Online Extra: Book Excerpt: Resonant Leadership

To manage other people effectively, you must first understand yourself. Try the following self-discovery exercises

In Resonant Leadership, authors Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee talk about the need for leaders to renew themselves and nurture mindfulness, hope, and compassion in their lives. Here is a sampling of condensed exercises from the book:

Rhythms in My Life

On a sheet of paper, write the current year at the top of the left-hand side of the page. Underneath it, write the years in descending order from this year all the way back to when you were born. Next to any of the years, write any event or experience that you considered at the time or now consider to have been important. Possible categories include events related to personal health, relationships, financial status, hobbies, emotions or career. Don't feel compelled to follow a logical sequence. Add items in whatever order works for you. Look at the number of years between major life events. Is there a rhythm to when you feel the need for a change or when changes seem to occur? If so, where are you in the current rhythm, and when should you listen for a wake-up call?

My Legacy

What would you wish to have as your legacy in life? In other words, what will remain or continue as a result of you having lived and worked all these years?

Name That Feeling

Three times a day for a week, stop what you are doing, close your eyes, and concentrate on how you are feeling. Put a word to the feeling or feelings you are experiencing. At first, you may describe your feelings with words like "stressed" or "pressured" or "happy." As you practice, however, you will find that you are able to name your feelings much more quickly and with more accuracy. For example, "stressed" becomes "frustrated and a little anxious"; "happy" becomes "happy and proud of myself" or "grateful to my team."

What Would I Do If …?

You have just been told that you've received a major, unexpected inheritance. It is such a large amount of money that you immediately know you have complete freedom from all financial concerns. In fact, the amount of money allows you to consider doing and having things that you never had thought were possible. How would your life and work change?

Imagine Someone Else's Day

Pick someone with whom you work or live. Close your eyes and imagine his day from when he gets up in the morning until when he goes to bed at night. Imagine what he sees, hears, thinks, and feels. What are his hopes and concerns as he goes through his day? Who are the people that he sees and cares about? What are his stressors and worries? What is important to him?

What did you notice from this exercise? What surprised you? What things did you wonder about, or notice that you really didn't know or couldn't imagine? How might you seek this information from this person?

Adapted by permission of Harvard Business School Press. RESONANT LEADERSHIP: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion, by Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. Copyright 2005 Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. All Rights Reserved.

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