As a positive attractor, hope becomes like an umbrella of positive protection that draws from your strengths and visions of the future. The result is slower breathing, better memory, and in general a healthy prognosis, whereas negative attractors like hate, jealousy, and envy take leaders down a very different path—one of emotional, physical and spiritual isolation and dissonance. Not fun. The authors offer three key components of hope: 1) the leader needs a vision and to be in touch with people around him/her; 2) the leader must be optimistic; and 3) the leader must see the future as feasible. In fact, their description of optimists vs. pessimists is worth the read.
5. Compassion: The authors have a great definition for compassion—empathy in action. They make the distinction between compassion and sympathy: Compassion is a positive action. They use the compelling example of Lechesa Tsenoli, who was a prisoner in South Africa during apartheid. He reached out in compassion to his own jailers, one in particular. By seeing him as a person and talking about their families, Tsenoli changed the way he was treated. But the compassion started with his changing his view of his own captors. And the simple technique to start this process of compassion toward others is simply by listening to them.
The authors offer three components of compassion: 1) empathy for others; 2) caring for others; and, 3) a willingness to act on those feelings. The authors talk about creating a culture of compassion and use an example of a vision statement from Summa Healthcare Systems that is as good a one as I have ever read (p. 189-90). A final section that I particularly liked was how to become a more resonant executive coach—my chosen field. And I think this section might well become a guidebook for internal coaches and mentors alike.
6. Intentional Change: Boyatzis has developed what he calls intentional change, particularly useful when making positive change. The model is: 1) Determine your ideal self (who you want to be at your very best—your vision for your best future); 2) Inventory your “real self” (who you are right now); 3) Know your strengths and weaknesses and establish a learning agenda to address them; 4) Experiment with new behaviors that work on strengths (and manage weaknesses); 5) Develop resonant and close relationships to help you in each stage of the process.
7. Final Words: As leaders, we all fall prey to the ups and downs that go with the territory. As you see yourself or others begin to tailspin, via the Sacrifice Syndrome, toward negative attractors and ultimately toward dissonance, consider Resonant Leadership by Boyatzis and McKee to be a leadership parachute.
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