Episode 3: Jennifer Garvey Berger on Leadership and Adult Development [The Amiel Show]

In the 21 years since I started developing leaders, I’ve come across a handful of truly game-changing ideas. One of these is adult development. It’s the notion that after our bodies reach maturity, our minds can develop through multiple stages. Each stage gives us the capacity to handle greater complexity, yet also involves a loss of something we hold dear—namely, the way of seeing the world that up until now felt like “me.”

In Episode 3 of The Amiel Show, I speak with Jennifer Garvey Berger, one of the foremost educators about adult development in leadership and organizations. We discuss:

  • The many ways we expect leaders to be both superhuman and supremely human
  • How awesome it is to have new capacities to look forward to as we get older
  • How learning about adult development makes us more compassionate and less judgmental toward others
  • The massive achievement of the Socialized Mind, when you first move beyond vast loneliness and self-centeredness and feel connected to others
  • How the Socialized Mind leaves you unprepared for many leadership situations
  • How much of emotional intelligence requires the Self-Authored Mind
  • The Self-Authored Mind, when you develop the code of your own life and realize that, no, people don’t “piss you off,” because you make your own emotions
  • How it can take decades for people to develop the Self-Authored Mind
  • The value of having a companion to help you deal with development’s uncertain gains and painful losses
  • The Self-Transforming Mind, when complexity and ambiguity become our natural playgrounds


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People say,”OK, now be self-directed” as if it were a switch you could flip.”—Jennifer Garvey Berger    Tweet this quote

Explore Additional Resources

Jennifer Garvey Berger and Cultivating Leadership

Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World by Jennifer Garvey Berger

Carol Dweck

Adult development—key concepts (including the Socialized Mind, Self-Authored Mind, and Self-Transforming Mind)

Robert Kegan

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