Leadership Reading Favs

adaptive leadershipOur tastes were all over the map this week, from adaptive leadership to sales quotas to leaders making meaning (or not) at work. Do enjoy!

Leadership at crossroads (Kenneth Mikkelsen, Mannaz)

A most interesting recap of how 25 international companies are thinking about adaptive leadership and leadership development. “Constant change calls for adaptive organizations and leaders who are able to embrace a high level of uncertainty and make swift and wise deviations from the plan as they go along.”

How leaders kill meaning at work (Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, McKinsey Quarterly, requires free sign-up to read)

Learn about four traps that will make you an ineffective leader:  mediocrity signals, strategic ‘attention deficit disorder,’ Corporate Keystone Kops, and Misbegotten ‘big, hairy, audacious goals.’

Overemphasis on Profit Erodes Your Bottom Line Why Purpose-Driven Salespeople Wildly Outperform Their Quota-Driven Counterparts (Lisa Earle McLeod, Change This)

It’s people, principles, and  profits, stupid.

The Importance of Integrity in Leadership (Gwyn Teatro, You’re not the Boss of Me)

As Gwyn so accurately points out, “There have been many prominent leaders who have risen to great heights only to fall with a severe thud because they have acted solely out of self-interest. Sadly and frustratingly, there is a lot of evidence of this.”

Shane Koyczan: “To This Day” … for the bullied and beautiful (TED Talk)

12 minutes that will make you laugh, cry and reflect…can you be what you want to be, and face up to those who may bully you?

Make room to grow. “If we’re not a little uncomfortable every day, we’re not growing. All the good stuff is outside our comfort zone.” ~Jack Canfield


We’ve been on a bit of a writing holiday lately, putting the final touches on our new Braithwaite website which will be the new home for LeadBIG. Same blog name, same focus on leadership and women, just a new online location. Take a peek!

If you are one of our much valued and appreciated email subscribers, we hope you’ll sign up on the new site to continue receive our blog posts. (Our web designer guru tells us that blog subscriptions do not carry over to the new site. One of those go-figure things for us, but gotta roll with it, and hope you roll with us!)


Image source: Kick-Start Sales Force



Lots and lots of thoughts on thinking

thoughts on thinkingOur client work this week tilted toward thinking about thinking – polarity, reframing, Gestalt psychology, cognitive, lateral, systems, and on and on – so please enjoy our thinking skills and types of thought reading!

The Trouble with Binary Thinking  (John Michael Greer, The Archdruid Report)

Loved the provocative thinking here (did struggle with the spelling though) about the negative impacts of binary thinking on marketing, mass media, politics, popular culture and magical combat (yes, that too).

Take action right now to convert negative to positive thinking (Hara Estroff Marano, Psychology Today)

While the article was written for those suffering from depression, we stumbled on it doing research on reframing thinking. The six action strategies offered are helpful and applicable to individuals and leaders everywhere.

How to Manage Your Inner Critic (Susan David, HBR Blog Network)

If your inner critic is working overtime to drag you down, you’ll enjoy the tips offered here for  developing “a balanced relationship with it: to not ignore or avoid it and the emotions it raises, but to also not allow yourself to be bullied by it.”

The Psychopath in the C-Suite (Nicholas Bray, Insead Knowledge)

Is your boss or CEO an SOB?  They may be that, too, but a new definition – Seductive Operational Bully – is served up here. Pretty interesting stuff. Good food for leadership thought.

6 Symptoms of a Self-Made Saboteur (Les McKeown, Inc.)

“Some leaders will sub-consciously create an environment in which others will fail, solely so they can ride to the rescue and ‘fix it.’” Worked at a few places like that!

Our fav quote of the week: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”  ~Albert Einstein



My Biggest Leadership Struggle

Steven Snyder’s book Leadership and the Art of Struggle inspired this guest blog post by Becky Robinson. This week is the official launch of Steven’s book. You can buy it on Amazon or read a free preview and learn more at snyderleadership.com.


Leadership and the Art of StruggleAs I’ve been working with Steven Snyder to launch his book, Leadership and the Art of Struggle, central to my attraction to the book is the reality that it comforts me to hear a successful leader, as Snyder is, bring to light the reality that struggle is inherent in life  — and leadership.

We struggle because we are alive. We are human.

To project anything different would be disingenuous.

If there is any success, any breakthrough, any progress, any difference to be made in the world, it is hard-won, through the daily struggle to do the work and be the people we want to be.

We all face struggles and our struggles are a common ground. They can become a place of connection  when we admit and own our struggles.

Often, our struggles are well-hidden from the world. I would prefer to err on the side of oversharing struggle, to create the possibility of helping someone else, than to build walls with an image of perfection.

My biggest struggle as a leader so far is a struggle of confidence: confidence in my place in the world, my value to others, and my ability to do the big things I am setting out to do.

It is certainly a journey, one I can trace back to childhood and that inner voice of doubt that whispered insidiously: You are not enough. You do not measure up.

Most days I successfully vanquish that voice, but it is not completely silenced, and the struggle for confidence is one I gladly bear, especially as admitting my own struggle for confidence enables me to bring confidence and encouragement to others.

Knowing the barbs whispers of self doubt, I can speak truth to others who struggle, giving encouragement:

You can do this.

Your work is excellent.

You are wonderful.

You are enough.

What struggles have you faced as a leader? How can you share your struggles to connect meaningfully with others?



Finding balance in building

I’m delighted to be instigating a leadership revolution over at Lead Change Group today…do join the fun!

leadership and balanceMany leaders fall into the quicksand of believing they can fix what’s wrong with other people. Some are motivated by a sincere desire to help people be their best.

Other leaders have an ego-driven I can fix’em mentality. They’re motivated by an internal desire to be known as the hero who saves the day.

The ideal position is for leaders to embrace their responsibility to develop people yet balance that with tough empathy and a focus on getting the job done. We fix cars or processes or machines; leaders don’t fix people — people fix themselves (and only if they want to be “fixed”). 

Continue reading…




capabilityCapability is daring yourself to stretch and see that you don’t have a limit to your potential.

A former boss used to say, “whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” When she would say this, I’d roll my eyes and think, oh what a Pollyanna! However if you examine how our brains work, she’s right! Our brain is designed to filter out information that doesn’t fit with our self-image or capability. Continue reading


Dreams for Zoe and women everywhere

dreams for zoeOne of the joys of my second act of life is watching my granddaughter, Zoe, grow into young womanhood and explore all the richness of life. Another joy of my second act is helping leaders and women succeed in business:

  • - thinking big rather than small
  • - being the bigger person and doing what’s right whether or not it’s popular
  • - trading in the tiny dreams for big confident ones that come to pass
  • - inviting the elephant to dance
  • - foregoing the personal glory and paying it forward for the greater good. Continue reading

You can’t get your big on without it

Today’s guest author is Margie Analise, mentor, motivator and spark plug of success who helps women entrepreneurs ignite extraordinary in their life and business. Margie offers a free coaching course, or you can send her your question about life, style or business, and you could be featured in her Q&A video segment, Spotlight + Solution!

self-confidenceWhether your other role as a woman is entrepreneur, working mom, business leader, or something in between, there is a synergy of two elements that creates a key so crucial to your success in business and life, that you can’t get your big on without it.

Before I tell you what it is, I want to share a little story with you of how this key was revealed to me through a very powerful personal experience. Continue reading


Real Simple Power

Today’s LeadBIG guest author is Sharon Becker, LISW, ACSW, licensed private practice therapist and passionate about women using their power to support women.

Sharon BeckerRemember the days of grade school when one student was picked as the line leader and the rest of the class had to form a straight line and follow the “leader?” That’s how our early impressions of leaders, followers and power were planted.

As women, we have fought (and continue to do so) to define new leadership roles in contrast to those created by men. Leadership involves the power of speech. It is the ability to create a voice to inspire rather than persuade or command compliance. Continue reading


Is It Time for a Career Pivot?

Today’s guest author is Mark Hopkins. Mark spent twenty-five years deciphering the factors that make some people prosperous, successful and happy. After building a leadership career with companies like Hewlett Packard and Emerson Electric, he founded Peak Industries, a medical device contract manufacturer, which he grew to $75 million and later sold to Delphi. He is the author of Shortcut to Prosperity: 10 Entrepreneurial Habits and a Roadmap For An Exceptional Career.

Mark HopkinsConsidering an opportunity and not sure if you should pursue it?

This happens to most of us every day. For the big ones—a new job, a promotion, the opportunity to start a company—think like an entrepreneur and take the time to assess using the following criteria: Continue reading


Role models, confidence, self-esteem and other leadership stuff

leadership role modelOur leadership research and tastes were eclectic last week, ranging from giving praise to happiness to the impact of role models.


The Praise Paradox: Why Praise Doesn’t Always Lead to Confidence (Tara Sophia Mohr, The Glass Hammer) Continue reading