You've Got Algorithm
But Can You Dance?
Learn how to lead with heart and empathy
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You have perfected the skills necessary to perform at work and manage everyday life. Yet you often find yourself stuck—your career has stalled, your relationships have become stagnant. Something is off.
The hard truth is that no matter how brilliant you may be, your technical abilities won’t provide you with the charisma, empathy, and grace you need to advance. No matter how well-designed your algorithms, they won’t teach you how to be an authentic leader.
The good news is that change is within your reach. Think of the social interactions in your workplace as a dance—all you have to do is start to feel the music and learn the steps. Then you can get out onto the dance floor and take the lead.
This book shows you how to leverage your existing skills and add a few strategic moves. It is a step-by-step guide—literally—to becoming a confident, assertive, and empathetic leader.
WHAT PEOPLE SAY
You gave your heart to us with your stories and resources
You take us on a journey that can help many people in tech to become leaders.
Your audible is powerful because we can sense your passion and humanity, which helps us connect.
Highly Actionable, easy to understand, and concise to help you become a compassionate leader
Your transparency is a reminder that everyone we encounter wants connection too
Read the Introduction
There is an old, well-known story.
A man has lost his keys. It’s the middle of the night, the power is out, and the house is pitch-black. Since he can’t see anything, he decides to go outside to search for his keys around the lamppost at the street corner.
His neighbor shows up, wondering what is going on.
“I lost my keys,” the man tells his neighbor.
“Let me help you look,” the neighbor replies.
After a short while, the neighbor asks, “Where exactly did you lose your keys?”
“Well, somewhere in my house.”
“What?” the neighbor says. “Why are we searching for them out here, then?”
The man looks at the neighbor with surprise. “Because it doesn’t make sense to grope around in a dark house. The light is out here.”
This story is poignant because it captures an essential truth: when faced with a challenge, rather than looking for where the problem truly lies, we often look toward what is familiar, to a place where we can use our usual tools. This is particularly true when it comes to emotional challenges: we often prefer to retreat into our familiar self than to step into the “darkness” of the unknown.
I would know. In my early years, I spent far too much time crawling around lampposts. And today, as a leadership coach who has worked with hundreds of managers and executives of Fortune 500 companies, I see so many people similarly searching for their keys outside of their homes, believing they’ll find solutions externally rather than internally. I have come to realize that there is one main difference that separates those who excel in leadership from the rest: outstanding leaders know how to navigate the social and emotional challenges of their day-to-day interactions with ease and fluidity. Such ability is not the result of greater factual knowledge or a specific set of external rules. Rather, it flows naturally from a mindset in which experience, understanding, and empathy have come into alignment. A mindset that is based on honest self-observation and made possible by a willingness to change.
One of the first things I tell my clients is that there is nothing I coach or facilitate that I have not gone through myself. Yes, I was that guy who knew how to read algorithms, develop software, and manage complex projects. And yet, interpersonally I was a big mess. Stubborn, rigid, and awkward, I was painfully poor at managing my emotions.
So I embarked on a journey of self-development. My biggest assets were curiosity and determination. I really wanted to understand what it would take to feel comfortable in socially diverse situations. I wanted to be free—or at least freer—more comfortable with myself and better attuned to others. I wanted to be able to receive input with an open mind and exert influence with grace and empathy.
My first stumbling steps of self-discovery put me onto a path that led to where I am today: helping people achieve what they desire and facilitating their self-growth. For more than ten years, I have guided industry leaders to better identify core challenges in their lives and learn ways to overcome them with confidence.
Nothing motivates me more than seeing capable people take on a challenge and dare to be their true selves.
When we experience failure, we often leap headfirst into a new relationship or a new job, without taking the time to understand why we failed in the first place. Or we simply blame others. We do just about anything to stay close to our lamppost, because we think we need the external light to guide us. Without it, we think, we would be unable to see.
So many of us have learned to resolve complex problems on-screen. We write algorithms and lines of code, and tackle issues with well-designed diagrams. But when it comes to more intangible problems, like communication, personalities, and behaviors, we get lost.
If we want to get a promotion, increase our earning capacity, influence people, and become an admired leader, our technical knowledge and degrees will only get us so far. To advance further, we need a different skill set, we need self-awareness and the ability to connect with people. We need to be courageous, take a good look inside ourselves, and find our own light. In short, we need emotional intelligence.
Fortunately, we can all achieve this change; challenging as it may be at times, it is within our reach. It’s like learning to dance. We hear and feel the music, we envision the steps, but we need to learn how to actually put it all into motion. To do that, we need to understand what holds us back and what limits our confidence and attitude. Then we need to listen to the beat, learn the steps, and practice them until we become fluid in our movements. Once that happens, we need to learn how to dance with a partner and lead with passion and grace. Only when we have mastered all of that can we create our own authentic dance, with charisma, style, and grace.
My own journey has not been an easy one. I have learned the hard way how much commitment, curiosity, and courage self-transformation takes. But I firmly believe that there are no viable alternatives. If you don’t want to take the journey, if you continue to look for your keys around some lamppost, you may end up dying with the music still in you, as Wayne Dyer has said. But if you start by examining yourself with curiosity and compassion, I can promise you, you will be able to reach your potential and express yourself fully.
So, what do you think? Do you care to play some music and learn how to dance?