Micromanagement: Leadership Style or Pathology @TheHighCalling

Occupy movement protest 3/30/12, Union Square Park, New York City. Photo by Christine A. Scheller, Explorations Media, L.L.C.

Micromanagement. The term screams negativity, but is the practice inherently pathological or a misunderstood approach to organizational leadership? For answers to this question,The High Calling asked three leadership experts to weigh in.

“Micromanagement is, by definition, a pathology,” said L. Gregory Jones, senior strategist for leadership education and professor of theology at Duke Divinity School in Durham, North Carolina.

Jones notes, however, that the tendency to micromanage can emerge from passion for an organization and its goals. “Wise leaders know how to hold both the broad vision and the execution together. People with vision but no execution may have great ideas but nothing really happens and people who have great execution but no vision often get stuck in ruts of continually doing the same thing while failing to adapt to changing circumstances,” says Jones. “What we need is not ‘micromanagers,’ who end up getting into other people’s business too often and in the wrong ways, but rather integrative leaders who can move smoothly back and forth between the big picture and the details that are necessary to ensure effective execution.” …

Read the rest at The High Calling.

Taking Aim at Technology Instead of the Problem @TheHighCalling

Water guns

What would you do if your teenager posted a note on Facebook essentially calling you a tyrant and saying she’s tired of being your slave? I would be horrified, but since my children were grown before the advent of social media, I really can’t say for sure. One North Carolina dad who faced this situation chose an act of dramatic retaliation that got the attention of more than 28 million people. Tommy Jordan is an internet technology professional who discovered a profanity-laden note posted on his 16-year-old daughter’s facebook page, in which she complained about onerous chores like sweeping and making beds. Because it was her second social media offense, he got so mad that he video-taped himself reading her note aloud and ranting about it. He then shot her laptop with hollow-point bullets and said that if she wants another one, she’ll have to buy it herself. Jordan uploaded this video to YouTube and has since become famous, or infamous, (depending on one’s perspective) for his foray into what some would call “extreme parenting.”

The High Calling talked to Laity Leadership Institute senior fellow and child psychiatrist Allan Josephson, M.D. about the video. Josephson said the reason it has gone viral is because it taps into the frustrations many families in our culture feel. The immediacy of social media is a problem, but the underlying one is more fundamental. …

Read the rest at TheHighCalling.org.

Image by Jenny Huey. Sourced via Wikimedia Commons.

Aging Well with Dr. Dan Blazer, Part 6: Holistic Mental Health @TheHighCalling

Aging Well

When my son first began exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and depression as a sophomore in high school, my husband and I both worked at a California mega-church whose leaders openly preached against psychiatry and psychology.

The message reached a wide audience— from the pulpit, over radio, through books, and at conferences—thus cementing in place a culture in which getting professional help for mental and emotional suffering was discouraged and stigmatized.

This was a new phenomenon for us, one that may have delayed our son getting the help he needed. After I heard about the third suicide of a young Christian that I knew back home in New Jersey, however, I no longer cared what my church community thought. I knew my son needed help and was determined to get it for him.

Nonetheless, I was concerned that the mental health practitioners who treated him would respect his tender faith and the spiritual dimension of his suffering, some of which was directly related to our family’s decision to respond to a vocational ministry calling with a cross-country move and to the culture of the church where that calling was initially lived out. …

Read the whole article at TheHighCalling.org.

Aging Well with Dr. Dan Blazer, Part 5: Social Supports & Storytelling @TheHighCalling

Aging Well

Stories help us make sense of the world. True stories told by our elderly relatives help us understand ourselves, and the telling also helps the storytellers make sense of their lives, says Laity Leadership Institute Senior Fellow Dan Blazer, M.D.

“One of the most critical things a family can do is to try to recognize the value of an older person, and one of the best ways to do that is to get the older person to talk about himself or herself, or maybe write about himself or herself. Then actually pay attention to what they write,” Blazer said when The High Calling talked to him recently. …

Read the whole article at TheHighCalling.org.

Aging Well with Dr. Dan Blazer, Part 4: Geriatric Depression @TheHighCalling

Aging Well

Depression causes more disability than any other psychiatric disorder,” Laity Leadership Institute senior fellow Dan Blazer, M.D. said his 2005 book The Age of Melancholy: Major Depression and Its Social Origins.  In fact, depression is as disabling or more disabling than diabetes and hypertension, he said, and the World Health Organization estimated that it will be the second leading contributor to the “global burden of disease” by 2025.

Although those born in the later part of the 20th century suffer higher rates of depression than those born earlier, roughly 15 percent of the elderly experience significant symptoms.

A Crossword Puzzle Case Study

When The High Calling interviewed Dr. Blazer last fall, he talked about a patient who is close to 90 years old. The man had called Blazer a few weeks earlier to say he was feeling “terrible,” that he wasn’t sleeping and was losing weight, all of which are symptoms of depression.

The patient also said, “I’m not doing my crossword puzzles.”

“He had been doing crossword puzzles for 80 years,” said Blazer. “All of a sudden he wasn’t doing them. That signals loss of interest, which is another symptom of depression.”

Blazer prescribed medication. When he talked to the patient a few weeks later, he said he was feeling much better.

Blazer asked, “Are you doing your crossword puzzles yet?”

“No,” he replied.

The doctor knew then that the man wasn’t well yet …

Read the whole article at The High Calling.