Practicing the Skill of Leadership

Practicing the Skill of Leadership

Leadership is like other learned activities. It's a skill, and it needs to be practiced to be done well.

Sure, some people are born with the gift of being exceptional leaders, or at least they develop a skill set through their early years. But some people are also born with the gift of painting, shooting a basketball, or writing poetry. Rarely do we hear of them experiencing "success" without doing it over and over again. Because even though they're born with the gift, they keep practicing.

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Centeredness, Leadership & Emotional Intelligence

Last year, we introduced a Master Class in Emotional Intelligence for our Alumni companies, for which we've received some incredible comments. One piece of feedback was particularly meaningful to me, as the instructor. The participants noted how passionate I was, not only about the topics, but about what I was learning.

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The Leadership Responsibility

The Leadership Responsibility

When we learn, we have a responsibility to ourselves to do something about it. And when we learn as leaders, we have a responsibility to those we lead.

If leadership can be defined as moving people in the direction we're going, then what good is it for us to keep our learning to ourselves? If we gained something from a book, podcast, seminar, or mentoring session, imagine what could happen if we shared that learning? We'd get questions, reactions, conversation, debate, and growth. 

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Building an Emotionally Intelligent Company

Building an Emotionally Intelligent Company

After six years of running The Junto Institute, there is no doubt in my mind: growing our emotional intelligence makes us better people and makes the people around us better.

So, at least to us at Junto, perhaps the greatest service one of our participants or graduates can do is bring emotional intelligence (EI) to their company and co-workers. While our Apprenticeship Program strongly encourages team attendance at sessions, it's impossible for any company to bring everyone. Therefore, it behooves them to extend their learning into their company.

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There Are Startups, and There Are Re-Startups

There Are Startups, and There Are Re-Startups

There was a period during which The Junto Institute, like all new ventures, was a startup. But today, I consider it a re-startup.

As someone who has been in the entrepreneurship sector for nearly 25 years, I've seen and heard many definitions of a startup company. To this day, I believe that Steve Blank's is the best and most accurate one: "an organization formed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model."

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Learning about Emotional Intelligence Helps Us Become More Emotionally Intelligent

Learning about Emotional Intelligence Helps Us Become More Emotionally Intelligent

One of my favorite sayings is, "It doesn't matter how emotionally intelligent we are. What matters is how emotionally intelligent we can be." I use this mostly in two settings.

The first is when someone asks me about emotional intelligence assessments, when to take them, and how to use them. I don't believe that knowing your "score" does much good: people who score fairly well often think they're emotionally intelligent "enough" while those who don't score well often worry about how much they can improve. And, in my experience, neither person does much about it. In other words, judgement gets in the way of progress.

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Learning Alone, Growing Alone

Learning Alone, Growing Alone

Humans are social creatures. Research has concluded that strong social bonds contribute to a longer life. And most of us work in teams, for teams, and with teams. Yet when it comes to learning, we rarely do it together. We listen to podcasts, read books, attend seminars, and reflect mostly on our own.

This was something we paid a lot of attention to when founding The Junto Institute. We believed that if team members learned together, they and their organization would grow exponentially. That's why we required that teams participate in Junto's Apprenticeship Program together rather individuals participating alone. And we believe it's one of the reasons why so many of them have flourished.

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The Right and Wrong Ends of the Telescope

The Right and Wrong Ends of the Telescope

One of my favorite songs in recent years is "Turn It Around" by the band Lucius. As much as I've loved listening to it, I never bothered to read the lyrics until just a couple weeks ago. And while I know the two women behind the band intended to tell a different story, I couldn't help but draw parallels to our work at Junto, and to entrepreneurs, in general.

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Aligned and Exponential Learning: The Philosophy Behind JuntoClasses

Aligned and Exponential Learning: The Philosophy Behind JuntoClasses

Of the twelve Classes in the JuntoApprenticeship program, six are management topics and six are leadership topics. All of them are taught by seasoned CEOs and entrepreneurs who teach their topic not because they are self-proclaimed subject matter experts, but because they have developed a strong competency in the area by virtue of their experience.

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