Archive for September, 2009

Lessons in Mercy

Because my wife and I don’t get as much time together as I’d like, I decided to sit through the premier episode of a new drama, Mercy. Its main characters are nurses in a Jersey City hospital. My wife’s been a nurse for a decade. In the first 15 minutes of the show, a new nurse, freshly graduated from an Ivy League Master’s program, joins the nursing staff. The two lead characters, taking advantage of the naivete of their new colleague, take her with them to visit a patient who has terminal cancer. Upon pushing open the door to the patient’s room, the two veteran nurses dodge left and right, leaving the newbie in the cross-hairs of flying food from the cranky patient. Her new smock appropriately soiled, the two veteran nurses wink and nod and go about their business.
My wife looks at me and says, “real nurses do that.” I passed off her observation as a typical prank of initiation. But I later recalled a conversation she and I had several years before when she, herself, was a nursing student.
An important part of the nurse-in-training is the clinical preparation where nursing students spend significant hours on various floors in a hospital, attempting to absorb as much as they can about the various medical disciplines while also learning from their mentor.
A frustrated wife came home one evening and said, “nurses eat their young.” My reaction at the time was,”that’s a heck of a way for nurses to encourage and motivate future colleagues.”
While I completely understand hyjinx and gentle hazing of new colleagues, this impresses me as a different dynamic. One that has become pervasive with some in leadership positions.
We seem to have fallen into this trap of those in leadership positions feeling it as their duty to put their subordinates in their proper place. In other words, the leader wants to make certain that everyone knows his or her place (beneath the leader) in the hierarchy of the office or division. This is a futile attempt for the leader to secure his or her place at the top of the proverbial food chain. Trust me, the subordinates aren’t as dumb as they appear.
Is this what we want from our leaders? To be put in our places? To be reminded that we’re an underling?
Meet me back here soon when I start to outline the characteristics of great leaders. Trust me, we’ve forgotten who and what they are.

Posted by on September 28th, 2009 No Comments

Smart As A Box of Hammers

I’ve been blessed with three daughters, and not once in 18 years have I wished that I had a son. Well, maybe when I’m cleaning out the garage and I could use some help moving a ridiculously heavy item. Of course, with my middle daughter weight training four days a week in preparation for the upcoming basketball season, that’s become less of an issue.
The only unfortunate aspect of my three girls is that they’re all in the teenage years. Which means I’m about as smart as a box of hammers.
They’ve had in incredible impact on my life, mostly positive ways. One of their more significant contributions has been their influence on my writing. My just-released non-fiction book, Final Four Leadership, is inspired by my oldest daughter’s foray into the college search process. My audio book in 2004 was likewise motivated by my girls.
Final Four Leadership profiles eight of the most successful female leaders in our country, and it also uncovers five universal secrets they share in successful leadership.
This space will primarily be devoted to leadership and to father/daughter issues. Occasionally I might rant about my Steelers or Phillies, but I promise to keep those to a minimum.
Welcome aboard. My friends with older daughters tell me once my three girls get further away from their teenage years, I’ll begin to reclaim my lost intelligence. So I’ve got that going for me.
P.S. As a bonus, just in time for the Holiday season, we’ve also decided to release my first work of fiction. I Can’t Remember Christmas is being offered at a crazy low introductory price because we want to share an awesome story with you all. Enjoy.

Posted by on September 24th, 2009 No Comments