CLC's 5 Areas of Leadership

Click for each strength


Positive Psychology 101

Positive psychology is a rigorous academic field that encompasses character strengths, positive relationships, positive experiences – and the institutions and practices that facilitate their development. Its defining assertion is simple: Our relationships with each another have a significant impact on our happiness and productivity. It maintains that what goes right in life is just as real and important as what goes wrong — and that we should be just as concerned with developing strengths as we are with repairing weaknesses. Before teaching leadership and psychology at West Point, Mike earned his master’s studying under Dr. Chris Peterson, one of the founders of the field.



Character is comprised of 24 character strengths

Character – while often simplified as a euphemism for grit or integrity – is broad and complex. It is plural, not singular. Character is the aggregate of who we are; it’s “what’s inside every one of us.” An individual’s character is the combination of that person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Dr. Peterson took a three-year sabbatical to better understand character and its manifestations. Through extensive research and analysis of philosophical and religious texts that cut across time and culture, Dr. Peterson and his partner Dr. Martin Seligman found 24 character strengths that are recognized and encouraged across cultures for the values they cultivate in people and society. These strengths – ranging from bravery and forgiveness to curiosity and kindness – are evident in the most widely influential traditions of thought in human history: Confucianism and Taoism in China; Buddhism and Hinduism in South Asia; and ancient Greece, Judeo-Christianity, and Islam in the West.



Leadership is a relationship

To be a strong leader, you must truly believe that other people matter – and, therefore, that leadership is a relationship. These crucial relationships affect everything from employee engagement to physical health. Yet, research from Gallup uncovered an alarming statistic: 70% of employees in the United States are disengaged at work. This is a difficult statistic to wrap our heads around. When asked why, disengaged employees cite the number one reason is they believe their manager does not understand nor leverage their strengths. Engagement, then, is clearly a matter of leadership and relationships. Therefore, to build engaged teams, we must make the time and effort to better understand each other by building stronger relationships.


Every interaction matters

If we accept the idea that leadership is a relationship, then it’s essential to understand why every interaction matters. We live very crowded lives and now interact with each other every day in a myriad of ways. And, this number continues to grow as technology expands. Yet, the core mechanics of relationships are each of these interactions. Relationships — and leadership — are inherently complex because they are based on the interaction of individuals. However, most people try to understand relationships as if they are complicated. The difference is that complicated means something is reducible and recombine-able , while complexity involves the interaction of ingredients and cannot be taken apart to reproduce the original components. A car is complicated; cookies are complex.



Solitude fortifies leadership

In a thought-provoking juxtaposition to the importance of building relationships, we dive into the problem of distraction — and the power of solitude. People are more distracted than ever before. We spend an insane amount of time either reading and answering emails, or in meetings (60-80% average employee’s day). Courtesy of technology, we have more options on how to spend our time than at any time in history. Gradually, over the past 10 years, the ability for leaders to engage in solitude has been eroding underneath our feet. Solitude is defined as “the subjective state of mind, in which isolated from input from other minds, works through an issue on its own.” Through Mike’s research, he has discovered that solitude fortifies four character strengths key components of character: perspective, emotional balance, creativity, and moral courage. And, he will explain how you — and your organization — can leverage solitude to make critical decisions, create break-through ideas, and maintain control over emotions during chaotic times.

“Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

- Dwight D. Eisenhower