Capacity for Empathy

A friend expressed sadness over #45’s reaction to the latest school shooting, wishing desperately that “just once” there would be a more presidential response. I think he was looking for some demonstrated empathy.

But empathy requires self-awareness and regard for the feelings of others, qualities that seems to elude the current occupant of the White House, who needed a reminder to listen during a listening session with survivors. I don’t think he is capable of responding in any other than the way he always responds…by somehow making this tragedy about him.

AFP OUT U.S. President Donald Trump holds a listening session with students, parents and teachers in the State Dining Room at the White House February 21, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump is hosting the session in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 students and teachers dead.

“A prerequisite to empathy is simply paying attention to the person in pain.” ~ Daniel Goleman

Inhale Empathy, Exhale Apathy…
Inhale Compassion, Exhale Indifference…
Inhale Connection, Exhale Detachment…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Respect

A leader with less leadership capability is going to attract lesser leaders. That’s because more capable leaders aren’t going to subject themselves to someone they don’t respect as a leader.

Leadership guru John Maxwell calls this the Law of Respect and we’re seeing the truth of this axiom as the lessor leaders of our nominally functional national government succumb to scandal after scandal.

“When people respect you as a person, they admire you. When they respect you as a friend, they love you. When they respect you as a leader, they follow you.” ~ John Maxwell

Inhale Respect, Exhale Tolerate…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Back Scratch…
Inhale Respect, Exhale Kowtow…
Just Breathe…

#JustBreathe

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De-Motivator

As a young Air Force officer reading and re-writing hundreds of performance reports, I discovered that my “helpful improvements” to said reports were de-motivating my non-commissioned officers (NCOs), tasked with evaluating their subordinates.

One trusted NCO revealed the reasoning of some NCOs in explaining why the reports coming to me had not improved: “Why spend a lot of effort if the officer in charge (ME) was just going to change the words but not the meaning?”

Ouch!

So I vowed to make NO changes to grammatically correct reports that accurately reflected the performance being evaluated; no “happy” to “glad”, no “lasting” to “enduring”… no changes that dismissed the effort of the writer just because I personally preferred a different word.

As difficult as that was sometimes, I worked hard to keep my word.

Inhale Motivate, Exhale De-Motivate…
Inhale Motivate, Exhale Dishearten…
Inhale Motivate, Exhale De-Incentivize…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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The Art of Delegation

Delegation is a difficult but necessary concept for the sustainability of any organization. The leader that can delegate effectively by gradually increasing the amount of stretching required to complete a task, without micromanaging, gives his team members confidence and gains commitment.

“The leader who has to touch everything, limits the growth of his organization with his own two hands…” ~ Bishop T.D. Jakes

Inhale Delegation, Exhale Distrust…
Inhale Confident, Exhale Micromanaged…
Inhale Committed, Exhale Disengaged…
Just Breathe

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Martyr Syndrome

Have you ever watched someone on your team take over a project and then complain about having to do it all? Here’s the thing about doing it all, all the time: others will let you take the burden and won’t hesitate to take some of the credit. So if you don’t want to do it, DON’T!

“The martyr operates on the assumption that he or she knows best and has THE answer rather than an answer.” ~ David Emerald, cofounder of the Bainbridge Leadership Center.

Inhale Taking Responsibility, Exhale Taking Over…
Inhale Ownership, Exhale Martyrdom…
Inhale Inspire, Exhale De-incentivize …
Just Breathe

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Just the Facts…

The freedom to report the positive AND negative behavior of American leadership is the constitutional responsibility of a free American press. This idea that this “4th estate” is no longer supposed to identify behavior that is considered detrimental to our Democracy is dangerous.

“Freedom of the press is ours to save, not Trump’s to burn.” ~ Bruce D. Brown, America is No Longer the Standard Bearer for a Free Press

Inhale Reality, Exhale Illusion…
Inhale Responsible, Exhale Derelict…
Inhale Truth, Exhale Delusion…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Treason?

To suggest that members of the most powerful branch of our “equal” branches of government should sit idly by while their wishes are ignored and American laws, customs and traditions are trampled … THAT is treasonous.

“To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States

Inhale Patriotism, Exhale Pandering…
Inhale Power, Exhale Impotence…
Inhale Strength, Exhale Servility…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Irony Deficient: Part 5

Without irony, awareness, or even a smidge of consciousness, some of us tout American exceptionalism while supporting a president with no moral compass, no discernable skills or desire to actually do the work, and no appetite for acquiring what is required.

“Most statements of “American exceptionalism” presume that America’s values, political system, and history are unique and worthy of universal admiration.” ~ Stephen M. Vault

Inhale Honesty, Exhale Hypocrisy…
Inhale Awareness, Exhale Alternate Reality…
Inhale Consciousness, Exhale Willful Ignorance…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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Culture of Consistency

I love Alabama Football! It’s not just because I’m an alum, but because the program under Nick Saban has been the model for how to create a culture of success. The team-first attitude demonstrated by the leaders and most of the team reflects a recruiting focus, not just on talent but also on temperament.

That “team first” attitude is why Alabama is consistently in the national conversation and has won five of the last nine National Championships. And from the looks of the talent, they’re not done!

President Barack Obama is presented an Alabama football jersey during a ceremony honoring the 2009 national champion Crimson Tide football team.

Roll Tide!

“First of all, you’ve got to have a vision of ‘What kind of program do I want to have?’ Then you’ve got to have a plan to implement it. Then you’ve got to set the example that you want, develop the principles and values that are important, and get people to buy into it.” ~ Nick Saban

Inhale Vision, Exhale Delusion…
Inhale Plan, Exhale Happenstance…
Inhale Execution, Exhale Procrastination…
Just Breathe

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What Have You Done for Me, Lately?

Jalen Hurts was the first true freshman to start at quarterback for Alabama in 32 years. For the entirety of his freshman season, the media marveled at his composure, his toughness and his leadership.

Hurts was the SEC Offensive Player of the Year, briefly a part of the Heisman discussion, and took his team to the National Championship game.

In that game against Clemsom, Hurts led what seemed to be the Championship drive…before the avenge-minded, generational talent, Deshaun Watson threw the winning touchdown with one second left in the game.

Hurts was one second away from leading his team to a National Championship as a freshman. And that failure fueled him and his team for the following season. Unfortunately, in his next Championship appearance, Hurts seemed to run out of gas. Thankfully freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was able to infuse some energy.

In the aftermath of Tua’s electrifying second half performance, the media and even some “fans” have been dismissive of Hurts. It’s as if the now sophomore leader had somehow changed and become less of what was celebrated just the year before.

I would say the opposite is true. His composure, toughness and leadership never wavered during or after the game. In this crucible moment, Hurts has elevated his leadership and demonstrated the kind of team first attitude that experts say is necessary but very seldom seen in a leader.

“…we have two good quarterbacks on our team…both of them made a great contribution to the success of the team this year…two fine young men who really respect each other and have worked hard to help each other all year long.” ~ Coach Nick Saban

Inhale Team First, Exhale Me First…
Inhale Team Commitment, Exhale Selfishness…
Inhale Team Success, Exhale Failure…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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