Yes, I was HIGH when I left campus…but maybe not for the reasons you’re thinking – lol! I was high because I was hopeful about our future leadership. I was high because of the interest and engagement on this important subject matter. And I was high because I had the honor and privilege of being a guest lecturer at Central Michigan University’s Communication 353 – Team Communication class taught by Adam Barragato!
NOTE – this should be a required course for anyone working in any organization in any capacity!!
My daughter saw the overlap between her course material and my organizational/leadership development work and gave the instructor my contact info. Lo and behold, I found an email from this amazing instructor (go Adam!) in my Inbox. I loved his goal – to turn all his students into Team Ambassadors, and was excited to be a part of their transformation! Most importantly, I was thrilled my daughter was becoming a T.A., as well as finding her inner leader!! The curriculum mirrors programs offered “in Corporate America” and aligns with my own development philosophy and facilitation style, and includes meaty topics – EI/EQ (Emotional Intelligence), culture, team dynamics, perspective, self, conflict resolution, communication, personality typing, etc. etc.
I think of the development process as a “four-tiered cake”:
—Tier 4: Strategic—
-——-Tier 3: Tactical———
———-Tier 2: Team & Others———-
-———————Tier 1: SELF awareness———————
The higher I go in organizations, the more often I find leaders wanting to do (only) “the fun stuff” – strategic decision making – without having done the necessary (not so fun) foundation work (the layer on which great companies are built!!!). Even when they have done the work, I hear top leaders say “oh yah, I did all that a long time ago” as if they are done. Leadership development is a long-term commitment! If the I-did-that-in-the-past-so-I’m-done theory worked, we could all stop working out…after all, we were probably in pretty great shape in our twenties, so we should “done” for the rest of our careers, right? The foundation on which successful companies are built, is made up of STRONG and HEALTHY LEADERSHIP, which has SELF (awareness) and Healthy Team (interactions) as must-haves. What happens when the foundation is weak? …the house/cake falters. Working on “self” feels so remedial and messes with top leaders’ egos. Yet, in every organization (without exception), I’ve seen this issue rear its ugly head in one form or another. The people who are “developing” bump their heads against the leadership-above-them ceiling (even though leaders-up-above believe everything is fine). Leaders, please continue to do the Leadership Workout – self awareness, team dynamics, EQ/EI, perspective, and communication!! Nobody wants you to lose your leadership muscle tone! Leadership FLAB is neither attractive nor inspiring.
Daniel Goleman, the godfather of EQ/EI, challenges us with these four competencies: self awareness; self management; empathy and social awareness; and relationship management. The business case for focusing on EQ/EI is compelling and rich with substantiated examples.
I was so high when I left this college campus because these students are getting exposed to this very important work NOW. Their egos aren’t bumping up against this topic (yet), so they are still open, engaged, and hungry for more development!! The discussion was fun and engaging. As expected with this huge topic, not enough time to cover everything. Fortunately, their instructor gets it, and leads the way. Adam, thank-you for inviting me in to share a “real world” perspective and the importance of this work with two of your sections!!! And to all of the students…thank-you for your participation!
Cover Photo: US News and World Report