Marcel Schwantes chats with executive coach and author Jerry Colonna about his new book, Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up. They discuss Jerry’s concept of Radical Self-Inquiry and how shame and fear keep us from being happy and fulfilled at work and in life.
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● Leadership represents the opportunity to complete the process of becoming the adult you are born to be. Leaders who do this, lead better and create space for those they lead to complete their own growth process. [4:36]
● We learn best through stories, examples, and modeling rather than being told what to do. Jerry shares his own story of how he hit emotional rock-bottom in 2002 and how he reinvented his life thereafter. [5:40]
● Radical Self-Inquiry is a process in which we strip away all delusions, masks, and play-acting with compassion. It is radical because we tend to go along with the masks. Jerry admonishes us to stop! Let’s be human beings together. The first step is to acknowledge where we are and how we truly feel. Also, be gentle with yourself. [10:23]
● Dropping the mask is crucial in leadership. Jerry asks, how can you build trust in a company if those who have power are not telling the truth? When facts are spoken and the feelings implied do not match, dissonance emerges and trust is eroded. The collective delusions organizations operate under are rooted in the fact that those who hold power are scared to confront themselves with the basic truth that they are, like the rest of us, just human beings. [22:50]
● Many leaders experience a Reboot awakening, usually after some devastation or loss, when the façade of their lives start to crack and fall apart. This is a crucible moment where who they are as a person emerges. Jerry shares the story of Chad Dickerson, former CEO of Etsy, whose crucible moment helped him emerge stronger and more true to himself than he was before. [29:50]
● Shame is one of the most insidious forces that gets us to be complicit and compliant. As leaders, we think we are supposed to have all the answers all the time. When we fall short of this mythical standard, we feel shame, which threatens our love, safety, and belonging. The shame drives a lot of the mask and story-making that passes for leadership. [34:13]
● Do we believe, as Machiavelli did, that it is better to be feared than to be loved? Or, like Plato, do we believe in wise leadership because humans are basically good? If we believe that people are basically good, then our job as a leader is to bring out the best in them. Fear does not do that. [38:15]
● The polarization that exists in our society today concerns Jerry. He gives advice about how to bridge the divide between ‘Them’ and ‘Us’. There is no ‘Them’: there is only the ‘Us’ who believe this, and the ‘Us’ who believe that. When we understand that we are all broken humans who just want to feel love, safety, and belonging, we can bridge the divide in our organizations and in our society. [41:39]
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- Creating Joy at Work with Rich Sheridan (Episode #4)
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