Weekly Leadership Favs

Unintended diversity consequences, engaging in real dialogue, out-of-touch management were leadership subjects the BIG team found engaging this past week and show up in the curation of our weekly favorite posts…be inspired!

Race, Gender and Careers: Why ‘Stuffing the Pipeline’ Is Not Enough (Knowledge@Wharton) Continue reading


Weekly Leadership Reading

These leadership pieces intrigued us, made us say “hmmm” or were helpful to a client this past week. Enjoy!

Are Successful People Nice (Art Markman, HBR Blog)

Recent research shows that men who are agreeable earn less than those who are disagreeable. What’s up with this?

Handling Direct Challenges to Your Authority (Tanvi Gautam, The Glass Hammer)

Tanvi offers three pieces of practical advice for handling situations when your clout is openly defied.

Leaders Open Their Ears Wide (Mary Jo Asmus, Leadership Solutions)

Terrific post from Mary Jo pointing out the important leadership implications from listening to understand versus “pretend listening.”

Overcoming the Abysmal Reorganizing and Restructuring Failure Rates (Jim Clemmer, The Clemmer Group)

Considering a reorg? You’ll find a whole host of statistics and insights on how to handle a reorganization with people, not to them.

Why You’re Stuck in a Rut (And How to Get Out of It) (Travis Robertson)

Thoughts on upending the change paradigm by not waiting for inspiration before making a change.

Thoughts on gender. If a woman is swept off a ship into the water, the cry is ‘Man overboard!’ If she is killed by a hit-and-run driver, the charge is ‘manslaughter.’ If she is injured on the job, the coverage is ‘workmen’s compensation.’ But if she arrives at a threshold marked ‘Men Only,’ she knows the admonition is not intended to bar animals or plants or inanimate objects. It is meant for her. ~Alma Graham

Image courtesy of Make It Happen



Weekly Leadership Reading

These articles resonated with the Get Your BIG On LeadBIG team this past week…enjoy!

You Don’t Have To Be Perfect To Be A Leader (Don Shapiro, Lead Change Group Blog)

We like Don’s counsel that draws from lessons to be learned from sports leaders: “You don’t have to be perfect to be a leader…just have your heart in the right place and do enough things right to make a difference to those you lead.”

Every Leader’s Achilles Heel (Lisa Petrilli, C-Level Strategies)

“In other words, you can have every attribute you need to be a strong, distinguished leader but a lack of clarity is the single vulnerability that destines you to ruination.” Lisa offers three insights for how to create clarity of purpose.

A silent leadership killer (Mary Jo Asmus on SmartBrief for Leadership)

“Groupthink is powerful: a little unethical conduct here, a white lie there — justification is available for every integrity-compromised action. Suddenly, someone realizes something is wrong, and it’s too late; the momentum has built like a leaky faucet until a drip becomes a stream that turns into a flood, drowning employees, customers and those who trusted your leadership.”

None of us is as smart as all of us—take this quiz and see for yourself (David Witt on Blanchard LeaderChat)

Granted the Mensa quiz snagged our attention asap, yet the real insights come from the readout of using this quiz in development sessions. Is it all about me…or we?

Are You Brainwashed or Drinking Too Much Kool-Aid? Leadership Starts With You!(Todd Nielsen on A Slice of Leadership)

Ever wonder why you keep working at that place you hate? Todd offers up four psychological reasons for understanding why we may hang on, even to our detriment.

From the what’s-life-all-about-perspective: “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, “Is life a multiple choice test or is it a true or false test?” …Then a voice comes to me out of the dark and says, “We hate to tell you this but life is a thousand word essay.” ~Charles M. Schulz

Lead BIG this week, using your head to manage and your heart to lead!



This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

A kind word changes everything (Blanchard Leader Chat)

It’s too bad that “being kind and compassionate” isn’t a standard entry on most performance review. Most people, myself included, will perpetually go above and beyond for a boss, friend, colleague, etc. whom we know has our back. This post offers a simple reminder about the importance of saying that kind word once in awhile. After you read David’s post, pop out of your office or cube or wherever, and tell someone thank you.

Four Destructive Myths Most Companies Still Live By (Tony Schwartz, Harvard Business Review blog)

The BIG team has been there, done that, unfortunately working for organizations in our past lives where these myths are alive, well and flourishing. If you’re a boss and you’re reading this, please decide to slay one of this myths at your organization or in your department…starting right now!

Three Steps to Managing Perfectionism’s Side Effects (David Peck, The Recovering Leader)

Some folks chase perfection like Indiana Jones in his quest for the Holy Grail. That’s a tough adventure. David offers three, timeless tips for rethinking and reframing one’s view of the need for perfection; and quotes Voltaire in the process! “The perfect is the enemy of the good.”

Following Through on Big Dreams (Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire-CS)

One of the things the BIG team frequently tells its clients is if you’re going to dream, dream big. Mary Jo shares the inspiring story of Doc Hendley, founder of Wine to Water, a nonprofit that provides clean water to needy people where clean water isn’t available. She provides four dream lessons she learned from Doc. One of them might work for you!

Put Your Own Mask on First (Scott Eblin, Eblin Group)

Your schedule is jam-packed, projects and due dates are multiplying like micro-organisms in a petri dish…who’s got time for self-care?! In this thoughtfut post, Scott underscores the importance of taking care of yourself as foundational to taking for, and leading, others.

Thought of the week: “In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people.” ~Wilma Mankiller


This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Why true leadership involves less talking and more listening (Mary Schaefer, SmartBlog on Leadership)

Sometimes listening is way more effective than talking, and great leaders know this. Listening takes the interaction out of monologue territory and moves it into effective dialogue. Mary offers five insights for leaders looking for engagement, connection and results to keep in mind.

Occupy Your Street  (Patti Blackstaffe, Strategic Sense)

In this thought-provoking piece, Patti encourages all of us to look inward and accept responsibility for who we are and for where we sit. “WE have the power to change things in this world with actions that can truly affect Wall Street. Think about it, if 99% of us are financially hurting or trying to make sense of where we find ourselves within this brutal economy, then the number-odds are pretty much in our favour.”

Letting Go of Your Need to be Right (Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire Leadership Solutions)

Society, academia and business all reward us for having the right answer. Yet sometimes there’s more at stake than pushing your rightness onto others. Mary Jo offers a great stepping off place for leaders looking to help themselves and others understand that there are more than “right” or “wrong” answers.

A Critique of Authenticity (Colleen Sharen, Thinking Is Hard Work)

If you’re interested in reading a contrarian point of view relative to authentic leadership, check out Colleen’s provocative post.  “In other words, authenticity assumes that we have the ability to have complete self-knowledge. It also assumes that the expression of our selves is more important than our relationship with others and their needs.”

Cleaning Baby Poop Helps Make Great Leaders (Ben Lichtenwalner, Modern Servant Leader)

We admit that it was the title that grabbed us – it isn’t often that one sees baby poo and leadership together. We’re on a bit of a leadership humility kick here at GYBO, so it interesting to see how Ben uses cleaning up kid’s nasty diapers as a storytelling vehicle, prompting leaders to consider whether or not they’re humble enough to get their hands dirty.

Quote of the week:  The firm that ignores the intangible qualities that the human beings who are our colleagues bring to their careers will never build a great workforce or a great organization. ~John C. Bogle


This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

Five People You Need On Your Personal Board of Directors (Tina Vasquez for The Glass Hammer)

If you’re a woman interested in making professional connections for career advancement, there’s some good advice in this article. Rather than wait for a mentor or sponsor, be proactive and create your own board of directors. Tina offers suggestions for five roles for the individuals you select for your board. This composition provides a variety of feedback which “leads to diversity of thought and in most cases, better results.”

Who’s Got the Monkey? (HBR Classic by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass)

Struggling with a ‘to do’ list that gets longer every time one of your direct reports pops into your office? If your employees are delegating their issues upward to you, this will be a great read (or re-read!). HBR re-released it in the late ’90′s, and it totally resonated with the leadership team where I was working at the time. To help us manage what the authors call “subordinate-managed time,” we all purchased the barrel of monkeys toy, using it as a visual symbol to track who was giving the monkey to whom!

Cultivating Goodness (Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire Collaborative Services)

Here at Braithwaite and Get Your BIG On, we’re big supporters of goodness, kindness and making a sustainable positive difference. We applaud Mary Jo for creating a thoughtful list of things leaders can/should do to serve the greater good. “When you put goodness out there, it comes back to you. Make an impact and watch goodness ripple throughout your organization.”

Why Airplanes are a Productivity Haven For Me (Kevin Eikenberry on Leadership and Learning)

Kevin’s post made us chuckle. We share his view that airplanes are a haven for unplugged productivity. Kevin’s key point to add to your toolkit is finding your haven - a place to think and renew. “It’s about making (not finding) the time and place to do your most important work.”

Whack Pack: The best brainstorming tool for the iPad

I’m a big fan of Roger von Oech’s Whack Pack. It’s a great tool for introducing creativity concepts to leaders and for brainstorming. Now it’s available as an app. This article provides suggestions on how to use the tool via an iPad…ingenious! (And now all I have to do is get an iPad!)

This quote stopped us in our tracks this week: “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.” ~Nietzsche


This Week’s Fav Leadership Reading

30 Overlooked Acts of Leadership Courage (Mary Jo Asmus on Aspire-CS)

Be prepared to be inspired as you read over this list from Mary Jo. As she so correctly points out, all too often we look to our leaders (ourselves included) for the grand gestures, forgetting that - many times - it’s the small things that count in a big way.

Would You Skydive Without a Parachute? How to Delegate With Confidence. (Jesse Lyn Stoner on My Blog)

Using skydiving as a metaphor, Jesse Lyn challenges leaders to consider whether or not they’ve prepared their direct reports to properly handle delegating. She offers seven simple guidelines for assuring that your people are ready. Tandem jumping, anyone?

Managing Yourself: The Paradox of Excellence (HBR, The Magazine June 2011 by Thomas J. DeLong and Sara DeLong)

Does this scenario sound familiar to anyone? “We tell our people over and over again that we will support their professional development, but if a new project doesn’t work out immediately, we basically push them over the cliff.” This article is chock-a-block full of examples, tips and pointers for “doing the right thing poorly” for first time and cutting yourself some slack in the process. I was delighted to see vulnerability on the list!

Gurus, Ninjas, and Morons: Losing Credibility One Business Card at a Time (Mike Figliuolo at thoughtLEADERS, LLC)

Feeling like your title and business card lack a little panache? Before you race out and have some super sexy ones designed, consider Mike’s reminder about the impact and impression you’re making on others.

Quote of the week: “It is important to do what you don’t know how to do. It is important to see your skills as keeping you from learning what is deepest and most mysterious. If you know how to focus, unfocus. If your tendency is to make sense out of chaos, start chaos.” ~Carlos Castaneda