11imgHow to Make Peace with Paradox

The fundamental state of leadership is not about being a wild card. It is not about being “authentic” in the sense of unloading our store of pent-up frustrations. It is about being purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open. “Letting the boss have it” is not the answer. Entering the fundamental state of leadership is much more demanding than that.

—Robert E. Quinn1

The simple answer (deceptively simple) is that to be a more effective leader, you must be yourself—more—with skill.

—Gareth Jones and Rob Goffee2

I checked my lipstick and looked directly in the mirror—painful enough given the harsh hotel bathroom lighting—to deliver my carefully crafted speech to my reflection: “Halle, I have a partner of 23 years who is a woman. I am gay. I know I should have told you at some point in the last 10 years, but I just could not find the courage.” Actually, I only thought the last part, as a lump formed in my throat and the deepest part of my intestines clenched after I said the I am gay part out loud in the mirror.

I was getting ready for dinner with one of my favorite clients, who had become a friend over the years. We had worked together in multiple organizations on several large-scale executive development projects over the years. At that time, she was the head of talent development for Invesco, a large asset management ...

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