Weekly Leadership Reading

Each week we share our favorite leadership reading from all the research we do. Our favs are an eclectic collection of topics that engaged our interest over the past week. Posts may be current, old, mainstream, and even off the beaten path. Be inspired! Lead BIG!

Lead by Listening and Championing New Leaders & New Ideas (Melissa Laughon, Catch Your Limit)

The BIG team loves Melissa’s self-awareness! On a recent flight, she recognized it was time to be a listener and hear stories about leadership and the power of negative role models.

Leadership and Love  (Paul J. Zak, Big Questions Online)

“Especially in tough economic times, some managers may believe that love in the workplace is a luxury they can’t afford. They may find that the cost of hard-hearted or indifferent management can be counted in dollars and cents.” Try a little kindness…

Office Politics – Five Steps to Make It Joyful (Henna Inam, The Glass Hammer)

Office politics is frequently a work sport many people choose not to play. Bad move. Henna offers up good advice on how to turn those sticky situations into positive advantage.

Escaping the Asylum (Samuel B. Bacharach, The Bacharach Blog)

Goodness, what a concept! Comparing corporate life to being in an asylum, where, “after a while everyone…begins to submit to the definition of self the organization imposes on them, begins speaking the language of the organization, parroting the aspirations of the organization, and accepting the authority and rules of the organization.” Lots to noodle after reading this one!

3 Ways to Silence Your Inner Critic  (Scott Eblin, Eblin Group)

Scott serves up three methods for silencing the itty, bitty committee in your head “so you can show up with the kind of confidence that compels people to follow your lead.”

How Women Can Advance as Business Leaders (Anne Deeter Gallaher, CrowdShifter)

Anne shares tips and pointers that helped her with career advancement, from finding your voice to building your own sandbox.

Workplace Diet: Was Blind But Now I See (Because I Asked for Input) (David Grossman, Leader Communicator Blog)

As David writes, “We all have them. Blind spots. Things that are unknown to us yet obvious to others; an area of our leadership vision we’re not able to see.” He offers examples of the most common blind spots as well as 11 ways to figure them out.

Thoughts on dealing with the paradox of kindness. “Kindness is the currency of our hearts, the only currency that can never be subtracted and never be balanced in anyone’s ledgers. We choose to be kind because it is the way we want to live our lives, not because we will be rewarded in some way. When we start to keep score, we become closed-hearted: I’m not doing anything nice until someone does something good for me. Our acts of kindness are whole unto themselves. They require no acknowledgment and no reward, for the act itself returns us once again to the heart of our own humanity.” ~Will Glennon










This Week’s Leadership Favs

The BIG team’s Friday leadership favs are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes and whatever else caught our eye this past week. Some items are recent, others are old. Some are mainstream, others are eclectic. Lead BIG!

Everyday Leadership (TEDxToronto, Drew Dudley)

Feeling like you aren’t making as big a difference as you’d like to? Listen to this funny and inspiring six-minute talk, then come away renewed. Often we affect change one person at a time, unaware of the ripples of positive impact we began.

Are Women Better Leaders than Men? (Joseph Folkman, Jack Zenger, HBR)

The BIG team believes great leadership knows no gender, race or ethnicity. In reading the 175+ comments to this post, others don’t share that belief (particularly with regard to gender). Fascinating stuff. (Disclosure: BIG’s Jane Perdue is a commenter.)

Are You Ready to Speak Up? (Susan Mazza on Random Acts of Leadership)

Susan sums it up best, “Speaking up as an act of leadership isn’t about what you have to say, about being heard, or even about being understood.  It is about the difference you want to make by speaking up.”

The Art of Making Your Point–Avoid Getting Lost in the Sauce (Dawn Lemon on Business Fitness)

Dawn asks communicators to consider how their message will be received and interpreted by the message recipient – an interesting twist that underscores the importance of clear communications.

Twitter is not a Social Network (Colleen Sharen on Thinking is Hard Work)

Some very interesting research sited here about Twitter being more of a broadcast medium than a social exchange.

Why Directors Should Give a Damn about Culture (John Bell on In the CEO Afterlife)

More CEO’s and Boards of Directors should heed John’s advice on the value of culture and the impact it has on performance and engagement.

Quote of the week: Not fixing others gives you the time you need to take responsibility for your own life. ~Paul Ferrini



This Week’s Leadership Favs

The BIG Friday leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engaged our interest as we did our work over the past week. Lead BIG and enjoy!

How to Map the Politics around Your Work (Colin Gautrey, The Gautrey Group)

Ewwww, say many people when the topic “office politics” is broached. Yet smart leaders understand that office politics can’t be ignored, and in fact, need to be understood. Colin offers up a fascinating exercise in this post, designed to help leaders develop a “firm grasp of what is “really” going on, can you start to navigate safely through the corridors of power.”

The 70-20-10 Rule  (Center for Creative Leadership e-Newsletter, requires free sign-up)

Based on their own research, CCL proposes a formula for developing managers that incorporates three categories of experience: “challenging assignments (70 percent), developmental relationships (20 percent) and coursework and training (10 percent). Says CCL’s Meena Surie Wilson, ‘We believe that today, even more than before, a manager’s ability and willingness to learn from experience is the foundation for leading with impact.’”

Bad is Stronger Than Good (Roy F. Baumeister, et al, research paper)

If your orientation to the world is a glass half empty, you’ll have a field day with the scientific data here, “having a good day did not have any noticeable effect on a person’s well-being the following day, whereas having a bad day did carry over and influence the next day.”  For us glass-half-full folks, all the more reason to keep working on making a positive difference and paying it forward.

Bad Boss or a Bad Job Fit? (Chris Young, Rainmaker Group)

Chris poses an interesting question here: are you certain your workplace problems are caused by having a crummy boss, or is the root cause that the wrong person was hired for the job? He proposed a three-step process to find the answer.

4 Big Reasons to Kill Your Weekly Status Meeting (Art Petty, Management Excellence)

Time is money. Relationships are the new currency of workplace. If you’re a boss and value both time and relationships, read Art’s post before you schedule your next staff meeting.

Quote of the week:  “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.” ~Art Turock



This Week’s Leadership Favs

The Friday leadership favorites of the BIG team are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engaged our interest over the past week. Lead big on your dance of discovery!

How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings)

Before you can lead others, you have to lead yourself. This means having created some loose tethers to a personal vision. This beautifully curated post notes arriving “at your true calling is an intricate and highly individual dance of discovery” that’s part art, part science and offers up seven thought resources to help find the dance steps that work for you.

Separating What Matters From What Doesn’t (Anthony Guerra, HealthSystemCIO.com)

A lovely, straight-forward piece full of good examples and stories illustrating the need to sift through what matters, what doesn’t. Then deciding where compromise is possible and where it isn’t. (Reader alert: contains some jargon)

Five Simple Rules for Staying in Power (Jason Gots, Big Think)

The team at BIG is fascinated with power and works with both men and women so they better understand how to use it for the greater good. This tongue-in-cheek post tickled our funny bone (yet made us rue the fact that some folks think these practices are the way to go).

8 leadership myths dispelled (Tara Alemany, SmartBlog on Leadership)

Sometimes all it takes is exposure and/or experience to debunk those urban legends hanging around the water cooler. Tara outlines seven insights that “defy certain myths about leaders” for leaders in all walks of life to embrace. (Disclosure: BIG’s Jane Perdue is one of the Lead Change book authors)

History of the Corporation

Wow, just wow. There are some points of view here regarding the structure and intent of corporations that made the BIG team say hmmm, very interesting. Perhaps it will do the same for you.

The Dollars and Sense of Employee Engagement (Dominique Jones, Halogen Software)

Need both qualitative and quantitative data to convince yourself, your bosses, other pooh-bahs, etc. of the value of employee engagement? You’ll find it here. If interested in a thought-provoking companion piece, try The One Thang by William Tincup. (If profanity offends you, skip this one.)



This Week’s Leadership Favs

The Get Your BIG On team’s weekly leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engaged our interest as we did our work over the past week. Some items are recent, others aren’t. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Learn, connect and share.

Are You A Power-Poisoned Boss? (Bob Sutton, Fast Company)

The BIG team is fascinated with power and how it all too frequently goes awry. Several of the stories will hopefully make you cringe (provided you haven’t been poisoned with power as Bob calls it).

40 Best Movies to Honor Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. If you’re looking for a unique way to celebrate it, grab some popcorn and wine and sample 40 movies by, for and about women. (Lots of other interesting lists on this site, too.)

Old School Persuasion Tools You Learned, But Should Never Use (Persuasive.net)

If your efforts at persuading others are falling short, perhaps you’re guilty of committing one (or more) of the four erroneous practices described here that derail your ability to influence others.

Take 5: Why Men Should Care (Catalyst)

“Seventy-four percent of the men Catalyst interviewed in their Engaging Men in Gender Initiatives series identified fear and apathy as barriers to supporting gender equality.” Here they look at five reasons why men have a lot to gain and nothing to fear from equality.

Conforming to the Norm (Psyblog)

Ever wonder why most people join in and ignore the obvious and well-known elephant in the room? Read some science behind why “many people find their inability to conform is a real problem in their lives while others find it more difficult to break away and do their own thing.”

Fixing Your “Boss Problem” with Self-Supervision (Dawn Lennon, Business Fitness)

If you’re in the half of workers who have a problem boss whom you can’t trust, you might find a tip or two here for managing yourself to help you deal with the situation.

Rethink, reframe, renew. “I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” ~Gilda Radner



This Week’s Leadership Favs

Ongoing learning, exploring, making a sustainable positive difference, paying it forward, and developing others are in our DNA here at Get Your BIG On.  The BIG team sees lots of worthy material while doing our work (what a delightful perk!), so we share the highlights via our “Leadership Friday Favs,” a short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but might be interested in knowing.

9 Surefire Ways to Destroy Employee Morale (Kim Bhasin, Open Forum)

Gallup’s last employee engagement stats say 71% of workers aren’t engaged. If you’re a leader who’s worried about that number, do a mini-audit to see how many of these nine things are happening at your workplace.

Gender and Impression Management, Playing the Promotion Game (Val Singh, Savita Kumra, Susan Vinnicombe)

You work hard, keep your head down, and trust that’s enough to land you the big promotion that’s eluded you to-date. Not so, say these researchers. Some interesting stuff here about impression management and office politics.

Nine Reasons Managers Struggle (Michael McKinney, LeadershipNow)

Great book review of Managers, can you hear now now? by Denny Strigl, former CEO and president of Verizon Wireless. If leaders are guilty of committing any of these nine behaviors (ranging from caught up in self-importance to failing to enforce accountability), there’s trouble ahead.

WOMEN: Leadership is How to Be (Debbe Kennedy, Women in the Lead Blog)

This post touched on several topics near and dear to the BIG team: showing heart in leadership, women, being versus doing. “We have to get comfortable with putting more heart into our leadership, creating that dazzling combination of competence and human compassion, interest, and understanding of others.”

The Alchemy and Mystery of Leadership (Wally Bock, Three Star Leadership)

The BIG team loved Wally’s conclusion that “you will never know the impact you have on most of your team members, but you will have an impact. Set a good example. Treat people right. Leave the world better than you found it.” But what we loved even more was how he set a great learning example for leaders: being open to the content from Mary Jo Asmus’ “Embracing Mystery” post and using feedback from a former direct report to expand his definition of leadership.

Be kind to yourself message of the week. “Try looking at your mind as a wayward puppy that you are trying to paper train. You don’t drop-kick a puppy into the neighbor’s yard every time it piddles on the floor. You just keep bringing it back to the newspaper.” ~Anne Lamott

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead at the intriguing intersection of the art of leadership and the science of business!



This Week’s Leadership Favs

Reflecting Sphere, MC Escher

Our Get Your BIG On Friday leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of whatever articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts, etc. that engaged our interest this week. Some items are recent, others aren’t. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Be inspired!

Proven Strategies for Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Workplace (CDO Insights)

Some powerful questions asked of us here:  “What if, more times than not, people make choices that discriminate against one group and in favor of another, without even realizing that they are doing it, and, perhaps even more strikingly, against their own conscious belief that they are being unbiased in their decision-making? What if we can make these kinds of unconscious decisions even about people like ourselves?” Great food for thought.

A Simple Formula for Business Success (John Spence)

As only he can do, John cooks up a recipe for business success based on his years of experience and research. John offers his view for combining talent, culture, and customer focus with disciplined execution to create business excellence.

Great Man Theory: A personal account of attraction (Helen L. Eckmann)

We discovered this captivating personal account of first discovering the possibility of leadership, “Even if I was not bred to be a leader I could still exercise leadership. Heifetz argued that ‘Leader’ may be a person, but ‘Leadership’ is an activity, and anyone, from a four year-old girl to a middle-aged white woman, can exercise leadership;” and then falling victim to the dark side of the great man theory.

7 Ways Leaders Inadvertently Say, “I don’t trust you” (David Peck, The Recovering Leader)

Trust and credibility are foundational for effective leadership. David serves up seven ways that leaders may be “telegraphing mistrust or doubt” to those around them.

The DNA of Dialogue (Lolly Daskal, Lead from Within)

If you think you’re communicating well yet not reaping the results you seek, perhaps the insights Lolly offers will help make your conversations meaningful two-way dialogues rather than one-way monologues.

Something to ponder. “Comparison, a great teacher told me, is the cardinal sin of modern life. It traps us in a game we can’t win. Once we define ourselves in terms of others we lose the freedom to shape our own lives.”  ~Jim Collins



This Week’s Leadership Favs

The team here at BIG sees lots of fascinating material while doing our work (what a delightful perk!), so we’re sharing the highlights via our Get Your BIG On “Leadership Friday Favs,” a short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but might be interested in knowing. Enjoy!

20 Thoughts on Leadership (Personal Leadership Development)

The BIG team recently participated in a rich discussion about leadership being an activity. This thoughtful post provides 20 leadership activities that burst with heart, soul and getting the job done. 7, 10 and 17 really resonate with us.

Seven Reasons Why Email Sucks (Samir Ghosh, WorkasOne)

Email…what a necessary evil. It’s been both a great boon to communication and a great drag on it, too. Samir serves up some good reasons for rethinking and reframing how we approach and use email.

Foolish Leadership (Bret Simmons, Positive Organizational Behavior)

As Bret so sagely writes, “Many leaders deceive themselves into thinking they are wise because they seek the trusted advice of carefully vetted advisers. Unfortunately, advisers that formulate and confirm their advice only with each other can never offer wise counsel.”

Is Your Target Success or Significance? (S. Chris Edmonds, Cool Culture)

Whether one defines and measures success by or with things or outcomes or via values, contributions and feelings, the choice is ours alone. Chris suggests considering your legacy – will it be one of metrics or significance?

Tell Your Critics to Take a Hike (Dan Rockwell, Leadership Freak)

Dan presents five simple truths for discerning the difference between criticizing-enemies and correcting-friends. Beware as sometimes one is camouflaged as the other.

Coffee and moment-of-reflection corner. “We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up in teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by re-organizing. And a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization.” ~The Ancient Roman, Petronus Arbitor, Governor of Bithynia




This Week’s Leadership Favs

Our Get Your BIG On Friday leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engages our interest. Some items are recent, others aren’t. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Be inspired!

Eat, Smoke, Meditate: Why Your Brain Cares How You Cope (Alice G. Watson, ForbesWoman)

We kinda knew all along that those chocolate chip cookies we used to soothe away the woes of the world weren’t really good for us. This intriguing post explains the brain chemistry involved in happiness and its link between “me” and “we” thinking.

Want to grow as a leader? Let go of being the “go-to person” (Scott Eblin, SmartBlog on Leadership)

The expectations are mighty, the rewards gratifying and the pressure high to be the one with all the answers. Yet, rather than being the ticket to the top as many leaders might guess, Scott points out how being the “answer person” can be a career derailer.

Davos Women Minority of One as Sandberg Shares With Bossy Girls (BusinessWeek)

From Sharan Burrow, general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation in Brussels: “…I found it telling that it was only a woman and a trade unionist that was prepared to say that we have lost our moral compass and that business needs to sit down and think about the design of the future of capitalism if it’s going to serve society.”

Your leadership trump cards (Eileen N. Sinek, SmartBlog on Leadership)

Leadership doesn’t happen sitting behind a desk or delivering PR-prepared legal-scrubbed speeches. It does happen when leaders connect because “people listen to facts, but they buy on feelings that get stimulated when leaders risk being authentically present.”

The Heavy Lifting of Career (Re) Invention-5 Keys to Moving Forward (Art Petty, Management Excellence)

Perhaps you’ve voluntarily decided to take your career in a new direction, or perhaps a change has been forced your way via downsizing, new technology, consumer preferences. etc. Regardless the reason, Art serves up five considerations to factor in as you re-invent yourself. Game. Set. Match.

Think back over your week and your impact on new ideas: “A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow.” ~Charles Brower

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead!



This Week’s Leadership Favs

Our weekly leadership favorites are an eclectic collection of articles, blog posts, quotes, pod casts and whatever else engages our interest. Some items are recent, others aren’t. Some are mainstream, others are off the beaten path. Enjoy! Be inspired!

The Leader And The Peacock In The Closet (Terry Starbucker)

Striking the fine balance between confidence and humility is a perpetual challenge for many leaders. Terry shares some of his early lessons from powerful mentors who helped him learn how effective leaders think more about we and less about me.

Management Debt (Ben Horowitz, ben’s blog)

As Gary Hamel writes, business is full of irreconcilable trade-offs, yet Ben adds a new twist. ”…you will run into serious trouble if you fail to keep the trade-off in the front of your mind. There also exists a less well-understood parallel concept, which I will call management debt. Like technical debt, management debt is incurred when you make an expedient, short-term management decision with an expensive, long-term consequence.”

Power Failure in Management Circuits (Rosabeth Moss Kanter, HBR post)

What a great opening line:  ”Power is America’s last dirty word.” And what’s even more compelling (to me) is that this article was published in 1979…and is still totally relevant today. Read on to learn more about sources of power, powerlessness, and sharing power. Then, ponder, as the BIG team is, about when this is all going to change…

What The Eyes Reveal: 10 Messages My Pupils are Sending You (Psyblog)

If you are looking for clues as to what story someone’s eyes are telling you, you’ll find ten interesting possibilities here.  The second item was a surprise to the BIG team.

Three Convenient Non-Excuses Keeping Women Off Boards (Melissa Anderson, The Glass Hammer)

While research from Catalyst and a host of other sources shows the positive bottom line impacts of more women in senior teams and on boards, the presence of women on those roles remains limited. Melissa writes about ”three convenient non-excuses that boards make for their lack of business-building diversity – and to counter them.”

A thought to noodle: ”I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” ~Gilda Radner

Here’s to using your head to manage and your heart to lead!