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What Happens Now? Didn't See It Coming T. Servant Leadership in Action T. The Little Kindnesses Matter P. How to Avoid the 5 Career Derailers W. Leadership Forged In Crisis L. Be a Spark! Leaders Made Here T. Gratitude encourages, clarifies, motivates, includes, and unifies. But gratitude is good for you too. Gratitude puts you in the right mindset to lead. Gratitude and humility are interconnected. They reinforce each other. We alone are not responsible for who we are and what we do and that is the essence of leadership.
We are never truly self-sufficient. In a practical way, gratitude provides guardrails in our life. Gratitude helps us to protect from ourselves. It is amazing how much gratitude plays into avoiding poor behavior and wrong thinking. Gratitude sets a boundary on our thoughts by making us mindful of others. It helps us to avoid going where we should not go because we are more self-aware.
Gratitude requires that we slow down and reflect. Gratitude is the basis of emotional intelligence. It puts other people first. It says you know and you care. While empathy has been found to be essential to leadership, empathy is not empathy if it is silent. It must be expressed. Gratefulness helps to curb unproductive emotions such as frustration, resentment, and revenge.
Studies have shown that it is an antidote to depression. It has the power to heal and move us forward. It improves relationships and is a remedy to envy and greed. Instead of trying to strive with others we are thankful for what they do. Grateful people find more meaning in life and feel more connected to others. In these changing and uncertain times, gratitude is a leaders ally. Life is a continuum. Gratitude allows a leader to appreciate where they are and the resources they have at their disposal to face what life throws at them.
A habit of gratitude gives us perspective. More than a behavior it must come from the heart. It must be the mindset we lead from, manage from, and make decisions from. Gratefulness is grounded in reality because ultimately we must realize that everything good in our life is a gift. Leadership begins and ends with gratefulness. Being a Responsible Leader. I attended the opening session with him in a room of about kids that all seemed to know each other.
Would you like to hang out with us? Just doing the right thing.
- Becoming Shamus?
- For the Rest of My Life!
- A Triple Rad Day!.
Leadership begins in the home. Help them see the long-term effects of the decisions they make today. Define a future and help them to line up the decisions needed to get there. It will help them to gain a perspective on life. We can take the time to talk about their experiences. Help them to see them in the most constructive way possible. While some rules are important, principles will last them a lifetime. Rules are easy to churn out. People are experienced when you can look into their eyes. Life is experienced when you can see what is going on around you—both the sights and sounds.
One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is your full attention. We can give them responsibility. Help them to value contribution over consumption. If not, we can be guilty of what President George W. And the most important thing we can do is to set an example of the kind of people we want them to become. Remember we are training future leaders not just raising kids.
Not surprising. And this is the secret of giving: When we make the world better for others, you make the world better for yourself. The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership. Why Reframing is Important to Great Leadership Leaders need to be able to look at the situations they face from different perspectives. The need to be able to reframe a situation in order to understand what it really going on and deal with it effectively. The reason so many accidents happen on the descent is because people use everything they have—all of their energy reserves—to get to the top, and then they have nothing left in them to get themselves back down the mountain.
Every year there are mountaineers who collapse just below the summit; many of them die there. Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory. You have to know yourself well enough to judge when it is time to turn around and head back down. And you need to make that call when you still have enough energy left to descend. The hard part is that quite often that turn around point is before you reach the summit.
The number one goal of any expedition: come back alive. Number two is come back with all of your fingers and toes. Tagging the top of a mountain should never be the goal. The goal is getting back down—finishing well. Many leaders struggle with finishing well. Ironically, success plants the seeds for derailment. Success encourages complacency and arrogance both of which erode character and obstruct growth. Finishing well requires a lifelong commitment to self-awareness and growth. And that means feedback.
Any leader that struggles with openness to feedback is flirting with disaster. Finishing well is not an event. It is a process. It is a discipline—a road that the self-aware leader embarks on. They maintain the intellectual, emotional and spiritual reserves necessary to get them to the finish line.
They know the goal is getting to the finish line with their character intact. They know they must rely on others and are willing to listen and learn. It is no longer surprising to hear of another leader letting us down. And we have begun to expect not much else. It numbs us generally, but it also lowers the expectations we have of ourselves. We become bystanders. Adversaries into Allies. The Good Struggle. Are You Losing Inside the Box? If you're losing inside the box, don't bother trying to compete outside the box. If you don't have the basics in place or more to the point, if you aren't excelling at the basics, then no one cares about your uniqueness or your wow factor.
Joe Calloway is one of those people that cuts through the clutter and gets to the core issue. He makes a point that is important on a number of levels. For businesses, the wow factor is nice but what is more important is to "deliver on your promise every time, with every customer, with amazing consistency. By 'inside the box,' I mean those things that matter most to the marketplace. These are the basic expectations of your customers. Don't think that some once-a-year special thing that you do ever takes the place of consistently being the best at what matters most. Put your energy, effort, and focus into doing a really, really great job on the basics and into consistency of performance.
That determines how you treat your customers. Are you losing inside the box?ceibadcsildera.cf/dynamical-systems/harvest-of-the-late-season.pdf
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It's tempting to try to put on the showier aspects of leadership and ignore the hard won aspects of trust, communication and character. We want the choicest assignments and the most visible trappings of leadership. It's nice to be the superhero. But great leadership is won and lost inside the box.
Are you generous with information? Are you respectful? Do you listen? Do you communicate? Do you take the time to build others? Do you set a proper example? Can you follow when necessary? Can you set your ego aside? Are you accountable? Do you understand that it's not about you? It's fun to be spectacular and to be seen. You may be very competent, charismatic, and eloquent, but if you are not getting the basics right, then you're a liability, not an asset.
Leader's derail quickly when they make it about them; when the organization exists to serve them and their agenda. I've seen more than a few leaders derail because they forgot to develop and sustain one or two of the basic practices of good leadership inside the box. They looked good on the outside but it was the day-to-day that they struggled with and never addressed.
The real work of leadership is often the unsung, behind-the-scenes work of serving others that must be done on a daily basis. It may not give us that temporary ego boost, but it is the most rewarding work and has the biggest payoff in the long run. So, the real question is, are we working to improve the basics on a daily basis? Are we hitting 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 inside the box?
Fred 2. Fred exemplified an attitude of exceptional service delivered consistently with creativity and passion in a way that values other people. The problem is we view struggle as a negative. But struggle is how we grow. Listening renews and refreshes. Without it we get stuck and tedious. Listening is the catalyst for making individuals a community. Listening creates the space for leadership.
His advice is relatable, practical, and gets to the core of the issue. In article after article, book after book, he hits the nail on the head. The Character Based Leader Charisma: helpful Competence: important Character: Priceless The greatest threat to any leader comes not from without, but from within. It is who we are, more than anything else, that will derail us.
The traits we so value in great leaders is a matter of character. And it is through this character that our leadership is manifested. It creates the space in which we lead. Good leadership rests upon good character. The Eight Pillars of Trust. Triple Crown Leadership. The Titleless Leader Leading without a title is about taking personal responsibility. We—the world—is in desperate need of people who will choose to lead whenever and wherever they can.
People are frustrated, angry, disillusioned, tired, and afraid. Not to mention skeptical, cynical, and distrustful. And those plaques touting people as the most important asset should be taken down. Not everywhere, of course, but in far too many organizations. But we have a choice. No one needs to appoint you, promote you, or nominate you. You decide. What Russell is talking about here is a different kind of leadership that starts with what all good leadership begins with: self-discipline. It is taking responsibility for the outcomes in your area.
Managers must participate enthusiastically and, more important, be able to demonstrate the skills they expect everyone else to learn. Having an Informed Faith Whether developing an organization or especially an individual, having an informed faith is essential. We value seeing things as they are—seeing reality.
But potential is as much as part of reality as cold hard facts. Being able to see where an organization or an individual could go is vital for any leader. To see what is and to see what could be. The combination is essential for leadership. But they also see the potential with real excitement and enthusiasm. That intention attracts opportunities to you. Most people like the idea of leadership but few count the cost. To whom much is given much is required. His book, The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership offers insight from his lifetime in leadership, interacting with some of the world's top leaders in the C-suite and boardrooms, as well as heads of state.
He offers a framework based on fundamental human truths and the essential elements of leadership. Anchor yourself in Humility. Leadership is an all-in proposition. Never react; instead ask yourself: is this about me or about we? The why. Purpose must have a long shadow, extending its influence over others. Strategy starts with the results of today.
Strategy, rooted in values and purpose, gives encouragement through times of ambiguity and uncertainty. Strategy without purpose and values is a short-term plan that is directed toward shallow goals. When you. Although many try to do just that. Set high expectations for your team members, and help them to see what they can achieve. Validate your data. Walk around. Talk to people. Look into their eyes and see for yourself whether the strategy is really working.
Employees work harder for leaders who demonstrate respect for their work. Authentic, purposeful praise is a power skill of the successful leader—everywhere. As a leader, you must always have your focus on the horizon. Your first task is to hone your view of the present that you perceive around you and your organization. Grounded in this reality, you are able to raise your sights toward the horizon and beyond.
Anticipation and navigation are complementary skills. It involves making decisions in real time that allow you to adjust, react, and outmaneuver the competition—always on the lookout for the unexpected. Communication is where leadership lives and breathes. That means more listening than talking. It is a process in which you seek first to understand what others think. Listen, learn, and then lead—in that order.
Knowledge is what you know. Surround yourself with a handful of people who will be your corrective lens, making sure that you focus and learn. Equally important, your inner circle should be made up of confidants who provide grounding and perspective, seeing you as a person rather than a function. Burnison reminds us that leadership is about people. The Inner World of the Leader: On the Couch with Manfred Kets de Vries Why do organizations attempt to function on the basis that executives are logical, rational, dependable human beings?
And why does the belief persist that management is a rational task performed by rational people according to rational organizational objectives? His background in economics, management, and psychoanalysis, adds a great deal of richness and context to the study of leadership. Over the last three years Jossey-Bass has published a mostly revised and updated collection of his rather large body of thoughtful-provoking writing in this series of three books.
The opinion of one of the power holders in the [Harvard Business School] Organizational Behavior department was that I would never write anything. That particular person must have had a very good understanding of human behavior. One of the small pleasures of life is doing something people say you will never do. I believe that [ Reflections on Character and Leadership ] is my twenty-ninth book. I have always thought that academics are masters in character assassination.
Because you are generous with information. You know it enables and values others. Because you eschew the trappings of power. You respect your position too much to let yourself become self-absorbed and disconnected from those you serve. Because you are honored to lead, you genuinely respect and care for the people you serve. Because you avoid the trivial and stay focused on your core values and the vision they enable. You will always pay attention to what matters most and you communicate it tirelessly and with clarity. Because you are driven to produce and are accountable for it and expect the same from others.
Because you take time to reflect to keep yourself aligned and to continually evaluate your impact. Because you exercise. You know that regular exercise not only makes you feel better physically and it has a profound impact on your cognitive abilities and mental health. Because you are curious, you are committed to being a lifelong learner and building a learning culture within your team and organization. Because you are committed to building others greater than yourself. You are validated not by your own knowledge and accomplishments but by those you help to succeed.
You are passionate about and energized by the people you serve. Because you know that you are setting an example for others to follow. Everything you do matters. True North Groups. Do You Have Moral Overconfidence? Most will behave well or poorly, depending on the context…. Business leaders need to remember that most of us have too much confidence in our strength of character.
Nohria is exactly correct. Good leadership is humble leadership. Humility is living in truth. The truth about our limitations and an understanding of our proper relationship with others. Humility gives us a better understanding of how we are to treat each other. Without it we operate from only one perspective—our own. This kills influence. As leaders, we are to work with people, not over them. It is far too tempting to think hierarchically and not relationally. A humble leader will close the gap between themselves and others. Humility manifests itself in understanding the need to learn.
Authority disciplined by humility is teachable. We never arrive. It is merely an opportunity to learn from another perspective. If you stop learning, you stop leading. Leadership has a way of revealing our weaknesses. If You Will Lead No Fear of Failure. It has been presented before but never to this depth and completeness. The 5 Levels express a way to understand and organize your leadership growth. Each of the levels build on the previous one and you can only progress to the next level once you have mastered the previous level.
As you go higher it is easier to lead because your influence grows as well, as your leadership becomes more service oriented. Maxwell says it takes longer than you think to get to the top level—and many never do. At the same time, you can go down very quickly. But if you have developed the right kinds of relationships with others, they will support you through your missteps and fumbles. At this level, people follow you because they have to.
Your influence comes from your position. Leadership is about relationships and leaders will make it their business to develop them. People follow you because they want to. Permission is about building relationships. It focuses on the value of each person and opens up communication. Connecting with others begins with connecting with and growing yourself. Understanding that the first person I must get along with is me, the first person to cause me problems is me, the first person that must change is me, and the first person that can make a difference is me.
A leader is tasked with getting things done. Production level leaders are followed because of what they have done for the organization. They get things done. Their credibility is based on their example. Leaders are measured by what the entire group accomplishes and not by the individual efforts of the person in charge. Leaders develop their people into a team to get results. To get to the next level you must develop your people. Leaders become great because they empower others. They develop more leaders. Self-centered, insecure leaders neglect this stage in their development.
Leaders at this level understand that the highest goal of leadership is to develop more leaders, not to gain followers or do work. Level 5 leaders develop Level 4 leaders.
Developing leaders that can, in turn, develop leaders is hard work and takes a great deal of skill, focus, and a lifetime commitment. But those leaders that do create Level 5 organizations. Level 5 leaders leverage their own leadership through others. People follow these leaders because of what they are and what they represent. If you want to make a positive impact on the world, learning to lead better will help you do it.
Leadership is influence and it is a process. It is not so much the ability to wield power and authority as much as it is the ability to listen to and influence others. And that has very little to do with your position. The Anywhere Leader. What to Ask the Person in the Mirror While we might like to think otherwise, here is a fact about successful leaders: Successful leaders go through significant periods of time in which they feel confused, discouraged, and unsure of themselves and their decisions. They feel as if they should be somewhere else, doing something else.
And un successful leaders go through the same thing. The trick lies not in avoiding these difficult periods; it lies in knowing how to step back, diagnose, regroup, and move forward. So we eventually get rid of them and we move on to the next one with the hope that it will be different this time. Can I Lead? But… There is a danger in selling leadership to everyone.
Serious practitioners of leadership know that there is a lot of work that goes into being a good leader dictators of any variety, not so much. Instead, leadership is quite often seen as a way to be heard, to advance your own agenda and to put yourself out front. It is no surprise that Alan Webber recently wrote in the Washington Post : You will be told that you have a responsibility to be leaders. That what the world needs more than ever are leaders.
That we suffer from a lack of leadership. That with your education, your values, your ability to apply social media, your global vision, your youthful idealism, you will be the next generation of leaders! Pay no attention to any of that. That is what we call hogwash. Choosing to lead is one of the most rewarding decisions you may ever make. Yes, you will bring your unique and much needed gifts to the world, but not for your own sake. Your job is to use your gifts to help others express, make known and fulfill their potential. Influencing others with a purpose, a calling, and with opportunities they never imagined they had.
The single biggest truth of leadership is that we build who we are by building up others. From Values to Action. There will never be enough rules—there are too many variables—especially when people begin to direct their creativity in dysfunctional ways. The challenge is to develop sound minds. As Kant determined, a person with a sound mind is one that can think for oneself, is able to place oneself in the place and viewpoint of others, and can think consistently and coherently.
And we pay a price. To be sure, I am not advocating anarchy—we absolutely must have rules—and some rules unquestionably make possible the learning process, but when the rules we have in place reflect our lack of engagement, they become disrespectful and de-motivating. From time to time, it is good to think about the rules we have created or have had handed down to us , that are impeding progress, relevance, imagination and growth both for ourselves and others.
What we have done may have served us well in a particular place and time, but may only be an irritation here and now. Rules can reveal a lack of trust. As leaders, we need to be aware of where we are blanketing people with rules and procedures that do nothing more than to serve us and not the people it is our intention to serve. We need to consider that perhaps we have implemented rules to create a comfort zone for ourselves. A world where people act and think like we do. A world of clones. A world on autopilot that requires less of us. Often our need for rules and procedures is just masking our fear of the unknown.
Our attempt to manage a world that is changing faster than we are learning. No leader can do it on their own and rules are no substitute for not trusting, growing and building relationships with people. Where are we hiding behind rules? Given the chance, people will surprise us with new, different, and better ways to push our agenda forward. While these new models should not exclude the possibility of commanding and controlling, they need to encompass a much wider range of possibilities. Making the Transition From Bud to Boss Often, when we are given a formal leadership role a couple of questions come to mind: Will they take me seriously?
A promotion changes the scope of the kinds of things we have to think about. It changes the degree to which we have to regulate our behaviors, conversation and opinions. In short, it changes our relationship with everyone around us. How will we handle it? What about old friendships? It can make us feel a little anxious and insecure. Reading her autobiography, My Life in Leadership , I was struck by the importance she places on inclusion, respect, civility, decency, honor, honesty and faithfulness.
Our results seem to suggest that alternative identity construction will be impacted by the magnitude of the transition, not just from the separation stage but possibly also from the pre-separation stage. In particular, this may impact not only the ability but even the awareness of the need to engage with others about alternative identities.
A CEO's developmental network is a difficult challenge as others are more inclined to tell him or her what they think the CEO wants to know rather than we she or he needs to know. This combined with the CEO feeling positive in the Pre-Separation stage may lead to CEOs not engaging in narratives about their anticipated state of being during transition and separation. The missing sense of self foresight may have contributed to the second finding that 10 of the participants described an adverse state of being following their separation.
This undermined much, if not all, of their satisfaction at completing the separation event. Of the seven adverse state of being participants in the Transition Stage, five were impacted by negative contextual circumstances of changing roles within their companies following a sale. The role set Merton, a of behaviors each had to acquire as an employee of the acquiring company proved difficult. This challenge was a combination of adapting new duties and reporting responsibilities along with experiencing altered relationships with former employees.
Three additional participants who did not take positions with the acquiring company also expressed adverse sense of self with regard to former employees following their separation. Bridges stated that the starting point of any transition actually begins with acknowledging the end point of the old situation. In the case of the five former CEOs who became employees, the alteration of authority and responsibility levels in their new positions may have appeared so nuanced to both the CEOs and employees before the transaction that neither group fully appreciated the magnitude of the change until it was upon them.
This resulted in the former employees' inability to accept an altered role set for the CEO-now-coworker. The reconfigured role identity for the CEOs also revised personal and social identities. The description of the new state of being by the CEOs was generally negative and unanticipated.
As noted by Ebaugh , regardless of the role abandoned, the individual will frequently retain a social identity from his or her pre-ex status. The retention of a CEO role identity combined with the intensity and magnitude of the professional status change in the leaders' role set made for potential loss of their sense of control and belonging Latack, ; Ashforth, In each case, it was not until the CEOs aborted or renegotiated or completed their employment agreement and separated from the company that they described their situation and sense of self in a positive frame.
Liminality was identified by Turner as a sense of role-less-ness or without an identity. This was not the case with these CEOs as much as a personal disconnect with the parameters of the new role established by the employer. The dissonance between their previous role identity and the revised role identity following separation impacted their sense of self with surprising intensity.
The former CEOs in this study often did not manifest an awareness of the reasons behind changes in roles as much as expressing an action orientation to doing what they saw as required at the time to adapt to a changing environment. The relationship between the CEOs' altered roles and their identities was referenced by McAdams' contention that as the individual acquires roles there is an associated acquisition of status. When the status or public way to be known is altered, one's sense of self is also altered. This was the case for the CEOs who transitioned from owner to employee in their separation process.
The CEOs' attempt at role making the creation of a new role described by Ebaugh was universally unsuccessful. Again, we suggest this may be due to a limited opportunity to construct alternative identities which could then assume possible identities to explore. Ibarra and Barbulescu have noted that people struggle emotionally when they are unable to make a link between their old self and their new self toward a more permanent sense of self.
The connection between old and new selves manifested itself not only in the agentic roles of the five executives who became employees but also in their new relationship with their former employees. This communal component of shifting identities and roles was addressed in Ashforth's work on role identities interlocking component with employees. The former executives' role sets to which they had become accustomed and were socially validated by the employees were now in dissonance. As a result, the CEOs and their employees found the leaders in unfamiliar role sets lacking authority to address wrongs and resolve questions.
The repercussions of the ensuing role set dissonance were diminished enthusiasm for the state of being following a sale transaction. The sense of self evolution was followed by a further negative shift in the Transition Stage as roles changed, role sets required alterations, identities were juxtaposed, and boundaries were crossed. In an effort to better understand what dynamics might have been at work for the participants, we returned to the data and looked at the comments made by each of the eight participants who shifted from a negative rating in the Transition Stage to a positive rating in the Present Stage.
We reviewed their statements in both stages. Seven of the eight former CEOs had actively assumed new roles of their choosing. In some cases they experimented with alternatives such as commercial real estate management or becoming a mentor of nascent entrepreneurs. In others it was a fluid transition into retirement and an easing into a new recreational identity. Ibarra and Barbulescu describe the concept of macro role transitions regarding a process of adaptation and change. Possibly the CEOs possessed an understated awareness that their roles would change following an exit event and there was an assumed confidence that the process would be successfully managed.
With such a belief in oneself, there might have been a tendency to presume positive outcomes. In the specific scenario of separation from one's company due to a sale transaction or retirement event, it is reasonable to postulate that each of the CEOs knew intuitively a termination event was probable. Potentially the acknowledged background of their inevitable separation supported or required a pervasively positive perspective in the storytelling of their exit.
Regardless of the difficulty in pinpointing definitive correlations between the CEOs' post-exit decisions and the positive characterization of their separation, a working-through process materialized. What we did not adequately capture in our interviews is how this working-though process occurred in the experience of the CEOs. Conroy and O'Leary-Kelly comment on part of what we heard in the CEOs' narratives when the two researchers address the movement from one work identity to another as movement from a loss orientation to a restoration orientation. This period is fraught with emotional instability, which our results captured in the valence analysis.
Given the positive valence for all the CEOs in the Present Stage, we assume they experienced a point of restoration at some point. But our data did not capture when or how this restoration occurred, either because the design of our Interview Guide in particular questions 7—9 was not able to capture that information, or the CEOs themselves did not experience restoration in the way proposed by Conroy and O'Leary-Kelly.
In the Present Stage, four of the participants had moved into a retirement role, one person was in a state of liminality regarding the next role, and the remaining 11 transitioned into alternative leadership roles in new enterprises or community-based organizations. For those executives who actively pursued new roles and role identities, there was an added manifestation of leveraging some of their leadership attributes in the form of residual identity.
Similar to the women in the Breese and O'Toole study who specifically noted the integration of their strengths and needs into new roles as students, the 11 former CEOs constructed new roles from their known aptitudes. People who know me tell me they think I'll be good at it …It's me. Johnson's work with 12 former school principals' experiences of role exit was a variation of the residual identity concept. This was expressed by Johnson as role legacy. The majority of her participants vocalized a need to confirm that they had been good principals and they had been effective leaders in their schools prior to departure.
Due to its inductive, exploratory nature, this study had inherent limitations. First, the tightly defined demographic of small and mid-size company owner CEOs may reduce the applicability of the findings to a more diverse sample. Likewise, our sample presented a primarily male group with a wide range of ages. This too raises questions about the generalizability of our results. Second, the selection process for the participants was not random as the former CEOs were screened for inclusion based on company size and additional criteria noted earlier.
Nonetheless, with their demonstrated capacity to lead and influence, the CEOs offered a rich foundation for better understanding how transition of significant career changes might be managed. Their lessons learned have application to both the role exit and career transition research. Third, while the use of narrative for inquiry is well established McAdams, ; Josselson and Lieblich, ; Denzin and Lincoln, ; Rubin and Rubin, , the reliance on retrospection for understanding has noted limitations. Likewise, our data was self-report, could be influenced by the amount of time since CEO exit, and was single source of data.
These issues can impact the validity of our findings. Our study reveals three observations related to CEO transition and employee transition in general that should be considered in future theorizing. First, the CEOs often failed to allocate sufficient time and effort to prepare for a personal state of being shift following the sale of their company or transition into retirement.
Third, the CEOs demonstrated an ability to work through the adverse and unanticipated states of being into a positive sense of self.
8 ways to be a better manager
The sense of self or self-concept construct utilized by identity theorists is centered on the argument that one's identity is grounded on the perception of others Mead, ; Stryker, ; Schlenker, ; Landfield, ; Burke, In this study, in general, that was not the case. At the same time few of the theories just cited were built on observations of individuals like the sample we studied. In fact the CEO population has been woefully understudied, mostly due to their inaccessibility.
Exogenous frames of reference regarding self-worth or satisfaction with one's performance were noted by the five CEOs who remained with the acquiring company following the sale of their firms. They commented on the importance of former employees' perceptions of them in their revised roles. This was not a consensus experience. While an awareness of external impacts was not common to all of the participants, there were acknowledgments by the former CEOs of others' attempts to categorize or associate them with specific social groups, but there was little impact noted on their sense of self.
Ashforth suggested that self-categorization occurs when individuals are aware of the contextual and personal influences present. In this study, the participants manifested a capacity to interchange personal and social identities by developing new roles Ebaugh, , especially in the Transition Stage following separation. As they recognized the impact of the separation event on their roles and relationships, there were corresponding shifts to new role development or role assumption. McAdams' position that roles develop from a sense of self and form the foundation for identity was connected to the process of new role formation in this study.
With regard to new roles, it could be argued that the CEOs who initially remained with the acquiring company assumed or took an established role. It would be more accurate to describe their revised roles as integrations or made roles in the new contexts. Ebaugh's differentiation of role-taking and role-making actions was an accurate depiction for the Transition Stage.
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An interesting aspect of the role-making was how few of the participants knew what the new role would be. Their exit advice comments were filled with admonitions about establishing a personal plan prior to any separation event. Do as I say now that I've learned , do not do as I did. Anticipatory socialization was referenced earlier in this study in Blau's and Ebaugh's theories of role exit. They hypothesized that individuals often shifted roles because they aspired to some anticipated benefit of inclusion in a new group or crossed role boundaries due to the desire to exit a current position.
This was generally not the case with this sample. The majority of participants undertook a sale transaction or retirement process not primarily to join a new group or exit their current role but to maximize a financial window of opportunity. The new roles or groups available to them as a consequence were secondary in their narratives. Although anticipatory socialization was not the driver for crossing role boundaries, the former CEOs did undertake steps to locate themselves in revised social contexts following separation from their organization.
Some aligned themselves with like-minded individuals who were retired; others immediately started new ventures to remain within a valued cohort of entrepreneurs. Ashforth and Mael noted individuals' propensity to classify themselves into cohorts and collectivities of similar interests. The effort to establish both an individual persona and affiliation with a desired collectivity served to support the bridge-crossing experience of changing role identities.
Through affiliation with a group, these individuals joined or created a category with which to distinguish themselves in the social environment. Similar to Van Steenberg's work on exiters from large corporations, this study cohort did not align exactly with Ebaugh's work on role exit and her four stages: doubts, seeking and weighing role alternatives, turning points in the role exit process, and post-exit adjustment or the establishment of new roles and identities in the post-exit period. Although the former CEOs experienced a voluntary exit, their narratives also did not include commentary that we could segment into the definitive stages identified by Ebaugh and Ashforth , which suggested that the four stages be treated as tendencies rather than fixed stages.
There are reasonable hypotheses why the participants' narratives did not exactly align with the Ebaugh stages. Possibly, the difference between the total lifestyle role change that Ebaugh studied and the more circumscribed professional career role change that we studied might account for the differences in these results. Also, the individuals in Ebaugh's work were often considering significant alternative lifestyles such as former religious or former convicts exploring heretofore unimaginable new roles and identities. The CEOs may have seen their revised lifestyles as a more moderate extension of their current self-concept and therefore did not allocate significant time to seeking and weighing new role alternatives.
Lastly, although self-doubts were acknowledged by a few of the CEOs in this study, they frequently pertained to the outcome of the sale transaction's impact on employees rather than trepidation regarding their personal lifestyle roles. We suggested that the inability of the CEOs to navigate the shift in their identity may have resulted from a lack social effort to engage in narratives that would help them construct a new identity post transition Ibarra and Barbulescu, We see this as a key area of future scholarly exploration for not just CEOs but those who are seen as senior leaders in their organizations.
Or, alternatively, are those at the top less inclined to want to engage in such conversations? Given the magnitude of the transition i. Future research should explore the potential barrier that may impede such identity defining discussions from occurring. We suggest using Conroy and O'Leary-Kelly's model of work-related loss and recovery as a guide to formulating interview questions that will better access to what degree and with what method senior leaders approach identity and role restoration.
These 16 owner CEOs appear to be different. An interesting question to ask is why the difference? Our findings offer some possible answers, but more research needs to be conducted. For example, we question whether there has been a shift over the last decade or longer to CEOs having a shorter term focus and an increased drive to seize personal economic opportunity when present. Similarly, could this be why these owner CEOs entered such a major transition, both for themselves and their firms, without much planning about its effect on them personally?
Has an increased focus on managing the economic self and wellbeing overtaken paying attention the psychological self and wellbeing? We see these questions as fertile areas for further research. The stated limitations of this study present corollary research opportunities for the future. The sample size could be expanded to test if the identified sense of self characteristics from this study retained their presence and hierarchy in a larger group. The criteria employed in participant selection could be broadened to include CEOs of larger organizations and non-owner CEOs.
Representative samples from different groups could be interviewed for example, individuals who founded social venture enterprises, to determine if the experience of leaders of non-profit organizations differs from their for-profit counterparts. Also, with a larger sample there may be an opportunity to differentiate subgroups of participants by sense of self characteristics.
The time period investigated could be condensed by focusing the interview questions on one of the four stages identified to draw the participants into more reflection on a specific phenomenon such as separation or transition. Alternatively, a longitudinal study could be conducted in which CEOs complete a self-rating of their sense of self with regard to a separation event and analyze what patterns might emerge. In addition, it would be interesting to interview the participants' spouses and work associates about the latter perspectives of the separation and transition process of the CEO.
Those individuals who retired vs. Another differentiation would be those CEOs who sold their company to non-affiliated entities compared to those who sold to a successor generation or other family members. Alternative methods of exploring the concept of sense of self could be employed through quantitative surveys.
Constructing quantitative scales of valence might improve measurement of this concept. Also, it might be possible to develop correlations between specific coding groups by comparing gender, age, or family-owned businesses to non-family owned. Finally, as we push a little further to speculate on the wider implications of this project for research on identity transitions and identity loss more generally, it occurs to us these CEOs are powerful people with high incomes who chose to step away from their work roles.
Yet they were not well prepared for the transition and its impact on their identity. The result that they ended up with positive frames of mind at the end of the process may be a testament to their personal qualities and their resources. On the other hand, this should really be a cautionary tale for the rest of us, particularly those who have not chosen a career transition and do not have the financial and personal means to weather the change compared to the means available to these CEOs.
We see this particular challenge a key area for future investigation in organizational psychology. Career consultants, human resource professionals, and others involved in a CEO's departure need to draw the executive's attention to the impending experience of shedding role sets and their accompanying identities. The model for this confidentiality-based forum exists in organizations such as Young Presidents Organization, World Presidents Organization, and Vistage.
The difference is the forum described herein would be composed of former executives who can inform the CEO in familiar language about the losses and liberations awaiting them. The exiting CEO is not as unique as he or she may have been led to believe. For the transitioning CEO this means that an understanding and wariness of the closure of roles and associated role identities might be a helpful step in beginning the role exit process. Recognizing the multiplicity of variables incumbent in a CEO's departure from his or her company, the application of the results of this study can serve as a foundation for planning.
For example, questions utilized in this study might be modified and presented to a CEO during a Pre-Separation stage:. Can you describe for me your final week in the company? What do you imagine yourself doing each day? Is there a metaphor that comes to mind that might describe your exit and subsequent 6 months? Who do you anticipate will play important roles in your separation process? Do they realize their importance and what you expect of them?
What does a successful transition look like for you? What does a failed transition look like? These questions can raise the awareness of the CEO to impending issues and encourage forethought, planning, and preparatory steps for separation. For those individuals planning to shift to new roles with an acquiring company, the study results may serve to dispel unrealistic expectations and heighten awareness of potential problem areas.
This same awareness might serve the purposes of an acquirer in structuring an employment agreement with the CEO that allows either party to accelerate the dissolution of an untenable work arrangement. However, based on the participants' comments, there was substantial support that for the transitioning CEO, an awareness of the closure of roles and associated role identities might be a helpful step in beginning the role exit process.
As a generation of baby boomers prepares to retire, among them are the top leaders for many of the organizations that drive the economies of the world. Our work here suggests several imperatives for both research and practice to more effectively address the separation from their organizations that awaits them. This paper is adapted from the unpublished doctoral dissertation of the first author. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Front Psychol v. Front Psychol. Published online Oct Randy T. Byrnes 1 and Scott N. Scott N. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.
Taylor ude. This article was submitted to Organizational Psychology, a section of the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Received Jun 15; Accepted Oct 9. The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author s or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
DOCX 27K. Abstract This inductive study explores how former business owner chief executive officers CEOs experience sense of self during voluntary separation and transition from their company. Keywords: identity, role, role identity, transition, sense of self, CEO succession, role exit. Literature review The sense of self during transition is linked to the following areas in the literature: identity, role and role identity, transition and liminality, and anticipatory socialization.
Identity Identity, as utilized in this work, is an aspect of the self-concept Hattie, that addresses how people see themselves and are seen by others. Role and role identity A role is a set of specific behaviors that are commonly recognized as typical and appropriate used by someone pursuing a particular goal Biddle, ; Ashforth, Transition and liminality Transition is the crossing of a boundary.
Anticipatory socialization Anticipatory socialization is the expectation of attaining a more satisfying role as motivation for role departure. Procedure The study methodology employs a phenomenological based narrative identity inquiry. Analysis To analyze the interview data, we used a thematic analysis Boyatzis, approach, which is a process for encoding qualitative information.
Coding of interviews We first read each transcript and underlined statements that seemed relevant to informing us about the how the CEOs saw themselves and their roles in relation to their feelings, experiences, and decisions. Table 1 Coding scheme group definitions. We can have a long range plan and due to circumstances beyond our control—external circumstances usually—something comes along and every good businessman knows that you have to take advantage.
Timing's everything. Open in a separate window. Table 2 Number of people mentioning each coding element by stage. Sense of self, stage, and valence analyses Given the initial results from our coding, three additional types of analyses were conducted: a sense of self analysis, a stage analysis, and a valence analysis. This batch of new items brings us several fine hymnals and songbooks.
Further, the work performed on some items reflects original cataloging , which is a tremendous contribution to knowledge about information resources from and about the Stone-Campbell Movement. The Library in Daisy Hall. Jesse Sewell reads a book at a table surrounded by shelves of books.