Leadership (Page 2)

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

Leadership style is an intangible that enables some people to get promoted and other to not progress. Some people refer to gravitas and others to soft skills but the important point to make is that these things do matter and can accelerate leadership opportunities or become a career blocker. The authors have conducted more than 30 years of academic and proprietary research to understand what we colloquially refer to as leadership style. These have been codified by the team into a set of markers: Powerful Markers – confidence, charisma, influence and competence (also includes arrogance, abrasiveness and intimidation) Attractiveness Markers – agreeableness, approachability, liveability (but also include lack of confidence and submissiveness) “People with powerful styles often view more-attractive colleagues as weak. People with attractive styles tend to view powerful colleagues as rude.“ Peterson, Abramson and Stutman Leadership Presence Our default position when in a calm and neutral situation isContinue Reading


It is so easy to underestimate the power of gratitude, we get busy. Colleagues and team members are doing the job they are paid to do, no one thanked us so why should I get out and thank them? I had a colleague who made a practice of starting meetings by recognising a peer for their contribution and how they had helped. The impact was hugely positive and infectious as others started taking on the same practice. In this DIGEST article we look at some of the most recent contributions on the power of gratitude and how leaders should approach it. It is an easy trap and one that can have a dramatic impact on your teams performance as Angel Kambouris explains “Gratitude builds relationships. Employee recognition and appreciation creates a company culture that strengthens relationships. On the other hand, we know the opposite to be true when leaders don’tContinue Reading

Leadership in a crisis requires a different emphasis to retain the trust and motivation of team members. As everyone within the team collectively deals with rolling waves of challenges that impact personal and professional lives the leader needs to be a beacon of light and clarity. The McKinsey authors commence this article by pointing out that leadership is most important when people face significant objective threats and that the usual ways of working are no longer possible leading to stress, anxiety and confusion. During times of disaster (natural disasters such earthquakes, storms and pandemics or financial disasters such as the GFC) there is always a significant impact on people creating economic hardship. A catastrophe happens when people impacted “freeze up and freak out” losing the trust and faith in leaders, rules and social norms. A core tenant of leadership in a crisis is to provide cultural and psychological protection forContinue Reading


Consultancy O.C. Tanner have analysed and studied the Culture Trends for 2021 and produced a report on the top five culture trends that organisations need to get ready for to help their employees thrive. TREND # 1 – Emerging from crisis, companies focus on culture as companies around the world return to the workplace after months of remote work or they adjust to a new normal mix of onsite and remote work. The workplace culture in significant instability and change. Some organisations will need to restore the culture following layoffs, furloughs or site closures which have drastically changed and impacted the workforce. Other organisations are changing work processes and methodologies to adapt to the new need for social distancing. The underlying fear of COVID19 continues to provide uncertainty on what else might change. A recent CNBC/SurveyMonkey Workforce study found two out of three companies reported keeping employee morale up toContinue Reading

magic ingredient

Search on the term Cognitive Diversity in Teams and you will find hundreds of scholarly articles on the topic in journals, as well as editorial articles in magazines from all over the world. So what is cognitive diversity and why is it a magical ingredient for teams? Highly diverse teams bring a wealth of thinking, creativity and opportunity as the article author Richard Bliss states “diversity in the workplace or on a team is a competitive advantage. It’s also something that is not easily copied or replicated”. So why is it so hard to build a diverse team and get them to work effectively together? Well that is because that same diversity of thought can generate friction and cause conflict through the debate of alternative opinions. The greater the wealth of different opinions and diverging thoughts the harder to corral and align for critical decisions. This topic is tackled inContinue Reading