When you start working with someone new there are ways to make the fresh collaboration super effective. As Rebecca Zucker writes in HBR, before starting a new project, step back and get to know each other a little better. The way we collaborate can foster creativity and innovation but it also has potential to slow progress with meetings and communication required to keep everyone on the same page. In 2014 a Stanford study found that working together boosted intrinsic motivation, with participants persisting up to 64% longer on challenging tasks.  “Working with others affords enormous social and personal benefits” Gregory Walton, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Stanford 2014 The process of collaboration can lead to overload as Cross, Rebele and Grant wrote in 2016. “At many companies, people spend around 80% of their time in meetings or answering colleagues’ requests, leaving little time for all the critical work they must complete onContinue Reading

Being able to manage constantly changing priorities is an expected capability for todays leaders. Knowing how to juggle personal and business priorities and stay on top of the game requires knowing when to press pause. Pausing To Gain Focused Attention – When you are multi-tasking it is very likely that you are doing both tasks badly. By taking time to focus your attention and concentration on the task you get the best result. That requires pressing pause on something. Pausing To Improve Performance – The best way to improve is to reflect. Don’t just rush on, take time to consider what went well and what could have been improved. Learn to continually take the time to review and optimise. Pausing To Connect More Deeply – Superficial relationships are transparent and break quickly under strain. Leaders know that purposeful relationships take time and discipline. You need to invest in the otherContinue Reading

Leadership Creativity

With all of the current pressure of business leaders you could be forgiven for saying right now leadership creativity is not a priority. However as this article explains creativity is the basis of innovation. Creativity finds opportunity. Creativity enables businesses to pivot. “One doesn’t manage creativity. One manages for creativity“ Amabile and Khaire (HBR 2008) Creativity is The Most Important Leadership Quality Creative leaders see the opportunities that others don’t. Boards and executive teams recognise the need for leadership creativity to accelerate and generate innovation. But more than that creativity can drive: Problem solving Achieving growth Driving transformation Building team culture Effective mentoring of teams Identifying unique and unlikely business opportunities In 2010 IBM surveyed 1500 global company executives to understand what drives them as they lead. Creativity was ranked highest outweighing integrity, dedication and global thinking. Building Your Leadership Creativity You can change. All leaders have the potential for creativity butContinue Reading

There are times when you have to make a difficult call. It is an important part of the senior leadership role, to make big decisions that have potentially lasting ramifications. Making tough decisions is not easy, but there are some techniques that can help. Ed Gillcrist is a CEO and former marine he applies his military training to structured decision making. THINGS TO ACCEPT An obligation of the role – leadership requires tough decisions to be made. When you stepped up, you accepted the responsibility. It is not going away – hoping that the hard call, can be made by someone else. Or that it will quietly go away is not leadership. Effective leadership takes ownership. Moral courage – it is often not easy, not pleasant. But if it is the right thing to do, then summon the courage and get on with it. Experience makes the process easier –Continue Reading

Management is a leadership function but has accountability for achieving the team goals. So the more effective manager looks both at the goals and helping the team achieve them. This DIGEST is synthesising themes from Kellogg School professor of entrepreneurship and innovation Carter Cast. He starts by noting that “We talk about inspirational leadership and brave leadership, and I’m all for it .. but the power and strength of good management doesn’t always get enough attention.”  In large organisations, leaders set the vision and the strategy. Middle management however establish goals, drive performance, build team culture and free the executive from day to day operations. “the real pulse of a company is its management layer”  Carter Cast Communicate Clearly Effective communication is a critical skill for management. That requires that there is a shared common understanding. A good test might be to ask team members about key objectives and how theyContinue Reading

The power of storytelling is the way it engages the audience. It connects the storyteller with the audience, creating a trust bond that feels very authentic. When friend and colleague Darren Batty shared the article from Julie Neumark on LinkedIn recently I realised it was an important topic we had not covered yet. Of course you can’t just tell a boring story and expect to create any level of connection. Telling people facts and data will not change their minds but telling a story may influence them and that is the goal. In their paper on ‘The Science and Power of Storytelling‘ Suzuki et al. write that “engaging listeners, creates a stronger and more meaningful transfer of knowledge because it elicits participation, creates an intellectual investment and emotional bond between the speaker and the audience”. The emotional bond and the intellectual investment that comes from good storytelling is a powerfulContinue Reading

This article based on a new paper from Berkeley Haas School of Business Professor Jennifer Chatman explores the profound and long lasting impact that narcissistic leaders have on their organisations. Narcissists ‘infect’ the culture of an organisation which can dramatically reduce collaboration and the integrity of staff and leaders. This destruction can last for a long time after the narcissist has left the building. Chatman has experience in researching toxic leaders. They found that narcissistic leaders are often confused with charismatic or transformation leaders at the start. However as they continue in the organisation the darker side comes out and the exploitative and self absorbed aspects of their nature sets them apart. Narcissistic leaders are often paid more than peers because they become very good at claiming credit for other peoples work. These personalities are often overconfident, dishonest, credit-stealing and blame-throwing. They believe they are superior to subordinates and don’tContinue Reading

Humble leaders listen more effectively, inspire great teamwork and collaboration as well as driving focus on achieving organisational goals. According to Jim Collins author of Good to Great, the best leaders display a combination of humility and fierce resolve. They are “modest, self-effacing, understated and fanatically driven by results”. A survey published in the Journal of Management revealed that humility in CEOs led to higher-performing leadership teams, increased collaboration and cooperation and flexibility in developing strategies. New research builds on this explaining that in that humility it is “the integration of self-awareness, teachability, and an appreciation of the capabilities of others. These are traits that allow for inclusive teams and continuous learning that are foundational for creating innovative cultures.” It is not uncommon for some people to misinterpret humility for a lack of confidence or ambition. Rather humble leaders express their confidence and ambition in different ways. They seek to achieve moreContinue Reading

Bringing cross functional teams together can introduce new problems. When teams can’t decide the team dynamics break down. It is easy for the leaders to blame a lack of trust or poor communication. However the problem is not the team’s ability to work together it is a reflection of the decision making process. In a cross functional team, each member represents their own faction of the organisation. Ultimately this sees the prioritisation of resources and all critical decisions delegated up to the leader. The team are unable to break an impasse and agree on a preferred outcome. The result – team members are frustrated because they perceive the leader is dictating all decisions. “The CEO blames the executives for indecisiveness; they resent the CEO for acting like a dictator. If this sounds familiar, you’ve experienced what I call the dictator-by-default syndrome.“ Bob Frisch HBR November 2008 Putting The Idea Into PracticeContinue Reading

Use your emotional intelligence and lead from the heart, with all changes and uncertainty currently going on in the world author Anne Taylor explains that leading through rational, analytical and task driven approaches is less likely to achieve results in these volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous times. What is Leading From Your Heart? Firstly to be clear leading from the heart does not mean, not applying your logical or head based leadership skills. It is about adding skills and increasing your effectiveness. “Courage is about doing something dangerous or facing pain or opposition. It’s about putting yourself out there, trying new things, risking making a mistake or looking silly and feeling uncomfortable“ Anne Taylor Leading from the heart takes advantage of your soft skills and the way you interact with people. Know yourself – start by building the profile of you. If you work in a large organisation you will alreadyContinue Reading