Author Archives: randy

Two Foundations, and a warning – Master these and be a better public speaker

(When I don’t have time to write blog posts, it is because I am obligated elsewhere – away from my computer. — So…busy days…).

But here is a quick thought about speaking.  Tomorrow, I am leading my Executive Public Speaking Workshop. So, this is on my mind.

public speakingLet’s think about the elements of effective speaking.  Assuming that you have good content (and, yes, I teach about how to work on content during my workshop), then I think you have to master the following to deliver a good speech.


#1 – First, get your voice right.

Be loud enough to be heard easily – work on your projection.

Be easy to understand – work on your enunciation.

Speak with the appropriate tone – Whatever else, make it an engaging tone.



#2 – Second, get your body – your face, and gestures, and full body movements — right.

Engage your audience with your facial expressions.  Make much eyeball to eyeball contact.

Use plenty of gestures – lots and lots and lots of gestures.

Move your body.  Move around a little.  But, do not pace. And the closer you can be to your audience, the better.


#3 – A warning: Be wary of slides. 

If you use slides, make sure they are easy to see, and truly add to your message. Your slides are not your presentation.  They are aids to your presentation.

You might like to read these blog posts:

There is much more to learn.  But, remember these simple foundations, master these, and you might become a better speaker.

I have written quite a few posts on speaking. Check out a number of them here:

A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis – Here are my seven lessons and takeaways

News item:
The Business Roundtable said Monday that it is changing its statement of “the purpose of a corporation.” No longer should decisions be based solely on whether they will yield higher profits for shareholders, the group said. Rather, corporate leaders should take into account “all stakeholders”—that is, employees, customers and society writ large.
David Benoit, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 19, 2019, Move Over, Shareholders: Top CEOs Say Companies Have Obligations to Society (Business Roundtable urges firms to take into account employees, customers and community)

And, from a key moment in Civil Rights history:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963


Look at the top quote above.  Notice the inclusion of employees in the group of stakeholders.  This is at the heart of a very long conflict: Do companies have any obligations to employees – to the “labor component” of a company?

history_of_america_in_ten_strikes_finalI presented my synopsis of A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis at the August Urban Engagement Book Club, sponsored by CitySquare.  It was what the title promised:  a history of America, told from the perspective of American labor, and the strikes that helped bring progress (or, failed to do so), on behalf of the worker.

Here is how I summarized  the key “point” of the book:
The owners of corporations are in business to make money.  As much money as possible. One way they do that is to get the most work – more and more work — out of the people they employ, at the lowest possible cost.  This has led to great abuse of workers, and great exploitation of workers. This book chronicles the efforts of the workers to make more, in better working conditions. It is not an easy struggle.

The stories are gripping.  Workers killed in mines. Workers killed in fires in garment factories. Workers killed in meat packing plants. Workers blamed for their own injuries and death: in other words, it was the workers’ fault/negligence, not the corporations’ fault for the unsafe working conditions…

The corporations were protected by private security forces, and by the actual law enforcement agencies.  The workers …were not very well protected at all.

This is a history of America worth reading!

I have presented plenty of books looking at factors in the success of well-known corporations.  This book reminds us to remember the workers – the workers that worked hard to being about such successes.

In my synopses, I always ask: Why is this book worth our time? Here are my three reason for this book:
#1 – This book provides a different take on the economic history of the United States. A take worth reading. 
#2 – This book provides a strong criticism of the dark side of capitalism. It is a thought-provoking critique. 
#3 – This book is a reminder that the struggles for equality, in every way, are real, and ongoing.

I share a number of my highlighted passages from the books I present. Here are the “best of” Randy’s highlighted passages from this book:

Under a capitalist economy such as that of the United States, employers profit by working their employees as hard as they can for as many hours as possible and for as little pay as they can get away with. Their goal is to exploit us. Our lives reflect that reality.

During the 1970s, there were an average of 289 major strikes per year in the United States. By the 1990s, that fell to 35 per year. In 2003, there were only 13 major strikes.

There is simply no evidence from American history that unions can succeed if the government and employers combine to crush them.

This book focuses on ten major strikes in American history to tell the story of the United States through an emphasis on class and worker struggle.

They tell a story of a nation divided by race, gender, and national origin, as well as by class. They place work at the center of American history.

This book sees the struggles for the dignity of workers, the rights of people of color, and the need to fight racism, misogyny, and homophobia as part of the same struggle.

A better tomorrow is possible, but only if you demand it.

Throughout American history, foreign workers have entered the United States to escape economic desperation or political and religious oppression in their home countries.

…In the 1840s. Employers quickly learned they could import cheap, exploitable labor rather than improve working conditions for native-born laborers.

The courts consistently found in favor of the new corporations, claiming these businesses promoted “progress” in the justification for the courts’ decisions. This led to corporations with the right to pollute at will and timber companies with the right to destroy the stream banks that farmers owned, with courts backing up corporate domination of anyone who got in the way of their growth.

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated five days after the war ended by a southern sympathizer from Maryland, the Tennessean Andrew Johnson ascended to the Oval Office. A white supremacist replacing Lincoln is one of the greatest tragedies in American history.

By the 1890s, African Americans filled 90 percent of the unskilled positions in Birmingham’s rapidly growing steel industry, but whites forced them into the most dangerous, toxic workplaces with high death rates. That fact sums up much of postwar southern labor history.

Workers died by the hundreds in mine accidents, by the dozens in factory fires, and one at a time in meatpacking plants and sawmills.

Anyone trying to organize a movement today should take three lessons from the workers of the 1930s who made the modern union movement: First, a small group of people can accomplish amazing things. Second, you never know when a small movement will become a mass movement. Third, while protest movements can create mass action, they require legal changes to win. That means electing allies ot office.

More money and better working conditions could only happen with a union. That is what GM refused to grant and that is what the workers refused to live without.

If we are to win back our rights, we have to win in the political realm. …One of the major parties has to become the workers’ party in order for us to win our rights.

Having friends in government, or at least not having enemies there, makes all the difference in the history of American workers.

Here are a few points in the book that I emphasized:

  • A critique of capitalism:  Capitalism is an economic system developed to create private profits. …That has led to the income inequality that defines modern society.
  • From new unions to many unions to many union members to fewer union members. We are truly at a low point right now in Union membership As of 2017, only 10.7 percent of workers are union members. In 1983, when Phelps Dodge decided to crush its unions, that number stood at 20.1 percent.
  • Descriptions/definitions:
  • strike – one group withholds their work against one company
  • general strike – many groups against many companies
  • wildcat strike – an “unauthorized” strike – i.e., a strike by workers not voted on by/within the Union
  • scab workers – workers who work against the strike; they cross the picket line of the strike
  • what was (in the past):
  • child labor
  • many, many sex workers; constantly abused
  • 10; 12; 14 hour days
  • unsafe (very unsafe!) working conditions
  • inadequate pay; cuts to the already inadequate pay
  • company scrip; company housing; company store
  • brutal treatment of workers
  • worker group set against worker group (especially by: race; gender).
  • brutal, deadly treatment of others going on strike – by company “enforcers,” hired enforcers; even government agencies/law enforcement
  • lots of…deaths; murders; even lynchings…
  • do not underestimate the impact of: racism; gender bias; all bias…
  • first came slaves, and immigrants, then outsourcing, then contract workers, next???… – corporations will find ways to pay less for needed work. Full stop.
  • workers really need to: choose their labor leaders well; choose a political party, and help win elections

I always end my synopses with my lessons and takeaways. Here are my seven lessons and takeaways for this book:

#1 – The system of capitalism is set up to exploit workers. We need to recognize this reality.
#2 – Though there may be (rare!) exceptions, workers will not be protected, paid well, treated well by corporations “voluntarily.” Therefore, there must be robust, truly enforced government help on behalf of workers.
#3 – Workers have done best when there were strong unions PLUS government help.
#4 – Solidarity among all workers is essential to bring about workers progress for any workers.
#5 – A loss is no time for workers to give up hope. A loss requires even more organizing.  This is a long game!
#6 – A win by workers is not a signal to quit organizing. The next battle is coming for sure; probably faster than the workers realize. This is a long game!
#7 – Though this book only hints at it, things are only going to get worse because of the rise of automation.

The more I read — the more history I read — the more I realize that I don’t know enough.  This book is a tutorial on: worker abuse; slavery; racial tension and division.  It is a very good book to read.  I encourage you to read it. You will learn much!


Here is the table of contents of this book.  It lists the strikes highlighted.  At the end of the book, there is a comprehensive list of labor events in our nation’s history:

Introduction: Strikes and American History
• Lowell Mill Girls and the Development of American Capitalism
• Slaves on Strike
• The Eight-Hour-Day Strikes
• The Anthracite Strike and the Progressive State
• The Bread and Roses Strike
• The Flint Sit-Down Strike and the New Deal
• The Oakland General Strike and Cold War America
• Lordstown and Workers in a Rebellious Age
• Air Traffic Controllers and the New Assault on Unions
• Justice for Janitors and Immigrant Unionism
• Conclusion: Take Back Power
• Appendix:  150 Major Events in U.S. Labor History

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss – Here are my Seven Lessons and Takeaways

chris-voss-featWhat is negotiation? — The majority of the interactions we have at work and at home are negotiations that boil down to the expression of a simple, animalistic urge: I want. …Negotiation serves two distinct, vital life functions—information gathering and behavior influencing—and includes almost any interaction where each party wants something from the other side. …Negotiation as you’ll learn it here is nothing more than communication with results.
Chris Voss, Never Split the Difference


Somebody has something you want.  You have to give up something to get what they have.  (Money; time; something else).  All of life is some kind of negotiation.

Chris Voss knows a thing or two about negotiation success.  He was an international hostage negotiator for the FBI. He learned to negotiate in the midst of life and death situations. Literally, human lives were on the line

Then he “beat” all sorts of MBA students from a top university in every single negotiating exercise.

And he has put his insights, and his hard lessons learned — his lessons about what works — in his terrific book  Never Split the Difference:  Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It (written with Tahl Raz).  I presented my synopsis of this book at the August First Friday Book Synopsis.

What is the point of this book?  I think it is this: Don’t compromise. Never split the difference. Instead, actually negotiate.

I always ask, in my synopsis, Why is this book worth our time? Here are my three reasons for this book:
#1 – The author learned how to negotiate in the real world of FBI negotiating; in true, life-or-death situations.  His wisdom comes from real-world negotiating challenges..
#2 – What we “knew” about negotiating success has been updated. This book brings the latest findings about what works in negotiating.
#3 – There is a good chance that you are doing it wrong.  This book will help you know how to do it right.

In my synopsis handouts, I always include the “best of” my selected highlights from my reading of the book.  Here are a few I emphasized in my synopsis:

It all starts with the universally applicable premise that people want to be understood and accepted. Listening is the cheapest, yet most effective concession we can make to get there. By listening intensely, a negotiator demonstrates empathy and shows a sincere desire to better understand what the other side is experiencing.
Getting what you want out of life is all about getting what you want from—and with—other people. So it’s useful—crucial, even—to know how to engage in that conflict to get what you want without inflicting damage.
In this world, you get what you ask for; you just have to ask correctly.
Just remember, to successfully negotiate it is critical to prepare.
Really smart people often have trouble being negotiators—they’re so smart they think they don’t have anything to discover.
Most people approach a negotiation so preoccupied by the arguments that support their position that they are unable to listen attentively.
…We can process only about seven pieces of information in our conscious mind at any given moment.
The goal is to identify what your counterparts actually need (monetarily, emotionally, or otherwise) and get them feeling safe enough to talk and talk and talk some more about what they want.
Wants are easy to talk about, representing the aspiration of getting our way, and sustaining any illusion of control we have as we begin to negotiate; needs imply survival, the very minimum required to make us act, and so make us vulnerable.
There are actually three kinds of “Yes”: Counterfeit, Confirmation, and Commitment.
Saying “No” gives the speaker the feeling of safety, security, and control.
Don’t start with “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” Instead ask, “Is now a bad time to talk?” Either you get “Yes, it is a bad time” followed by a good time or a request to go away, or you get “No, it’s not” and total focus.
I’m here to call bullshit on compromise right now. We don’t compromise because it’s right; we compromise because it is easy and because it saves face. …Distilled to its essence, we compromise to be safe.
“Why” is always an accusation, in any language.
Do not let your mind wander. Remain focused.


Click join image for full view

Here are a few points from the book worth noting:

  • Reminder: all persuasion is self-persuasion! — Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. — He is a fan of using a “nudge.” – Lots and lots of nudges.
  • THE TIP of the book:  EMAIL MAGIC: HOW NEVER TO BE IGNORED AGAIN — You provoke a “No” with this one-sentence email. Have you given up on this project? — Just as important, it makes the implicit threat that you will walk away on your own terms. 
  • The process of successful negotiation:
  • The whole concept, which you’ll learn as the centerpiece of this book, is called Tactical Empathy. –first, and second, and on and on, you listen! — empathy is “the ability to recognize the perspective of a counterpart, and the vocalization of that recognition.”
  • Active LIstening techniques:
  • Mirroring — Mirroring, also called isopraxism, is essentially imitation. We copy each other to comfort each other. — For the FBI, a “mirror” is when you repeat the last three words (or the critical one to three words) of what someone has just said.
  • Silences
  • the Late-Night FM DJ Voice (…deep, soft, slow, and reassuring. Downward inflection; a statement. And calm and reassuring).
  • SO: — 1. Use the late-night FM DJ voice. 2. Start with “I’m sorry . . .” 3. Mirror. 4. Silence. At least four seconds, to let the mirror work its magic on your counterpart. (Then, Labeling; label the feelings) 5. Repeat.

And do not miss this:  learn to use your late night DJ voice.  (You’ll almost have to order my synopsis, with the audio from my presentation, for this…).


Here are my seven lessons and takeaways from the book:

#1 – Remember, that other person is a person; a human being. (Help them get what they need).
#2 – Think “range” – range will likely get you closer to what you desire.
#3 – Use odd numbers — they seem to sound precise, and thus more carefully thought out – and, thus, they tend to work better.
#4 – Listen. Learn to listen much better. Then, listen much better.
#5 – Listen with empathy. Thus, build your empathy muscles.
#6 – What you say matters. Learn the techniques, and follow them.
#7 – Never split the difference!

Whether you are in sales (and…you are), or marketing, or management, you are always in the midst of an ongoing, and an upcoming, negotiation. This is a book that will help you think through the challenges of negotiating; and a book to teach you some needed, terrific negotiating skills.  It is a good thing to get better at this!


You will be able to purchase my synopsis of this book soon, with the audio recording of my presentation along with my full, multi-page comprehensive synopsis handout, from this web site.  Click here for the newest additions.

Could I encourage you to read a few books dealing with Issues of Social Justice?

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a mlkihaveadreamgogodistrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. 
We cannot walk alone.
And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.
We cannot turn back.
Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have A Dream, March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, August 28, 1963


I have just a few pages left to read in my reading of A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis.

Yes, he has a point of view.  (Which author does not have a point of view?).  But the book is such a clear chronicle of the ways that people who have want to keep as much as they possibly can, and people who have not, and are not heeded, have to resort to actions to get the attention of others. They have to resort to actions because their words and their pleas go so unheeded..

The history of labor strikes, and other labor actions, chronicled in this book, is a gripping history.  And it provides a tutorial on the reality of the use of political power.

It also provides a reminder that after every victory, the “losing” side wants to take part of that victory away; thus, the need for perpetual vigilance, and ongoing – always ongoing—organizing.

I read at least one book a month that falls under the general category of “Social Justice” books.  I read these books, and prepare synopses of them, for the Urban Engagement Book Club (a monthly book-focused gathering), sponsored by CitySquare in Dallas.  I’ve been at this for over a dozen years. And, it has provided me with a much-needed education.  I have learned so much about poverty; racism; incarceration issues; education issues; health care issues; gender inequality issues…all of the issues that fall under the general category of social justice.

history_of_america_in_ten_strikes_finalRecently, I mentioned to a quite conservative man, a man with prominence and influence in Dallas, that in my “book work” I present book synopses on books dealing with social justice.  He said:  “Social Justice…I don’t know. I don’t get it.”

I wish he would read some of the books that I present at this monthly event. He might get it then.

Here’s one current observation, prompted by my reading and reflecting.  It echoes the quote above from Dr. King.  We really are in this together.  And whenever we are “divided” by class, or ethnicity, or gender, it hurts our society, our communities, our world.  As Dr. King put it:  “we cannot walk alone.”

Take a good look at the books listed in the flier attached below.  Pick out one or two or six books… Read a little more often outside of your comfort zone.  It might open up your world a little.  It has done that for me.

Click on image for full, printable view

Click on image for full, printable view


And, if you are in the Dallas area on a third Thursday of the monthly (noon; near downtown Dallas), come join us as we delve deeply into one of these books.


Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic – Here are my six lessons and takeaways

Why do so many incompetent menBertrand Russell: “the fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.”

Putting more women in leadership roles does not necessarily improve the quality of leadership, whereas putting more talented leaders into leadership roles will increase the representation of women.
Women actually make better leaders. But men are almost always given the leadership positions. And, women are encouraged/taught/trained to develop and demonstrate predominantly male traits.  This is a mistake. We should elevate the better leaders into the leadership positions. And, since women have more of the traits that deliver better leadership results, we should have more women in leadership positions
From Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic


I present synopses of at least three new books (new to me) each month. I find that different books, in different ways, complement and shed light on ideas in other books.  It’s all about learning!

For example, this month at the First Friday Book Synopsis, I presented my synopsis of Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It) by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. And this Thursday, I will present my synopsis of A History of America in Ten Strikes by Erik Loomis.  One would think that these books have little “overlap.” But one would be mistaken.

A not-so-subtle message in both books is that people in any position of power do not much want to share that power, or give up that power.  And thus, there are plenty of people who couild/would be better is such positions that are overlooked, and shut out.

The book by Mr. Chamarro-Puzic is a very good book about leadership in general.  It deals with what makes a good leader, and it is definitely research-based. (The author is an accomplished academician).

And, yes, the book is about benefits that would come if we had more women in leadership positions.

In my synopses, I always ask: What is the point? — We promote (too many) incompetent men to positions of leadership. Many of these incompetent men do not serve us well as leaders. Maybe it is time for a change; maybe we need fewer bad leaders, and more good leaders. Maybe it is time for more female leaders.

And I ask: Why is this book worth our time? Here are my three reasons for this book:
#1 – This book is a good overview of the latest findings about leadership; about what makes good leaders.
#2 – This book is an academically rich, footnoted book. In other words, it is based on what we know; not just on opinion.
#3 – This book is a reminder that leaning on intuition and first impressions can lead us the wrong way.

Here are a few Quotes and Excerpts from the book that I included in my synopsis – the “best of” the best of Randy’s highlighted passages. I’m including a few more than usual in these blog posts. (There are even more included in my synopsis handout).  There were so, so many good highlights: 

Google “my boss is,” and you’ll see the following autocomplete options: “abusive,” “crazy,” “mean,” “incompetent,” and “lazy.”
Since women make up around 50 percent of the adult population and, throughout much of the industrialized world, outnumber and outperform men in college, we might expect at least equal representation of women and men in leadership positions.
In most parts of the world, the notion of leadership is so masculine that most people would struggle to name one famous female business leader.
This book explores a central question: What if these two observations—that most leaders are bad and that most leaders are male—are causally linked? In other words, would the prevalence of bad leadership decrease if fewer men, and more women, were in charge?
Women’s paths to leadership are undoubtedly dotted with many barriers, including a very thick glass ceiling. But the more I have studied leaders and leadership, the more I believe that the much bigger problem is the lack of career obstacles for incompetent men.
Quite clearly, good leadership is not the norm, but the exception.
Women as one solution to bad leadership. …reliable evidence shows that among leaders, women generally outperform men
Specifically, women elicit more respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision more effectively, better empower and mentor their subordinates, approach problem solving in a more flexible and creative way, and are fairer and more objective in their evaluation of direct reports.
“All of the aspects of leadership style on which women exceeded men relate positively to leaders’ effectiveness, whereas all of the aspects on which men exceeded women have negative or null relations to effectiveness.”
Where women are different, they perform better. Where men are different, they perform worse.
Do we really want to ask women to replicate a broken model?
We are, it seems, less likely to tolerate high confidence in women than we are in men. This bias creates a lose-lose situation for women.
We not only end up choosing more men to lead us but ultimately choose more-incompetent men.
In an environment that selects leaders for overconfidence, people who are overly self-critical—perhaps even a tad insecure—should be in high demand, but they are more likely to be ignored or ridiculed, on the assumption that they are not sufficiently strong or secure to lead.
In reality, narcissistic people are no more creative than others are; they are just better at selling their ideas to others. They are masters of impression management. Impression management is a key skill for getting ahead at work, regardless of whether you’re a narcissist or not.
Because the premium for being self-centered is therefore bigger for men than for women, the public’s reaction to narcissistic leaders is generally more negative when they are female (e.g., Martha Stewart) than male (e.g., Richard Branson).
The most effective CEOs were not charismatic but were remarkably persistent and humble. They excelled not at self-promotion but at nurturing talent in their teams.
“As a group, women outshone men in most of the leadership dimensions measured.” In fact, in only one of the ten leadership skills assessed—envisioning—did men receive higher ratings.
On all the other nine skills, both men and women rated female leaders higher, and female leaders rated women higher on envisioning. Male subordinates and male supervisors rated men and women roughly equally on vision.
If an organization hired leaders on the basis of their high EQs, it would end up with leaders who were more honest and ethical.
A leader who underrates his or her own performance is more likely to be a better leader, perhaps because the individual’s humility and relative insecurity will motivate him or her to work harder to succeed.
Past performance is usually a good predictor of future performance, except when the context changes.
The same biases that lead managers to hire the wrong candidate in the first place will continue to contaminate their evaluations of the candidate’s performance once he or she is on the job.
When they display stereotypically masculine traits, women are dismissed for not being a typical woman; when they display stereotypically feminine traits, women are dismissed for not being a typical leader. Consequently, women need to be more qualified than men do, to compete with men for the same leadership roles.
But if organizations want leaders to drive change, they would be well advised to hire moderate misfits rather than candidates who are a perfect fit for the current culture. A carbon copy of the rest of the team could perpetuate rather than disrupt the status quo. At the same time, hiring people who are radically different will rarely generate the desired change.
If we want better and more effective organizations and societies, we first and foremost need to improve the quality of our leaders.
Leadership is more likely to improve if we start drawing more heavily from the female talent pool,
But even more critically, we must put in place much bigger obstacles for the disproportionate glut of incompetent men who are so adept at becoming leaders, to everyone’s peril.

Here are a few of the notable points made in book: 

  • Let’s say a few words about leadership — what it is; what it accomplishes:
  • we should remember that leadership is a resource for the organization—it is good only when employees benefit from it, by boosting their motivation and performance.
  • Good leadership requires intellectual capital. – The key components of intellectual capital—domain-specific expertise, experience, and good judgment.
  • if someone has the right intellectual capital, social capital, and psychological capital, they will have more potential to be a good leader.
  • A leader’s performance is the sum of actions that lead to the achievement of organizational goals, and objective measures of the leader’s performance enable an organization to determine whether its leadership selection process actually works.
  • In general, men…
  • are more self-centered, and less other-centered. — Men focus less on developing others and more on advancing their own career agenda.
  • speak up before they are “ready”
  • In general women:
  • Because women have greater emotional intelligence than men do, women display more self-control, empathy, and transformational leadership when they are in charge.
  • have to be “ready” before they speak up
  • Overconfidence – and privilege:
  • Why are men more likely to be overconfident? The simplest explanation is that men are more likely to live in a world in which their flaws are forgiven and their strengths magnified. Thus, it is harder for them to see themselves accurately. Overconfidence is the natural result of privilege.
  • Narcissism and psychopathy – (narcissists disproportionately occupy the leadership ranks).
  • self-centered! – they have deficits in empathy (psychopaths are known for their cold dispositions — The absence of empathy is probably a major cause for their lack of moral constraints). – they have high levels of entitlement.
  • To the researchers’ surprise, narcissistic individuals were quite happy to confess to being narcissistic…
  • narcissism is more frequently found in men; thus, in male leaders…
  • Narcissism and psychopathy are so fascinating because they can simultaneously help individual leaders advance their careers while hurting the people and organizations they lead.
  • Various studies put the rate of psychopathy in senior management roles at anywhere between 4 percent and 20 percent. Even at the lower end, that’s four times higher than the general population rate, which is just 1 percent. …Likewise, the prevalence of narcissism in the overall population is only 1 percent, yet studies suggest that among CEOs, the figure is 5 percent.
  • narcissistic leaders also tend to have difficulties with execution, so they aren’t likely to deliver on their big plans.
  • Humble leaders produce more effective workers:
  • When leaders behave humbly, employees emulate this behavior and display more modesty, admit mistakes, share credit with others, and are more receptive to others’ ideas and feedback.
  • “The research is clear: when we choose humble, unassuming people as our leaders, the world around us becomes a better place . . . Yet instead of following the lead of these unsung heroes, we appear hardwired to search for superheroes: over-glorifying leaders who exude charisma.”

And here are my six lessons and takeaways:

#1 – Overconfident, not-self-aware leaders can bring serious and lasting harm.  We must learn to guard against being fooled by such leaders.
#2 – Men have traits that help people over-judge their capabilities. (Their traits help them over-judge their abilities).  We need to be better at spotting, and rewarding, actual leadership abilities that produce desired results.
#3 – Leadership development training programs, and coaching, can help – but only for certain types of people.
#4 – Beware of charisma. Beware of overconfident people. Men have these traits in larger numbers than women.
#5 – Women should not strive to lead like a man. We should learn how to better embrace women leaders who lead like a woman.
#6 – This much is clear.  We do not have enough good leaders. This book will help you think through many issues of leadership.

So, should you read this book?  Yes.  You will learn about leadership in general.  You will learn about IQ and EQ, and the impact they have on leadership. You will certainly learn about gender differences, and you will learn that the title is correct:  we do have way too many incompetent men in leadership positions.  In other words, we need more women in leadership positions, BECAUSE they actually have more of the human traits that make for better leadership.

This is a good book!


My full synopsis, with my comprehensive, multi-page synopsis handout plus the audio recording of my presentation will be available soon from this web site.  Click here to see our newest additions.

READ MORE BOOKS – Reading more books will do your learning good!

there is always the right book to read next

there is always the right book to read next

A short blog post for a Friday…

What do you read to keep learning?

I was asked, in a conference call today, what leadership blogs I read.  And, as I thought about it, I realized that I have pretty much quit reading leadership blogs.

(I have to be careful here…I am writing these paragraphs for my blog.  And, I certainly want people to read my blog…).

I read a few other kinds of blogs.  Some based on history issues; a couple dealing with political issues. I’m beginning to read more and more on racial issues.

But, as I thought about it, I realized my real answer is this:  I don’t read blogs in order to learn.  I read books in order to learn.

Every month, I read a minimum of three books very thoroughly and carefully, preparing a comprehensive synopsis of these books for the gatherings at which I deliver these synopses. (The First Friday Book Synopsis, and the Urban Engagement Book Club).

Two of the books are business books, and one of the books is a book dealing with social justice issues.

That’s three full books, every month.  And it is not unusual for me to add a fourth book which I prepare for a client by request. (And, I also read many, many sample pagers of other books, along with my “escape reading.”  These days, I am re-reading the earlier Gabriel Allon books by Daniel Silva).

But, all of these books have this much in common: A book is not short, thus providing a deeper dive.

Though of course I cannot remember everything I read in a book, I learn more and remember more because I am immersed in hours-long interactions with the book and its author(s).  What I read in a book lingers much longer with me. And when I prepare, and present, one of my synopsis handouts, it lingers longer still.

the "must-read..." stack always seems to grow bigger

the “must-read…” stack always seems to grow bigger

I have come to realize that reading short pieces makes for less learning.  (I have never seen a book on the world’s great blog posts). Longer readings offer more; more to ponder, more to be exposed to, more to learn and ultimately put into practice.

So, as i have said countless times on this blog, in many different ways:  READ MORE BOOKS.  Reading more books will do your learning good!