Attitude as Leadership: The Role of Receiving

By Dr. Jeannie Kahwajy

What do leaders have in common? One answer: followers! But what makes people want to follow another, with enthusiasm, energy, or even reckless abandon?

You might be surprised to learn that the effectiveness of organizations often depends upon the chosen attitude, or focus, held by a single individual. This attitude is in our complete control and can be decoupled from the particulars of a given situation.

We have the tendency to gravitate toward information, ideas and people that are familiar or that confirm what we already believe or expect to receive. Such a tendency shows how easy it is to prematurely dismiss or devalue people and their ideas—unintentionally and unknowingly—especially when they are new to us or deviate from our expectations.

My TEDxSanJoseCA Women talk will discuss how information processing can be selective and limiting. When people expect certain results from another person, they unwittingly treat them in such a way as to increase the probability that the person will respond as expected. Such effects are made more powerful because individuals may not realize – and likely will deny – that they are happening.

 To break through these constraints, we must focus on what we want rather than what we merely expect. In doing so, we connect to our purpose (and disconnect from our fears) and this automatically propels us to be open and ready, to eagerly look for and to integrate what we haven’t before observed or couldn’t have pre-determined.  It is a skill – the skill of “receiving”–and our willingness to receive the potential of others triggers their willingness to give us their best.  All leaders have subordinates. But by adopting this attitude of receiving, true leaders create followers…and great results.

 Over the years, I’ve provided consulting and executive coaching based around my theories of communication, interaction and leadership, with people in the Americas, Europe and Asia. My theories focus on being able to lead in that space between the head and the heart. Come see for yourself on December 1: http://tedxsanjoseca.org/.

About Dr. Jeannie Kahwajy

Dr. Jeannie Kahwajy developed her theories while earning a PhD in Engineering Management and a minor in psychology from Stanford University. Dr. Kahwajy had previously earned engineering degrees from Stanford and the University of Virginia as well as an MBA from Stanford.

Following her time at Stanford and at Strategic Decisions Group in Menlo Park, California, Dr. Kahwajy joined the faculty at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she taught for over four years, before devoting her full-time efforts to private consulting through Effective Interactions.

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