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Workplace Conflict, Men, Women, and the Family

  Yesterday I talked about the tension at work where men are searching for ways to navigate that tough middle road between being a great employee or business owner and a father who is present for his children.   I saw this dilemma first hand at an off-site with a national sales group. Picture the scene: the team of 22 from a sales organization was at The Country Place Retreat Center to have some fun on our outdoors team challenge course and to take advantage of our new program called “Build and Give” where they would put some two wheeler bikes together that would then be donated to charity.   In the process they would learn about themselves, how the program “Ouch! Handling Conflict at Work” would help them talk together differently.   The women in the group came to me and requested time to put together a surprise skit for their male colleagues. They asked if I could “keep the guys busy” for about an hour while they pulled together their material.   I asked the men to gather to discuss their special issues with workplace conflict. They wanted to know why the gals were not included. Earlier, one of the men had said “NO one really understands our work-life balance issues” so, this was to give them time to think, feel and say whatever they wanted.   Off we went to the great room to sit in a circle and have time to “just talk“. Was I in for a surprise!   After just a few minutes they felt safe enough to dig deep. Here is the...

Leadership and Early Adapters

The following video has gone viral and is lots of fun to watch. It teaches some good lessons about the “first follower” as a leader. These early adapters are visionaries in their own right, and help make a movement happen.   In the video, we are talking about dancing at the beach: lots of fun and freedom and spontaneity. I would like to present a question and would love responses from all who are thinking about the ethics of followership.                                 WHO ARE YOU WILLING TO FOLLOW????   We have become so addicted to sound bites and quick, short answers that depth is replaced by clever.   Think about it: dancing on the beach, sure, what the heck, it’s fun, fast and finished.   Now ponder something that has more staying power, more meat to it…….   Would you follow the leader if it polarizes and excludes?  And more importantly, when situations become murky and the movement becomes dissident, out of control, then what? Would you stand up and say “stop?”   Please send your answers to info@sylvialafair.com and receive a copy of my white paper on “Why It’s So Tough to...

Elegant Leadership

  I am so delighted to introduce you to my new blog “Elegant Leadership” that will be posted at http://blog.ceoptions.com/ after the New Year. Since I love to write I will have a more personal blog at www.sylvialafair.com to include thoughts and ideas about relationships, health, and education, as well as business.   Elegant Leadership will include all my newest research concerning leadership. I will suggest the best books, articles, and unique individuals I can find to help you on the difficult daily journey of being the best leader you can be.   Why did I choose the title “elegant leadership”? I honestly think it chose me. I woke up with the term, like a drum beat, repeating over and over in my head. Maybe I had a dream about it, not sure. All I know is,  I love the word “elegant” as it is used in scientific realms. In nature elegant signifies finding the simplest and most precise way of responding.   I looked up the other definitions of the word and they fit my intended blog perfectly. Elegant signifies dignified richness and grace; being luxurious in a restrained, tasteful manner; incisiveness and ingenuity, cleverly apt and simple, as in “an elegant solution to a complex problem”.   What the world needs now are truly elegant leaders who want their work to speak for them, rather than be the media show of the week. They are the ones who quietly find the best solutions without the need for trumpets blaring. They do not have to play “king” they merely want to make their businesses the best they can...

Leadership Transgressions

  Are leaders measured by different standards than the rest of us? If not, they should be! They are the ones who set the standards of what matters at work, or in society, and if they are in the “Follow me, I know the best way to go” mode, then we really need to ask and understand what and why we should follow.   It is time to evaluate our teachers, our politicians, our gurus by standards that show they live what they teach. However, are sports stars or media moguls in the same classification? They are great at letting us know the best way to swing a bat, make a basket, run a race or what to wear to be hip and in. That is a far different cry than how to live a life.   What are the questions we should be asking of our leaders? Do we have a right to ask about their personal lives or is it enough that they show us how to make money or gain an edge over our competition at work?   Perhaps all the “news” about affairs and betrayals are exploding so that we can ask the real questions about what it means to compose a life, to live with integrity. All leadership development programs need a section to look at the ethics of living a purposeful life, one that can withstand today’s demand for radical transparency.   Eugene Robinson’s article in The Washington Post is a great example of what we are searching for in our own lives as we explore the foibles and mistakes of others. A...

Tigers, Politicians, and Sexual Ethics

  In a recent Psychology Today article, there was an old spin on the Tiger Woods affair. He did what he did, “because he could”, suggests the PhD psychologist. It was the aphrodisiac of power that lured him into “misbehaving”.   Remember when Bill Clinton had the whole world riveted with his shenanigans in the oval office? Lots of time went into the discussion of “should we care or not, and “whose business is it anyway”? and “it only belongs with the family”.   I could go on and on with names. Anyone remember Governor Mark Sanford? Elliot Spitzer? John Edwards? And if we continue to peel the onion back, we can find female names to add to the mix. Did Kate Gosselin “do it” with her security guard or not?   Why so much hype about what goes on in various bedrooms or motel rooms around the world? Is it just the love of gossip or, is it something else, something deeper in the generic psyche of people struggling to make sense out of relationships and what it means to commit to another?   Maybe the gossip, the endless articles, the “experts” on T.V. dissecting the reasons and back stories of the rich and famous are really our stories too – all of our stories. Maybe we, both men and women, want to make sense out of the commitment of marriage, out of the sacredness of family, out of how we should behave as models for future generations.   This appears to be a time of “radical transparency” when sexual and monetary transgressions are coming to light faster...

Media Frenzy and Leadership

  Why do we care what happened to Tiger Woods and his car accident? Do we care if the same thing had happened to a next door neighbor? What is the reason we salivate and wait for the next bit of news about celebrities and their private lives?   Maybe we are just getting ready to accept the fact that it is an illusion to want to separate who we are at home from who we are at work from who we are in the media from who we are at a party from who we are at the gym from who we are……get the point?   I believe we are finally looking for a deeper meaning of what it means to be a human being. We want authenticity. Not just for others, for ourselves. The search is long and hard and there are few sign posts along the way to help us.   So we look to those who we see as leaders, as successful, as models for what we want to become and where we want to go. Tiger Woods is only one example of an individual who has trained long and hard, become a success hitting a little white ball into a little round hole on beautiful greens around the world. He has made a fortune as an example of equanimity and grace on and off the golf course.   So now what? We want to know why he was leaving his house at 2:20 AM after Thanksgiving. We want to know why his car was shattered and windows broken. We want to know if he...