The following is a guest piece by Princeton University Professor Derek Lidow.
You would think that good ideas make it easier to be a good leader. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Good ideas are threatening to leaders. By definition, good ideas mean an improvement over the present, a better way of doing things or even better lives.That’s why people who have good ideas expect their leaders to act on them, which creates an instant test of leadership: do you care enough for those around you to do something positive with the idea? Are you able to do something with it?
Good ideas of your own can be equally threatening. As a leader, how often have you had a good idea and then found yourself unsure how to turn it into reality, how to convert it into something of tangible value for you and for others? The experience can be not only threatening, but ultimately deflating.
It doesn’t have to be. Consider the most extreme and most personally threatening case in which leaders must turn good ideas into reality: entrepreneurship. Fail as a leader in this case and the entire enterprise goes down. And, in my experience, many entrepreneurial failures are failures of leadership, not of ideas.
Successful entrepreneurs, in meeting the stern test of leadership posed by good ideas, have much to teach us. If you can bring to the challenge of good ideas what the best entrepreneurial leaders (ELs) bring to it under threat of extinction, you will likely be able to handle anything that comes your way.
The great news is that the required skills can be learned. Indeed, you can even have major weaknesses, as long as you understand and mitigate them. Leaders who successfully lead the process of turning ideas into valuable, tangible realities are able to do five things uncommonly well: Click here to continue reading »”Good Ideas Make It Harder To Be A Great Leader”
The following is a guest piece by Mark Royal.
Leaders already know that keeping their teams motivated, engaged and driven to succeed is a demanding task in itself. But in today’s world it’s even harder, because leaders have to keep their people engaged while responding to huge, disruptive changes in how we work and what we care about in the workplace.
It’s a big challenge, but the first step to overcoming it is knowing what the changes are. In Hay Group’s new book, “Leadership 2030: The Six Megatrends You Need to Understand to Lead Your Company into the Future“, we’ve identified six ‘megatrends’ that are transforming societies and the global business environment as we know it.
The six megatrends leaders must be prepared for:
- Globalization 2.0 – Economic power is shifting from mature Western economies to emerging markets, so we’re seeing more diverse market needs, more collaboration across countries, and global competition for talent
- Environmental Crisis – The world is facing a disruptive combination of climate change and scarce raw materials that brings the perfect storm of challenges for businesses: increasing costs, fluctuating values and concerned stakeholders
- Demographic change – Aging populations are changing the face of the global workforce and exacerbating the war for talent
- Individualism – Growing freedom of choice is eroding loyalty and forcing organizations to respond to individual needs in an increasingly diverse workforce
- Digitization – Work is going remote, and the boundaries between professional and personal lives are blurring, as people increasingly live life online
- Technology convergence – A combination of nano, bio, information and cognitive (NBIC) sciences is set to spur a wave of powerful technological breakthroughs – speeding up the pace of change and creating new product markets
Right now, employee engagement is already a moving target. To take a line from the X Files, “the future is out there.” To successfully keep people engaged and on track to deliver business results, leaders must Click here to continue reading »”Revealing The New Realities Of Employee Engagement”
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
– William Arthur Ward
When it comes to effectively leading teams and organizations in today’s fast-paced, 24/7 global economy, it’s becoming more and more evident that the days of command-and-control leadership are well behind us. That – to paraphrase the quote above – organizations need leaders who don’t just explain or demonstrate the relevance of their vision to those they lead. Rather, what organizations require are leaders who can inspire employees to commit themselves wholeheartedly to making this vision a reality.
It’s a recurring theme found in some of the talks I’ve given this year, going from my keynote speech given at a leadership conference in Chicago last month to my next presentation in Utah in September: that as leaders, we need to do more than simply paint grand visions of the future; we also have to provide an environment where our employees can see the opportunity to grow, evolve, and help build the kind of future that they want to be a part of.
As I prepare for my talk next month on how leaders can help their organizations to shift from relying solely on training programs to promoting a continuous learning environment, I’d like to share the following 3 measures to provide some insights on how you can do the same in your organization.
1. Encourage your employees to challenge their assumptions
One of the first things we have to do to promote continuous learning in our organization is to encourage our employees to challenge their assumptions of their capabilities as well as of what’s possible. To understand the importance of this step to creating a continuous learning environment, we need to first understand how our brain performs tasks.
When our brain performs tasks or makes decisions, it not only taps into the Click here to continue reading »”How To Promote Continuous Learning In Your Organization”
The following is a guest piece by Jesse Newton and Josh Davis.
If you’re trying to instill organizational change in your company, then you face not just a logistical shift, but a cultural challenge as well. Employees will have to think differently, see people differently, and act in new ways. Employees also need to continually reinforce the right habits in one another so that the customer experience is on their minds everywhere.
One method that can help is known as pride building. This is a cultural intervention in which leaders seek out a few employees who are already known to be master motivators, adept at inspiring strategic awareness among their colleagues. These master motivators are invited to recommend specific measures that enable better ways of working.
Pride builders in a wide variety of companies and industries tend to recommend three specific measures time and time again: (1) giving more autonomy to frontline workers, (2) clearly explaining to staff members the significance and Click here to continue reading »”3 Valuable Insights Leaders Can Learn From Neuroscience”
Of the various articles I’ve written for my website, this one is quite unique as it’s the product of a writing collaboration between myself and Col. Chris R. Stricklin. At the time we were writing this piece, Chris was stationed at Kabul, Afghanistan as the Chief of Staff/Chief Operating Officer for the NATO Air Training Command.
In addition to the unique experience of shaping and discussing the various points we wanted to share in this piece, it was wonderful to see how quickly we discovered both the common ground we share, along with the commonality found in our individual experiences regarding the challenges we’ve faced and seen in how we can help to bring out the best in those around us – even from a half a world away.
I hope you’ll enjoy the combined insights Chris and I bring to this piece on how we can effectively take over the reins of an established team and help them to continue to achieve success in attaining the shared purpose that defines why we do what we do.
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The house is perfect. Yard meticulously manicured, walls freshly painted, window treatments perfectly hung…it is as you dreamed…just as you move out. For those who move often, it is a commonly understood idiom the house is always the way we want it just before we move out.
As a leader, the same goes for developing a team. You develop those who follow to be intrinsically motivated toward the success of your mission and you meticulously handpick the different levels of leaders below you to execute your vision.
When it is finally running like a well-oiled machine, corporate promotes you to the next level of challenge. What about your successor? People think that assuming a leadership position over a poorly performing organization is the biggest challenge you could face, but the truth is… becoming the leader of a tight team is a larger challenge.
Follow these five simple ground rules and your new leadership challenge will be off to a great start. Click here to continue reading »”5 Important Keys For Taking On New Leadership Challenges”