Can You Help Me Help You

I have felt confused and disappointed for the last three weeks,

when I wrote the 3-part series on how to clear the air with “I feel…when you…because” statements, and

when I did not get any comments from readers;

because I feel like this method offers so much value, yet your collective silence made me wonder whether it’s just not helpful-interesting, and

because I want to offer you value, but your silence made me feel like I am shooting into the darkness.

So, that was a recap of the last three weeks of Read2Lead and it is also an invitation for you to offer feedback on that series on “clearing the air,” and/or what you would like to read about in future posts.

Here are some topics that I have been thinking about, but I’d love to hear about your leadership pain, ambivalence, curiosity, or hope(s).

Possible topics:

  • A holiday reading list of classics and/or recent, good books on leading
  • A mini-review of good leadership-oriented books I’m reading
  • More on LX2 or Leading by Two
  • Thoughts on leading as American citizens in this unsettling time
  • Thoughts on “leading styles” – through the lens of Myers-Briggs
  • Thoughts on “leading styles” – through the lens of Daniel Goleman and the Hay Group
  • Leadership thoughts on the cultural gender gap that sometimes seems like it’s pulling our companies and our politics apart

So please look back to the series just ended, or look forward to what you’d like to read about (or use the new buttons at the bottom to signal your reaction). These are ways you can help me  – help you to lead with your best self.

I would gain FOCUS and ENERGY, if you would use the Comments to share feedback, because your opinions matter greatly to me.


  • there’s some good discussion on the positives and negatives of identity politics and I would like to learn more about how it affects leadership. Thanks!

  • You did get feedback on IFWB, you just got it in person! Now I feel bad because i guess my in person feedback doesn’t count…. 🙂 I don’t know if I’ve seen this, but I think a look at how people can disagree on something, like you and I did at the bar, but still think the world of each other (at least I do of you!) and it’s OK(!!!) to have some fundamental disagreements and to be explosive about it from time to time – we’re HUMAN! – but the important thing is to understand that is just but a fraction of what makes that person, that person that you like. I think we forget that both in personal relationships and in work relationship so we’re afraid to be our honest selves, and i don’t think that helps things at all.

    • Ken, I appreciated your verbal feedback. I always do. And YES, I completely agree that we can disagree – even being disagreeable at that moment – and agree to respect and like each other. I have heard many “old timers” in state and national legislatures say that this was not uncommon “back in the day.” I think we have work to get back there. And perhaps tools – like IFWB – can help us to lower the temperature. Thank you for engaging!

  • I’d love to learn how we lead as Americans in this time of political tribalism, and also discuss the culture gender gap (your last point). How can we use leadership skills on a macro level to help the country and its citizens? Thank you!

  • I would enjoy hearing more about leading as Americans in unsettling times. I respect your opinion and would enjoy hearing more. Thank you.

  • Dan, you have some good thoughtful posts. I feel excluded when you return to partisan or political topics because it appears that there is no balanced view on the topic discussed. I felt the three part series you wrote was a valuable reminder because it touched on skills I have learned but not practiced enough.

    • CitizenDeux, thanks for the feedback. I loved the “I feel when” formulation! Had you said it as a declarative “you” statement, “you are always so biased” that would have immediately put me on the defensive.
      Given the desire others are expressing here for me to talk about citizen leadership in these times, I’ll probably take a shot or two. I’d appreciate your continued feedback on where I may be missing the mark from your perspective. I don’t know whether it’s possible for a person like me with definite opinions about the SUBSTANCE of issues to attempt to offer PROCESSES that are balanced and speak to our ways of communicating and leading together.

  • Although most Americans prefer real unbiased news reporting to fake news, and both parties blame the other for the fake stuff, a welcome addition to your posts would be how to compare the differences between the two. Things like what does “running a story at someone” look like, or the “have you stopped beating your wife” routine. Or what criteria one could use to compare the number of positive and negative stories/photographs /opinions regarding candidates for office or current officeholders? And why not list alternative websites and search engines that are not so biased as the ones with the most financial resources and that one can easily access every day?

  • After everything that is currently going on, I am captivated by the topic on “Leading as American citizens in this unsettling time”. I think I also speak on behalf of other international students who are also concerned and interested in this matter. I feel that you can provide a helpful insight from an american citizen perspective which help us understand and especially learn (not only international students but in general).

  • Hi, Dan and all — I’ve read ELW regularly for the past several years, but have rarely (if ever) posted. Frankly, for a variety of reasons, I’m just not a “poster.” (I have a Twitter account but have 0 Tweets to my handle.) That said, I understand that because you, Dan, are among other things a “listener” who is eager to hear other perspectives and learn from them, receiving feedback is critical to your ability to continue to teach young leaders well and write effective ELW columns. So let me say: Right on! I found your three-part post on how to clear the air to be very insightful. The key to leading, solving problems, and arguably all constructive and meaningful human interaction, starts with listening seriously, in good faith, and with humility. To me, this was the fundamental take-away from your three recent posts (and many of your other posts, too). Along the same lines, I’d like to share information about a “teach out” that is scheduled to happen soon at the University of Michigan called “Finding Common Ground.” You can read about it here: I think Professor Lupia has it just right.

  • Hi Dan,
    I read you RFL posts nearly every week and rarely comment. I did want to comment now because they inspire me and make me think…again, nearly every week. So thank you! I appreciated the series on clearing the air. It wasn’t new information and the refresher was really helpful for me, especially as I want to “spew venom” so often these days. Regarding the topics you offered for future posts, the ones that interest me most are:

    Thoughts on “leading styles” – through the lens of Daniel Goleman and the Hay Group
    Leadership thoughts on the cultural gender gap that sometimes seems like it’s pulling our companies and our politics apart.

    Also, don’t misconstrue my silence (or lack of comment) as disinterest; and thanks for asking for what you need. It’s one more thing I appreciate about you.


  • Hi Professor! You spoke at one of my conferences and I signed up immediately for the leadership newsletters. I read all of these posts, but sometimes I don’t get to do it right away every week, and when I don’t have time (or need reference for later) I move them into my ‘Everyday leadership’ folder in my email. All of the topics that you mentioned are fantastic. I like your viewpoints and how current events relate to your newsletter, especially the topic that seems to keep coming back around – ‘Leading as american citizens in unsettling times’. Looking forward to the holiday reading list as well!

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