who struggle with the most difficult leadership issues. Our
recent work and research are supported by an amazing convergence of the latest findings. Recent studies in management science,
psychology, and neuroscience all point to the importance of the
development of mindfulness and the experiences of hope and compassion. We will show how our ideas can help leaders be more
effective and more successful in their roles and even in their lives.
We will also provide clear guidance about how you, as a leader,
can put some of our ideas into practice.
There is lots of information out there on leadership—some of
it is excellent, and some of it is pure hogwash. We believe that
there is a big difference between good advice on leadership and
the trendy, empty words we so often read. How do you make the
distinction?
Good advice should be verifiable. In other words, there should
be solid research to support key ideas, concepts, and practices.
Our ideas are born of years of research—our own and others’—
in the fields of management, psychology, organizational behavior,
education, and neurophysiology. In each of the chapters and in extensive endnotes and the appendixes, we have cited and carefully
explained this research. We want you, the reader, to be able to see
the logic and the empirical support for our ideas and advice. We
want you to understand and be able to explain to others what enables a leader to be effective and what gets in the way.
Good advice should also be relevant and applicable. Our ideas,
concepts, and practices make sense and can be easily adopted in
the context of a leader’s work and world. Almost all the examples
we share are stories about people we know well and respect tremendously. We have learned a great deal from them, and are deeply
grateful for their willingness to share details of their professional
challenges and their lives as a way to bring our concepts to life. We
hope you will be inspired by these stories, and will learn from
them as we have.
In addition to examples you can relate to and that bring the concepts to life, we have included exercises and activities at the end of
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various chapters and in the book’s appendixes. You can use the
reflections these exercises inspire to better understand your approach to leadership, to evaluate your current situation, and to
move deliberately toward the future of your dreams. These exercises and activities are tried and true. We have used them ourselves,
as well as extensively with our clients and executive students.
Depending on how you prefer to learn, you might like to
glance at these exercises and even do some of them before you
start reading. Now that you have an idea about where we are
taking you, you might like to see how some of the concepts apply
to you even before you dive into the stories and the research.
Some of you may prefer to do the exercises as you read each
chapter, others after reading the entire book. Suggestions about
each of the exercises will appear at the conclusions of various
chapters. In any case, we strongly urge you to take the time to do
at least some of them. Give yourself the gift of a few hours of
self-reflection. You will be glad you did.
Let us begin now with an in-depth look at two real leaders—
one who slipped into dissonance and one who understood the
cycle of sacrifice and renewal and how to maintain resonance—
even in what is probably the most stressful job in the post–
September 11 world: running an airline.
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The Leader’s Challenge
duardo” had just been promoted to lead a very visible
division of a well-known international NGO (nongovernmental organization).1 An economist, Eduardo was assigned to
a country with a fragile, newly democratic government —formed
from opposite sides of a decade-long war that had finally reached
resolution. His division’s challenge? To help the new government
ministries to coordinate their strategies as they built their democracy in this war-torn, poverty-stricken part of the world. His staff
of fifty local, well-respected professionals—many skilled in diplomacy—was well suited for dealing with the NGO’s “clients,” members of a government who until very recently were literally trying
to kill each other.
Eduardo, a leader on the fast track who’d had three jobs on
two continents over the past six years—all apparent successes—
intended to get results and get them fast. At first, he seemed to do
all the right things. He met his new team members and began to
establish good, friendly relationships with them. He organized his
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“
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staff for specific tasks, clarified assignments, and established standards of excellence. He drafted a work plan. He made the rounds,
meeting key ministers and community leaders. But Eduardo quickly
became impatient and a bit skeptical; people seemed to want to
move so slowly. Privately, with his staff, Eduardo scoffed at the
notion that local leaders could really help. He saw their typically
long-drawn-out meetings as a huge waste of time, and the emotional discussions a bit embarrassing.
He knew that he needed to move quickly to help the government’s ministries formulate a clear agenda for the future. He
crafted a research project to investigate and then integrate different community objectives and concerns, as well as to address
the inherited conflicts among the country’s different cultures. He
set a demanding timetable. He worked long hours, stayed focused
on outcomes, and demanded the same of others. Within a matter
of weeks, people were working at breakneck speed, day and night.
This was a familiar pattern for Eduardo, and it had worked for
him many times before. But the effects of the heavy demands on
Eduardo, his staff, and their clients soon began to show. Tempers
were short, communication was curt and devoid of details or social niceties—resulting in misunderstanding and hurt feelings.
Throughout the few months it took to do the study, his staff
came to him numerous times trying to share what they had learned
about the real needs of the new government and the various ministers’ opinions about the approach the NGO was taking. They believed it was critical to establish better relationships with key
ministers and community leaders. Eduardo, who by this time was
extremely frustrated, chastised them for wasting time, derisively
calling the meetings they attended “chicken parties” because of
the nonsensical “cackling” he believed they encouraged. In the interest of efficiency, he also forbade them from attending state functions or having other contact with government representatives
beyond the requirements of the research project. When, after a
while, Eduardo began to notice that there was considerable resistance to his approach among his staff, he responded by working
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harder and demanding ever more of his people. He became increasingly impatient and saw only incompetence and lack of motivation all around him.
Meantime, Eduardo was unaware that the government ministers
and other leaders were questioning not only his tactics, but his motives; many believed him to be overly concerned with his own career
ambitions, rather than focused on collective goals. This was not
completely true, of course. Eduardo was committed. The problem
was that he was off-kilter—out of sync with his clients’ needs and his
employees’ work style, and people simply could not understand why
he was so caustic and difficult to deal with. Before long, quiet whispers of confusion and uneasiness were turning into a roar of complaints. He did not see that, with few exceptions, he was alienating
his counterparts in government and even his staff. Soon, many of the
latter were actively siding with their colleagues in government.
Less than a year later Eduardo was sidelined in the country,
and the few staff who had followed his lead publicly were discredited. The strategic plan they had written was not used. The
NGO was out of favor, and the government ministers did not get
the support they needed. Worst of all, there was no logical way to
determine how to allocate resources, infighting was on the rise,
and communities continued to go without critical health, education, and other services.
They Do Not Call It Blind
Ambition for Nothing
What went wrong? In his new assignment, Eduardo did exactly
the same kinds of things he’d done in the past to succeed. He
assessed the situation, pinpointed what appeared to be timewasters, and made sure he avoided them. He focused intensely on
his goals and drove his people hard to get the job done. Yet this
time what he thought were all the right moves were actually
wrong; he failed—and he wasn’t even sure why.
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One problem was simply that the world he entered was vastly
different than that of his previous assignments, making Eduardo’s
usual formula for success questionable. Those “right moves” he
had made in the past had appeared to work just fine in his old
organizations. But this country was a much more complex place.
People in this client “organization”—a newly democratic government —had only recently put down their weapons against each
other after a protracted war. Old rules and traditional ways of
solving problems simply weren’t going to work here. And, despite
the prominence of the NGO and Eduardo’s role, his political clout
held little appeal for the real decision makers—the ministers and
community leaders. They operated informally, as often as not, and
almost outside the boundaries of organizations. No clear organizational lines existed, yet Eduardo acted as if there were clear hierarchies. He came in with his eyes closed, focusing on his assigned
mission rather than what was really happening.
In essence, Eduardo totally missed the emotional reality of the
community and the country.2 He was under a lot of pressure to get
results and did not see that relationships were the currency and
the vehicle for change in this setting. He did not see that when
people met to discuss strategies, they were doing at least two things
at once: finding common ground so they could make decisions,
and healing the wounds of the past. What he dismissed as meaningless “chicken parties” were actually a key means for bridging
gaps of understanding between the previously opposing sides. He
totally missed the fact that relationships needed to be healed and
rebuilt —before any formal plan could be conceived. And as the
pressures mounted and the complexity of the situation increased,
his intense focus on outcomes as opposed to relationships became
more and more ineffective.
Without even realizing it, then, Eduardo had slipped quickly
into dissonance. The mystery here is that even though he had
demonstrated good leadership in some of his previous situations,
in this job he acted without emotional intelligence. He neglected
to listen to his people or even to his clients, and was blind to how
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his behavior ultimately set the failure in motion. Worst of all, Eduardo’s ability to manage his own emotions, attitudes, and behavior decreased just when he needed to be most effective.
Eduardo was caught in the Sacrifice Syndrome to which so
many leaders succumb. His two previous jobs had been “career
builders”—tough, visible, calling for everything he could give. He
had moved his family several times, disrupting his wife’s career
and his children’s schooling. Each new job brought more responsibility, and that special kind of stress that comes along with
power and leadership. With all the excitement of that lifestyle
came a high price—prolonged, unremitting pressure at home and
at work. In his new NGO job, he felt the responsibility of actually
rebuilding a country’s infrastructure. He cared deeply about his
work and its outcomes, but he perceived himself to be in a race
against time. His emotional and physical reserves were depleted,
and yet he drove himself relentlessly for weeks on end, continually
sacrificing himself to the project and taking no time for the equally
necessary periods of rest or reflection. And he demanded the same
of everyone around him. In the end, the pressures inherent in Eduardo’s life and leadership went untended, causing him to literally
close down. His focus narrowed, his emotional intelligence diminished, he lost sight of the reality of the situation and his part in it.
He lost his way.
Do
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It’s Only Human
Perhaps you read Eduardo’s story and were immediately able to
pinpoint the flaws in this leader’s behavior and how they led inevitably to his downfall. And you might have also found yourselves nodding your head in recognition. The fact is that leaders
like Eduardo are not at all unusual. Nor are they stupid or evil. Indeed, in today’s tumultuous environment, many of us have found
ourselves caught up short by what seems to be the continually
moving target: challenge after challenge, heavy responsibilities,
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and new and ever more impossible goals every few months. And
all in response to the changes occurring around us—from shifting
organizational structures to shifts in the organization of entire nations. It never seems to stop, and sometimes it feels as if there is no
room to breathe.
Many of us, like Eduardo, find ourselves in a succession of
jobs (often on a fast track), moving our families and changing our
priorities every year or so. The demands of these jobs are high,
and each success brings loftier expectations and more responsibility. Sometimes we attempt to deal with sacrifices and stress by
oversimplifying our tasks, doing the minimum required to get the
job done. Maybe we get tunnel vision and focus on a technical approach to getting results, to the exclusion of heart, body, spirit,
and relationships. Maybe we just tune out any messages that do
not jibe with our sense of what needs to happen. We are exhausted, and we shut down.
Like Eduardo, we miss the real goals and create dissonance
along the way. Our negativity causes us to close down and to stop
functioning effectively. At the same time, our stress and negative
emotions are actually contagious, so our people also begin to feel
frustrated, empty, and unfulfilled—not to mention ineffective. It
becomes a vicious cycle: power stress, sacrifice, dissonance, more
stress, and more sacrifice.
The result? Dissonance is more common than resonance, poor
leadership is evident more often than good. In this environment of
unprecedented change, dissonance has become the default mode,
and even good leaders find themselves slipping. And that’s the
challenge of being a leader today: how to manage the Sacrifice Syndrome, to build and sustain resonance in the face of great trials.
Had Eduardo balanced all of the stress and pressure with regular rest, reflection, and contemplation—had he managed what
we call the Cycle of Sacrifice and Renewal with which every leader
must contend—he might not have missed the signs that he was
about to go down. Had he taken regular time to renew himself
mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually and allowed those
working for him to do the same, he’d have realized what was
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happening. Perhaps he might have even stopped and listened to the
critical insights his people were trying to share with him. Instead,
Eduardo lost the capacity for attending to himself and others.
Clearly the Eduardos of the world do not want to fail. They
do not want to create dissonance, or environments in which people
feel disconnected, threatened, overworked, and undervalued. They
do not intend to foster a sense of doom or threat. Every leader
wants to be effective, and underneath all the bad behavior most
dissonant leaders are actually good people.
Successfully managing the inherent stress of leadership over
time enables us to leverage our strengths and compensate for our
shortcomings, even when things are tough, as they were for Eduardo. Had he maintained balance and resonance within himself, he would have been more likely to remain open, strong, and
grounded in the face of the new challenges of his position. He
would likely have taken more, and more appropriate, steps to
build the right kind of relationships with the right people. As it
was, he just did not have the emotional energy to think clearly or
take the right actions.
So what happens? What enables some people to successfully
manage the leader’s challenge and consistently develop and sustain resonance in themselves and in their teams and organizations,
while so many others slip into dissonance? To begin exploring
that question, let us look now at a very different kind of leader—
one who illustrates that, although dissonance is all too typical in
the rough-and-tumble environment of recent years, resonance is
possible—and leads to infinitely better results. What’s more, it’s
possible even in an industry that arguably has faced the toughest
challenge of all when it comes to doing business in the current
climate: the airline industry.
Flying High
Back in the 1970s, Colleen Barrett would hardly have guessed that
she would one day be president of an airline. At the time she was
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a legal secretary and her boss, Herb Kelleher, asked her to help
him and a small band of committed friends and colleagues fulfill a
dream: to launch a company that they would call Southwest Airlines. It looked like a David and Goliath story. The big airlines
naturally did not want competitors homing in on their business,
and they did everything they could to stop Herb and his team.
“They fought us every step of the way,” Colleen recalls, “and
some of it got really ugly. But the more arrogant the ‘bad guys’ became, the more they tried to break us, the more committed and
united we became as a team.” 3
Herb and Colleen and their team could see a new and very different kind of airline—great services and a great place to work.
The commitment they had to one another was tangible. They resonated with each other and as a team they resonated with their
dreams. They consciously defined how they would work together—
team spirit was high on the list, as was “do unto others . . .” They
focused on doing the right thing for themselves, the business, and
the customers—and not necessarily in that order.
They had noble values. But even the most inspiring values are
not easy to sustain over time, when everyone is under a lot of pressure and the business is growing by leaps and bounds. Early on,
Colleen—who had become Herb’s right-hand person, idea generator, and implementer—recognized this. And she saw something
else too: she realized that the resonance they had created in the
team and the small company might well be part of the reason it
was fast becoming unique—and thus so successful.
Colleen recognized something that many leaders miss. She
saw that effective teams and powerful, positive organizational
cultures do not happen by accident. It takes time, effort, planning,
and even a strategy to create and sustain the healthy working
relationships and norms that foster effectiveness. She determined
that creating a great company meant more than developing great
services—it also meant paying attention to the emotional reality
of the organization and deliberately creating a great culture. To
make sure the company never lost its magic, she began organizing
systems, processes, and rituals that would essentially create and
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preserve what we would now call resonance. She took charge of
many of the processes that guided people’s behavior within the
company and with customers. Rather than institutionalize the vision and the mission, however, Colleen deliberately created systems based on the spirit of the company; she put a premium on
esprit de corps and on treating one another with compassion; she
minimized the company hierarchy and emphasized individuality;
and she made sure that amid all the hard work of getting a startup
airline flying, she and the team had regular opportunities for fun
and reflection.
With such a culture in place, one with resonant leadership and
in which all members from the CEO on down regularly treat each
other, their customers, and their suppliers with respect and compassion, it’s no surprise that this airline got off the ground. But the
question is: How has Southwest sustained its success over thirtyplus years? How has it continued to do this even in today’s troubled times and in an industry in which every year another competitor grounds its airplanes—permanently? In contrast, Southwest
has consistently shown profit and met goals, quarter after quarter.
The company’s customer service is legendary. There has never
been an involuntary layoff—even after September 11, 2001, when
many U.S. airlines cut back drastically. Employees are committed
and passionate about their work. They see it as a cause, not a job,
and it shows.
They are doing something right at Southwest, and we think it
has a lot to do with resonant leadership and the climate Colleen
has so deliberately created over the years. Research corroborates
our thinking: studies show that the culture of an organization, and
in particular the way people feel about the climate, can account
for nearly 30 percent of business performance.4 As a resonant
leader, then, Colleen has helped to craft a climate that translates
into results. Today, Colleen’s efforts show up in day-to-day practices as well as the principles and values of the company. Indeed,
despite being named one of the “Fifty Most Powerful Women” by
Fortune magazine in 2003, she has not lost the down-to-earth
common sense, authenticity, and profound commitment to people
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that she started with during the airline’s early days.5 Colleen defines the culture at Southwest. She guides people’s passion, energy,
and activities in a positive direction.
We know when we are around resonant leaders like Colleen—
they bring out the best in us. They help us to see when good fortune is smiling on us and they make us feel good about our efforts
and ourselves. People follow resonant leaders because the leader’s
heart is so clearly in the work.
As we have already pointed out (and it bears repeating), resonant leaders manage their emotions well and read individuals and
groups accurately. They consciously attune to people, focus them
on a common cause, build a sense of community, and create a climate that enables people to tap into passion, energy, and a desire
to move together in a positive direction. They are optimistic and
realistic at the same time.
If you wonder whether you or someone else is a resonant
leader, ask yourself these questions:
• Is the leader inspirational?
tC
• Does the leader create an overall positive emotional tone
that is characterized by hope?
• Is the leader in touch with others? Does the leader know
what is on others’ hearts and minds? Does the leader experience and demonstrate compassion?
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• Is the leader mindful—authentic and in tune with self,
others, and the environment?
Colleen’s success is in part due to the fact that anyone observing her could answer “yes” to those four questions. In other words,
her success is due to her ability to create and sustain resonance,
just as Eduardo’s failure was in part due to his slipping into dissonance. And both resonance and dissonance develop because emotions are contagious.6 Yes: research indicates that there are actual
physiological reasons behind the spreading effects of either resonant or dissonant leadership in an organization.
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Resonance Is Contagious—
and So Is Dissonance
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The notion that emotions are contagious and that the human
brain has an “open loop” system when it comes to sharing
emotional clues and ultimately feelings and moods has been
researched extensively in recent years.7 We are literally “wired”
to pick up subtle clues from one another—and therefore, in a
sense, we are dependent on one another for our emotions. We
gauge our emotional response on the feelings we notice in the
people around us.
Our emotions can also convey our intentions to others, thereby
enabling smoother communication and interaction. For example,
fear may signal the need to mollify, defend, or flee; joy may indicate a chance to share good fortune or a desire for contact and
connection. Our bodies respond to our emotions in subtle as well
as obvious ways; things like facial expressions and tone of voice
are fleeting but important signs of the emotions that drive a person’s behavior.8 The more subtle clues—flushing or paling, minute
facial expressions, and some aspects of posture—are very difficult
to control and are strong signals to other people of our true emotions. Our bodies tell the truth, and even when we do not intend
it, we send messages about our true feelings.9
We are not always conscious of the messages we are sending
or receiving about emotions. Nevertheless, we are very good at
reading each other. This is likely related to survival mechanisms
that have been in place for thousands, if not millions, of years.10
We attend to each other constantly, attempting to predict one another’s behavior so we can tailor our responses accordingly. Even
if we do not understand the source of another’s feelings, we generally can tell when he is in the grip of strong emotions, even when
he is trying to hide them. Furthermore, we actually catch the emotions of people around us, even when communication is completely nonverbal.11
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This is especially true when it comes to our leaders—we
watch them very carefully, and we can smell their emotions a
mile away.12 They have a lot of power over us, and we want to
be able to predict, as best we can, what they want and what we
should do. When a leader (like Eduardo) is impatient, frustrated,
or fearful of failure, we begin to feel exactly the same way. We
become defensive and self-protective, or we do whatever we can
to get away from the source of our distress. This is the beginning
of a dissonant climate.
On the other hand, when we sense that our leader is excited
and hopeful, we feel invigorated and motivated. When our leaders exude enthusiasm, realistic optimism, and genuine concern
for us, we have more energy for our work and can face challenges
more creatively. This is what it feels like to be around Colleen
Barrett. We want to be around people like this, and we want to
join in whatever they are doing—especially if the cause jibes
with our values.
Demonstrating what most of us know from experience, professor Nadia Wager and her colleagues have been studying the
effect of negative versus positive managerial styles on the blood
pressure of the people around the leader.13 They found in one study
that subordinates’ blood pressure went up dramatically when dealing with a supervisor whose style was not respectful, fair, or sensitive to others. Their blood pressure would drop to normal when
they worked with a different supervisor whose style was more
thoughtful and sensitive.
Having seen Colleen Barrett in action with people at Southwest, we are convinced that the messages she personally sends to
the people around her go a long way toward creating resonance.
She is passionate about what she is doing, and it shows in her excitement, hard work, and dedication. She likes working as part of
a team, and she cares about her employees and customers. Her
powerful, positive belief in the company and its people are tangible and contagious—and evident in how people treat each other.
At Southwest, people start with a fundamental, shared commitment to their cause and to each other. Even in brief encounters
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about normal daily business, employees treat each other with
friendly respect. There is a clear sense of team spirit and that
people want to help one another. The golden rule is alive and well:
people treat one another as they’d like to be treated themselves.
That’s why both inside and outside the company, with customers,
vendors, and contractors, the customer service relationship is real
and has a human face. When one person told us “We are in the
customer service industry. We just happen to fly planes,” we believed her.14 It was clearly more than a company line, because
the statement was evident in people’s attitudes and behavior. We
could see it and feel it in every interaction. We could also sense it
in the very atmosphere at Southwest’s headquarters at Love Field
in Dallas, Texas. Reports from within Southwest Airlines suggest
that this atmosphere as well as Colleen’s style helps people to feel
excitement and commitment and to want to rise to the inevitable
challenges they face every day.
The contagious nature of resonance often translates into what
we might think of as intangibles. Just look at Southwest: the first
thing you notice is the light —bright and sunny; something about
the place feels vibrant and alive. Thousands of pictures and framed
letters on the walls show celebrations of achievement, special events,
and ordinary, everyday workers being honored. Everywhere you
go in the building, people are talking and laughing together and
clearly having a good time. The way people dress is striking too:
no corporate stodginess at Southwest. You’ll see everything from
casual suits to jeans and t-shirts. Mainly, you’ll see everyone looking busy, happy, and comfortable.
Most important, people’s behavior at the company reflects the
values and mission that Colleen’s contagious resonant leadership
has helped create. Resonance is a way of life, not just an abstract
goal. People demonstrate obvious, tangible care and concern for
one another, and yet they are direct and hold each other accountable for getting the job done and living the company values. It
seems that people are really paying attention—to their work,
their attitudes and values, and their relationships. There is a sense
of pride and hopefulness about the future. Common sense and
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good judgment are expected, cultivated, and celebrated. Passion
for the work and the company as a whole is evident, and it is deliberately kept alive in hundreds of small and large ways. Information flows freely; there is very little second-guessing about where
the company is going or how it is going to get there. This frees up
a lot of energy for actually doing the work and successfully moving forward. Colleen and her team are clearly managing the emotional reality at Southwest —and it is resulting in consistent victory
in the marketplace.
The flip side of the contagious nature of emotions, however, is
that dissonance is infectious as well. When we sense a leader’s distress, we generally will not ask what is going on, we simply adjust
our behavior. We respond emotionally and almost automatically,
either catching our leader’s moods or trying to protect ourselves
from whatever may be disturbing him or her.
This is certainly what happened in the case of Eduardo, whose
story we recounted at the beginning of this chapter. He had been
capable of generating resonance, but except for a few attempts at
the beginning of his tenure at the NGO, he became trapped in the
Sacrifice Syndrome and could not sustain effectiveness. And the
effects worsened as the pressure of his new role became evident.
Somehow, he could not tap into his leadership skills. When he
stepped into his new post people knew little or nothing about
him—his personal challenges or his professional dilemmas. What
they did know was that the man was anxious and under a lot
of pressure. They caught the brunt of his stress every day, and
avoided him as much as they could, even on those days when he
was relatively cheerful and calm.
This is because our response to one another is not dictated only
by what we pick up in any one encounter. According to numerous
studies, emotions can be linked to longer-term attitudes as well as
in-the-moment responses. Because of this, emotions indirectly affect people’s judgments about social situations and impact their behavior as well.15 In one study, during a negotiation exercise, when
people were made what they considered an insulting offer, their
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brains showed the same electrical activation as when people experience strong negative emotions like pain, disgust, and distress.16
When we apply these findings to relationships at work, we see
that if we are sometimes confused by someone’s anxious or inauthentic behavior (causing distrust and feelings of unease or fear),
we may come to habitually approach that person cautiously, no
matter what their mood in the moment. We avoid them, or we play
their game, colluding with their pretense, and begin to engage in
a less-than-authentic way ourselves. So, when the leader is inauthentic or overtly expressing destructive emotions, dissonance in
the team and even in the organization is almost inevitable.17 The
outcome when a lot of people act this way is pretty ugly—unpleasantly political at best, toxic at worst.
Think of how, in contrast to Colleen’s encouragement of a team
spirit at Southwest, Eduardo communicated both nonverbally and
verbally that he had no interest in working as part of a team. This
was not because he categorically dismissed the importance of
teamwork—in fact, in the past, he had managed teams very well.
But, as the pressure mounted, he began to see the stakes as too
high, and his judgment about how to accomplish his goals became
skewed. He was not seeing clearly. Given his limited line of sight,
he actually began to believe that he alone knew what the project
demanded, and his interest in what his employees and his clients
had to say diminished and then disappeared. As a result, his people
grew more and more frustrated and despondent; and they felt
helpless about their ability to do anything to turn the situation
around. In the end, of course, neither they nor Eduardo could
complete the mission with which they’d been charged.
Eduardo drove people’s emotions in a negative direction. As
the very real challenges of the situation and the press of responsibility increased, and as the repercussions of years of coping with
the Sacrifice Syndrome set in, he began to slip into a state of chronic
nervousness. His emotions were contagious to the point that people
became paralyzed, or began to actively resist his leadership. At this
point, neither Eduardo nor his staff could tap into their creativity,
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energy, or problem-solving skills—they were too focused on dealing with negativity and dissonance. In fact, one person told us that
nearly half of everyone’s time was taken up by complaining, political infighting, or simply hiding out. Needless to say, this kind of
situation, which is common in dissonant environments, does not
lead to collective success.
The difference between Eduardo and Colleen is that resonant
leaders like Colleen drive their own and others’ emotions in a
positive direction. They create healthy, vibrant cultures and climates, and they get results. And it all begins, at least, with emotional intelligence.
Emotional Intelligence:
A Good Place to Start
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As we have pointed out in previous writings, emotional intelligence (EI) accounts for 85 to 90 percent of the difference between
outstanding leaders and their more average peers.18 EI includes
four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness,
and relationship management. The first two domains determine
how well we understand and manage ourselves and our emotions;
the latter two dictate how well we recognize and manage the emotions of others, build relationships, and work in complex social
systems. As shown in Table 2-1, these four “quadrants” house
eighteen leadership competencies, all of which support the development of resonance.19
The fact that EI is a determining factor in excellent leadership
does not mean that intellect is unimportant. Clearly, we need to be
smart to deal with the complexities and challenges our organizations face. We need to be able to see patterns in seemingly unrelated bits of information. We need to understand strategy, markets,
finance, and technology and to be able to use what we know quickly
and efficiently, and communicate our knowledge with others. In
fact, two cognitive competencies, systems thinking and pattern
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TA B L E 2 – 1
Emotional intelligence domains and competencies
Personal competence: These capabilities determine how we manage ourselves.
Self-awareness
• Emotional self-awareness: Reading one’s own emotions and recognizing their impact; using
“gut-sense” to guide decisions
• Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits
Self-management
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• Self-confidence: Having a sound sense of one’s self-worth and capabilities
• Emotional self-control: Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses under control
• Transparency: Displaying honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness
• Adaptability: Demonstrating flexibility in adapting to changing situations or overcoming
obstacles
• Achievement: Having the drive to improve performance to meet inner standards of
excellence
• Initiative: Being ready to act and to seize opportunities
• Optimism: Seeing the “up side” in events
Social competence: These capabilities determine how we manage relationships.
Social awareness
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• Empathy: Sensing others’ emotions, understanding their perspectives, and taking
active interest in their concerns
• Organizational awareness: Reading the currents, decision networks, and politics at the
organizational level
• Service: Recognizing and meeting follower, client, or customer needs
Relationship management
• Inspirational leadership: Guiding and motivating with a compelling vision
No
• Influence: Using a range of tactics for persuasion
• Developing others: Bolstering others’ abilities through feedback and guidance
• Change catalyst: Initiating, managing, and leading in a new direction
• Conflict management: Resolving disagreements
• Building bonds: Cultivating and maintaining a web of relationships
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• Teamwork and collaboration: Fostering cooperation and team building
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recognition, consistently show a strong relationship to leadership
effectiveness. 20
That said, most cognitive abilities are baseline—you’d better
have them, or you cannot (or should not) be in a leadership role.
What makes the most difference once you’re in that role is how
you use your knowledge, not what you know. This is where EI
comes in. In most cases, we feel before we think or at least feel and
think at the same time (the sequence often occurs in miliseconds).
The parts of our brains that deal with emotions and those that
deal with cognition and rational thought are intimately linked. In
many cases, emotions will indeed drive our behavior, especially
when we are in crisis or feeling threatened.21
In this time of uncertainty, in today’s complex and challenging
environment, and with the stress inherent in leadership, leaders
are constantly feeling threatened in one way or another. Now,
more than ever, EI is key. It enables us to monitor our own hot
buttons, so we don’t fly off the handle and react without thinking.
Developing self-awareness and self-management enables us to capitalize on our strengths and manage our emotions so we can feel—
and create—passionate commitment to our goals. Understanding
others enables us to more effectively motivate individuals and guide
groups, teams, and organizational cultures.
Looking again at our examples of Eduardo and Colleen Barrett, you can see right away the differences in their EI levels—and
the effects on their organizations. When under pressure, Eduardo
defaulted to a simplistic way of understanding influence: he valued organizational hierarchy (with himself as boss), for example,
over the idea or practice of any kind of team spirit. Colleen, on
the other hand, is consistently balanced and resonant within herself, enabling her to effectively employ her considerable skills in
building and maintaining relationships while engaging in complex
influencing strategies.
And, Colleen’s emotional intelligence and internal resonance
translates to organizational resonance. Hand-in-hand with the
team spirit she helped instill at Southwest goes an egalitarian work
ethic featuring minimum hierarchy. Instead, the culture places a
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premium on individuality, which you can see in the casual atmosphere of the company headquarters and how people dress. People’s
individuality is respected and even celebrated at the same time
that collaboration and teamwork are a given. Several people confided to us that if asked, most people would not even be able to
identify each other by title, but they do know what people do well
and they know their names. They know each other as people and
for what they can do. Personal relationships are encouraged—employees often get together for after-work barbeques and parties
at the office, celebrating small wins, holidays, birthdays, and the
like. The egalitarian spirit seems to free people to build relationships, and get work done, in unusually creative and flexible ways.
People truly appreciate one another at Southwest, just as they
appreciate their customers. In another demonstration of how to
sustain resonance, Colleen recently found a great way to institutionalize appreciation. Southwest is unique in the airline industry, and
its flexible and friendly service surprises customers. Many of them
write to senior management to thank them for the special attention they receive. Colleen has made it a habit to use these letters
as a way to renew herself. In the quiet early mornings, or when
things get hectic and stressful, Colleen takes time to read every one
of these letters. Reading the stories connects her with her dreams,
her vision for the company and the people it touches. In the letters
commending employees and the company there are messages of
hope. The small and large contributions people have made in the
spirit of respect, empathy, and care for customers are the epitome
of the vision Colleen and others hold for Southwest.
These letters help Colleen to feel excitement and hope, even
on those days when things are tough. Hearing about employees’
challenges and their responses keeps Colleen in touch with her
people’s lives in the trenches. She empathizes with them, and feels
compassion for the difficulties they and the customers have faced.
She will often pen handwritten notes to her employees, commending them for their creativity and hard work. This, we know, means
a lot to people. So, as Colleen renews herself, she also shares the
renewal. And once a month Colleen sends employees the most
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inspiring letters from customers. This “Packet of Good Letters” enables her to build resonance by inspiring in Southwest’s employees
hope, care and concern, and awareness of how good they can be
as a company. Colleen knows that when they read the letters, they
will feel as she does: renewed, hopeful, passionate, and in touch
with the best of who they are as a company.
In contrast, think of Eduardo, who not only had a hard time
showing (and certainly did not institutionalize) appreciation, but
often showed a complete lack of respect for others’ viewpoints
when it came to how to get the work done. He didn’t even allow
for open communication, much less a forum for dialogue and sharing of hope and pride about the work his people were doing and
the goals they hoped to meet. He may not have meant to do this;
he had just lost the capacity to create a positive emotional climate
as a result of succumbing to the Sacrifice Syndrome. He had neglected renewal for too long.
What we are saying, then, is that given the inherent pressures
of a leader’s role and the demands of today’s environment, EI
alone is not enough to sustain resonance. How, then, do leaders
like Colleen Barrett do it?
Sustaining Resonance Through Renewal
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To create resonance in a culture, and success in the business the
way Colleen and her team at Southwest Airlines have, you have to
attend to yourself. Otherwise, you will find yourself at the mercy
of the stress of your job.
Think again of Eduardo. He drove himself relentlessly to achieve
his goals, and he drove his people right along with him. The end
result? Stress, dissonance, burnout —and failure. What Eduardo
didn’t understand is that for leaders to sustain their effectiveness,
they must learn how to sustain themselves.
Colleen, in contrast, has figured out that being emotionally intelligent simply is not enough to sustain resonant leadership—not
today, and especially not in an industry like hers. She has learned,
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The Leader’s Challenge—33
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therefore, how to manage the inevitable sacrifices of leadership, to
renew herself, and to create and sustain resonance in her organization. In short, she has learned to manage the Cycle of Sacrifice
and Renewal that we will continue to explore in these pages.
Knowing that emotions are contagious, Colleen pays attention
to her feelings and her mood. She is mindful of personal ups and
downs, and works not only to understand herself but to take care
of her own emotional needs. She knows that certain aspects of her
work, such as close connection with people and customers, make
her feel hopeful, inspired, and ready to face challenges. Care and
concern for the needs of others actually renews her. So she makes
sure she has lots of direct contact with people. As a counterbalance to stress and to ensure time to regroup, she deliberately
builds in time to be alone and reflect: early mornings, a protected
hour here and there, are dedicated to thoughtful reflection, writing warm personal notes to employees, and other sustaining activities. Colleen has learned how to create and sustain resonance
in herself and with others through a conscious process of renewal—she takes time to care for herself, get in touch with what
is important to her, and to connect with people she cares about.
We will soon look more closely at this idea—how great leaders create or sustain resonance through renewal. But first let us
examine how easy it is to slip into dissonance, especially in today’s
climate, even when our intentions are good and our talents are
many. In the next chapter we will look at one good person who, in
the end, failed as a leader. We will see how this happened to him—
and can happen to the best of us, when we do not counteract the
pressures and sacrifices that are inherent in our roles.
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Dissonance Is the Default
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or many years, “Karl,” a managing partner in a wellknown professional services firm, exemplified the qualities
of an exceptional leader. His reputation for not only bringing in
clients but also keeping them happy was legendary. He was a stellar role model, therefore, for young new associates, whom he
often would take under his wing, creating opportunities and guiding them up the company ladder. Karl worked hard to manage
both himself and his relationships in an insightful way. Managing
client projects in the region he led had become second nature—he
could almost predict the pattern of team dynamics and ongoing
negotiation with clients about deliverables and next steps. He was
generally upbeat and creative, even during the times of year when
the workload peaked and nerves were frayed. He held people accountable, while ensuring that they got what they needed and developed their skills along the way. People below him responded to
his guidance, peers trusted him, and the board respected him.
But all of that began to change—slowly at first and then more
radically—when his industry came under siege amid several high-
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