In the Lead Magazine, Spring 2022

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Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken. SPRING 2022 A Seton Hall University Publication




Insight and foresight

Future leaders embrace diversity, believe that leadership can be developed, and are expected to have strong people and engagement competencies.

The 2022 survey is in progress, and results will be published in the next edition of In the Lead

S P RI NG 2022


A Healing Path for Health Care Early leadership development for healthcare worker improves outcomes for both business and patients.



Be Yourself. Everyone Else is Taken.

As a leader, it starts with being yourself and encouraging others to do the same. BY LINDA E. DUNBAR


Letter from the Editors


Leadership Lessons

It is different for every company and leader, but for all the differences, the key is the person at the top. BY SHARON LIGHTNER and KAREN S. HAYNES




Brooks Mencke ’16

Help your team build resilience and embrace adversity.

A new book compares how cults and leaders use language, and how we see that language in many other places, including business.

In Focus

discusses how skills such as preparation and collaboration are invaluable in becoming a successful leader.


Book Review


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 3


Ruchin Kansal, M.B.A.

Steven Lorenzet, Ph.D.

Bryan C. Price, Ph.D.

leads the Business Leadership Center and teaches The 5th Industrial Revolution. Prior, he spent 20 years in healthcare, first 10 as a management consultant with Capgemini & Deloitte, and the next in-house, serving as Head of Innovation at Boehringer Ingelheim, and then as SVP & Global Head of Strategy for Digital Services at Siemens Healthineers. He received his M.B.A. from NYU-Stern.

is Associate Dean of Academics and Associate Professor of Management in the Stillman School of Business, and the Director of the M.B.A. program. His research has received multiple awards. Dr. Lorenzet has also served as a consultant in the pharmaceutical, legal, military, financial and academic industries. He received his Ph.D. in Organizational Studies from the University at Albany, SUNY.

is the executive director of the Buccino Leadership Institute at Seton Hall and the founder of Top Mental Game, where he helps business leaders and athletes perform at their best when it matters the most. Price served as an Army officer for 20 years, with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Price is an ICF-certified executive coach (PCC-level), and he earned his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Karen S. Haynes, Ph.D., CSU

Sharon Lightner, Ph.D.

Brooks Mencke

has 34 years as a university administrator which includes her 24 years as a university president serving at California State University San Marcos (20042019) and the University of HoustonVictoria (1995-2004). Previously she served as Dean, The Graduate School of Social Work, University of Houston for 10 years. She is viewed as an innovator focused on future workforce needs while serving students in the present.

is faculty emerita at San Diego State University (SDSU). She earned a Ph.D. in Accounting from the University of Oregon, a M.S. in Accounting from SDSU and a B.S. in Accounting from the University of Montana. She served as Director of the Charles W. Lamden School of Accountancy at SDSU, Dean of the College of Business Administration at CSU San Marcos, and Accounting Department Chair at National University.

is currently a Senior Manager of Executive Communications and Social Media Strategy at Pfizer, Inc., one of the world’s premier biopharmaceutical companies. Her passion and expertise lie in content strategy, colleague engagement, and reputation and leadership communications. In 2016, Brooks graduated with high honors from Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business.


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication


Paula Becker Alexander, Ph.D., J.D.

Tom Chaby, Captain (U.S. Navy, Retired)

Linda E. Dunbar, M.A.

is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Management at the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University. She developed the curriculum for Corporate Social Responsibility, a core course in the school’s M.B.A. program. Routledge published her business ethics textbook, Corporate Social Irresponsibility, in 2015. Her research focuses on firm financial performance, executive comp and socially responsible management.

served for 26 years in the U.S. Navy. During his career, he led special operations at every level in over 70 countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition to commanding SEAL Team FIVE, he served as the deputy commanding officer of SEAL Training Command, and was a former SEAL instructor. Chaby is a consultant with T3 Advantage and Victory Road, helping organizations build team effectiveness.

is CEO & Founder of Diversity Decoder, a consulting, communications, coaching, and training company specializing in diversity, equity & inclusion (DEI). She graduated cum laude from Princeton University, and earned a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School, co-administered by Tufts and Harvard Universities. For more information, visit:

Lauren Snowdon, PT, D.P.T., Ed.D.

Stephen Wood, M.S.

has been a practicing physical therapist since 2001. She gained expertise in clinical practice, professional collaboration and leadership at a top rehabilitation center, and earned her Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Leadership from Creighton University. She is the Director of Clinical Education in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Seton Hall teaching courses on neurologic physical therapy practice and clinical education.

consults and writes on policy topics after 43 years on Wall Street and in governmental finance. He specializes in infrastructure and project finance, public-private partnerships, federal and state grant and finance programs. He is also an expert in financial modelling for large, complex capital programs. A speaker at numerous industry conferences, he teaches about corporate social responsibility at Seton Hall.

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 5


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Forging a Path, Leaving a Trail WE ADMIRE LEADERS. We strive to be like them. We learn from them. At times, we even envy them. They are often thought of as the pinnacles of success. At least that is how our society and culture has positioned them — on the upper pedestal. But what does the journey to becoming a leader look like? Is it all about capabilities, perseverance, resilience and grit? What role does chance or luck play? Is there a clear path to leadership? Or even a single destination? What about different perspectives on who is a leader, based upon culture and societal norms? Is an ascetic sage a leader or a president a leader? Is a leader someone willing to die for their country serving in the armed forces or someone working on the problems of social upheaval? How about the perspective of your own personal circumstances growing up? Perhaps perspective about leadership should be based upon the industry you work in. We might also consider perspective based on personal maturity and experience. Of course,

there is always perspective based on your position in the organizational hierarchy. We believe that there is no one path to leadership. Many elements are the same — capability, resilience, grit, humility, perseverance. Yet, there are many failures along the journey. Many disappointments. But that is the beauty of humans: We continue to strive! In this issue, we present different perspectives on the journey of leadership. We want you to read these stories and tell us what you find are common themes. And what surprises you. Most importantly, what is leadership? We are proud to share the third issue of In the Lead with you! And we welcome your feedback. Please reach out to us at And don’t forget to read the articles on our blog: Ruchin, Bryan and Steve

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 7

Creating a Culture for Success

It is different for every company and each leader, but for all the differences, the key is the person at the top. BY SHARON LIGHTNER, Ph.D. and KAREN S. HAYNES, Ph.D., CSU LET’S START with the person above to whom one is accountable. This person can have a significant impact on how challenging it is to accomplish your own goals as a leader. Seek leadership roles where those above you are interested in helping facilitate your success to make changes or innovate in your current role. As a woman leader, I had experiences reporting to both men and women leaders above me. The most productive, inspirational and pleasant situations were those where I felt that gender was not an issue. I was lucky to have the “gender not an issue” under both men and women leaders. What this means is quite hard to explain, but I trust that those who read this will know exactly what I mean. When gender is an issue, one can feel it. One has to spend additional time to overcome a gender issue, time could have been better spent on the current tasks at hand. Thus, in starting any new


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

leadership position, go into that situation with as clear of an understanding as possible of those to whom you will be reporting. Assess in your own mind whether you will be able to be successful under them. Now to the issue of serving as a leader. In all my positions, except one, I was put into the role of a leader without much discussion of what it meant to be leader. I assumed those roles and was successful, but I was so busy that I didn’t stop and give my role as a leader a mindful perspective. I was offered little training related to being an effective leader and didn’t really seek it out. It wasn’t until I assumed the position of dean of the College of Business Administration at California State University, San Marcos (CSUSM) that I was formally introduced to the concept of servant leadership, as well as the concept of identifying and embracing a culture of leadership at that university.

Servant leadership was discussed in the Winter 2021 issue of this magazine in an article titled “Servant Leadership in Action.” If you haven’t read that article, I would highly encourage you to do so. Even though I was unfamiliar with the servant leadership nomenclature at that time, I always aspired to help others succeed and found that when I accomplished that, the overall impact on the organization was much more positive. Each organization may also have its own culture of leadership. President Karen Haynes at CSUSM highlighted this for me in my position as dean of the College of Business Administration. She, with input from others, developed a document titled “The Culture of Leadership at CSUSM: Understanding It, Living It, and Advancing It in a Leadership Role.” She is included as co-author of this article because the aspects of this document are from her vision to consider climate and culture as important aspects of any discussion on leadership. This document articulated various subcultures: respect, advocacy, communication and collegiality. The two subcultures of leadership that were most defining to me were the subculture of respect and the subculture of communication. THE SUBCULTURE OF RESPECT The subculture of respect includes: Assume Good Intent When working with others, there are many challenging decisions that must be made and often many emotions flaring. However, if we can all confront the decision under the assumption we are all approaching the situation with good intent and working on the premise of trust, we can have more collegial discussions and decisions that are easier to reach or at least understand and accept. Ensure Confidentiality It is extremely important for a leader to maintain confidentiality. Someone once advised me that there is no such thing as an “off-the-record discussion.” I totally agree and certainly learned this the hard way. Agree to Disagree People are obviously going to have different approaches and different opinions on almost every issue. As a leader, one should invite those differences, listen and agree to disagree. However, try to approach this with respect and, once again, assume good intent. Work with a Spirit of Collaboration If you’re a leader of any company, you have to trust the people around you to do their jobs. You can’t go it alone.

I’ve also seen the importance of making sure you get diverse perspectives so you can make the most informed decisions. Although it may seem easiest to make decisions in isolation, looping others into the process will serve one well. It will provide different perspectives, allow others to be heard and avoid having to do this after the fact. Work to Resolve Issues at the Peer Level First If there is a chain of command in the organization, before starting up the chain to resolve a controversial issue, first try to resolve it at the peer level. To successfully accomplish this, one often needs to bring in all the previous items listed from a subculture of respect — assume good intent, ensure confidentiality, agree to disagree and work with a spirit of collaboration. Practice Meeting Etiquette How often have you attended a meeting where everyone arrived on time, was thoroughly prepared for the meeting, was ready to participate and gave their full attention to the topic at hand? If this etiquette were followed by everyone, meetings could potentially be much more pleasant and efficient. THE SUBCULTURE OF COMMUNICATION The subculture of communication includes: Email Well Because it may be challenging to communicate the desired emotion with email, sometimes it is best to have a conversation. Pick up the phone and call someone, or schedule a face-to-face conversation. Provide Front-End Communication When there may be sensitive issues to discuss or resolve, give people information before the topic is presented or decided. Also, make the information available to all people in the same form and at the same level so that everyone is treated equitably. Close Communication Loops When issues have been discussed and/or presented, make the decision, and close the communication loop. Be as transparent and timely as possible. Communicate with Purpose Provide clarity regarding what information needs to be communicated to others, what requires formal approval and what is advisory. In summary, many of us have the opportunity to lead in some fashion during our personal and/or professional career. Within that environment, take time to consider what culture you want to create, live in and advance. This will help you lead with a mindful perspective. L

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 9

Brooks Mencke Developing skills such as preparation and collaboration are invaluable to be a successful leader.


St. Paul, Minnesota CAREER

Senior Manager, Executive Communications, Pfizer SETON HALL STATS

Dean’s list (all semesters), PirateThon co-chair, Division of Volunteer Efforts (DOVE) Don Bosco Program volunteer, University of Westminster Exchange Program participant, Johnson & Johnson Case Competition national finalist and McDonald Conference for Leaders of Character student fellow

IN THE LEAD Here you are, just a few years removed from Seton Hall and the Buccino leadership program, and you find yourself in a fascinating role with one of the most influential pharmaceutical companies during a global pandemic. First, could you have ever imagined you’d be in this position, and second, can you tell us a little about your current duties at Pfizer? BROOKS MENCKE Never in a million years. Who would’ve imagined we’d be in a global pandemic, first of all? I think back to February 2020 when I was in Los Angeles with our head of vaccine research, who was speaking at an event about other types of vaccines. COVID-19 was everywhere, and the team got to work immediately to develop a vaccine. It was crazy. Here at Pfizer, I manage communications and set social media strategy for our chairman and chief executive officer as well as other C-suite leaders. My role is focused on leading


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

the conversation. I help provide timely and transparent information about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and communicate the value of Pfizer’s work for patients around the world who rely on our other medicines and vaccines. ITL With access to the chairman and CEO, your position gives you a perspective of senior leadership that I imagine most recent college graduates don’t get until much later in their careers. What have you learned from that unique perspective about leading in a crisis? MENCKE It’s definitely unique, and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. What I’ve learned in supporting communications for senior leaders is the importance of being decisive and knowing your stuff. If you’re a leader of any company, you have to trust the

people around you to do their jobs. You can’t go it alone. I’ve also seen the importance of making sure you get diverse perspectives so you can make the most informed decisions possible. ITL You mention the importance of trust. As someone responsible for Pfizer’s strategic communications and social media posts, you’re in a high-stakes position. A mistake on your end can literally move the stock market. What did you do to make sure Pfizer’s leadership had trust in you? MENCKE I’ve tried to build that trust over time. My role up until January of 2021 was focused on social media communications for the vaccine business and for the manufacturing side of the business. So I was leading that strategy, and because of that work I did there, I was asked to take on social media strategy for the CEO. You have to be good at what you do and let the work speak for itself. Hopefully, people will notice and want you on their team. But you have to put in the work and develop good relationships. ITL Is there a particular experience in the Buccino leadership program that you can point to that helped you hit the ground running at Pfizer? MENCKE The one I always harken back to was freshman year, Leadership 101 with Professor [John] Shannon. He walks into the room and says, “You all have 15 minutes to prepare a presentation on the next five years of your life. Ready, set, go.” We’re all scrambling to put together a PowerPoint and come up with something, and he looks around the room and says, “Brooks, you’re up first.” ITL Did you raise your hand and volunteer to go first? MENCKE Absolutely not! So, I begin my presentation, and I barely got two words out of my mouth before he starts critiquing something on my slide. He then starts peppering me with questions. The pressure was on. Afterwards, I sat down and thought about what happened. I felt totally unprepared. After class, Professor Shannon said, “I picked you because you looked the most nervous.” He then said that this was going to be the toughest presentation I would ever have to give in my life, and that was the point. That experience told me I needed to prepare for anything. I needed to know my stuff and be ready to show I know my stuff whenever called upon. Also, part of the reason he called on me that day was because I appeared to be nervous. I appeared to be scared. Now, even though I may not feel comfortable in certain situations, I remember to carry myself with confidence.

ITL What other skills did you learn in the Buccino leadership program that you found useful in your current role at Pfizer? MENCKE Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration. I learned people can accomplish great things when they’re united by a common purpose. Freshman year, in our first meeting as a leadership class, we were tasked with creating our mission statement. We formed a single sentence that defined our goals and our values as a group. In my current role, I see that Pfizer’s purpose — breakthroughs that change patients’ lives — underpins everything we say and do as an organization. It was put to the test in the face of this global pandemic, and it revealed that success is truly a team effort. Every single person in our company understood we had to be all in to ensure our vaccine with BioNTech was successful. ITL Any other meaningful memories from the leadership program that positively impacted your personal leadership development? MENCKE Each activity and experience taught me something valuable about myself and my abilities. But if I had to pick,

Stretch yourself, take risks and build your self-confidence now. Looking back on my time in the leadership program, I grew the most in the moments I felt most challenged and outside my comfort zone. I would say the most impactful interactions were those with council members. There’s a famous quote from Marian Wright Edelman that says, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” As a college student, exposure to executives in senior leadership roles, especially women leaders, helped me immensely. It’s so important for young people to see places they can aspire to. That’s why I feel honored to serve as a council member today. ITL What advice would you give to students currently in the Buccino leadership program? MENCKE Take advantage of the opportunities presented to you in the program. Stretch yourself, take risks and build your self-confidence now. Looking back on my time in the leadership program, I grew the most in the moments I felt most challenged and outside my comfort zone. L

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 11

Talent Isn’t Enough

Help your team build resilience and embrace adversity. AS LEADERS, part of our job is to do everything possible to help our teams meet or exceed expectations. Leaders typically are not very imaginative in how they build their strategy for success — it is common for many to simply copy the best organizations and build off their approach. No reason to recreate the wheel, right? Just do what you see successful leaders and teams doing. It sounds so simple, but as jazz great Thelonious Monk famously said, “Simple ain’t easy.” Why is it so difficult to replicate organizational greatness? Even if you have the same talent level in your people, the same training and the same organizational structure, results often still fall short. What are we missing? For part of the answer, I encourage you to look past the obvious and venture into the world of the intangible. More than 1,800 years ago, Roman emperor and stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius was quoted as saying, “The secret to all


victory lies in the organization of the non-obvious.” It is in this quote that I believe we find a largely untapped source of power capable of developing a team to its full potential. That untapped source of power is a collective mindset in your organization to “embrace the suck.” TALENT ISN’T ENOUGH TO DEVELOP RESILIENT MEMBERS OF YOUR TEAM With 26 years of active-duty service as a naval officer, including many of those years in the U.S. Navy SEAL community, I have seen first-hand the power of mindset. To drive home the importance of mindset, consider this scenario: The fog of war could not have been thicker. The billowing smoke overwhelmed us. Shouted orders could barely be heard over the roaring gunfire. Chaos persisted! We had not slept a wink in days. Adrenaline continued to fuel us beyond our



In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication


physical and psychological limits. Then, without warning, we lost another teammate. I was told we had now lost seven. To lose some of our most talented and accomplished warriors was inconceivable. Two of the seven were All-American athletes. Three were physical juggernauts, standing over 6 feet tall, between 190 and 210 pounds of chiseled steel, and able to run like the wind. The final two had crushed every test up until that point, especially the obstacle course and other upper body challenges. How was it possible that these superstars were all gone? These were not casualties on some faraway battlefield. They were candidates failing to meet the standard on the sunny beaches of Coronado, California. This same, sad scenario plays out six to eight times every year during “Hell Week,” a grueling part of the Navy’s Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training (BUD/S), one of the most notorious military tests out there. The seven BUD/S candidates all decided to voluntarily “ring the bell” and quit training because they did not have the mindset to navigate and thrive under extreme pressure and adversity. DEVELOPING LEADERS THE NAVY SEALS WAY “Hell Week” is a grueling test during training for the Navy’s SEAL special operations force, where candidates only get four total hours of sleep over the course of five days. The instructors mercilessly apply pressure and adversity through arduous physical challenges and the extreme sleep deprivation, issuing orders with incomplete information, changing conditions and expectations constantly, limiting resources, applying the misery of cold water, and leveraging any other means possible to confuse, disorient and make the candidates as uncomfortable as possible. Everything is an unknown. You do not know when “Hell

Week” will begin, what will be required, or when it will end. The uncertainty and pressure are designed to push candidates to their limits in a controlled, safe environment. Even after training, this is how the SEAL culture functions. Leaders relentlessly apply pressure and adversity on every level in every domain. They demand their team members adapt and learn in order to make navigating and thriving under these daunting conditions second nature. The SEAL community has a phrase, “Become comfortable with being uncomfortable.” That’s the zone where growth becomes possible. As a former SEAL instructor, I can tell you that most candidates who quit during “Hell Week” have the physical ability to complete training. Then why would they quit? As Marcus Aurelius pointed out, the answer is found in the nonobvious, something we cannot readily see. Those seven BUD/S candidates quit because they were unable to mentally cope with the pressure, and they did not have a strategy to persevere. SEAL instructors often bark the saying “embrace the suck” at candidates to help them understand the mindset they will need to complete training. “Embracing the suck” not only forces you to welcome physical challenges but psychological, emotional and intellectual challenges as well. When you can truly “embrace the suck,” you own the pressure and turn it into your competitive advantage. This is a skill all leaders should want their teammates to possess, no matter their profession. NOT JUST A DEVELOPMENTAL TOOL FOR NAVY SEALS There is an interesting movement sweeping the world where people are subjecting themselves to extreme challenges, with an increase in “Ironman Triathlons,” “Spartan Races,” and other

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In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication


how teammates respond. In another example, I set up a unique adversity competitions such as the “Naked and Afraid” remote sales video call with an “important” prospective reality television show and The Haunting event challenges in client. Minutes before the call is to begin, I tell the teammate the “Call of Duty: Warzone” video game. These seemingly crazy running the call that a recording of it will be used by the chief activities are all designed to push participants to their physical operating officer to evaluate their performance. and emotional limits. These are two simple ways to increase pressure and create Why are people doing this? Human nature tells us to seek adversity. It is important to provide constructive analysis and safety and comfort, yet these competitions push us in the exact recommendations after each of these scenarios in order for opposite direction. As participants persevere through these your teammates to grow and develop. artificial adversity challenges, they become more effective at Mindset is important in navigating real adversity in both everything we do, and it is their professional and personal established by your organization’s lives. Just like when lifting weights, professional development when you progressively increase the program, the daily narrative you resistance, you grow. communicate to your team, and Anyone can take advantage of your culture. this approach and strategy; you do not need to be a SEAL or an CHALLENGE VS. THREAT? Ironman triathlete to leverage YOUR CHOICE this powerful process. When you If your team views a difficult deliberately and systematically situation as threatening, it will use pressure and adversity as a trigger the “fight, flight or freeze” tool to train your team, they can response. This is typically not ideal become more effective when actual for performance. adversity inevitably hits. But if your team looks at the same When we do not have a strategy situation as a challenge, optimal to handle pressure, we often fall performance becomes possible. into what psychologists call the In the SEAL community, “fight, flight or freeze” response, instructors use the saying “embrace which is baked into our DNA the suck” to help establish a through evolution. Symptoms challenge mindset. Every SEAL include tunnel vision, brain comes to expect that they will be lock, nauseousness and a racing Mindset is important in subjected to relentless pressure heart rate — self-preservation everything we do, and and challenges throughout their mechanisms that kick in whenever it is established by your career; armed with a challenge we feel threatened. While these organization’s professional mindset, these warriors grow and reactions may help us survive in become comfortable with being truly life-threatening situations, development program, uncomfortable. This ultimately they can negatively impact the daily narrative you creates the skills necessary to performance in endeavors that are communicate to your team, own the pressure and overcome not life-or-death. and your culture. adversity in all of its forms. A team mindset of owning If leaders want to help their pressure and thriving through teams exceed expectations, they must deliberately and adversity does not happen by accident; it happens because incrementally increase the adversity their teams face so they leaders take the time to train their teams to be able to thrive can develop new, empowering ways to respond. As team under adverse conditions. members hone their challenge mindset, they will become Leaders should get creative in training their teams this more effective when it matters most, especially against way. For example, I will assign a group project with a twocompetition. And it will give them a competitive advantage, week window for completion, but at the five- or six-day both at work and in life. L mark, change the timeline from 14 days to 10 days to see

Become a Mentor

The Stillman Women’s Leadership Program @ the Business Leadership Center ABOUT The Women’s Leadership Program is designed to prepare women to enter a workforce that has traditionally underserved their needs and talents.

Each woman executive mentor is paired with a business student. Mentors give back and inspire the next generation of women leaders, while also learning from their perspectives. Overall, the tone and direction of the relationship are entrusted in the hands of the mentor and mentee that allows for relationships to flourish and for mentorship to bring value.

OUTCOMES Connection emphasizes the need for women to support other women. The first step in breaking stereotypical depictions of women is taking steps to foster connections that broaden perspectives. Confidence points to a key skill that often acts as the bridge between seeing and achieving a goal. This program aims to continually develop these young students into young professionals that act and walk with confidence. Community is a testament to the ideas of security and support that this program seeks to provide. Offering a place for women to gather, connect and build a community that strengthens every one who participates.

Interested? contact Ruchin Kansal at



y twin son and daughter recently had a debate, as twins often do, about my job title. My daughter said she thought I was a teacher, and my son said he believed I was a physical therapist. The truth is I have been a practicing physical therapist for over two decades and a fulltime faculty member at Seton Hall University for the past three years. Both children were technically correct, but the more apt description of my job is that of a leader. Whether I’m working with patients as a physical therapist or teaching university students, I am leading. Since achieving my doctoral degree in interdisciplinary leadership, I have reflected even further on not only my own leadership journey, but the role of leadership development in the field of health care more broadly. Now, perhaps more than ever, the healthcare field would benefit from providing leadership development for its leaders at all levels. An important part of Seton Hall’s mission statement includes the task of preparing students to be leaders in their professions and in their communities. I love the message that mission conveys because it highlights how leadership development starts well before we enter the workforce. Viewing leadership this way helps to dispel the notion of leadership being tied to a specific title or position. In health care today, leadership is too often viewed as an essential asset for a few individuals in designated management positions. I think that leadership instead should be viewed as an essential asset for all healthcare workers, especially in the current climate. Moreover, I believe more can be done to provide leadership development opportunities at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Balancing Business Needs and Patient Care

Early leadership development for healthcare workers improves outcomes for both business and patients. By LAUREN SNOWDON, PT, D.P.T., Ed.D.

Leaders in health care face a challenging balancing act. They have to balance the external business demands of the industry with an internal commitment to delivering quality patient care and organizational outcomes. They have to find creative ways to address the diverse needs of patients and members of their healthcare team. Making strategic investments in leader development can improve accountability and enhance organizational performance. Developing leaders who can balance the business end of health care with compassionate patient care can enhance team effectiveness, increase efficiency, reduce healthcare costs and improve patient satisfaction.

Leadership Skills for Today’s Healthcare Needs To accomplish this, today’s healthcare workers require specific skills that are often lacking or even absent in those with little or no leadership development. First, today’s leaders must learn how to empower their followers. Leaders who fail to properly

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It is not enough for healthcare leaders to be technically skilled. We need healthcare leaders who can collaborate and address complex problems in a constantly evolving field.

teach, coach and mentor their teams to innovate and solve problems on their own often find it difficult to survive in the hectic and ever-changing field of health care today. Today’s healthcare leaders must also possess a high level of emotional intelligence. Those who can manage their own emotions, remain positive in the face of tremendous adversity and keep their teams focused on the task at hand can successfully navigate any crisis, even the current pandemic. Those who cannot often experience burnout or create toxic work environments that are bad for both employees and patients. Unlike many other professions, healthcare leaders also have to effectively work with individuals of all ages. This includes finding ways to relate to patients of different ages, from pediatric clients to older adults, and interacting with colleagues from different generations, from Gen Z to baby boomers. Additionally, the future of health care relies on individuals skilled in the area of collaborative, team-based care. While team composition can vary, all healthcare workers need to effectively communicate, professionally interact and understand the value that fellow professionals bring to the fight in order to work with patients and positively contribute to a team. It is not enough for healthcare leaders to be technically skilled. We need healthcare leaders who can collaborate and address complex problems in a constantly evolving field. And when collaborative leaders in health care are successful in finding innovative solutions to complex problems, they must possess the change management skills necessary to quickly implement them. Research reveals that it takes, on average, 17 years to successfully adopt a new practice, even after evidence shows positive impacts on patients. This gap between when an innovation has been proven effective to when it is regularly provided to patients is not good enough to meet the needs of the vulnerable populations we serve. Although

both patients and healthcare providers find this unacceptable, what are we doing to equip healthcare leaders at all levels with the tools to execute effective change management? While resistance to change is often part of human nature and prevalent in every profession, this collective failure to manage change greatly hinders our ability to move health care forward. Effective leadership development helps cultivate leaders who can anticipate problems in managing change and implement needed changes faster.

How Leadership Development in Other Fields Can Benefit Healthcare Leaders As our population ages, technology advances, new challenges arise, and healthcare demands continue to change, we must invest in the leadership development of healthcare workers. The fact that there are limited comprehensive programs that address this need in health care is a problem. Principles of leadership development used in other fields can serve as a framework for this type of education. For example, student leadership development programs in the field of business integrate practice and practical application with feedback, group process and reflection. Healthcare workers are adept at using a range of different sources and group processes to build their knowledge, role play and simulate different scenarios. They also develop through practice, integrate feedback and reflect upon their experiences to effectively address the varied clinical needs of their patients. This type of experiential learning is incorporated into the clinical training of healthcare workers at all levels, from didactic education to continuing education courses and mentorship experiences within an organization. If similar principles are applied to leadership development in the healthcare field, current and future healthcare workers can be best positioned to make a positive and lasting impact in our society. L

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 19

Be Yourself

Everyone Else is Taken As a leader, it starts with being yourself and encouraging others to do the same By LINDA E. DUNBAR, M.A.

Leadership. It’s all different now. And it’s not going back to what it was. That is very good news. Which is not at all to say that the road to a new leadership paradigm will be easy. But leadership is becoming … human. In 1980, 10 of the Fortune 500 Top 20 companies were oil companies. Four were automakers. The rest included companies in tech, telecoms, chemicals and steel, and a couple of conglomerates. These were not necessarily companies that valued people or diversity. Generally speaking, these were capital-intensive businesses, and the point was to produce reliable, accessible, efficient and undifferentiated output for other companies or for mass consumers who were obliged to take what was on offer. People were labor. Leaders were the people who told other people what to do and when. Today, the Fortune 500 Top 20 is dominated by tech, retail and health-related companies. While some of them are better at it than others, it is fair to say that these industries value people in a different way than the capital-intensive, industrial companies of the past. For example, today’s Top 20 includes Apple, Alphabet and Microsoft. Like most tech companies, they rely on their employees’ intellect to create and design innovative products. Those products are targeted to digital natives who are hard-wired from an early age for personalization. For companies like these, brainpower, insight, human experience, intellectual capital, and new ideas are their lifeblood. The implications for leadership — how it is practiced now and how it will evolve — are enormous. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift in leadership ideas and values had already begun. Notably, giant asset managers began to demand that portfolio company CEOs define their company’s social “purpose.” In 2018, Larry Fink, founder and CEO of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, declared that to prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. He emphasized that companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers and the communities in which they operate. Benefiting stakeholders such as employees, customers, and communities suggests shifting to a people-driven approach. This is a big ask, requiring a whole new mindset. And new skills and perspectives to go with it.

Just as corporate America had started on the path to orienting to this new north, COVID-19 struck. George Floyd, a Black man, was murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis. Social justice and the fight against white supremacy resurfaced as a critical, existential issue for the nation and surprisingly, not surprisingly, the world. Climate change has become undeniable. Millennials, Gen Z, Gen X, and baby boomers co-exist under that same company umbrella, sometimes understanding each other and sometimes not. The national conversation around the place work holds in our lives and where that work actually takes place continues as CEOs at many organizations attempt to get workers physically back to the office. The much-anticipated Great Resignation is well underway. In short, vulnerabilities of every kind in our society have been exposed. Getting to anything approaching normal requires a new kind of leadership, and that leadership paradigm continues to evolve. It will include a wider set of diverse voices and styles that break out of the narrow behavioral leadership models of the past to embrace people of all shapes, sizes, colors, creeds and genders who express themselves differently.

What does this mean for you and your leadership journey? Listen to yourself.

In my case, listening to myself is something I learned the hard way. In 2015, in the space of a few weeks, I lost my job, I lost my father, and then, after what was supposed to be routine throat surgery, I lost my speaking voice. As a corporate spokesperson and communications professional who had just lost both her income and her guiding light, the impact was devastating. I could not get my father back, but if I was lucky, I could restore my voice. I embarked on a medical journey to understand why I had lost my voice and how to get it back. At the same time, I realized that on a higher plane, after years of over adapting

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 21

A recent poll indicates that Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X all rated diversity and inclusion as extremely/very important.

Source: quantilope | Ten

= 100%

to succeed in business environments with little or no diversity, equity or inclusion (DEI), I had worked very hard to “fit in” and had erased myself in the process. I had surrendered my agency — my voice — and I needed to get it back. Helping companies operationalize DEI for change is my way of valuing myself — leaning into my lived experience, historical knowledge, business acumen and cultural competency to help reset and restore our collective voice. And my own.

Be ready to forgive yourself. In American society, we are rarely congratulated for our mistakes, possibly with good reason. Nevertheless, at some point (or points), you are going to make a mistake. The experience will likely be emotional and terrible. It might also be a gift that is — eventually — transformative. If you are truly leading, you are moving forward relying on incomplete information because while you can make a best guess, no one can predict the future. And even figuring out what you and your team should be doing, the present can be a challenge. To quote former U.S. secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, “There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don't know we don't know.” Between the known unknowns and the unknown unknowns — black swan and other events we just do not see coming — there is plenty of room for error. Even knowing the knowns of managing ourselves and others is fraught with the possibility of getting it wrong. Be ready to forgive yourself. Because mistakes are going


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

to happen. But if you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t doing it right. In a world where change is accelerating, you cannot avoid trying new things. Not making mistakes might mean you are sticking closely to what has worked in the past. Settling for the same results in a changing world means missing opportunities — and risks — associated with innovation and trying something different. If you can forgive yourself for the mistake, you will then be able to look at what happened as clearly as possible to see if there is a transformative lesson to learn. If you are able to find that lesson, that gift — not an easy task by any means — you’ll be fine, perhaps even better than fine.

Get comfortable with diversity, equity and inclusion. All three of them.

Whoever you are, whatever your race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age or ability, getting comfortable with DEI is a must. Those goals are not going away any time soon. A recent poll indicates that Gen Z (76 percent), Millennials (72 percent) and Gen X (63 percent) all rated diversity and inclusion as extremely/very important (source: quantilope). These generations already comprise the bulk of the workforce. In addition, older millennials are assuming leadership positions. With the Great Resignation unfolding as we speak, not getting DEI right is a risk for attracting and retaining employees at all levels. We also know it also means accepting suboptimal decision making and results. (McKinsey/Cloverpop). Understanding the meaning of DEI and its implications

for any leader or organization is not a no-brainer. These three concepts are different for every organization, and getting the mix right can be a tricky balance. As a leader, blind spots can make the right level of awareness and skills for yourself and for others hard to figure out and operationalize, regardless of your generation or diversity status. We all have blind spots, and it’s hard to know what they are because they are, well, blind spots! The first step is doing an informal self-assessment: How much do you know about other cultures? How comfortable are you with people “not like you”? How are you defining that? Then think about what the implications of what you are learning about yourself might be for your business, your employees, your peers, your community. Making an honest, preliminary notion of where you are, as best you can, is a start.

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken. While this adage is well-known, it is worth thinking about. According to Deloitte University, 76 percent of employees surveyed felt the need to hide their differences or “cover” at work. Covering is when individuals seek to downplay the importance of their visible identity, including

adapting their appearances (clothing, hair) or changing their behaviors in ways that are uncomfortable for them. In this case, Blacks (94 percent), women of color (91 percent), LGB (91 percent), all women (80 percent), and straight white males (50 percent) all sought to diminish some aspect of their identity at work. Sixty-one percent of respondents stated that their leaders expect employees to cover. This data suggests that employees are holding back on sharing their thoughts and perspectives, and are choosing to some degree to “go along to get along.” Going along with the dominant voice in the room results in suboptimal decisions and a stifling of the innovation that comes from the sharing and consideration of unique points of view. This data also suggests that leaders have not yet mastered and are not sufficiently modeling and driving inclusive behaviors. While this requires training, learning and development initiatives across the enterprise to be sure, as a leader, it starts with being yourself and encouraging others to do the same. Depending on who you are and where you work, there can be enormous pressure to be someone else. Being yourself may sound like a platitude, but with only 24 percent of employees comfortable with being themselves at work, it bears repeating. L

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 23

The Cult of Personality

A new book compares how cults and leaders use language, and how we see that language in many other places, including business. REVIEWED BY PAULA ALEXANDER, Ph.D., J.D., and STEPHEN WOOD, M.S.

WHAT DO CULTS have to do with good leadership? Or more to the point, what does cult language have to do with good leadership? At first glance, Amanda Montell’s Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism, an exploration of cult-speak in Cultish, may not seem relevant in our search for the principles of good leadership. Cults may seem quite a few steps removed from our workaday world of ordinary business organizations. But Montell’s topic is not about the organization of cults but the language of cults. Her insights regarding language resonate for every type of organization, from the business


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

setting to political discourse to many groups we affiliate with throughout our lives. Some of the gems she offers regarding language include: • Language Frames Our Reality “language does not simply describe or reflect who we are, it creates who we are.” • Language Persuades “language … is effective in part simply because speech is the first thing we’re willing to change about ourselves.” • Language Helps Diagnose “in every corner of life, business and otherwise, when you can tell deep down that something is ethically wrong but are having trouble pinpointing why, language

is a good place to look for evidence … The words we hear and use every day can provide clues to help us determine which groups are healthy, which are toxic, and which are a little bit of both — and to what extent we wish to engage with them.” CULT LANGUAGE: FOUNDATIONS OF LEADERSHIP — OR IS IT MANIPULATION? Montell identifies basic assumptions regarding human needs in her discussion of cult language: “All kinds of research points to the idea that humans are social and spiritual by design,” she writes. “Our behavior is driven by a desire for belonging and purpose.” Other passages expand this with the words “identity,” “meaning-making,” “a sense of community” and “ritual.” If our goal is to create and lead a healthy business, should we not address these same basic needs? We would seek to create a culture where our employees have purpose and a sense of belonging, and where our customers do as well. Our sales and marketing goals would include customer loyalty, repeat business and brand identity. Purpose, meaning and belonging are essential, and so is the manifestation of these conditions through achievement. Isn’t our societal imperative “be all you can be” and “you can be anything”? Are we not taught that self-improvement and

If our goal is to create and lead a healthy business, should we not address these same basic needs? We would seek to create a culture where our employees have purpose and a sense of belonging. striving are crucial to success and fulfillment? Isn’t that why we are publishing this magazine and why you are reading it? Do we not want to increase sales, get the promotion and make a difference? Enter the language of cults. Consider the following paragraph and note the tactics used within it: “If you read In The Lead and have read this far, you have already proven to be thoughtful, open and committed to improving your critical thinking. Your efforts to master the principles of good business show that you are a striver, a person of purpose,

destined to join the ranks of those empowered to create abundance for yourself and society. Congratulations on separating yourself from the bumbling losers who waste their time tilling in vain, leading lives bereft of meaning.” • Love-Bombing You are special; you should feel good about yourself; and (more subliminally), because I saw all of these qualities in you, I have special powers, and I love you. • Purpose and Empowerment You are committed to improvement, purpose and abundance. You will find what you seek by continuing on this path (i.e., following me). • Belonging You are part of us, a community of the like-minded. You are different from "them" — those who are unworthy. Montell shows how these simple tactics of cult leaders fit into a larger strategy built on language: • Special Vocabulary “Our” group learns a new language of terms that provide a sense of membership and offer unique insights, but also serve to brighten the line between us and them. In the suicide cult Heaven’s Gate, for example, the kitchen was the “nutra-lab,” the laundry room was the “fiberlab,” and followers off doing something in normal society were “out of craft.” • Catchy Phrases, Zingy Delivery In the doomed Peoples Temple settlement in Jonestown, for example, Jim Jones would tear up a Bible theatrically on the podium and say, “Nobody touch it, it’s damned.” Listeners would mistake this for sayit-like-it-is honesty, despite the fact it was neither honest nor offered any true insight into values and meaning. • Loaded Language Frequent lingo that triggers fear, dread, grief, jubilation or reverence. • Euphemisms We often soften the impact of loaded language using euphemisms, such as speaking of death as “passing away.” Such terms help us avoid discomfort. But in cult-speak, euphemistic terms are not employed to soften emotional impact but to convert something we typically avoid into something we should desire. For example, Jim Jones would refer to death as “the transition,” or “the Great Translation." Marshall Applewhite of Heaven’s Gate referred to death as “exiting your vehicle” or “graduation.” Montell identifies these circuitous euphemisms as “conditioning tools — invoked to make followers cozy up to the idea of death, to dismiss their ingrained fears of it.” • Use of thought-terminating clichés These phrases are used

In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication 25

to curtail intellectual inquiry into what the group is about, such as, “It is what it is,” “Everything happens for a reason,” “You're confused? Why don’t you sit with that.” • Invoking a False “Either-Or” Dilemma For example, “We don't want to be like those ordinary stiffs, unhappy in their jobs; we want to follow this path and be enlightened.” • Absolutist Language “All of us are traumatized as kids.” “It’s all rigged, ladies and gentlemen. It’s all rigged!” Cult language uses absolutes — language without quantifiers and qualifiers.

• Confirmation Bias The only information allowed is information that reinforces the current beliefs. • Leader Has Special Powers “Only I can solve the problems we face.” “I see the real you, the you that can be achieved.” “I see the peril and danger threatening us.” “I see clearly how foolish and inferior they are (those who are not believers, those who are outsiders, those who don’t belong).” THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: THESE TACTICS AREN’T JUST FOR CULTS ANYMORE You may have noticed that this discussion is not just about the language of cults; it is the language of politics, social media and commercial sales — the language used to build organizational culture. The only difference is a matter of degree, not of substance. No matter what side of the political spectrum you are on, you will recognize most of these rhetorical devices as standard components of virtually every article on public issues. We might even say business school is grounded in these same tactics. We use special lingo (Price-to-earnings ratio,


In the Lead | A Seton Hall University Publication

Last-In, First-Out, value proposition, etc.). Our managers have special powers — insights into trends, markets, strategies. We create a sense of belonging in our employees — we’re a team, we’re part of a great company. We make a difference — corporate philanthropy, community outreach. We even have rituals — the town meeting, the business planning retreat, the holiday party, the annual performance review. No doubt we have all heard the term “drink the KoolAid” to stoke the inner resolve needed to face challenges. (These phrases have become so commonplace that many do not know the roots of that phrase in Jonestown, where followers were persuaded to commit mass suicide by ingesting a cyanide-laced drink.) COUNTERPOINT: ADAM GRANT (THINK AGAIN): LEADERS WHO ENCOURAGE FOLLOWERS TO “THINK AGAIN” Adam Grant, the author of the book Think Again, previously reviewed in this journal, created a hierarchy of thinking styles, with learner and critical thinker at the top and cult leader at the bottom. Grant characterizes the cult leader as “treating your own thoughts as gospel,” with the approach, “I’m always right.” Cult leaders charismatically develop a following, Grant concedes. “It’s easy to see the appeal of a confident leader who offers a clear vision, a strong plan, and a definitive forecast for the future.” But he counters that “in times of crisis as well as times of prosperity, what we need more is a leader who accepts uncertainty, acknowledges mistakes, learns from others and rethinks plans.” CONCLUSION Montell’s book provides us with nuances and gradations across an entire spectrum of cults, from the notorious “suicide cults” (Jonestown, Heaven’s Gate), to controversial religions like Scientology and Children of God, to multi-level marketing companies (MLMs), “cult fitness” studios and social media gurus, and even QAnon. We can use Montell’s insights on cultlike language to distinguish positive, persuasive leadership from toxic, dysfunctional organizations. Charisma, confidence and vision are hallmarks of great leaders. But when a leader’s skills are used to limit inquiry and dissent, when the exhilaration of purpose leads to severing ties to the outside, when the goal is to accrue additional power to the leader, or for followers to engage in destructive behavior, then we should think again. L

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