Stop Controlling.
Start Leading.

I wrote this book because I found most of my clients trying to predict the consequences of a certain behavior or to exert control over outcomes in their lives that were uncontrollable. They were either struggling to avoid an impending catastrophe, or consumed by trying to stay in the success lane, where everything is good and easy. In psychological circles, this is known as the pain/pleasure principle, where the avoidance of pain and the pursuit of pleasure cement the neuroses that make life unbearable.

Secret #16

Healthy behavior in a dangerous environment becomes unhealthy behavior in a safe environment.

The problem is, we are simply living in a world with fewer and fewer mortal threats. We have killed off most of the saber-toothed tigers and armed assailants and lethal martial artists, despite popular media depictions, are few and far between. Our bodies have simply not caught up to this new, safer way of being.

In war, the threat is real. The battlefield is a place where lightning-fast reflexes, hyper-vigilance and aggression are healthy behaviors that contribute to survival. The same behaviors wielded by a leader in distress can bring a company to its knees. When these behaviors are wielded by a leader of a team, that team can shift from ambition into resentment or resignation. And when wielded at home, these behaviors can be the impetus for divorce.

When working with an individual or a group that is under a great amount of stress, responding to them with logic and reason are poor ways to mitigate their stress. This is because the logical and reasonable part of the human brain turn off under stress. This entails having less intelligence, making snap judgements and becoming more aggressive. Literally becoming more reactive.

This is called the hijack effect. The best way to reduce the hijack effect in those we work with is to change the level of perceived threat or stress in us. When we are calm as leaders, our mood can spread like a virus. When we are calm, those around us will calm down too.

Secret #17

Under stress we all get less intelligent and more reactive.

Secret #17

Under stress we all get less intelligent and more reactive.

When working with an individual or a group that is under a great amount of stress, responding to them with logic and reason are poor ways to mitigate their stress. This is because the logical and reasonable part of the human brain turn off under stress. This entails having less intelligence, making snap judgements and becoming more aggressive. Literally becoming more reactive.

This is called the hijack effect. The best way to reduce the hijack effect in those we work with is to change the level of perceived threat or stress in us. When we are calm as leaders, our mood can spread like a virus. When we are calm, those around us will calm down too.

Secret #30

Forget about your intentions. Measure your impact. Fearlessly ask others for feedback.

Growing up, I was told that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. As a teenager, I am not sure that I really got the true meaning of that saying. Now, however, I get to revisit the wisdom of that saying each time I enter into coaching engagements with leaders from all walks of life.

Despite the conclusions of their 360° reviews, DiSC assessments and Myers-Briggs results that all point to a real-world need for change, despite a trail of attrition and poor performance, all of the leaders I have worked with have intentions to be good leaders. The best way to make sure your intentions match your impact is to fearlessly ask for feedback.

Stop Controlling. Start Leading.