BIG’s Leadership Picks of the Week

This was a week of helping clients “make it so” - so posts about leadership action and results appealed to us. We hope these nuggets inspire you to turn a thought or a dream into reality!

If it were just about leading, would you still want to be a leader? (LeadershipNow)

Great little piece to get you thinking about defining success, purpose and your leadership legacy.

Leadership: Challenging The Status Quo (Lolly Daskal, Lead From Within)

“Nothing great is ever achieved by doing things the way they have always been done. Sometimes a leader needs to shake things up to encourage innovation, and to “move from mediocrity to greatness.” Start shaking!

Executive Presence: What Is It and How Do You Get It? (Sally Williamson, Womenetics)

“Defining executive presence is a gray area because for many it is the essence of leadership. It isn’t a technique but an embedded skill that becomes a personal trait and gives you power and influence over others. An executive with presence commands the room, projects the message and pulls you into her beliefs.”

What Creates Success (Kneale Mann, Leadership)

“Theories and sayings, adages and clichés, all point to the ways for us to find the success we seek. But what happens if we find it then lose our way?” The TED talk included here offers motivation to think more deeply about success.

Why Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Change the World (Jason Gots, Big Think)

“Those motivated and adept enough to seize the moment have the opportunity to reshape the way we think, live, learn, communicate, and do business.”

Might you be thinking wrongly about facts? “There is a tendency to mistake data for wisdom, just as there has always been a tendency to confuse logic with values, intelligence with insight. Unobstructed access to facts can produce unlimited good only if it is matched by the desire and ability to find out what they mean and where they lead. Facts are terrible things if left sprawling and unattended. They are too easily regarded as evaluated certainties rather than as the rawest of raw materials crying to be processed into the texture of logic.” ~Norman Cousins



Weekly Leadership Reading

Developing others and ongoing learning are in our DNA here at Braithwaite/Get Your BIG On, so we’re doing research all the time. It might be fact-finding for something we’re writing, creating content for a development session or speech, or working for a client. We get to see lots of worthy material while doing our work (what a wonderful perk!), so we share the highlights via our weekly leadership reading, a short-cut to information you may not have the time to look up but might be interested in knowing. Enjoy!

“I have the power!” (I/O at Work)

The BIG team is on mission to educate people that power in and of itself is neutral. We believe it becomes positive or negative depending on how people choose to use it. The research cited here affirms that power doesn’t corrupt. However, the researchers found that power “allows corrupt people to express their inner ‘corruptness’ more freely (or allows the virtuous to express their goodness).” Continue reading


Weekly Leadership Reading

Please enjoy our leadership favorites — an eclectic collection of material that engaged our interest this past week. Enjoy! Share! Lead BIG!

Beware The Self-Righteous Fool (Bret L. Simmons on Positive Organizational Behavior)

There’s one in most every workplace: the guy or gal who has all the answers, and pity the poor fool who doesn’t view the world the same as they do. Bret offers a unique approach for addressing these folks and the wake they leave in office morale.

Personal Transformation – A Leadership Trait (Jenny Ditzler on Simon Teague’s The Leadership Expert)

If you or someone on your team perpetually points the finger of blame in all directions except at yourself, you’ll find some great thought-provoking questions and insights here that prompt you to take personal responsibility.

Don’t Throw The Bear In The Road (Lolly Daskal, Lead from Within)

For success in life, love and leadership, we have to get the exquisite balance between confidence and humility right. Playing off a Dutch quote, Lolly offers tips for not selling yourself short.

Overthrow Yourself (Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review blog)

Wow, talk about disruptive reinvention! For a team committed to helping people and companies get their big on, we loved the challenge Umair throws out to individuals and organizations. “Sure, you can argue that the right, true, and best purpose of enterprise is selling more stuff, at a greater profit, to benefit the already privileged more, through pure financial gain — and the human consequences are merely an incidental, almost irrelevant afterthought; nice-to-have, but as disposable as a plastic razor. But it’s a weak argument — and it’s getting weaker by the second.”

Power corrupts, but it corrupts only those who think they deserve it (The Economist)

Power gets a bad rap. It’s misunderstood or used improperly. Some say it corrupts. Others believe it to be evil and self-serving. Truth is, in and of itself, power is none of these things. It’s simply the neutral capacity to deploy resources to generate change and achieve results. It’s only in how one chooses to use, or not use, power that it becomes good or bad. But dang, the research results cited in this article are most disheartening: “the sense which some powerful people seem to have that different rules apply to them is not just a convenient smoke screen. They genuinely believe it.”

Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30. Why Can’t You? (Inc.)

The BIG team is on a quest to reweave the fabric of leadership. One of the really frayed portions is the high value placed on long hours which create yet another double bind for women leaders. Sometimes it just takes someone to drop that first pebble into the pond of change, and maybe Sheryl has done just that.

A reweaving leadership thought. “Competition has been shown to be useful up to a certain point and no further, but cooperation, which is the thing we must strive for today, begins where competition leaves off.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt

Make it a good week using your head to manage and your heart to lead!



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