Leadership, Love and Healing – Allegedly “Soft” Skills Prove Hard to Embody

Ample evidence exists that almost anything that has to do with looking within oneself is termed a “soft” topic or skill by most folks who are paid to lead organizations, and yet actually looking within is inevitably very hard for these same leaders.

One valid, albeit oversimplified reason for this is fear: fear of what might be found within; fear of not being good enough; fear of appearing vulnerable (exacerbated by mistakenly confusing vulnerability with weakness); fear of losing a real or imagined competitive edge; fear that we’re the only person who feels this way or has this experience–whatever our unique way or experience happens to be. Feel free to add your own.

Popular leadership qualities like confidence, assertiveness, integrity, vision and resilience, to name a few, along with an ever-growing roster of intelligences, are essential. Taken at face value, however, these essential qualities can serve leaders whether they’re leading the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Ku Klux Klan, Doctors Without Borders or the decades-long United States Congressional opposition to accessible healthcare for all Americans.

In the absence of a commitment to ongoing development and deepening self- and other-awareness, however, even high-level skill in all the essential leadership qualities–whatever we might agree they are–is limited by the awareness of the leader. This is true whether we’re leading a multi-billion-dollar organization, a local youth sports team, our toddler, or “just” ourselves.

From September 8 through October 28, the Palabra Counseling & Training Center in Middlebury, CT is offering an 8-session seminar for 16 intrepid souls who are willing to explore their own evolution as leaders. Read on for details and registration information.

Leadership, Love and Healing:

Deepening Awareness of Self, Other and the World at Large

8 Sundays, September 9 – October 28, 2012
1:00 – 3:30 PM

Online registration and details: http://leadershiploveandhealing.eventbrite.com

Click here for a PDF with a synopsis of the 8 weeks and registration information.



Beyond, or perhaps beneath, your essential leadership qualities or skills lies your worldview. How aware are you of the lenses through which you view the world, and of the direct impact and ripple effects of your leadership? Your participation in this program will directly engage what you’re able to see, how you see it, and what, currently beyond your field of view, can enhance and deepen your vision.

Eight Weeks at a Glance

Our basic premise is that the more aware each of us is of how we see, behave in, and relate to the world, the more effective we can be as leaders. To the extent that we’re unaware of and unfamiliar with the stories we tell, the beliefs we hold and the conditioned responses that hold us hostage, our leadership is diminished. Over the course of eight sessions, we’ll step back and take a look at the biggest picture available to each of us, courageously step inside our own stories and investigate our unique ways of being in the world, and then re-engage the big picture from a place of deeper understanding and fuller embodiment.

This is not about pointing out or learning “leadership qualities or skills” (e.g. integrity, confidence, assertiveness, vision, resilience, listening, emotional intelligence, etc.), all of which are essential. It is about the invaluable impact that deepening awareness and ongoing development have on these and other qualities: Oversimplified example:  ego-centered leaders listen differently than team-centered leaders; team-centered leaders assert themselves differently than world-centered leaders.

Each session will start on time and include check-in, introduction/review of relevant research and models, direct experience/application and debrief of session focus, Q & A, and brief look at what’s ahead.

Week 1: Welcome and introductions; the roles of vulnerability, intimacy and paradox; overview of “what’s at play each moment of our lives”—a comprehensive map of the stories we tell through the four foundational elements of worldview, behavior, culture and environment; the relationships among leadership, love and healing.  

Week 2: Development and Change; looking at what we previously looked through; a practical look at (some common threads among) different developmental models; “automatic,” “serendipitous,” “imposed” and “intentional” development;

Week 3: Resistance to Change: why even when we’re good people, we commit, and we really try, true change is difficult to sustain (e.g. New Year’s Resolutions). We’ll engage, and you’ll leave with, a process that will allow you to understand and overcome your unique resistance (and you can use it whenever you need it).

Week 4: Inquiry: the power of direct questioning – what’s true, what’s a story, and how can you tell? The difference between “truth” and “truthfulness,” and between “reality” and conditioned “thinking about reality.”

Week 5: Shadow: recognizing and owning the disowned, repressed aspects of ourselves—both “positive” and “negative” as an essential move toward wholeness and healing. We’ll also see why some people who REALLY upset us actually remind us of some aspect of ourselves we’d rather not acknowledge.  Great fun!

Week 6: Dying and Death: understanding those “small, everyday practice deaths” as ordinary elements of development and change, and as invaluable experiences toward preparing for our own physical death.

Week 7: Living Poems, Writing Lives: engaging poetry-writing as a vehicle for processing the work of weeks 1 through 6. No previous poetry-writing experience needed. Show up, engage, and be amazed at who you are, what you can access, and what you can write. Guaranteed. 

Week 8: Summary, Witness and Close: we will step back and honor the work each of us has done, envision our respective paths forward, and continue to live into the answers we’d like, but do not yet have.

Online registration and details: http://leadershiploveandhealing.eventbrite.com
Click here for a PDF with a synopsis of the 8 weeks and registration information.


Palabra Counseling & Training Center | Suite 207-B, Village Square
530 Middlebury Road (Route 64) | Middlebury, CT  

Click here for map and registration information.

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