25 min

Kerry Sulkowicz - 'The Psychoanalyst‪'‬ Fearless Creative Leadership

    • Management

Here’s a question. If you don’t know what you don’t know, how certain should you be about what you do know?
This is my full conversation with Kerry Sulkowicz, the leadership confidant and psychiatrist. Parts of this conversation were featured in last week’s Look Ahead at 2022 episode. If you haven’t heard that yet - I spoke to nine different leaders about how society has changed as a result of the last two years and what that means for leadership.
The episode was featured in Fast Company and the link is in the show notes and on the Fearless website.
Kerry works with leaders across the world and is also president-elect of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He knows a thing or two about the psychology of leadership.
The human condition is attracted to certainty. To be fed and safe and healthy. To belong. To matter.
It’s hard to get away from these instincts and the impulses that come with them.
Which makes us prone to look for evidence that fits our desired view of the world and to overlook questions and possibilities and gaps in our knowledge that might contradict that view.
Which makes what we do know more risky and what we don't know more valuable.
In most organizations, leaders sit or are placed on a pedestal. There is a structural hierarchy that directly affects the flow of information.
When we allow ourselves to believe that the structure itself provides us with all the information that we need, we run the risk of never knowing what we don't know.
If your goal is to be someone who leads empathetically and impactfully, a question to add to your leadership portfolio is the one that Howard Schultz reportedly asked himself and his leadership team at Starbucks every week.
What do I not know that would make this decision wrong?
And then I would follow it up with this one.
Why am I afraid to find out?

Here’s a question. If you don’t know what you don’t know, how certain should you be about what you do know?
This is my full conversation with Kerry Sulkowicz, the leadership confidant and psychiatrist. Parts of this conversation were featured in last week’s Look Ahead at 2022 episode. If you haven’t heard that yet - I spoke to nine different leaders about how society has changed as a result of the last two years and what that means for leadership.
The episode was featured in Fast Company and the link is in the show notes and on the Fearless website.
Kerry works with leaders across the world and is also president-elect of the American Psychoanalytic Association. He knows a thing or two about the psychology of leadership.
The human condition is attracted to certainty. To be fed and safe and healthy. To belong. To matter.
It’s hard to get away from these instincts and the impulses that come with them.
Which makes us prone to look for evidence that fits our desired view of the world and to overlook questions and possibilities and gaps in our knowledge that might contradict that view.
Which makes what we do know more risky and what we don't know more valuable.
In most organizations, leaders sit or are placed on a pedestal. There is a structural hierarchy that directly affects the flow of information.
When we allow ourselves to believe that the structure itself provides us with all the information that we need, we run the risk of never knowing what we don't know.
If your goal is to be someone who leads empathetically and impactfully, a question to add to your leadership portfolio is the one that Howard Schultz reportedly asked himself and his leadership team at Starbucks every week.
What do I not know that would make this decision wrong?
And then I would follow it up with this one.
Why am I afraid to find out?

25 min