Great leaders, who communicate and connect, fill their minds with the person in front of them. We feel this connection when others are fully engaged in what we are saying. We see it in their eyes, we feel it energetically, we know we are connected and drawn to that person and the moment. Presence is mindfulness. Mindfulness is found in the present, and when you are present, you show up.When we find this connection with others through mindfulness, we gain a deeper understanding of each other and of ourselves. Of course when we do, we are mind-full of their presence in the moment. We also understand ourselves better when we connect with others. It is not unusual with this deep union of souls, to see ourselves in those people with whom we feel connected. In a mindful state, empathy, connection, compassion, and equality surface to our consciousness. We see and feel each other as the same, without division and without judgment—we feel love.Not only is a mindful practice one that provides clarity, vision, connection, and beauty, but being present in the moment also confers peace of mind. Living in mindfulness is living in peace. This is especially relevant in our current culture plagued with chaos, competition, rage, and fear.How do you know when you’ve really been heard?With love,Maria
So often, when we hear the word, complain, those of us who have worked in customer service bristle! However, complaints are not always a bad thing – sometimes complaints can be quite valuable. When we shift our perceptions from negativity to a positive frame, we may actually welcome complaints…well, sometimes!Complaints can be beneficial because:
- Complaints can give you information you may not otherwise have. Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees, in other words, we may be too close to the situation to see problems or issues.
- When we receive complaints, we receive information. Let’s face it; often times some information is better than no information. When people take the time out to complain, that means at some level they care! If they were complacent or indifferent about you or your organization, they would say nothing.
- If the complaint doesn’t come to you, it doesn’t mean the complaint is not being shared with someone else…perhaps shared with someone else with whom they are now doing business!The complaint gives you an opportunity to correct the situation. Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is not bliss.
Think about this: When people do share a complaint with you, they are actually saying:
- I value this relationship.
- I hope to continue this relationship.
- I am presenting this problem to you because I care.
- I know you can fix this.
What are your thoughts about complaints?With love,Maria
Local governments are at a crucial time in their evolution. Over 60% of local government employees are eligible to retire within the next five years. Wow, 60%!And if that isn’t significant enough, only 6% of current college students are even remotely thinking about public service.That means that we are potentially looking at a 54% gap of local government employees. The implications of the impact that we could experience from this gap are pretty profound!This gap, in this current day, requires an urgent and profound shift in the way local governments do business. The shift that I am talking about is a paradigm shift in organizational culture in local governments.OK, simply what does this mean?It means that we need to change the workplace culture in many cities and counties. First of all, we need to create a culture that will attract and retain a new workforce. Forbes released a study a few years ago that found that 95% of people looking for employment believed that culture was more important than compensation. 95%!Social sites like Glassdoor and Indeed openly discuss organizational culture with employee ratings and comments. Just like an entire generation chooses restaurants, hotels, movies, and most purchases based on ratings and comments, please know that they too, are choosing employers based on ratings and comments.Cultures that encourage innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, flexibility, challenge, growth opportunities, and meaningful experiences are cultures that are going to attract a new generation of eager employees.I love this work that we do with local governments, strategically and intentionally designing fantastic workplace cultures. Local governments are ripe for innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, and meaningful experiences. Build it and they will come!Secondly, cities and counties couldn’t possibly deliver the same services in the same way with 50% less people. We need to find different, innovative ways to serve our communities.As always, I love to hear from you. How would you describe a great workplace culture?With Love and To Your Success,Maria
Laughter is completely underrated. Laughter is our heart’s outpouring of love. We know laughter is contagious, yet it is powerful medicine. Leadership use of laughter is like a power-charged tool with many uses.One of the most compelling benefits of laughter is shared, joyous connection. Comedian Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” He is right; laughter connects us at deep level, which is why it is so contagious. Laughter moves beyond the superficiality of words right to our souls, moving all pretense and guard aside.I’m always amazed at the extreme power of laughter; people laughing just in response to someone else’s laughter. I remember a time when my husband, daughter, and I were watching a silly movie. The premise was a bit far-fetched, but we liked the actor, Bill Murray, in the film. He inherited a circus elephant and wanted to take it across country to sell it to a zoo. In one scene, he was driving an 18-wheeler, which he did not know how to drive, with the elephant in the trailer. In the cab, he had several boxes of candy that he was feeding to the elephant, since he didn’t know what else to feed the animal and of course he experienced one series of hysterical mishaps after another!I laughed so hard—it was one of the funniest scenes I ever saw! What was even funnier was how hard my husband and daughter were laughing at my reaction. They did not find the scene as hysterical as I did, but my deep belly, soulful laughter was so contagious that all three of us were rolling on the floor, in tears. Laughter goes to the core, infecting those within its path.When was the last time you had a good, deep belly laugh?As always, I love hearing your stories!With love,Maria
I’ve been working with a city government who is going through some pretty significant changes. They are going through a major re-organization, and of course, some people are experiencing layoffs.I was coaching a department director whose position may be eliminated. He was very uneasy about his future and even more importantly, he was devastated at the thought of his thirty years of service suddenly ending. He thought the City would take care of him in exchange for his tri-decade loyalty. He felt extremely let down, devastated, and was shocked that the City he loved so much would do this to him.Enter, the psychological contract. We often times enter into a psychological contract with our employers unconsciously. These contracts are built on unspoken expectations. We’re not even aware that we’ve formed these contract. But don’t let that fool you…just because we are not aware of these psychological contracts, does not mean they don’t exist.To the contrary - the greater the lack of awareness we have around these contracts, the greater the hold it has on us.Our psychological contracts are like a love affair. We give so much to our organization in this relationship. We work hard for this relationship. We don’t sleep, we hardly make time to eat, and we are almost always thinking about this relationship. How can we give more? How can we please more?When there is a breach in the contract, the employee/employer relationship can quickly erode and this is where disengagement sets in. It’s like a break up. Our expectations were not met.We need to manage expectations with ourselves and our team members. We can do this upfront with interviewing, onboarding, reinforcing it during orientation and training, and periodically throughout the year.A very simple expectation could be that I’m going to give my all to this organization, my expertise, my experience, and my knowledge, and in return they are going to give me a paycheck every two weeks.Hmmmm that simplifies it.When did you experience a breach in your psychological contract? How did you handle it? As always, I love to hear from you.With Love and To Your Success,Maria
We have found ourselves in the Rage Age. Incivility is almost becoming the norm. In a recent retreat I facilitated for a Mayor and City Council, incivility was a big part of our conversation. They’ve noticed an increase of incivility in the community, especially after the last major election. It was their belief that the frustration with the federal government and the incivility demonstrated during the last divisive presidential election has trickled down to the local government level.We certainly do not need to look far to see the incivility demonstrated on “social” media. I know of many people who stopped using Facebook and Twitter during the campaign because the conversation went from civil discourse to rage, rude, and abusive dialogue…in other words, the conversations became uncivil.We also see this in our own communities. A very good friend of mine recently was the victim of road rage. When I discussed this incident with a local sheriff, he explained that he wasn’t surprised by this act of rage as it is becoming much more apparent in this time of uncertainty. Wow, living in uncertainty contributes to rage.This incivility is also showing up in our workplaces. 18% of the 867 hate incidents reported in the 10 days after the election occurred in workplace environments. However, incivility in the workplace is not new. A study conducted two years ago uncovered contributing factors to this phenomenon at work. More than half of the employees said they were overloaded at work, 40% claimed they did not have the time to be nice, and 25% reported that their rude behavior was because that is the way their bosses behaved.According to another study released in August of 2016, the experiencing rude behavior reduces employees’ self-control and leads them to behave in a similar manner, which only prolongs the cycle of incivility. This type of behavior is compounded in workplaces that are perceived to be political in nature where co-workers act out of self-interest rather than what is best for the organization or the community in which they serve.When people don’t feel respected, productivity, innovation, and loyalty suffer. People just stop communicating with each other. They stop sharing and seeking information. This can be the death of an organization.Another study showed that people lose the ability to concentrate after being treated rudely. Cognitive skills dropped 30% in experiments that the researchers conducted.In many cases, rude, uncivil behavior stems from a lack of self-awareness. People who behave rudely often don’t realize the impact they have on others around them. We need to get those people who are acting rudely to understand what is going on around them and how they can improve their behavior.Start now, to create more civil workplace cultures by:
- Getting support from senior leaders to change their cultures.
- Walk the talk, model the behavior you want to see.
- Coach your executive leadership team, department directors, managers, supervisors, and employees on how to be civil and respectful of each other.
- Hold people accountable, regardless of their title in the organization.This change won’t happen overnight, but moving in the right direction with commitment and awareness will help to change workplace cultures to civil, productive, and innovative organizations.
As always, I love to hear from you. What steps have you taken to help create a civil culture?With Love and To Your Success,Maria
What needs would employees need to fill that they aren’t getting at work? I’d love to hear your thoughts!With Love and To Your Success,Maria
Several years ago, I had a tremendous learning experience regarding forgiveness.My mentor, a consultant hired by our corporate office specifically to mentor me for one year, leveraged the difficulty in the relationship I had with our division general manager to his advantage. By indicating that he was still needed beyond his contract (due to the strained relationship between the division general manager and me), he prolonged his lucrative consultant income for another two years.I was eventually relieved of my managerial role and the consultant continued his monthly visits to manage and lead my department. I was hurt and resentful. I became exhausted carrying this load of pain and then I finally realized that holding this anger was not honoring or serving anyone, least of all, me.After reconnecting with my spirit, I knew that I had to forgive him. The next time he was in town, I apologized for my behavior and told him that I forgave him for his part in reinforcing the wedge between the divisional general manager and me.The immediate sensation I had was lightness. I could hardly believe how physically light I felt, and I remember holding on to the edge of the desk as it felt like I was going to float away. I was nearly giddy with delight and wondered what had taken me so long to get there.What is keeping you from forgiving someone or yourself? The weight and burden are only hurting you. Free yourself with the amazing gift of forgiveness.Better late, than never…With love,Maria
Words are powerful.Recently in the news, we see yet another celebrity immersed in backlash for words spoken. True, as Maya Angelou stated, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It is those words that we speak that create such an emotion-filled response.Thoughts are powerful, but only because thoughts are steeped with words and stories we tell.As leaders, we have a huge responsibility to be thought-filled of our words, the vehicle, by which we communicate.Let’s not just be conscious and strategic in the words we don’t say, but even more responsible in the words we do say.Do your words lift up or pull down?Do your words encourage or diminish?Do your words inspire or de-motivate?Are your words love-fueled or your words fueled by fear?Remember, leadership is powerful—use your power wisely.With love,Maria
Sometimes when I start working with new clients they are afraid that I am going to change them or that they have to change who they are to be better leaders. The reality is—to be the best leader you can be, you must be authentic.Authenticity is what attracts followers and speaks to people’s heads as well as their hearts.In coaching, we set goals for directions in which we want to move. We identify roadblocks or barriers that keep us from the movement we desire and create strategy to overcome those barriers.Oftentimes those strategies may include a course correction in the path we already started. We may uncover some limiting beliefs we have about others or ourselves that may be holding us back. When that happens, a beautiful event occurs – we get to choose if we want to keep those barriers or change our course.This is an important point to remember: we are not changing ourselves; we are changing our course of action.What limiting belief or roadblock do you recall that changed your course of action? I’d love to hear from you.With love,Maria
So many people tell me about their fear-based organizations and how unproductive those workplaces can be. The key to shifting from fear to love is learning how to love with greater capacity than living in fear. Think of a scale with fear on one side and love on the other. Only when your love for something or someone becomes greater to you than fear, will the scale tip in favor of love. However, if your fear of something or someone is greater than your love for something else, then fear wins again.
- Do I love and respect my desire to go for that position more than my fear of being rejected?
- Do I love and value my goal to launch my own business more than my fear of stepping out and possibly failing?
- Do I value the call to write my own book more than my fear of negative response?
Do you see how easy it is to put more value onto the side of fear? The great news is that we can learn a better way to lead by employing love-based strategies and techniques with tremendous, sustainable results that are more powerful than fear-based methods. We can learn to be irresistible leaders with the power of love. Let’s all get on the same page with the definitions of love and leadership about which I am speaking.
- Love -- the universal definition of love: Honoring, caring, trusting, and respecting one human being to another.
- Leadership -- inspiring one or many toward a vision.
Love is our natural state of being, while fear is learned. Because love is our natural state, it is also the core, the very essence of who we are. When we fully embrace this concept and integrate it with our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, we come into the perfect balance of warmth and courage. Warmth and love juxtaposed with courage and strength are not opposed values; in fact, they are completely related. The root origin of the word courage is the French word cuer, which means heart. We know that to be courageous requires fearlessness; and to be fear-less is to be love-filled.Let’s be those courageous, fearless leaders and shift to the other 4-letter word, love.With Love,Maria
Did you know the majority of heart attacks occur around nine o’clock on Monday mornings?One study showed that the most common factor in these heart attacks was that the victims were people whose work had become joyless striving. In other words, they could not find meaning in their work, and their lives had become so out of balance that, one Monday morning, their bodies said, “You are not going to work today. Zap.”1I remember a discussion I had with the general manager of a regional division, discussing with him the importance of finding meaning in work for our employees and leaders. His response was, “I think meaning at work is over-rated.” Overrated? We spend the vast majority of our adult lives at work.One of the primary purposes of a leader is to inspire vision and motivation in those he or she leads, and few things are more inspiring and motivating than meaningful work.If we don’t have meaning…what do we have? We must know the “why” behind the things we do, we are at unrest and certainly unmotivated.As always, I welcome your input. What is the most meaningful aspect of your job and why?With love,Maria1. J. A .Autrey, & S. Mitchell, Real power: Business lessons from the Tao Te Ching (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998), p. 23.
I spoke at a professional organization state conference, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) about the destructive nature of the f-word… FEAR in our organizations.In my presentation, I incorporated some very important statistics from a survey conducted by SHRM at the national level. I revealed some serious challenges that our local and global organizations will likely face over the next ten years. Here are some of the highlights from that study:
- Top 3 challenges are retaining and rewarding the best employees, developing the next generation of leaders, and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees
- 43% of HR professionals indicated that obtaining human capital (us) and optimizing human capital investments would be their biggest challenge
- Most critical competencies include business acumen, organizational leadership, relationship management, and communication
- Most effective tactics to rewarding employees include flexible work arrangements; creating an organizational culture where leadership demonstrates and emphasizes trust, open communication, and fairness; opportunities for career advancement; demonstrating commitment to employee development; and providing meaningful work with clear purpose in meeting organization objectives.
This is an eye-opening list as the focus is all about the people: developing the people, creating a culture that lifts up the people, and providing the environment for people to connect their head and heart. All of this points to the need to tap into their passion with meaning.However, one seemingly small act of injecting fear into the culture can have the effect of killing innovation, loyalty, and growth in a split-second. Fear is tricky because it has been the corporate “go-to” strategy for years, and we learned and we were taught how to “lead” with fear. True, fear will motivate people in a direction. But, be aware that using fear as a motivational tool comes with a price. The price of using that nasty “f-word” fear is:
- Robs people of potential
- Barrier of individual and organizational performance
- Affects individual and organizational quality of life
- Shifts focus away from productivity and innovation to CYA (cover your assets)
- Destroys trust and loyalty
- Causes silence and uncertainty. Just because people are not saying anything does not mean they have nothing to say.
- Kills long-term motivation and commitment
- Increases stress
- Grows resistance
- Shuts down ability to think creatively, collaborate, and bring passion/meaning to the job
- People check out (both literally and figuratively)
Is fear killing your organization?With love,Maria
As a leadership coach, I am always excited when a powerful question or statement crosses my path or better yet, slams me in the face! Yesterday, I had such an encounter. Seth Godin got my attention when he stated, “If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader”. He was talking about the discomfort we sometimes feel as a leader and furthermore, when we identify the discomfort, we’ve found a place where leadership is needed. His list includes:
- Standing up in front of strangers
- Proposing an idea that may fail
- Challenging the status quo
- Resisting the urge to settle
I DO love those moments that move me out of my comfort zone and into what I call a “seat squirming” state. I know when I start squirming, I am onto to something, and that something is usually growth!Of course, I also like to state things in a positive frame, so my list may look something like:
- Motivating people in the direction of a shared goal
- Creating and innovating with others, living in a synergy zone
- Thinking outside the box and trying something that “hasn’t been done before”
- Pushing myself and others to live in creativity and authenticity, even when it may be more work
My list not only feels good when I put it on, but it moves me beyond comfort to electric energy.What are your thoughts? Comfortable? Discomfort? What would you add to the list?As always, I truly appreciate your insight.With love,Maria
Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Women in Action conference. I discussed the impact that the F-word is having on our relationships, families, teams, organizations, and communities.The F-word we discussed was FEAR. We can re-frame fear, looking at it from different lenses. One of my favorite ways to think of fear is as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. At the conference, I also shared how leading with love guides us out of the fear in which we are deeply immersed, especially during these times of fear-based thinking and living. Love is still stronger than fear every day of the week.During a panel discussion with three extraordinary women leaders in the community from local government, financial services, and higher education, we discussed the other F-word – failure. When asked about their biggest failure, I was pleasantly surprised at their responses. Each one, in their own way expressed a belief that they do not experience failure. In fact, they do not even use that F-word!One stated that she does not believe in failure, only opportunities for growth. Another stated that she too, does not look at “mistakes” as failure. Instead, she simply acknowledges a mistake. Wow, how empowering this way of thinking is for learning, humility, and perseverance – all of which are outstanding leadership qualities! When we fully embrace “failure” as a growth opportunity and a decision that did not work out, it immediately frees us to think of another decision that could give us a better result.This is not rocket science.This frame is actually quite simple, and simple is profound. I am so grateful to be introduced to this liberating way of thinking. Oh, how I love to learn! Thank you ladies, for sharing your insight.How much different would our lives be if we would not get stuck in failure and only empowered by making a better decision?With love,Maria
Love of Self, Love of Source, and Love of Others (the love-based leadership model) all require love, trust, and commitment to growth and development in the workplace. If trust and love are not ever-present, then fear-based decisions will result.“For centuries the human species has been discovering that it is the creator of its own reality, making the discovery, and retreating from it in disappointment (because the wizard [referring to the Wizard of Oz story] is not what we expected) and in fear (because the freedom the discovery brings is unknown and terrifying).”1.Fear is powerful; so powerful that it alone creates a false reality of that which is feared in the first place. Victor Frankl illustrates, “It is characteristic of this fear that it produces precisely that of which the patient is afraid…the wish is father to the thought…the fear is mother to the event.”2.Once again, choice is everywhere, calling for a decision between choosing love to guide us or fear to guide us. “Man is not born slave or free, but creates himself as one or the other through free or voluntary action.”3.Fear, again, holds us back from achieving so much. We are afraid to show that we care, afraid to open our hearts, and afraid that we may appear vulnerable. The irony in this is that when we really care about the individuals we lead, love multiplies. When people know, see, and feel that you care—they do the same. “Love really does keep on giving.”4.How do you give your love?With love,Maria
Walter Truett Anderson, Reality Isn’t What it Used to Be (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1990), p. 29.
Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, p. 125
Madan Sarup, An Introduction Guide to Post-structuralism and Postmodernism (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1993), p. 18.
Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal, Leading with Soul, p. 88.
Thoughts are powerful; they are the seeds of ideas, beliefs, creativity, attitudes, knowledge, wisdom, and reality. Thoughts can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Not by happenstance do thoughts come to us; these powerful seeds come to us through choice. Choice and thoughts are action movements, directed by us, whether we are conscious of these activities or not. The key lies in awareness of these two incredible gifts—thoughts, and choices.Unconscious thoughts are just as powerful as thoughts steeped in awareness. Earl Nightingale, in The Strangest Secret, likened the mind to a fertile field with two planted seeds—one with corn and one with poisonous nightshade. Both seeds, watered and nurtured, grew—because to the field, the type of seeds planted did not matter.Our minds are the same way, growing whatever our attention plants and nurtures. I saw a sign the other day that stated ‘Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.’ With the continued nurturing and care (attention) given to the seeds of worry, the source of worry will grow and become reality. That is how our minds work; we create our realities.In Thoughts & Feelings, Matthew McKay, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning identify fifteen key groups of disempowering perspectives:
- Filtering – Focusing on the negative details of a situation and filtering out all positive aspects.
- Polarized Thinking – Seeing a situation as either good or bad, right, or wrong, perfect or a failure.
- Over-generalization – Making a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence.
- Mind Reading – Making assumptions about what people are feeling, why they are acting as they are, and how they feel about you.
- Catastrophizing – Assuming the worst possible outcome will happen.
- Personalization – Thinking that everything people do or say is a reaction to you.
- Control Fallacy – Thinking that you are responsible for everyone or everything around you.
- Fallacy of Fairness – Being resentful because you believe that everything in life should be fair.
- Emotional Reasoning – Believing that what you feel is the truth. For example, if you feel unwise, it means that you are unwise.
- Fallacy of Change – Believing that you can’t be happy unless you can change those around you to behave, believe, or think the way you want them to.
- Global Labeling – Generalizing one or two qualities into the negative global judgment.
- Blaming – Thinking that someone else causes everything negative in your life.
- Shoulds – You keep a list of rules about the way the world should operate and become angry or disappointed if others don’t follow your rules.
- Being Right – Going to any length to demonstrate your rightness because being wrong is terrible.
- Heaven’s Reward Fallacy – Feeling bitter when the rewards do not come that you think you deserve after working hard.
Awareness is the first step to disassembling disempowering thoughts. For today, be in awareness of your thoughts and please share your Aha moments!With love,Maria
One of the most effective ways to teach is through storytelling. Nietzsche stated, “The more abstract the truth you wish to teach, the more you must allure the senses to it.” That is exactly what storytelling does; it allures the senses.Throughout history, the art of storytelling demonstrates this powerful technique used to teach. Aristotle, Plato, Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, Gibran, Hemingway, Emerson, and even Bob Dylan and Smokey Robinson have allured us with their gifted storytelling. This clear form of teaching captures us through our feelings, connecting with us through our hearts.The emotional heart-tug we get with good stories heightens our attention and holds us captive. We are fully present in those captive moments of a great story, giving our undivided attention to the details. This technique presents an incredible opportunity for the learner to not only be present with full attention, but also to retain the information ready to call upon it when needed.An ironic yet valuable benefit of storytelling is that the audience (the learner) is present in the moment of learning and the story helps us prepare for future use of the content. When we learn from stories, we learn how they may relate to us. This is a critical element to successful storytelling: the ability to relate.When we teach through stories, we are essentially saying, “When Ann experienced this event, she felt ___________, and when she did ___________, she was successful. So when you feel ___________, try as Ann did and ____________, because you too may be successful!” This mental process the learner experiences helps them to remember the story concept because they are relating it to themselves.Identify a story you believe to be a good one and follow these six simple steps to practice the art of leadership storytelling:
- Describe the main characters. Include yourself because when leaders are humble, open, and willing to share stories portraying themselves as human, it helps to connect with their team.
- Portray the situation, challenge, or problem in detail. Explain what is at stake with the issue.
- Reveal the characters’ intentions, thoughts, and feelings with the situation. Also, express what their thoughts are with potential outcomes and how they feel about what is at stake.
- Explain the actions taken by the character, including the good, the bad, and the ugly. The more in-depth you are with the description of the actions, the more you may heighten the learner’s interest in the outcome.
- Discuss the tools that the characters used to take action. Include which tools worked and which ones did not. Keep in mind that the tools may be thoughts, perspectives, strategies, and so forth.
- Finally, share the outcome.
As always, I love to hear from you. What is the best story you’ve told about your leadership?With love,Maria
Many models of leadership exist. A favorite of many, with massive buy-in is the Hollywood version of leadership. Our society has embraced and idolized a stereotype leader we see depicted in film, like the Lone Ranger.This type of leader is nearly omnipotent, strong, and able to handle almost everything that comes his (yes, his) way almost single-handedly. He has all of the answers and endless energy. In many organizations, we have come to expect this type of leader to lead and guide us through the hard times and reign in the good times. These leaders are expected to have strength, courage, valor, and vision.This perception and expectation of leadership is harmful to both the leaders and the followers. It is unrealistic. Inevitably, the Hollywood leader in organizations, communities, and countries fail, leaving the followers disillusioned and fearful. The leaders in organizations that succumb to this model pay a hefty price of, isolation, stress, fear of failure, stress-related illness, or worse.Why do we create these types of leaders literally and figuratively? Perhaps the answers lay in our fears and wanting to be rescued. So many of us grew up with the fantasy of fairy tales where we (females) were rescued by the handsome prince who led us out of adversity. We never got to know the rest of the story about the “leader’s” uncertainty or vulnerability. We never saw anything about the rescuer/leader below the surface.Perhaps another answer to this question could be our instant-fix culture. We want it (whatever it may be) to be fixed NOW! We want instant food, photos, pain relief, escape, and reality. We want instant gratification, and we don’t necessarily want to work for it. By having the leader ride in on the white horse and save the day works much better for us…or so we think.I’d love to hear your thoughts on both the leadership and the gratification concepts. What do you say?With love and no drama,Maria