Leadership Lessons How To Raise Healthy Kids To Be Excellent Leaders

We know all the basics: lots of fresh air, sleep, fruits and vegetables, friendships, and loving parents.

There is one extra area that works like a charm. It is kids teaching kids.

You see, too much adult supervision and youngsters stop listening. All they hear is blah, blah, blah. And more than that, there is a deep pattern starting when the little ones are around two years old to say “NO.”

Enter the peer group.

No, I’m not talking about in the teen years when there is the fear of rebelling and going to the dark side with friends. I’m talking about when friendships are forming and behavior patterns can be developed amongst the youngsters for good habits.

The Power Of Film And Film Stars: Thank You Jim Carrey And Leonardo Di Caprio

I sat through the Golden Globe Awards hoping to see and hear something that would stay with me emotionally. With all the sixth grade humor about butt holes, alcohol and sexual innuendos I was able to multitask and get some work done on my new book, “Every Word Counts.”

I kept thinking “When did we lose the elegance of wanting to elevate and help people grow?”

Toward the end of this fluffy and superficial evening I was just about to give up and turn off the tube. And then Jim Carrey came on looking majestic with a super cool beard. It was clear he has done some good personal work when he talked about “being Jim Carrey who has won two Golden Globes and falling asleep thinking about becoming the Jim Carrey who will win three Golden Globes hoping will complete him.”

It was done so simply, so subtly that I wondered who got the message behind the message. It is also what we discuss with business leaders. No matter how many awards you win, no matter how well recognized you are, no matter how much money you have, you cannot fill the deeper place inside you with outer trappings.

I said a silent “thank you” to Mr. Carrey.

Happy Holidays, Happy YOU

I just came home from shopping for the last minute gifts for my family. Was it fun? Well, some of it was and some of it was rather annoying.

I took time to observe my reactions to the good moments and the sour ones. Then I found some research that aligned with my feelings and I decided to share this now, while we are still in the throes of holiday fever. At least till after the New Year’s bells ring out at midnight on December 31.

Listen to what I learned and then pay attention to how you respond in the next week.

The research from The British Medical Journal indicates that people who celebrate at this time of year have increased oxygen flow to five parts of the brain. Celebrating whatever you call your special holiday is the good part. Just sharing with family and friends with no more of an agenda than being together is powerful.

In the research they had individuals look at yuletide images, could be Frosty the snowman, Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, jolly old Saint Nick, photos of candles and evergreen trees. You name it, it works to evoke feelings of joy and nostalgia.

How To Help A Toxic Boss Become A Positive Leader

It is a basic fact that water rolls downhill. “So what” you say.

Well, that is an obvious truth. So is the fact that toxic leaders can cause their employees to act badly. However, there is another part to this equation. While people are blaming their bosses for blaming and shaming the same is true of employees who return the blame and point to the boss.

This is a pattern of victimization and bullying that lies deeper than just the way one or two individuals behave. This is a pattern of lack of accountability and everyone then plays “The Gotcha Game.”

Where does it stop? How about with YOU.

Honoring Our Veterans: Each In Our Own Way

I sat in silence listening to the stories of battered trucks driving down dirt roads and blowing up just a hairs breath from soldiers on duty. I heard about the pain, angst and often guilt that is part of physically fighting someone into submission or fear being killed.

The vets all said, in their own way, “war is hell.”

While I know our soldiers have risked life and limb to keep us safe, I was sitting in a room and listening to the war stories that brought the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Gulf War, and Viet Nam, more deeply into my own safe and simple world.

Here is how it happened: Our retreat center in Northeast Pennsylvania is set way back in the woods and no one just shows up to walk around. Except, one sunny day a tall, muscular man was there, checking out the grounds. He heard a rumor the retreat center may be for sale and he was looking for a home for the veterans who needed to heal from the wounds of war.

The man, Mark Baylis has become a dear friend and rather than talk about selling we ended up talking about helping.

How We All Can Lead Cultural And Interpersonal Change Throughout The World

I have not been to China for over a decade and coming here now was a bit of a shock. Tall buildings everywhere, cars replacing the myriad of bicycles that clogged the streets of Beijing on my last trip. Young people laughing and flirting. Parents caring for their coveted only child. Children who are well behaved and curious.

I loved saying “ni hao” (pronounced “knee how”) for hello, as the little ones would stare at my blue eyes and curly blondish hair, hide behind parents and then peek out again to figure out what was the same and what was different about this stranger.

The city of Shanghai is clean and filled with restaurants, shops and the bustle of a prosperous large city. Mostly we were the only Caucasians in a sea of Asians. We were treated with courtesy and kindness. Very few spoke English and we had to make sure we had a card with our hotel in Chinese to get back to home base.

Gender Equality Isn’t About Women Winning And Men Losing

Consider for a moment that women and men have never been equal at any time in history – not ever. This is a staggering thought, and it makes it clear that we are sailing in uncharted waters. It’s why there is no ‘best practice’ in place and no magic wand. What we are involved in is a process of experimentation and socialization that should be moving humanity forwards, to the benefit of all.

Equality is sometimes confused with ‘sameness’, which misses the point – unless we’re talking of equal rights and opportunities. There are two genders for a reason. Both have enormous strengths and both are needed to create a balanced and functioning society. Now women are becoming GUTSY and daring while men are responding by becoming more caring. This is a much better equation.

Would women make the situation any better?

How To Get Heard After You’ve Been Whacked Upside The Head

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I know you think that we can all transform our negative patterns. I have my doubts. You see, I read your book…twice! And I still have a serious problem.

I took the Pattern Aware Quiz and know I am considered a persecutor/bully. I have worked hard to change my style from being sharp and caustic with my team members. The transformation from persecutor to visionary just ain’t working!

Right now my job as team leader is on the line. My supervisor has put me on a performance improvement plan since three team members said I am negative and judgmental.

Help!

Signed,

Sweet and Kind Underneath

Dear S and K,

Always remember, the menu is not the meal! While you have read my book…twice…it takes more than reading and agreeing. It takes ACTION. And for many of us, it often takes a wake-up call to begin the hardest part of pattern transformation.

Knowing the patterns is not enough. Even understanding where they developed (hint: most likely in your original organization, the family) is not enough. It is the strength training of daily decisions to redo your communication with others that is the key to success.

Your supervisor has given you the gift, a whack on the side of your head which may get you going.

Stuck Plumbing?

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

I am a newly named director in a major tech company. We have been around for many years and have so many systems in place. However, what cannot be programmed (wish it could be!) are the human beings who surround me.

Here is my dilemma: my boss is a mixture of a micro-manager and a hands off do-it-yourself type. The combination is crazy making. She is, in your pattern terms, a persecutor always looking over my shoulder to see what is not being done right, and an avoider who hates conflict.

Now I have studied your patterns and I am a bona-fide avoider, especially of speaking up to power. And my boss is very powerful. They even say she could be the next CEO. I am working at transforming my avoider pattern and becoming an initiator and it works with many. However, with her I tread lightly.

Example: If I ask her for help when I have been at a meeting and I need to report back and I am not sure what to do she always says “I was not there so I can’t help you.” And with that she waves her hand and dismisses me. I do not think she has my back and I am fuming inside.

It makes me nervous to say something to her and I feel all my upset at her and at myself, backing up inside. Suggestions?