October 2014 Archives

The Art of Moving On | Daniel Goleman

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Daniel Goleman is an influential thinker in leadership studies, and his work is of particular relevance in independent schools, where interpersonal relationships and mission-driven enterprises (as opposed to profit-driven ones) are the norm. His recent book-length work deals with emotional intelligence, so this short piece fits well with that pattern. Key quotes:

The secret of high performance leadership is to get over something quickly, and help others get over something quickly to build a high bonding and cohesive state. To reach that desired state again, it's very critical to understand grief. Leaders do not pay enough attention to grief. Organizations deny the massive amount of disappointment, frustrations and jealousies.

And in a moment reminiscent of Catch-22 when Yossarian tells Clevinger that Scheisskopf will never forgive him if Clevinger tells Scheisskopf the truth about what the men really think of his leadership:

Forgiveness is something we don't talk about very often as part of good leadership, but it's another way to get over something. Quite often, a leader says, "Tell me what you think." You say what you think, and he never forgives you. He'll hold it against you. Or you make a mistake and he can't get over something to be able to come back to the job.

Come to think of it, it would be interesting to see Catch-22 as an extended meditation on the grief process and the process of moving on. That's what Snowden's story and Yossarian's trauma story are all about, really. I think academic leaders could do worse than to study Heller in light of how to provide real emotional support in their organizations.

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