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Leading Well from Within

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“Remember, the state of a leader is socially contagious within a culture,” Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in Leading Well from Within.  1: As leaders, our mindset sets the tone for the entire firm. How we respond to a challenge or crisis cascades throughout the organization. The good news? We can learn to navigate stress at “an organizational level and cultivate a high-performance culture of creativity and growth, whether it’s at work, at home, or in our…

1: Imagine a crisis. One moment our organization is performing well. But then, something happens. Adversity strikes. Growth stalls or recedes. As the leader, there are several ways we might react. “Many leaders get intensely stressed,” Dr. Daniel Friedland observes in Leading Well from Within. “When individuals feel overwhelmed by a high level of stress (when their perceived demands exceed their perceived resources), [we] ‘go limbic’ and lose full access to [our] higher cortical circuits—and prefrontal…

How often do we show up as the Persecutor? The Rescuer? The Victim? 1: Back in 1968, Harvard Professor Stephen Karpman introduced a concept called the Drama Triangle. “The Drama Triangle consists of the three roles people tend to take when they feel threatened—Persecutor, Victim, or Rescuer—to deal with their underlying feelings of stress or self-doubt,” writes Dr. Daniel Friedland in Leading Well from Within. “The Persecutor, whether a bad boss or domineering parent, gets…

Dr. Daniel Friedland believes asking questions of ourselves is a crucial strategy to living a better life.   He outlines a four-step approach to help cultivate this mindset in his book Leading Well from Within: A Neuroscience and Mindfulness-Based Framework for Conscious Leadership.  “More specifically, these steps cultivate our challenge response to stress, which helps us lean into our circumstances mindfully, with openness and curiosity, and leverage our stress and self-doubt to learn, grow, and achieve…

Turns out that is the wrong question to ask, Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in Leading Well from Within. Instead, we want to focus on creating the optimal brain conditions so that the answers will find us. So far this week, we focused on learning to ask the right questions. Step two involves finding more inspiring answers. “Two factors are key for creating optimal conditions to find answers internally,” Danny observes. “First, regulate any stress-driven reactivity,…

1: When Dr. Daniel Friedland would lead workshops, he would ask attendees to close their eyes and pay attention to the feelings in their bodies.   He would then “instruct them to say three firm ‘no’s’ silently in their mind, much like their parents may have told them as a child,” he writes in Leading Well from Within. “I invite them to notice whatever physical sensations, feelings, or thoughts they experience as a result.” Next, Danny…

1: Dr. Daniel Friedland knew he had made a mistake. A big mistake.   He awoke “with the painfully familiar sense of depression,” Danny recalls in Leading Well from Within: A Neuroscience and Mindfulness-Based Framework for Conscious Leadership. “I believed I’d made a terrible decision.” Danny was a leading expert on evidence-based medicine (EBM), which had become the “gold standard by which all healthcare decisions are made,” he writes. He was the author of one of…

Conflict arises because one or both people are not getting their needs met, Dr. Daniel Friedland tells us in his wonderful book Leading Well from Within. “We may feel unheard, unsafe, or uncared for regarding what is truly important to us.” Yesterday, we looked at how a father rebuilt his relationship with his son. How did he do it? It’s not complicated. It’s not high-level math. The dad began by asking questions. Of his son. And himself. Whether…

1: Eric and his son Tony had an awful relationship. Eric’s wife had left the family when Tony was eleven years old. The young boy had felt abandoned. “He became angry, irritable, and depressed,” writes Dr. Daniel Friedland in Leading Well from Within: A Neuroscience and Mindfulness-Based Framework for Conscious Leadership. “Eric, who struggled with his own doubts of self-worth, found it difficult to empathize with Tony as a teenager and deal with his emotional swings,”…

1: Dr. Mike noticed something was changing with his patients. As a pediatrician, he had a busy, demanding schedule. “I have noticed,” he emailed Dr. Daniel Friedland, “I am seeing patients who are much more tolerant of me being late. Also, they are happier with the advice I give.” The kicker? “Patients seem more likely to follow the advice given,” he wrote. What’s going on here? What is causing this change? Dr. Mike had a…

The year was 1848. One of the most momentous discoveries about the part of the brain called the Prefrontal Cortex (PFC) was about to occur. 1: Phineas Gage was the foreman for a railway crew in central Vermont. He and his team were using gunpowder to blast through a rocky hilltop. As Phineas was loading some gunpowder, he accidentally dropped his tamping iron, initiating an explosion. “The thirteen-pound, three-a-half-foot tamping iron rocketed out of the…

The world today has been described as “VUCA.” Which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. It’s easy to get triggered, to feel threatened, and to live with a “reactive mindset,” Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in Leading Well from Within. There is another option, however. Despite this “VUCA reality,” we can choose instead to live with a proactive or “creative mindset.” “The essence of being proactive is to take responsibility for [our] life rather than…

1: Because: What gets measured gets done. Vision. Strategy. Implementation. Results. Or, VSIR. These four integrated elements are the essential ingredients of living a creative rather than a reactive life, Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in Leading Well from Within. Yesterday, we explored the idea of vision. We outlined the key elements of a “life well lived.” In the VSIR cycle, our strategies and implementation are our calls to action to manifest the results we want…

That’s where we start. That’s the question we ask. 1: Our vision is an image of an ideal future. It transcends and includes our purpose and passion for being. Our vision generates the guiding force of inspiration in our lives, writes Dr. Daniel Friedland in Leading Well from Within. Why is visioning so powerful? Because when we identify a vision for the future, we create a gap between the current reality and what could be.…

1: Gallup researchers have calculated a national stress index based on a survey of more than 125,000 people from 121 countries. The analysts ask participants whether they had experienced a significant amount of stress the previous day, Dr. Daniel Friedland writes in his brilliant book Leading Well from Within. The results? The higher the nation’s stress index, the higher the nation’s well-being. “Further, individuals who were stressed but not depressed—i.e., aroused and positively activated by…

Reactive leaders focus on protecting their egos by being overly controlling. Or by being overly compliant. “In the protecting dimension, leaders take ‘flight’ by ‘moving away’ from others,” Dr. Danny Friedland writes in Leading Well from Within. “These leaders can appear inaccessible, aloof, emotionally distant, and uncaring. At the same time, they can also fight to prove self-worth with arrogance, intellectual domination, cynicism, and being highly judgmental and critical of others.” Another dimension of reactive…

1: “Fight or flight” or “Pause and plan”? As leaders and in life, how we show up is a factor of which part of the brain we are accessing, writes Dr. Daniel Friedland in Leading Well from Within.  Yesterday, we explored how when we are threatened or overwhelmed, the limbic system and other survival-oriented regions of our brain spring into action. “When I get stressed and reactive, my wife likes to remind me that I’ve ‘gone limbic’!”…

1: Are we showing up as high-performance leaders? Or low-performance leaders? The answer, according to Dr. Danny Friedland, has to do with which part of the brain we are accessing. “The state of reactivity associated with low-performance leadership generally includes the more reflexive and inflexible patterns of behavior influenced by the lower, survival-oriented regions of the brain, which are focused on self-preservation or self-gain,” he writes in Leading Well from Within. “Although there are a number…

PCI is a servant leadership organization. We have been practicing servant leadership for more than 20 years. Dr. Danny Friedland believed there is a higher and better way of leading: Conscious Leadership, which he described as “servant leadership inspired by purpose.” Conscious Leadership is “leading from your highest self in service of something larger than yourself,” he wrote in his book Leading Well from Within. “Conscious Leaders focus on ‘we,’ rather than ‘me.’ They inspire,…

After 15 years of speaking and more than 1,500 presentations, Dr. Daniel Friedland experienced something he had never experienced before. Danny was in San Diego to kick off a 10-month engagement of monthly meetings with the senior leadership team of one of the city’s leading organizations. The introductory session was scheduled at the end of a workshop day with another speaker, he recalls in his book Leading Well from Within At 3 pm sharp, he…