In the September 12 New York Times, OpEd columnist David Brooks wrote a refreshingly apolitical opinion piece that is a worthwhile reflection on aspects of leadership that are as pertinent today as they were in the stories that formed the Old Testament. It’s worth a read for this reason alone. Continue reading
This letter to a national news columnist describes an employee’s stress over what he describes as near-constant political discussion at work, not surprising, perhaps, given its prominence in the media.
The columnist offers advice to the employee about how to even-handedly discuss with fellow employees a preference to not hear the political rhetoric, and even to force the attention of the company’s Human Resources department if he feels the situation is stressful enough. Continue reading
Take a look at an emerging phenomenon: what has happened to the lines between truth and fiction? They have become blurred by ‘alternate facts’, by reliance on anonymous sources of information, by willfully ignoring evidence that refutes a point of view. Although ‘truth’ can be a relative term in the best of circumstances, it seems to have become open to interpretation more than ever in our lifetimes. As this takes place in the wider world, what impact begins to be felt in the workplace? Continue reading
How often have you chuckled at your little kids as they ‘hide’ from you under a blanket, their big lump giving them away immediately? Or under a table, where they can’t see your face but you can see the little legs and arms sticking out?
Children are not the only ones who try to hide in plain sight, oblivious to the gigantic clues they leave as to their whereabouts. People do it at work, too – and when it’s a leader doing the hiding, it’s not nearly as cute as it is with kids. Continue reading
Well, thank goodness that’s over! The U.S. presidential election has been a long and wearying slog. And it’s more than tempting to just put it behind us and move on. No more bombardment with ads and media frenzies.
But instead, we’d like to take a moment to reflect with you on what this election illustrates about leadership. It is better than an MBA course in highlighting things no leader should forget – or at least ignore at his peril. Here goes! Continue reading
Audrey was a strong player in the organization when she took on her new role. She had done some impressive work in her previous assignments, and when she took on the leadership of a business unit with some problems, expectations of her were outsized. Everyone from her boss to her employees to her business partners was looking for major change in the twinkle of an eye. And Audrey felt an obligation to respond glowingly. After all, this was why she’d been promoted into this role, and it could be her career-breakout position. Continue reading
It’s a brand new role. No one else has been here before. You have the opportunity to make a real mark. And here is where you face your first dilemma as the leader of this newly identified role. How is my success being assessed? For that matter, even if it’s not a new role, a leader coming into a role new to her (or him), often realizes the difficulty of understanding how success in the role will be determined.
And one of the easiest ways to address the dilemma is to work hard to please the people who are most influential in determining your success. But that may not equate to the long-term success you’re looking for in your reputation as a leader. Continue reading
As one young professional recently told us, it’s overwhelming trying to understand what skills to work on to become a good leader. “Where should I start? Where does it most pay to focus my attention?” And indeed, look at the websites of such thought leaders as the Center for Creative Leadership and Harvard University, and you’ll find a staggering set of leadership skills to develop. One website proudly announces “101 Leadership Skills & Traits (The Complete List)”. No wonder our young professional feels flooded with too many potential ‘leadership skills’ to digest! Continue reading
Ethan was, in his own words, a reasoned decision maker. Others saw him as glacially slow, overly analytical, prone to second-guessing himself and others, and afraid to make a decision until he was armed with a semi-trailer load of facts confirming his path. While no one questioned the general accuracy of his decisions, feedback clearly showed that his long deliberations and inability to accept even minimal risk created an unacceptable bottleneck in the new product development area. Continue reading
You feel it; we hear it. Leaders today are not blessed with the sunny ease of honing their leadership skills through careful experimentation over time. Instead, they (you!) are thrown into complex, rapidly changing environments that demand of them untested – and sometimes even unimagined – leadership skills. A scandal threatens to undermine your organization’s good name – and you must be a compelling spokesperson for its reputation. A crisis (political, financial, or natural) brings your essential product and service delivery process to a halt, sometimes for the foreseeable future, and you have to keep your company competitive. Markets go crazy and you don’t know what actions to take to remain sound. Continue reading