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

#JustBreathe

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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

#JustBreathe

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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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Our Turn

My friend with the huge heart posted yet another story about an innocent bystander being shot by a cop and asked “Is anyone else concerned here?”

I didn’t know about the incident because I’ve started to carefully curate what I ingest from the news…after realizing I just couldn’t digest another black or brown body mistreated, mutilated… murdered…

Is this how it happens? Each new disgusting display of depravity drags us deeper into the depths of despair, until we can no longer respond, no longer react…no longer resist…?

Is this how the forces of evil take over?

“Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in each generation.” ~ Coretta Scott King

Inhale Responsive, Exhale Numb…
Inhale Reactive, Exhale Immune…
Inhale Resistance, Exhale Desensitized…
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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Irony Deficient: Part 4

Whether looking for opportunity or looking to escape oppression, immigrants have believed in the idea of America even as America becomes less welcoming. But it is not the opening of America that will deplete us. It is the isolating, the narrowing, the closing of America and the building of walls to keep those we fear out…that’s what will drain us.

The irony is those who would make America great want to shut and bolt the door.

Inhale Openness, Exhale Persecution…
Inhale Opportunity, Exhale Oppression…
Inhale Freedom, Exhale Fear…
Just Breathe

#JustBreathe

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