Helping the Chronically Overworked Find Life Balance

Is It Easier For You to Identify Your Leadership Strengths or Weaknesses?

is it easier for you to identify your leadership strengths or weaknesses?I’ve come across an interesting dilemma. My Mussar studies this month focus on leadership. Rabbi Avi Fertig teaches that Leadership is not a single soul trait, but the result of multiple soul traits working together. He suggests a reflective exercise to examine three examples I demonstrated good leadership, and three where I did not. For each case, I am to identify two soul traits. By examining the whole, I can then select  two soul traits where I am strong wrt leadership, and two where I am weak. It is very easy for me to look and see where I have made mistakes, and to point to the soul trait imbalances that contributed. It is much harder for me to focus on the strengths. Why is that? Is this just me, or is it hard for you to recognize your strengths as well?

 

True self-reflection is never easy of course. We can identify surface issues, but getting to the deeper root cause is harder. For example, what soul traits of mine helped me be an effective leader for An Afternoon of Mussar a few months ago? On the surface, I might say Order, because I called meetings regularly, had agendas, and the day was well organized. However, I relied on others to teach me how to write agendas and plan the details. Underneath Order, I was practicing Responsibility, in that I was taking accountability for the outcome; and Compassion, in that I made time to check in on the welfare of the people on the team. Order then, was merely an outcome from my work in these other areas.

Ok, that felt good. For some reason it has been hard for me to do what I just wrote about in the above paragraph. Although it seems simple, I’ve been blocked for days from doing that analysis. What was so hard for me about looking at my good qualities? I’ve done this enough to know that something is there. Once in my class, I asked everyone to do a quick self-evaluation. One of the students freaked out and got anxious. I didn’t push it further at the time, but it stuck with me. A strong reaction is a red flag that there is some soul work to be done.

What has your experience been? Is it easier for you to identify your leadership strengths or weaknesses?

How You Can Prevent Another Charleston Massacre

This week, a white man killed a bunch of black people because he said they were rapists and taking over the country. Wow. I think that certain people are being pushed over the edge because we have a black President. Obamacare is working, his … [Continue reading]

Why You Should Read Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook Post

Resilience by Alan Levine via Flickr CC

Amid the excitement of my daughter finishing her first year of high school, and a pending visit to Syracuse to visit my parents, it has been an interesting week. I've been in a good writing groove, patching some holes in the early middle of the book. … [Continue reading]

Are You Too Nice?

I'm feeling really good about the event I organized last Sunday. We had over 60 people at An Afternoon of Mussar, almost half of whom had never explored Mussar before. 60 is quite extraordinary for a first time event. We ended the day in a giant … [Continue reading]

When Was the Last Time You Smiled Deeply?

when was the last time you smiled deeply

This morning when I was leaving the synagogue after Torah study, I passed a bunch of tween boys arriving for a friends Bar Mitzvah. They were dressed in their jackets and/or ties, and they were excited. It was so cool to see this ethnically diverse … [Continue reading]