Unlabeled Leadership

016: Phyllis Millikan and Constructive Attribution

Feb. 9, 2021

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I invite guests to share personal stories about small acts of leadership that help shape their lives.

In Episode 16, Phyllis Millikan explains how our attitude can change how we interrupt intent and how we perceive our current situations. She discusses when self-reflection is needed to evaluate your role in an organization. Phyllis offers advice about checking in with others, giving your team space to lead, and filling your bucket.

00:00 Prologue: It Is Not about You but about the Talent Around You

One of the first things I noticed about Phyllis is that she is happy. Sure, she has life challenges, yet her attitude is positive, uplifting, and contagious. From an Arthur Andersen consultant to a SurePeople Executive Vice President, Phyllis’s career continues to evolve. What hasn’t changed is her commitment to mentor and champion the people around her.

02:03 Part 1: Reducing Attribution Errors through Positive Intent

When events aren’t going well and the causes are unclear, we become uncomfortable. Our brains work hard to reduce uncertainty by speculating the intentions of others. Phyllis reminds us that we can control how we make assumptions by believing in good intent.

11:57 Part 2: Career Reflections

Leadership involves influencing the environment so others can flourish. Unfortunately, your ability to affect change can become limited, and considering other opportunities to lead may become necessary.

21:56 Part 3: Finding Openings to Shine

Phyllis advises us to strengthen self-awareness, empowering your team, and balancing between meeting to just work and checking in.


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No transcript available (future enhancement)

Episode links

Phyllis’ LinkedIn Profile

Phyllis’ bio


Phyllis’ PDF entitled Healthcare Leadership Levers for Reducing Burnout and Increasing Resilience

Gary DePaul website 

Gary's books:

   What the Heck Is Leadership and Why Should I Care?

   Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership 

Background Music

You can find all the musical tracks at Envato Elements.

00:00 Theme music: Inspiring Uplifting Corporate by mixer_drummer

01:50 Into The Jazz by Korolkov

08:14 Quirky Accordion by pinkzebra

11:42 Market Day by simming

21:42 Think Happy Thoughts by pinkzebra

28:33 Fun and Flirty by BrownHouseMedia

Lead on!

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