July 4th – Independence Day – is approaching in the United States. Besides being a holiday, we can also use this as a benchmark date for more effective leadership.


Psychologist Abraham Maslow said that people whose needs are met become independent of distractions around them. If you’ve visited the average workplace you’ve noticed there are some people who don’t have this independence. And when they don’t, watch out: fireworks!


Here’s the elephant in the office:


Some organizations have cultures where distractions – fireworks – are the norm. Explosions of anger light up meetings; rockets of crisis blast off through emails; fire crackers detonate as people snipe and complain.

Fireworks don’t belong in the office.




You may not be able to stop the explosions around you, but you can limit the “shows” you’re in.


Independence begins by not being attached to, or needing, people and outcomes to be different than they are in the moment. When we insist that events unfold the way we’ve envisioned them, we set ourselves up for debilitating disappointment.


When we are attached to our:


– idea being chosen,

– boss acting a certain way,

– colleagues being smarter than they are,

– children behaving “accordingly,”

– loved ones looking “right,” or

– results being perfect,


we are no longer independent. And when we are no longer independent, that means the circumstances in our life become more powerful than we are. This is when we launch fireworks.


The consequence, then, is that we can’t lead, which ironically means we’ve lost our ability to create the one thing we want: better results moving forward.


How will you celebrate your independence so the fireworks are left in the sky?


Where will you lead – where will you stomp elephants – today?


Activate Your Greatness.

Activate Your Greatness.

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