Now available: Design for Impact by Erin Weigel

The Rosenfeld Review Podcast: Donna Lichaw on Leadership Superpowers and Kryptonite

Not too long ago, Donna Lichaw, author of The User’s Journey, was helping companies solve product problems by organizing the experience of a product or service into a narrative arc where the user is the hero.

Then she ran into a question that she couldn’t shake — a question that, once answered, would morph her business from product development to leadership development. The question unveiled a people problem rather than a product problem.

“We don’t have problems bringing products into the world. We have problems getting along with everyone, feeling good about our work, building team morale, dealing with internal fighting. We’ve been helping our customers be heroes. How can I be a hero?”

Over seven years of researching how to help leaders be heroes, she found inspiration in a variety of places, including Gestalt therapy, narrative therapy, and executive and somatic coaching.

Her conclusion can be found in her new book, The Leaders Journey: Transforming Your Leadership to Achieve the Extraordinary. Think of the book as a map for people to become the natural leaders they already are and can be through a process of radical acceptance that leads to real, lasting change. People grow into superhero leaders when they fully embrace themselves — strengths and weaknesses.

Donna’s approach to leadership is a refreshing departure from the typical advice of talk louder, take up more space, and listen more. This is a different — a journey that is unique to each individual.

  • Discover your superpowers. When you’re not leveraging your superpowers at work, you’re not as powerful as you could be. When you contain your superpowers, you’ll feel sad, depressed, and restricted.
  • Know your kryptonite too. When you understand the “why” behind your weaknesses, you’ll often find a superpower underneath. By embracing your quirks and appreciating how they serve you, you’ll open yourself to insights about how to move forward.

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • Why Donna felt compelled to transition her business into leadership coaching
  • About the two books Donna has written for Rosenfeld Media
  • Why one-size-fits-all leadership programs are a dead end
  • How appreciating your weaknesses can lead to self-discovery and growth

Quick Reference Guide
[0:00:51] Introduction of Donna Lichaw and a brief summary of her book The User’s Journey
[0:02:23] About the origins of The Leader’s Journey: Transforming Your Leadership to Achieve the Extraordinary, Donna’s new book
[0:03:10] Donna recalls leading a workshop that raised an important question
[0:07:44] Looking for inspiration and resources to answer the question, “How can I be a hero?”
[0:11:24] Finding value in everything, yet recognizing what is less helpful
[0:13:57] Dealing with leadership stereotypes and churn
[0:19:10] Enterprise UX 2023
[0:21:15] All leaders have superpowers and kryptonite
[0:26:06] Leaning into your personal kryptonite
[0:30:25] How the adult film industry and literary smut fit into all of this
[0:35:06] Donna’s gift for listeners – access to her work!

Resources and links from today’s episode: