Tag Archives: leadership

In my previous blogs in leadership development, I intrdocued “Become a successful leader (1): Everyday Leadership“, “Become a successful leader (2): Self-Awareness“, “Become a successful leader (3): Know who I am, and what personality I have.“, “Become a successful leader 4: Be an inspiring leader, The Golden Circle Theory“. Here, I would like to discuss another key component, “communication” in leadership development.

Communication is an art of understanding

Communication is an art where we need to keep creating understanding to deliver the right message between the talker and the listener. The communication process includes encoding our thought/ideas into words and behaviors and decoding this information into meaning. Misunderstanding occurs when the listener decodes the words and behaviors into a different meaning. To avoid the misunderstanding, we need to know 7C’s (correctcompleteclearconsistentcredibleconcerned/connectedculture) and 1 V (Volume). Moreover, what we do not say in the conversation and how we say it is very important to achieve effective communication.

Information transmission

Communication is a process of information transmission. Talker/Writer express ideas and thoughts in words or behavior, which encodes the message by one brain. The audiences decode the message to collect the information; however, each audience’s brain might translate it into different information. Also, in the human mind, emotions usually come faster than thoughts. Therefore, if you are in the mood, do not say anything or reply to any email because your emotion might highly affect your communication. In other words, we should always communicate with others in an adult-to-adult way.

Curse of knowledge

Cognitive bias usually occurs when an individual in a group unknowingly assumes that the others have the background to understand the message. For example, when we learn something new, such as cancer biology, we start to talk with professional words. Even if we are talking to other people without a biological background, we forget to explain the information or switch to simple terms to transfer the information. This is what we call the curse of knowledge. Therefore, we should always assume that we are not talking to experts if we do not know the audience.

Unconscious Communication

Sometimes there is a hidden message in our verbal or non-verbal expression. For example, intonation is a way to express the hidden meaning within a sentence. If someone said that “I didn’t say you broke my equipment,” we could try to stress a different word in the sentence to see if there is any difference.

  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment
  • I didn’t say you broke my equipment

Another example is body language. It is an interesting topic that sometimes we might unconsciously express our emotions through body language. If you found out that someone stands with folded arms when talking, you could assume this person disagrees with what you said.

Communication is based on trust

To have an effective communication, trust is an important factor to connect individuals in a group. There are 5 elements to build up trust: consistency, openess, loyalty, competence, and integrity.

  • Consistency: How often do you change your mind?
  • Openness: Do you share information about yourself or do you just expect others to do so?
  • Loyalty: Do you support people only when everything is great or also when they are struggling?
  • Competence: Do you know what you are talking about?
  • Integrity : Are your actions matching your words ? 

Communication Strategy for a good leader

A good communication strategy for a leader is to include both positive and negative aspects in your message and be specific and concise. An excellent example is that both U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Massachusetts governor Edward Everett gave a speech after the Gettysburg battle in 1863 (Civil War). Everett’s speech was 2 hours long, and Lincoln’s was 2 minutes. However, everyone only remembers what Lincoln said in the address. Therefore, good communication should be short and specific.

If you are interested in Lincoln’s speech, it is the links for the speech and transcript.


Communication is very important not only for leadership but also for everyone in daily life. In the next blog, I will introduce how we communicate with people from different cultures and how we lead an effective meeting.

Become a successful leader (2): Self-Awareness

In last article, I introduced what everyday leadership is. Self-awareness is the first task in leadership development. We should learn how to lead ourselves to a successful career before we could lead people. This article I will share the concept of self-awareness, and people who want to start the leadership development to practice self-swareness and in advance to aware of others. Once you get more understanding in yourself, you would know how to make a right decision in a crisis.

What is Leadership?

Before you continue to read the blog, you could write down what makes a good leader. Here I will list some characteristics I think a good leader should have:

  • Charisma
  • Competence
  • Passion
  • Vision
  • Listening
  • Responsibility
  • Problem solving
  • Positive attitude
  • Communication
  • Self-discipline
  • Relationship

Also, another question is what not makes a leader:

A manager does not mean a leader; having power is not leadership; Charisma also does not mean leadership. In fact, different cultures have their own definition in leadership, for example, the leadership in the U.S. is to adapt different cultures and becomes a cultural melange.

What is a good leader?

A good leader is like a pilot of an airplane; he/she knows to find a way to reach the destination. Therefore, an effective leader should have a high degree of eomotional intelligence in addition to IQ and technical skills. Moreover, there are 5 components in emotional intelligence:

  • self-awareness: know my and other’s emotion, strength, weakness, values and goals.
  • self-regulation: know to control or redirect disruptive emotions and impulses
  • social skill: manage relatioships in a group
  • motivation: encourage others to achieve for the work/ goal
  • empathy: consider others’ feelings when he/she is making decision

What is self-awareness?

The definitoin of self-awareness is to understand myself in emotion, strength, weakness, value and goals. The way to achieve self-awareness is to use reflection and feedback to gain insight into our strength and find out the need of our personal development. Sometimes it is a tough part in leadership development because we are always afriad of finding our the hidden part of us, and we might miss our chance for personal growth. Additionally, if we want to protect ourselves from problems, it might create more problems and consume all the energy. So, when we face struggles and become upset, it might be a great time to discover anything about ourselves but it is not consistent with what we think we are.

How do we achieve self-awareness?

We could achive self-awareness by following ways:

  • introspection/reflection/meditation
  • resonances
  • identify crucible moments
  • ask others how they see us
  • take a personality test

Frist, we could ask ourselves, “who am I?”, “what are my strengths?”, “How do I perform?”, “Am I a good listener?”, “How do I learn?”, “What are my values?”, “Where do I belong?”, “What should I contribute?”. Meditation might be a way to allow you to think all the questions above, and we could meditate by using resonances which ampligy the signal by the synchronous vibration of a neighboring object. For example, we might be in good mood when we see a beutiful picture or listen to the music we like. This is the right time to do meditation. In addition, when there is any crisis, we should put ourselves in other people’s shoes to oberve ourselves. Or we could think about any crisis in the past, and if we could go back to that time, do we still solve the problem in the same way? These are the methods how we achieve self-awareness by oursleves. Self-awareness is could also be achieved by the help from others. For example, we could ask the people surrounding us for the feedback and how they see us. Or we could do a personality test to better understand ourselves. I will discuss the personality in my next blog.


Self-awareness is a great miletone in the leadership development and sometimes it is difficult for us to find out anything bad in ourselves. But trust me, it might be hard in the beginning of leadership developement, and if we keep working on self-awareness, it could lead us not only in sucessful career but also to a good leader.

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Become a successful leader (1): Everyday Leadership

Introduction to leadership

Everyday Leadership is a very useful tool for everyone in their daily lives, and in every life/career stage, we would have different ideas about leadership. It would be better for everyone to learn and think about leadership as soon as possible. Therefore, I want to share the leadership-related courses and workshops with you and discuss any questions in leadership development because that’s how to learn leadership from each other. I will prepare a series of articles to share the concept and my opinions, and I hope both of us can develop our own leadership from each other’s life experiences.

What is everyday leadership?

There are two types of leadership, managing tasks and managing people. Usually, the first thing coming into mind is either a project leader or a team manager when we talk about leadership. However, there is a new concept called everyday leadership which means that we can show our leadership in our daily lives when we change someone’s life, even we do not notice. Here is a perfect example in the TED talk about everyday leadership by Drew Dudley.

My everyday leadership story

When I was a Ph.D. student at Cornell University, I always had a conversation with undergrad students who wanted to join the group. Having undergrad research to volunteer in the lab is helpful to me, but I prefer to know if this experience could benefit the student by meeting with this student before he/she decides to join. The first thing I like to ask is, “What is your goal for undergraduate research? “”What do you want to do after graduating from Cornell?” and “What will you see yourself in the next 5/10/20 years?” These questions could help me understand the student’s need for his/her future career and how I could help. Sometimes the student might not think about these questions, so I will let them think about them before continuing the conversation. I had two students who had this conversation with me, and they all found the right career track after graduating from Cornell University. One student moved to Worcester Polytechnic Institute for his Ph.D. program, and he brought his family to the lab on the commencement day to say thank you to me because I changed his life to pursue a Ph.D. in science. This surprised me because I did not notice that what I had done could change someone’s life, and this is my story about everyday leadership.

4 components in everyday leadership

Four components in everyday leadership


There are 4 components in everyday leadership, self-awareness, relationship, organizational awareness, and purposeful action. The first step to becoming a leader is to know himself/herself and lead him/her to a successful outcome, so self-awareness is very important to understand your own character, motives, desires, feeling, tendencies, strengths, and weaknesses. How could we achieve self-awareness? A simple method is to ask people surrounding you for feedback, and it might be hard to become open to feedback. Therefore, you need to be brave, honest with yourself, vulnerable, and open to change anything.


There are differnt rols in a group, and a good leader build relationship between the group members who could fill roles and become a useful action. Here are the roles in a group:

  • Role Models
  • Thought Partners
  • Coaches
  • Feedback Partners
  • Allies
  • Cheersleaders

A role model is usually someone you want to be in the future. Thought partners help you think by challenging your perspectives, testing your assumptions, and sharing his/her insights and experiences. Coaches usually encourage and support your self-reflection to increase your capacity to learn and develop your profession. Feedback partners observe your behavior and provide insightful and valuable feedback. Allies are the one collaborating with you to pursue the same dream, and cheerleaders encourage you, support you, celebrate with you for success, pick you up when you are down.

organizational awareness

You could think that organizational awareness is to understand the working environment and culture and helps you finish your work. Additionally, an organization’s culture includes stated/ unstated values, rules, and norms. Once we better understand organizational awareness, we will know how to become successful leaders in this culture.

purposeful action

To have a proper outcome, the most important thing is to take the right action. Many people think about what they should do to become good leaders, but they never start to do any of these great ideas. Then nothing would change, and they could not be a successful leader. To have the right action, first, we should have an expected result in mind and be aligned with our values, such as creating a better working environment and thinking of an achievable solution to take action. Last, we should do this step by step, and eventually, we could see the result and make a better working environment.


Everyday leadership would be a start to devleop your own leadership and the only thing you need to know after reading this article is to believe you can do it. Think about these 4 components in everyday leadership and keep practing. I believe we all can be an everyday leader.

Feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions and we could dicuss it. Also, if you like this article, please share it and recommend this to your friends. Thanks.