Lessons on Leadership
is a resource for provoking ideas
and action while reconciling the two.
by Dr. James Bailey, PHD
Feature: Great Leaders & Their Environments
How Darwin answers why the person and
the situation require crucial alignment.
Lessons on Leadership
Knits today with tomorrow
with yesterday to inform those that lead and
those who counsel those that lead.
Feature: Why the Heroes?
These are the reasons why the best of the best endure.
Lessons on Leadership
is about thought leadership about leading thoughtful leaders.
Feature: A Leadership Vector
Why Good and Great Leadership Are Not Related.
By Dr. James Bailey
"Lessons on Leadership, with all of its resources essays and exchange, will provoke new ideas and help you open your perspectives to new possibilities.
Read it, spend time reflecting on it, and tell others!"Richard Boyatzis, Distinguished University ProfessorCase Western Reserve University
As the world—cautiously but inexorably—returns to the office, an inescapable concern is how to deal with those who don’t want to return. It is the responsibility of leaders to support this organizational change in the same way that any change is supported. Leaders need to know who doesn’t want to do what and why. If they don’t know, they can’t facilitate change. If they can’t facilitate the change, there are going to be a lot of unhappy employees pulling up their office chairs.
The overarching narrative, up until now, has been that commuting is a bad thing. But despite a year of working blissfully from home, our job satisfaction and general mental health have deteriorated. Why? A part of this is that our commutes were an integral daily ritual, and rituals have been a natural human behavior since the beginning of time. They add stability and certainty into an otherwise unstable and uncertain world — alleviating feelings of grief, anxiety, and increasing confidence.
Samuel Clemons claimed the nom de plume Mark Twain after the riverboat navigators’ cry to signal the shift from dangerous waters into safe ones — as well as the reverse, from safe waters to dangerous ones. “Mark” was the starting point; “twain” was where the two forces met. This is a fitting metaphor for leadership in today’s American moment.
In 1968, Simon and Garfunkel yearned for Joe Dimaggio. In 1977, “Star Wars” offered a new hope. In 2016 Yu-Gi-Oh — the wildly popular Japanese collectible card game — proclaimed that a new hero was rising. We are always looking for heroes. Heroes represent the best of us and help us to see the best in ourselves. In today’s moment, we desperately need to believe in ourselves, and to do so there must be those that we can look up to and believe in.
Almost everyone has heard of Abraham Maslow’s Need Hierarchy. It is a universal system of human striving, depicted as a pyramid with basic needs leading upward to psychological needs before reaching transcendent self-fulfillment. It’s a vital prism for refracting human experience that has stood the test of time. But a mere matter of months, 330 million Americans went from reconciling their Psychological needs or realizing their Self-fulfillment needs to distressing about their Basic needs. Collectively, we tumbled down the steep slope. We were back to the basics.
Work and life have become more complex and fast-paced such that it has become more difficult to distinguish between just having a bad day or something more. And more than a lot of professions, most of those in legal industry operate on a 24/7 always on pace. Not surprisingly, one of the questions I am asked most frequently is, “How do I know if it’s just stress or if I’m burned out?”
There was a time when companies shied away from politics. The prevailing wisdom was that endorsing a cause was bad business. Better to stay away from advocacy, focus on sales, steer clear of sentiments, and avoid offending one side or the other. When businesses contributed to political campaigns, they often contributed equally across parties. Hedging political bets was the order of the day. But things have changed.
Corporate boards are mindful of technology-focused expertise in an escalating landscape of digital strategies. These include e-platforms, AI-machine learning, cloud-based business models, blockchain, quantum analytics, privacy, and big data protection. All of these are accompanied by cyber-security pressures. But awareness and action are not the same. Boards have been slow to educate themselves, relying instead on the CIO/CRO for information and due-diligence.
Professionals in all fields migrate from job to job, industry to industry. They do so for lots of reasons. Some weren’t satisfied. Others just found a better place. Some moved up the ladder; some didn’t. Some just moved on, looking for a new patch of sky to live under. So where are law firm partners going? Is there any pattern to their migration? A rhyme or a reason; a search for personal identity and a meaningful calling? And, are there identifiable gender dynamics—a topic of much interest these days? We set out to address these questions.
Gap years for high school and college graduates has exploded in the last decade. So much so that organizing gaps years has become a cottage industry. But what about full-fledged adult professionals? Would they benefit from a gap year? Yes, but it must be intentional and focused on reorientation and renewal.