November 2020


Each of us can influence our workplace for the better and grow professionally. The topic of influence has sold millions upon millions of books, and it’s the theme for this month’s newsletter. First, know yourself, which is essential for any reflection on a leadership skill. For instance, what’s most important to you, what gives you satisfaction, what challenges you and what is the change you want to make? Understand your credibility in your organization and field of work (expertise, reputation and integrity). Be clear about who you want and need to influence (it’s not always the same thing). Finally, know how you ‘show up,’ your presence.


It’s okay not to be okay. Positivity turns toxic when we feel compelled to put a positive spin on tough times and dismiss the negative, reports Allyson Chiu in The Washington Post. Guilt and shame creep in and we miss opportunities for useful reflection. We might do this to others, too. Research suggests that people who tend to not label feelings as good or bad have better mental health in the long run.

When Nothing is Normal: Managing in Extreme Uncertainty. A new McKinsey & Co article has advice about managing through any novel, long-lasting and large-scale change. Watch for optimism bias (‘It can’t get so bad’). Plan like it will. Question assumptions that have become your organization’s facts because new information will keep emerging. Consider new operating models that are reactive and durable. Take advantage of new opportunities.


Camphill Communities in the United Kingdom offer independent residential and day schools, specialist colleges of further education and adult communities for people with learning disabilities, mental health problems and other special needs. Their approach is to recognize and nurture an individual’s abilities and qualities as the foundation for a fulfilling life. I wish I had a gap year to go volunteer.


“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact, the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they’ve taught me,” Scott Adams, comic strip creator

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