Leadership for the Socially Awkward

Ken Portrait 20150913 (19b)(Contact me if you have further questions)

Is “geek” a positive or negative word?

I think it has gained a lot social acceptance as never before.  I am a self-described geek.

I accept all of the pluses and minuses.  Geek doesn’t comment on your intelligence, but it might say something about your social skills.

In a high-tech field when do you get the chance to learn leadership skills and practice them?  There is one thing I never forgot in my own journey, everyone is afraid.  Sometimes it is simple stage fright, sometimes a lack of direction, and sometimes you just think “How did I get myself in this spot and what the hell am I going to do about it?”

My biggest worry was “These people are depending on me, what if I screw up?”

There is no reason to worry about what we cannot control.  So, let’s focus on what we can control, what is a priority, and what is effective.

This workshop takes the mystic away from leadership and can change ordinary people into leaders.  Follow the evidence and see what it says to learn a systemic approach to leadership.

Quick Facts

  • Duration 1-2 days
  • Class size: 10-25
  • Location: On site
  • Follow-up Coaching: Available on request

Who should attend?

  • STEM students
  • Entry and mid-level technical professionals in high-tech industries
  • HR personnel in technical organizations
  • Technical executives

Billions of dollars are spent on leadership development each year, but only 25% of HR professionals rate the effectiveness as greater than satisfactory.

  • Why?
  • What is the disconnection between training and outcomes?
  • If regular business people are getting it wrong, what chance do geeks have?

Technical leaders are an underserved group that face the same daily changes of teambuilding and cohesion.  But, how many are offered professional leadership development opportunities?

Leadership is a set of skills… skills that can be taught and mastered.  The course is intended for leaders in the technical and science fields, leadership is the same in both business and in the research.

This is no magic here, these are skills you can learn.

You will learn:

  • An overview of leadership and leadership theory
  • A deconstruction of common theories
  • Define core concepts and definitions
  • A reconstruction based on an evidence based theory.
    • Focus on drivers
    • A healthy organizational culture
    • uncertainty
  • How to adapt geek culture to a healthy organizational culture
  • To define the cognitive skills and how to apply them
  • How to use social and individual biases to motivate


1-2 hour sessions combining presentation, discussion, and problem based learning (PBL) exercises.

  • Overview of leadership and leadership theory
  • Discussion of the myths of leadership
  • Discussion on how outliers are not the best role models
  • Separating managing from leadership and leadership from power
  • Power dynamics and focusing leadership as a form of power
  • A review and discussion of evidence-based leadership theory
  • A reduction to practical skills
  • Managing uncertainty and not being embarrassed to say “I don’t know… yet.”

(Contact me if you have further questions)