Listening is one of the most necessary, and least practiced, leadership skills in business and life today. And lest you think lack of listening is a new phenomenon, brought on by the last few decades of tech advances that have created tech distractions, think again. Harvard Business Review found in 1957 that people remember only about half of what they hear, even when they’re trying really hard to dial in.
In times of crisis, such as the times we are now living in with the health concerns surrounding COVID-19, uncertainty about the economy and many people feeling excluded, leadership becomes even more critical. Clear and decisive leadership would seem to be the order of the day. You feel that you need to move now — less talk, more action. But yet when you give the call to act, nothing much seems to happen. Why is that? Why does it seem no one is listening to you – at least not well enough to get what needs to be done accomplished?
Fewer than 10 percent of those living with Parkinson’s Disease are under 60. Tim Hague is one of them. As a nurse for two decades, he sensed immediately what was wrong when, at age 46, he noticed a tremor in his left toe. His self-diagnosis was soon confirmed, and in the months that followed he pressed deeply into his Christian faith to grasp “Why has God done this to me?” But he refused to wallow in regret or self-doubt, and just three years later he was competing on, and winning, The Amazing Race in his home country of Canada.
Ernest Shackleton and the men he was leading on an expedition to cross Antarctica had piled up a breathtaking number of life-threatening crucibles by late 1915. Stuck motionless in polar block ice for months, hundreds of miles off course with no way to communicate their location to anyone who could help, Shackleton and his men were running low on the supplies they had already been forced to ration in miserly fashion when their greatest disaster struck: The ice that had trapped their ship now closed in to crush it, leaving the men fully exposed to the bitter cold with no choice but to traverse the ice floes that surrounded them in desperate search of safety.
Nancy Koehn was on track for an administrative leadership role at Harvard Business School, where she taught the history of leadership to the world’s best and brightest. But a series of personal crucibles — the death of her father, a divorce that came without warning and decimated her finances, a cancer diagnosis — caused the floorboards of her personal and professional lives to crumble beneath her.
Life has not always been easy for Warwick Fairfax. That’s a statement many in his native Australia never would have associated with the fifth-generation heir to arguably the country’s most influential media empire. But then he launched a multi-billion-dollar takeover of the company that failed spectacularly — leaving him with regrets, self-doubt and uncertainty about his future. More than 30 years after the takeover fell apart, the founder of Crucible Leadership and host of BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE will speak in detail for the first time about what motivated his bid to assume control of the company and why he thinks it wasn’t successful in a book from Morgan James Publishing due to be released early next year.
A crisis is the ultimate test of your leadership and your character, in particular in your ability to maintain the cohesion of your team. A crisis can be a bit like a centrifuge, which tends to push people away, and dissipate team unity. Whether the team drifts apart or comes together is largely dependent on you, the leader.
Growing up in Communist East Germany, Cathleen Merkel was taught her value came from doing what others expected of her, working hard and not upsetting the established order of things. Then the Berlin Wall fell, and she grew from a girl into a woman with dreams and passions of living a free and successful life. There was just one problem: the goals she pursued professionally and personally dead-ended a couple of times and didn’t really fulfill her even when they were going well. So she took a deep look at herself, asked close friends to help her see where she’d veered off course and finally discovered who she really was and what vision she wanted to cast for her life.
Tommy Breedlove isn’t one to make excuses. Yes, the physical and emotional violence he endured as a boy led him to become violent himself as a teen, landing him in jail for his 19th birthday. But when he was mentored by a fellow inmate and inspired to avoid another trip behind bars, he took responsibility for his recovery.
Conflict and leadership frequently go hand-in-hand. Add to the mix a global pandemic that comes with stay-at-home orders, shuttered schools and remote working, and millions find themselves living day-to-day in a powder keg of anxiety and stress. How best to navigate this unprecedented confluence of circumstances to minimize its affect on your family relationships and your business’s bottom line? Crucible Leadership founder and BEYOND THE CRUCIBLE host Warwick Fairfax and podcast co-host Gary Schneeberger discuss the indispensable role grace and tolerance play in not just avoiding flare-ups, but encouraging each other at a time when encouragement is more essential than ever.