A Gingerbread Loaf & 'Unlocking Leadership Mindtraps'


Today I am convinced that Summer has bypassed Wellington.

Wellingtonians are rugged up in black puffers, woolen jumpers and on their feet, (because Wellingtoniains are optimists), they are wearing a pair of sandals or slip ons with no socks.

I feel a need to bake a ginger loaf. The smell in the house will be amazing and thinking and writing whilst  baking is in the oven feels like a happy place to be today.

The recipe I am going to use is from a book called Cooking for Optimists.

I know this recipe as Esther’s Gingerbread. (Note the books talk about this particular recipe is not owned by a particular person; it just keeps getting passed on.)

Whilst measuring and finding ingredients. I am thinking about the book, Berger, J. G. (2019). Unlocking leadership mindtraps: How to thrive in complexity. Stanford University Press.

Berger suggests there are five ways of being that  stop ourselves from seeing possibilities. She calls them ‘Mindtraps’.  Since this book was published I think and reflect on them often. Both in my personal and professional life.  They have supported me to notice more possibilities in my RTLB practice.  

Trapped by Simple Stories: Your Desire for a Simple Story Blinds You to a Real One.

Trapped by Rightness: Just because it Feels Right Doesn’t Mean it Is Right.

Trapped by Agreement: Longing for Alignment Robs You of Good Ideas.

Trapped by Control: Trying to Take Charge Strips You of Influence.

Trapped by Ego: Shackled to Who You Are Now, You Can’t Reach for Who You’ll Be Next.

Mind Traps Webinar: 


Mind Traps Pod Cast 


One mind trap that often traps me is that idea of being right.

As a teacher / educator being ‘right’ real feels great. Actually, I think as educators we are paid to ‘be right’. Berger talks about how this feeling of being right, is like a dopamine drop. (actually I don’t think she used the word dopamine) We feel so good about knowing we are right. Yet, she suggests we can not trust that feeling.  

The questions I really enjoy asking are, which are encouraged by Berger are: How many ways might I be right? How many ways might I be wrong? I really recommned trying this. Asking these questions does a thing where, what ever context we are often subject to, eg. developing a localised curriculum during a staff development day or even just sorting the playground duty roster.  The two questions support us to position the context as an object, to step to the side and notice our capacity to think, act and do things differently. If you do try asking these questions I recommend doing this  with a colleague.

As I write this, the smell of gingerbread is  wafting through the house. It’s time to get it out of the oven. (Judging by the cracks on the top, I might have been a bit distracted whilst cooking.)

Note: I did not use a loaf tin. 

Instead a small roasting tin. Like reading and writing,  I prefer chunks not slices.

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