Morality and finding meaning in actions.

FeaturedMorality and finding meaning in actions.

“It’s discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit.”
― Noël Coward, Blithe Spirit

We live in a world of transformation, daily transactions and those actions by individuals that create a pause for concern. Integrity is a foundation for one’s moral compass as we strive for meeting our needs for providing for family and continuing an existence of service, gratitude and enjoyment.

Not to espouse a political slant, but the recent months of division within the U.S. government body and an appearance of and actions similarly reflecting an autocratic state leave me extremely concerned about the next decade of decisions as well as statements coming from the political heads of this country.

Coward’s quote on honesty and deceit should be taken to heart among all individuals not only in the U.S. but worldwide as leaders and so-called leaders are acting out on impulses that are viewed from allies and others as increasingly more dangerous to the security of nations and citizens alike. How few of this nation’s government remain motionless and voice-less when it comes to the actions of the U.S. President over the last 24 months is of concern. Deceit rules high while honesty has been interpreted as acts of defiance and near treasonous! Morality has taken on a different interpretation.

In graduate studies I embark on lectures and classroom discussions on the importance of finding your moral compass and the attributes and characteristics that contribute to those decisions. Look for the paths taken on issues that make up your day. Do they fall upon your historical views of the world, a causal relationship to how your upbringing marks those decisions, and how do you contribute to finding meaning in your responses.

Finding meaning in your information comes from a lifetime of building those personal characteristics and experiences which do provide that foundation! Those individuals from the Greatest to the Z Generations have identities that range from decisions made based on family history and consistency to the latest generations of self-made, individualistic thinking and lack of a historical perspective to draw upon. Whichever decisions are made are drawn upon a foundation of life or present experience. Making sense of what is spoken or written

Take time to reflect and consider your personal characteristics that you draw upon in decisions made. Look to discussions and decisions being made by those that have a direct impact on your lives and consider what the meanings could be that foster those remarks. Finding your moral compass and those pieces that surround it can lead to a greater personal understanding and comfort in what is important in our lives.




When communication breaks-down, getting back on track!

Ever wonder why the communication among colleagues, friends or acquaintances comes to a stop after controversial conversations? When even one party’s communication stops because of an innocent reaction by another? Too often among those wanting to portray themselves as leadership types does ego, vanity and a sense no wrong-doing come into play, yes for men and women alike. Is it the matter of someone not wanting to deal with confrontation that they exhibit this unwillingness to reach out? Who should be the one to offer an olive branch in the hope of both parties resuming conversations, whether they are uncomfortable or not? And, if that olive branch is merely a note reflecting a sincere greeting, a hope of all is well and something small in nature that has no other intended consequences. It is times like these that one’s ego and stubbornness interferes with the daily activities associated with life in general. We spend too much time worrying and allowing our minds to wander helplessly across the vast space between our left and right earlobes that causes time to pass while stewing over a conversation or lack of understanding to an issue. The olive branch can come in many forms. I suggest, finding one that will enable the other party to come back to the “table” and resume or start up a new conversation that impacts you both. It’s easy to avoid confrontation and commitment, it’s much more difficult to face others, engage in a small gesture and work on your own independent ways to admit, confront, and regain that one on one you lost for a mere misunderstanding! -DokRon



Welcome to “The14leadersblog,” a place where weekly ideas and thoughts on leadership will be placed.  I begin with the name chosen for this blog.  As a Doctoral graduate in Leadership from Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire and a Graduate adjunct faculty member for their MBA in Leadership program, I chose “the 14” as Franklin Pierce being the 14th President for the United States.

In classes and in discussions with Graduate students, I use the phrase “lead-on” which I hope helps each of them to not only identify their ability to lead, to satisfy their knowledge within their tool-box, but to maintain a perspective on what it takes to ultimately become successful in their chosen field.

Lead-on has become a powerful phrase.  I have found in these past twelve months, students have become aware of their individual traits and behaviors that evolve within combined with their ideas on personal capabilities and what it means to be a at the front! I hope this continues to drive them to a greater personal awareness and belief of their self-worth and contributions.

Here is this week’s topic!

Following a beloved opportunity as a Community College President, (still available)  and as of the last 18 months serving as an on-campus and on-line Graduate and Undergraduate Professor, I began to opine in my management and leadership classes if the words “leader-leadership”are being used to loosely in our daily vernacular.  We examine the words in various aspects of business, academia, sports, politics, water cooler talk and in our social gatherings.  We debate over the leadership of individuals and of their acceptance in society. What is our understanding of the word leader and how do we evaluate the individual, by what means and matrix can we accurately measure?  We do, We don’t? We haven’t?  Then by what standards or end result do we say the person is a leader?  Do we rely on historical data and anecdotes in our understanding?  Leadership has in my opinion become just another adjective to an individual who is working the managing of a person, a team or an organization.  Make no mistake, there are those who have provided real insight, vision and a determination to their institution, firm and constituents in providing value in human capital, resources and services. They have been measured by their actions, successes and yes failings. However, my thought for some time is that we need to evaluate the person on their accomplishments, positive or negative after a period of time before we bestow the leader-ship crown on their head! This is difficult as followers will argue their manager, supervisor, president is a leader and to that I and many might agree to a point. Followers do just that, they follow.  But, followers also have been convinced to the confidence, charisma and knowledge of their “leader.”  It is difficult to overcome and be convinced otherwise when followers work hard, are supportive and will maintain they move as one.  Maybe, just maybe we would be better served to talk it over with friends at dinner, over a beverage of choice or as an ice-breaker.  Just think of the looks and consternation you will observe when posing the question of is your “leader” a leader?

Somethings to think about, even for a few minutes.  Until next time,


follow me on Twitter.





Emotional Intelligence: E-I, E-I, ohhhh…

Emotional intelligence can easily be described as the ability in someone to manage their emotions in identifying and communicating issues relative to work and social communication. It truly takes on a unique perspective if you have the capacity of E.I..

You must know of someone, a colleague, subordinate or supervisor that cannot deal with the smallest of stressors and completely unfolds at the hint of a difficult situation or confrontation.

Conversely, you also know of individuals whom you are in daily contact with who are calm, sensible and confront issues with a professional demeanor and sensible conversation.

What makes for a person’s ability to capture the emotional strength in dealing with work, life, family and social issues of the day? Personality, background, historical perspectives, solid mentors and role models or do you believe there are or have been other factors contributing to this positive or negative response?

I write often on leadership and the many facets and characteristics that enable individuals to thrive. Emotional intelligence, oh my, is one characteristic that we see daily from the reports from news media to our view of a customer ranting at a clerk for no apparent reason.

Something to think over, how do you deal with the issues of the day and how well do you know of your E. I capacity?


Experience IS your tool box!

My Dad told me a long time ago that each and every experience you make in life adds to your life! I think in many ways he was trying to say that everything we do is an experience in life and those experiences become part of our personal and professional toolbox. He wasn’t a college educated man but was trained in the Air Force, worked at many varying positions in his life, suffered health setbacks and still managed to keep up with the times by reading up on events, staying focused on politics and even when his health condition reduced him to an early retirement he remained positive and still an advocate for learning. His heart stopped beating one April morning at the age of 63 and to this day his voice continues to ring in my ears and keeps me grounded. Maybe that I just turned 62, this reflection is an important element of my time on this big blue rock.

As Baby Boomers, our generation is approaching the pinnacle of our life of work experiences. That’s not to say the coming years won’t be as productive as they’ve been for the previous 4 decades, but the amount of time we put in certainly will be minimized by Father time, health and just wanting to take time for us.

Consider everything you’ve accomplished, the people who have crossed your paths in both positive and negative ways, friends, friends of friends, the barista at your local java spot, the paper boy or gal, mail-person, priest, employees, bosses both good and bad and maybe the person who you gave a dollar to who needed a meal. Each time you encountered someone and still do what stands out in that person and what drew you to them? It’s easy to see through the fog of early life and now come to terms on what these people added to your tool-box of life. Even in divorce, which many of us have either been the recipient of that incredulous time have come to understand after many years how this has also impacted us. Thankfully for many, including me, a greater love of life and another person has come from this experience.

Dad in his later years worked as a Deputy Sheriff in Manchester, NH and I visited him one day and just hung around the jail with him and his team. All those men were friendly and hard working and appreciated and enjoyed the camaraderie of being appointed to their positions. The joker that Dad was in all of his life gave me a tour of the inside of the jail while all the men were locked in or the trustees were outside doing yard work. unbeknownst to me his team were in on his little tour of his eldest son and while Dad showed me around he invited me to step into a cell and look around and get a feel. As I did this, he motioned to his team and suddenly the door closed and I was left alone in a closed jail cell. As a teenager you can imagine what I was experiencing then from this lesson learned. After a brief few minutes, the door opened and he stood there smiling. Dad added one more experience/lesson on his number one son!

It is truly inspiring when thinking of the past, the lessons learned, experiences seen that shape the foundation of our lives. I loved in South Korea for 13 months while in my early 40’s and taught English to young Korean students. The culture, people, friendships still maintained today are part of my tool box that I reflect on often. I’ve been back to S.K. a number of times. I’ve traveled the globe for work and personal experiences with my wife and continue to take in the beauty of countries and what it offers us.

Family, work, education, neighbors, community activities, church, the neighborhood store, whatever or wherever life takes you open up to the sights and sounds of the moment. Have a casual conversation on anything that is occurring on the planet, it might make an impact on your day and life!

I wonder as many of my generation do on the Z generation and the coming of future gens. What will make an impact in their lives that will elevate their thinking to the point of a connection to their lives? whether it is now or in 4 decades from now, I certainly hope a few of the stories, discussions or events trigger in a good way the accomplishments in their lives and the impact those times made in filling their tool box of life!

In leadership there comes a certain view from 10,000 feet on life, and as I look towards the next few decades, I anticipate adding a few more items to my tool box and hope you find many more for yours as well!


Ethical conundrum?

Hello followers,

Leaders and those aspiring to lead often discuss the implications of ethics among colleagues, business associates, consumers and of course, lawyers. Too often I find the word “ethics” used when referring to decisions being made within corporations and conversely by individuals on a number of scenarios. Let’s think about the definition of this word: ” Moral principles that govern a person’s behavior or the conducting of an activity. ” -Webster’s dictionary. Do you think that people understand ethics to be the decision between right and wrong? I do and have heard it from so many in numerous venues of discussion, whether it be in a classroom or meeting of friends. Let’s understand that ethical decision making is the result of your guiding moral compass. Yes, behavior and personality are factors that drive your internal decision making and yes, how we were raised and the environment to which we grew up; in the family, social, religious and academic settings have a strong and deliberate impact on those decisions.

Our moral compass is made up of the following foundations. These foundations lead to outcomes that identify the personal integrity of our being. Can you live without any of the foundations outlined in the compass? Honesty, Fairness, Self-discipline to name just a few. Remove one and where does that leave you as a human being, friend, companion, employee and family member?

Leaders take on a persona by virtue of this compass and their relationship to their internal and external environments can be viewed by the overall attributes of their compass or the lack of some of those integral pieces that either leave a positive legacy or none at all! So, the next time you hear the word ethics being used, ask where their moral compass is leading them?

Lead on…


Balancing work and Holidays!

Hanukkah and Christmas comes at a time when many of our dedicated and not so dedicated employees benefit from the allowance of time away to be surrounded by family and friends. Many are not so fortunate and have fewer friends to surround themselves with due to rising ages, geographic moves or just a penchant for more solitude in their lives.  For many, we will log into our laptops or even drive to the office, grab a coffee and sit behind our desks for an number of hours as we work on whatever it is that is keeping us from the spirit of the season!

Why do we subject ourselves to this madness?  Better yet, as leaders, why do we allow this to occur?  A work-life balance, words spoken by many in management and leadership capacities encourage us to take time away from our daily work environment and take on something different. go for a hike, take in a couple movies with a large refillable bucket of popcorn and a box of jujubes.  I encourage my dedicated faculty and direct reports in staying away for as long as possible to do things they have no time for during our hectic and preoccupied lives. Even, take a nap in the afternoon and enjoy a little solace from your surroundings and goings-on.

My Dad, long since passed, told me often to treat people exactly like the way you wish to be treated, “The golden rule” and you will forever have people wanting and willing to work for you.  I take that a step further, and say all of those things to the people I want to work “with” me!  The balance I wish for all of those great team members bringing change to our learners and constituents begins with my ability to be supportive, creative in their needs and one who cares to follow what their lives entail so I can be a better leader.

The balance in taking time for these Holidays, whichever you celebrate, or not, begins with a sincere and honest delivery of the message, “Take time for you and enjoy all you can!” Allow as much time away from the the internal noise we call work and schedules and foster an environment that promotes that balance of life.  The old adage of, “we work to live not live to work” works if you let it.  I used to say, “in 100 years, no one will give a rat’s patoot,” heck, if we don’t allow for a beneficial blending of work and life, they won’t care tomorrow! ENJOY your Holidays, celebrate the life you have with friends and family we may not see as often as we’d like and just benefit from the time.

Let’s begin the new year of 2017 with the idea of a more balanced environment so we can prosper in life while we work to add more balance.

Dr. Ron